Powysian Walking #1

John Cowper Powys believed that people shared essential affinities with particular kinds of landscapes, their character, soils, stones and flora. Chalk hills seem to be my thing.

It may well be because I was born and grew up in a house in a valley between two ridges of chalk. But really not in any picturesque kind of way. We lived at the foot of the hill occupied by Luton Airport (screech after screech) and near to the Vauxhall car works (glowing at night with ominous yellows and greens). Still, anything familiar becomes comforting in the end, and when we moved to a rural village the noise of silence was more disturbing.

It’s also because I’ve lived in Cambridgeshire for a long time, a county where even the gentle undulations west of Cambridge, more like grassy dunes than hills, have been been named after the giants Gog and Magog.

So I look for hills, and chalk hills especially, for walking over in Powysian fashion.

The picture is from one of these places, at Pegsdon in the Chiltern Hills,¬†thought to be the inspiration for the Delectable Mountains in John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress.




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