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Image: Vulpes vulpes. iPhone6 + binoculars

The Project: I intend to access a beach that has no official access. Questing for Forest Cove.

Attempt 1

As I emerged from the bluebell wood a cock pheasant flew loudly out from cover. I was hesitant incase it was another human that had flushed it out, but when I looked back a small fox was watching me.

Later that evening I commented on this to a friend but she seemed to find it unremarkable. She frequently has close encounters with foxes in her Lambeth borough. Of course this highlights context; country foxes are usually incredibly timid. This one sat boldly watching me (above). Context-collapse is common in our modern lives, it is one of the things bioregionalism has the capacity to curb. Bioregionalism is context. The biorgionalism of Lambeth made the friend’s response relevant and mine likewise.

The ‘Way’ I thought I had identified from google satellite maps turned out to be an old eroded wall. The newly exposed slate shines brilliantly in the sun and this was of course what I was seeing on the satellite map. Old boundary lines or stock proofing, for land now gone to sea.

Images: Slate wall and Satellite Map I had mistaken for a ‘way’.

As I scrambled through scrub I realised if I had made this trip even another week or two later, it may well have been impassible for me, thick bramble and bracken is flushing up through the now turning bluebells.

The presence of this carpet of bluebells on the exposed cliff, as well as growing stunted throughout the grazing pastures of nearby fields, indicates a now absent woodland, hence the cove’s name Forest Cove.

I was following deer tracks, twice i discovered impressions in the easily bruised bluebell plants. They resemble large nests or beds, big enough for a dog. After I frightened a doe it was clear to me that these impressions were left by a recently hiding fawn. In the first 2 weeks of a fawn’s life they stay under cover, unmoving until their mother returns from grazing, as they are not yet quick enough to flee from perceived threats.

Image: Fawn hideout.

I skirted away from deep clefts that appeared and the cliff edge, cautious of undercut erosion I might unwittingly be walking on. Eventually my way was made impassable by thick vegetation and I was forced to turn back (below).

Conclusion: on the walk I realised there is another, safer, accessible way: low tide.

See Blog Questing for Forest Cove for process.

Image: End point. Blocked. 50°18’41.6″N 3°37’10.7″W