This is the final post in the Hertfordshire Greens series. And it’s a return to where we started. The photo heading the introductory page (reproduced as the post previous to this) was taken in 2017 – the only photo not taken this year. It showed three oak tree skeletons against a background view from the road between Bassus Green and Clay End, looking over the valley of the Beane towards Walkern.
Today, the panorama is denuded. Two of the skeletons have tumbled. How long will the survivor last? A little outside of the frame of that shot stands another skeleton and one living ancient oak that has a good few years left in it. But it is sad that nothing is growing to replace the old monsters that were likely maturing when the county was wracked by civil war. Some old oaks remain in nearby hedges and woods.
So, the photo above is taken from the opposite side of the green, on a track up from Walkern. The tree is a crab apple and, as in so many places we have visited during this strange time, someone has left a shrine. Further on, at the foot of a surviving oak, another hand had stretched out for solace to ancient beliefs.
Bassus Green stands for many we have visited since the spring. Wide spaces once hacked from forest that finds a faint echo in surrounding woodlands; a handsome old farmhouse amid a clutch of gentrified cottages; approaches along narrow and twisting lanes, some now roads, some left as footpaths; a nearby moated enclosure; and some quiet.
If you have stuck with our journeys or if you stumble across them in the future, I hope you enjoy the snapshot of Hertfordshire’s greens. We certainly haven’t been to all of them, but we have had a crack at recording something of the character of these features of the county in 2020.
I will archive the series on the site at some point. There’s another project in the offing, so do stay subscribed. In the meantime, I may periodically post some one-off photographs.