"Thou who dost pause on this aerial height/ Where Maud Heath's Pathway winds in shade and light/ Christian wayfarer in a world of strife/ Be still and consider the Path of Life."
You may often see small causeways in Essex, alongside a river that will flood in winter, they rise above the flood so that the inhabitants of the small villages and hamlets could walk safely. The above line of verse comes from the nineteenth century Wiltshire poet Lisle Bowles, on the famous Maud Heath's causeway outside Chippenham in Wiltshire, she left £8 on her death in 1474 for a causeway to be built, and is remembered ever since!
Yesterday we went to down to Paper Mill lock, I had wanted their delicious carrot cake three weeks ago, which had been duly noted by my love and so we sat by the lock with the throng of people who also come to have lunch by the river, and I forgot to photograph this culinary triumph, though we did get to see the new cygnets that can be found all along the river, their gray feathers, a beautiful dove colour.
Afterwards we went down tiny lanes to Nounsley village, a hamlet off Hatfield Peverel, and stopped at the bridge where the little River Ter, makes its way through the choked vegetation that has accumulated over the years. There is a neglected air round this part of the river, great willows, the girth of their trunks showing old age, sometimes large branches are brought down by storms, or an old giant tumbles, to lie for years crumbling into dust. They are true characters these willows and I am somewhat in awe of them, but one thing I look out for at this time of year is the tangle of hops that scramble through the hedges, a relict perhaps of hop growing in the past. They also cover the causeway here too.
|Untidy mass of hedge with hop vines weaving their tangled way through|
|The silver of willow|
|The choked vegetation of the river|
|On the other side of the bridge|