Capturing a moment in time a few years ago, maybe I will probably never see this walk again out on the racecourse at Lansdown in Bath, but for a moment the world was heavily crystallised into cold white frost and it became a wonderland. There are moments of perfect beauty that nature will unfold for us and we occasionally have the privilege of participating in - but it was very cold that day.
This was my daily walk with Moss I would follow the line of trees, sometimes my old buzzard would be there, and I would brood that what lay below the racecourse were Bronze Age barrows, lives lived thousands of years ago. It was here at the beginning of the 20th century the Lansdown gold 'sun disc' was found, nothing terribly spectacular, some speculated that it was the base of a drinking cup, perhaps a bit like the Rillaton gold cup in Cornwall.
The racecourse was on high ground, and the 'edge' of the Cotswolds ended here just outside Bath, so the barrows looked over the valley to the Severn Estuary and Wales. Yes you could even see the two bridges that crossed the estuary and if the day was clear enough you could look in the opposite direction to Avebury a mere 30 odd miles away. You would not see the stones of course but that ugly Lansdown monument to a lord who had pretensions to 'owning' the land as far as you could see - as if!
The racecourse was also the place for a fair in the 19th Century, I can just imagine the people of Bath hauling themselves up the steep Weston Lane to partake in the festivities. Moss who you see in the last photo, was my companion, though until Suki got too old, she would also accompany us. Suki was scared of the hot air balloons that lifted into the air, often on early on a Sunday morning. I had seen them rising from the city and they would head for the racecourse occasionally coming down. The basket would hit the ground several times, and then would tumble over, people hanging on, no one seemed to get hurt and you could almost feel the palpable feeling of excitement and possible relief to be on terra firma, the recovery jeep would have been following to transport them back.
Sometimes we would wander up to Kelston Round Hill to me a mystical place, a rounded 'tump' in the middle of the landscape, the fifth photo down. Deer would be in the fields and the little muntjacs that haunted this part of the Bath landscape. I suspect that one day the Bath racecourse will be built over, its last traces of prehistory obliterated by more modern needs, but what I will remember of that place is finding the 'wild' remnants of the landscape. the place where the deer slept and old walls tracing a past history, and even old megaliths.
Also of course, the ghost stories someone told me of the 'Roundhead' soldier that marched down the path one evening, a Civil War escapee from the battle at Langridge. I have traced the 17th century banks and ditches of this war, stopped in solomn silence to read on the notice board of one Royalist friend fighting and seeing his old friend a Roundhead killed. My ghost, I kid you not, was he real? was spied early one foggy Sunday morning a Scottish man complete with kilt and hat walking along the path, Moss went berseck as first the hat appeared and then the kilted man strode into view through the fog and he strolled by with a pleasant 'good morning'! Maybe he was just out for an early stroll I will never know...
|Kelston Round Hill|
|Moss and co|