Friday, November 21, 2014

Bystock Pond

Photos taken at Bystock Pond near to the delightfully named roads of Inner Ting Tong and Outer Ting Tong.

From Wikepedia: The naming of the two roads on the hill-top in Devon between Budleigh Salterton, Woodbury and Exmouth is widely derided as fanciful, but is regarded by locals as being derived in the normal way from a Thing-Tun - a dun or small settlement around the place where the Thing used to meet. A thing (Old Norse, Old English and Icelandic: Ă¾ing; German, Dutch ding; modern Scandinavian languages: ting) was the governing assembly in Germanic societies and introduced into some Celtic societies, made up of the free people of the community and presided by lawspeakers, meeting in a place called a thingstead.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Cadbury Castle

The last time we were up a hillfort it was the darkish Dumpdon, near Honiton. Today it's Cadbury Castle near Bickleigh, and it's quite a contrast. The castle sits upon a very prominent, though obscure, hill north of Exeter, very open and very pretty. I say obscure because although the hill is the highest of a small range of surrounding hills, Cadbury seems like a place that nobody visits. I went there three times in the summer and on each occasion didn't meet anyone, going up or coming down, not even the usually omnipresent dogwalkers. It's a shame in some ways that it isn't more popular, because it really is a treat. The views are wide and superb, the air high and clear. I expect a strong wind cuts across here later in the year, by the look of the trees on the northwest side, bent to the wind as they are. Even on a warm afternoon there is a slight chill.

The top is owned by the National Trust, so fully accessible. The path is easy and the only temporary inhabitants are a few sheep. Good solid banks of tree lined earth enclose a comfortable circular centre. There is even a break to the wind if you can get in the right place, so that on a howling day there is always somewhere to shelter, all very well designed.

I haven't found much out about the history of the place, information appears scarce, but there is a legend in a book from the 17th century, which says that this was the residence of a fire breathing dragon who flew each evening between this hill and the one nearby at Killerton, as it guarded hoards at both locations. There are many such stories of dragons associated with hilltops. Apart from that, not much, but it is a beautiful place to get some peace and quiet.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Tawny Owls

I went out the other night to photograph the moon and heard these owls close by to where I was sitting, so I recorded the sound of them with my camera. I think they're tawny owls, though I'm no expert. They make a lot of noise near the end of this recording.

Summer Sounds at Blackbury Camp

Some ambient sound recorded at Blackbury Camp back in July.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Dumpdon Hill

There is a slight but intriguing wikipedia entry for Dumpdon Hill which reads:

 Dumpdon Hill is an Iron Age Hill Fort near Honiton in Devon, somewhat overshadowed by its better known neighbour Hembury Fort it is nonetheless as impressive an earthwork.

 Situated in the valley of the River Otter, it is one of the largest, and most distinct hills in the area due to a large clump of beech trees situated at its summit. The top of Dumpdon is owned and maintained by the National Trust and is 250 metres (800 ft) above Sea Level. The small area of woodland on the top of Dumpdon Hill is considered locally as slightly mysterious and, due probably to its long history, is a popular location for practitioners of paganism and other types of the occult. There is also much mystery over an incident in the 1970s concerning a certain Dr Glanvill, and the rumoured discovery of bodies of which very little is known.

There was this local Dr Glanvill -
Chard and Ilminster News 
This Dr Glanvills' son, also a doctor, recently discovered what turned out to be the largest cave in the Mendips: The Frozen Deep

--It is, of course, a common practice in most places to make a neighbouring ancient object a kind of standard of age. At Honiton, and in the country round, "As old as Dump'n " used to be, and perhaps still is, a popular expression, the reference being to a British or Roman earthwork conspicuously visible on Dumpdon Hill, close by.
From Notes and Queries, November 4th 1876.

A story about a tunnel from The Truth About Dumpdon Hill

Legends about the impressive earthwork survive today, including a most improbable one about the existence of a tunnel from Marwood House, in High Street, to the hill’s summit.

For centuries, the myth of the tunnel has been passed from generation to generation.

Daniel Defoe visited Honiton, in the 1720's, saying of the town that it was 'large and beautiful...very populous and well built'. There are a still a few older buildings which survived a fire in the 18th century.  Allhallows Museum in the High Street, once a 13th century chapel that later became a schoolroom is the oldest building in the town and 17th century Marwood House, built by John Marwood, whose father, Thomas, was physician to Elizabeth the First.

Dr Thomas Marwood was born in 1512, travelled to Padua to study medicine and practiced in Honiton until well into his eighties. In 1592 he was reputedly invited to London to cure the Earl of Essex, a feat which earned him great wealth. He married three times, the third time at the age of 96. He built a house in Honiton, which was only demolished during the construction of the railway in 1846. However, Marwood House, the house he built for his son, still stands today, at the end of Honiton High Street.  Dr Marwood apparently died in 1617, at the age of 105, and his black marble tomb can be found in St Michael's church, though elsewhere it states that the tomb was destroyed by a fire in 1911. His grandson, Thomas Marwood, attended James I in his last illness, of which he left a MS. account, in Latin.

Arms of Marwood. Gu. a chevron Arg. between three goats' heads - erased Ermine. 

We visited in July and there is an impressively long and slow climb to the top of the hill, with the lanes leading there small and narrow. Though near the Honiton to London road, it seems quiet and remote out here. There is a small carpark, and we took the longer path around the perimeter of the hill before ascending the south side and meeting the triangulation point at the top. This part of the hill is extremely flat and open and has recently been cleared, so there are great views from the west round to the east, with plenty of space for sky.

Behind the trig point is a small wood, which feels dark and slightly sinister. Photographs taken in the, ahem, late 1970's show a more open wood, also here, so a lot of the trees have grown in the last thirty years or so. The larger trees are mainly beech, but other types are also present here. By the amount of initials carved into the trees it seems that the hill has been very popular over the years as a destination of some local significance. I haven't seen as much initialing in any wood that I can remember. All in all definitely worth it for the view and the peace and quiet. Cadbury Castle next time.

Friday, July 04, 2014

Hembury Hillfort

Hembury Hillfort is situated on a promontory just to the northwest of Honiton in East Devon and is approximately 170 metres above sea level. It dates from the fifth millenium B.C. and is thought to have been the capital for the Dumnonii tribe of Celts who lived across Devon and Cornwall.

A small lane leads up to a car park situated next to a woodland walk, but to get to the fort you have to cross back over the road and head south through the beech woods. The fort has extensive and large ramparts now mostly covered by beech and other types of trees. There is a reasonably easy walk around the earthworks although the path is overgrown and difficult to locate in certain areas. Occasionally there are brief glimpses of the view from the top, mostly towards the west. The west side also seems lighter than the east but the hill drops away sharply on both. In atmosphere the place seems comfortable and easy, and is a good place for pottering and picnics. There is birdlife and a lot of butterfly action when I visited in June. As with many of the forts there are not a lot of people around, mostly dogwalkers and during our visit in June we only heard two other people. The beech trees are very good around here, all mature and mostly unmarked by initial carving. The enclosure is fairly well covered in summer by a dense growth of bracken and brambles, so exploration of this would be better achieved in winter. These photos were taken in August 2013.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Eugene McDaniels - Jagger The Dagger - 1971

Jagger doing the devil dance
Just a victim of circumstance
Jagger wheeling the rolling stone
He and the devil know he’s all alone
Jagger lived in the world a while
Now he’s learning the devil’s style
Jagger playing a heavy game
Free from guilt and he’s free from shame

Jagger sucking the source of life
Slashing the pig with a horny knife
Jagger merging the sexes now
Just stand back and he’ll show you how
Jagger’s organ will play the tune
He will watch the havens open soon
Jagger doing the devil dance
Just a victim of circumstance

Jagger the dagger (Repeat to fade)

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Van Morrison - The Great Deception -1973

Did you ever hear about the great deception?
Well the plastic revolutionaries take the money and run
Have you ever been down to love city?
Where they rip you off with a smile and it don't take a gun

Don't it hurt so bad in love city
Don't it make you not want to bother at all
And don't they look so self righteous
When they pin you up against the wall

Did you ever, ever see the people
With the tear drops in their eyes?
I just can't stand it, stand it no how
Living in this world of lies

Did you ever hear about the rock and roll singers
Got three or four Cadillacs
Saying power to the people, dance to the music
Wants you to pat him on the back

Have you ever heard about the great Rembrandt?
Have you ever heard about how he could paint?
And he didn't have enough money for his brushes
And they thought it was rather quaint

But you know it's no use repeating
And you know it's no use to think about it
'Cause when you stop to think about it
You don't need it

Have you ever heard about the great
Hollywood motion picture actor
Who knew more than they did?
And the newspapers didn't cover the story
Just decided to keep it hid

Somebody started saying it was an inside job
Whatever happened to him
Last time they saw him down on the bowery
With his lip hanging off an old rusty bottle of gin

Have you ever heard about the so-called hippies
Down on the far side of the tracks?
They take the eyeballs straight out of your head
Say son, kid, do you want your eyeballs back

Did you ever see the people
With the tear drops in their eyes?
Just can't stand it no how
Living in this world of lies

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Tuesday, June 10, 2014