No….I’d got it all a bit wrong.
I wanted to take photos of Red House Farm and planned a walk with Cosmo to go past it, or around it and take a few photos. I had made a red pigment (which was quite exciting) and I wanted to do a red painting called ‘Red House farm’.
So we drove up looking for somewhere to park, but the sign said RED HOUSE FARM PRIVATE ROAD. We drove on looking for a parking place and stopped by a public footpath which went across a field, so with a little bit of a right turn across the back of a field, that should bring me to RED HOUSE FARM.
No….I’d got it all a bit wrong. We walked across the field and I could tell I was nowhere near Red House Farm. I didn’t bring a map and we just carried on and ended up in Chestfield.
This is a place of expensive residences. we walked past a fenced off area with a gate saying Mead Meadow, then another gate saying The Paddock, these two areas were looking like they were all part of the same property. So your own house and garden, a horse exercise area and then your own meadow before green fields and countryside. The architecture………… rather Mock Tudor.
Then I noticed thatched roofs and tiles mixed together on the same building…a sagging ridge line on the roof and the houses here were clearly hundreds of years old. I saw the road was called The Drove. We walked along here looking at the des res either side of the unmade road. I saw a planning notice stapled to a telegraph pole. Residents had only a few days left to raise issues and contact the councils planning department about what I thought was a small housing development proposal. No doubt it was not in character with the area, block light and cause parking mayhem.
I noticed a house called First Green which I thought a little unusual, 100 yards further along the track things opened out and we were beside a golf course, it made more sense now. One house had several yew hedges (almost a maze) in the front garden, another front garden I estimated it would be possible to get at least a dozen cars on the drive.
I didn’t fancy a run in with golfers over Cosmo charging across putting greens, digging in bunkers and cocking his leg up the signs on the tee. We found an alleyway and this marked the return of walk back to the car. We passed more modest houses with only room for 2-3 Range Rovers and a BMW mini on their drives. I found myself studying a landscaped communal strip of ground, a kind of long flower bed, where someone had not appointed a landscape contractor or a builder, and I cannot for a moment believe the property developer would have this on their master plan. It was what might be described as a rockery. It was possible to walk through it along paved paths with some ankle high planting. It was…er …..higgledy piggledy and not in keeping with the clean sharp new houses and shiny new cars. I looked at it for several minutes, looking at the standard of brick work, which was clearly not done by a bricklayer, in fact it was a mixture of bricks and paving blocks…..was it art? Definitely could not be described as landscaping in the context of the rest of this place. The most strange aspect to this construction was that it was in a communal area for all to see and walk amongst. Had it been in front of a house completely covered in sea shells or broken plates or something it would have been much more at home!
Cosmo keen to move on was already in a small woodland. I had to negotiate a wire fence brambles and a stream deeper than my wellies before I could catch him up. This long narrow strip of woodland is called Rabbit Shaw and is only about 50-60 yards wide. It has a stream running the length of it and it does not have a single pathway in it. The brambles and thickets impassable in some places. One of these impassable places had to be passed or it was a long walk back the way I had come. Cosmo’s not that keen on brambles either and he usually finds another way, but he had exhausted all the alternatives without finding a way through. So he just waits for me to sort it out.
The only way out is to walk backwards into the bramble thicket stamping down the brambles leaving a channel behind me which he can walk along. This method always works but minor scratches to hands, backs of the ears, neck are inevitable and it is a last resort. This Rabbit Shaw took a long time to get through using this method and my hat was pulled off by brambles several times. I pulled the spiky bramble twigs from Cosmos tail, ears and front leg. I was relatively unscathed and we walked back across the field to the car.