Tuesday, 27 November 2018
The numinosity of hilltop tree clumps
This landscape feature is one that much appeals to me, and which seldom fails to induce a yearning kind of numinosity.
I realised recently that the interest and feeling probably came from the cover of my teenage-bought edition of Alfred Watkins's The Old Straight Track.
So that is the (suggested) link between such tree clunps and ancient landscape features - they are supposed to mark 'ley lines', which - according to Watkins - were Neolithic pathways criss-crossing Southern England.
I heard about Watkins's book from the references at the end of The Moon of Gomrath by Alan Garner - and found a copy in the Bristol City Library; Garner has the Old Straight Track as a magical path visible only at full moon, as the moon rises - it plays an important part in the story, and provides its most memorable scene.
Later, John Michell (in A View over Atlantis) took Watkins's Ley Lines and made them into lines of spiritual power - but I knew nothing of this during my teens.
Anyway, all this seems to have left me with a particular sensitivity to a particular landscape feature. The Hundred Acre Wood in Winnie the Pooh is also sometimes depicted like this - which may have been a further latent aspect of my interest; as also a very good children's book called Borrobil by William Croft Dickinson (1944) - a kind of neo-pagan precursor to Narnia, and also written by a Professor.