A forest of raspberry canes

east Coast

As part of the research I’ve been doing into the local history of fruit production, I came across William J. Tate’s 1899 book East Coast Scenery: Rambles Through Towns and Villages; Nutting, Blackberrying, and Mushrooming; Sea Fishing, Wild-fowl Shooting etc. which was apparently illustrated by Arthur Rackham. The book is a collection of articles contributed to ‘the columns of the Civil Service Guardian in 1890-91, and the Bristol Times and Mirror in 1897-98.’ Amongst his trips about the Eastern counties Tate and an associate visit Burnham and Southminster, and in his account of the two locales he reveals Continue reading “A forest of raspberry canes”

Dengie Hundred

Map from ‘An Inventory of the Historical Monuments in Essex, Volume 4, South east’ (HMSO, 1923)

‘Has been the scene of some important events in the history of the nation, but in ages so remote that there is no written record to identify them with the locality; and in traversing the district, we find few of those ancient relics by the aid of which their memorials may be traced out. On the shores beyond Bradwell stood the city of Ithanchester, in which Cedde, the first bishop of the diocese, in 658, baptised Mary in the new faith, built a church, and endowed priests and deacons to minister in it. In a later age, the Danes took possession of the Hundred, and long made it their head-quarters or camp along the coast, from which they sent forth their expeditions and plundered the other parts of the country. It was in a manner their recognised home in their earlier struggles for the mastership of the land, as its present name implies — Dengie being derived from Danes-ig, “the Danes island.” A thousand years have passed since that time, and a great change has been wrought in the scene. Flocks graze undisturbed on the rich marshes beyond which the long narrow war-vessels were moored. The carol of the ploughman and the tinkle of the sheep- bell are heard at twilight, instead of the martial signal. The fierce chieftain has subsided into the skilful farmer. The steel that glitters in the sun is that of the sickle or the scythe ; and instead of the wild warrior returning to his den with his prey, the rich heavy wheats of Dengie are sent forth to help to feed and fatten other parts of the kingdom. This Hundred contains the following twenty-one parishes, irrespective oft he borough of Maldon which is described separately : — Woodham Walt, Woodham Mart, Hazeleigh, Purleigh, Cold Norton, Stow Maries, North Fambridge, Latchingdon, Snoreham, Mundon, Steeple, Mayland, Altborne, Cricksea, Burnham, Southminster, Asheldham, Dengie, Tillingham, St. Lawrence, Bradwell.’

A.D Bayne, Royal illustrated history of eastern England, civil, military, political, and ecclesiastical, (n.d)

Orchards East


I have just signed up as a volunteer on the Orchards East project – I will be researching the history of orchards in my local parish of Burnham-on-Crouch.

Orchards East Survey Map

I’ve been provided with an OS map of the parish marked with the locations of orchards identified on the c.1888 ordnance survey map. My first task is to survey those sites for any extant orchards or what has replaced them. I’m beginning with the site nearest to my house, which has been designated HESS1416. Continue reading “Orchards East”

Bioregioning: Ed Tyler

Ed Tyler’s Bioregional Food Mapping Session at the National Permaculture Diploma Gathering November 2011

Permaculturalist Ed Tyler has been exploring bioregional action and thought up on his own peninsula in Kintyre. With the name of his blog he has coined a new word for the re-inhabitation lexicon: bioregioning.

He goes on to define the word on the blog About page.

Bioregioning: from verb “to bioregion”; act of bringing your bioregion into existence through:-

 grounding, connecting, celebrating, belonging

This usefully re-positions what can easily become a philosophic exercise in just thinking about bioregions into an action focussed process in manifesting bioregions.

He continues by inviting us to engage with some activities he associated with bioregioning, which I clumsily summarise as:

  • Wander
  • Garden
  • Make connections with nature
  • Make connections with neighbours
  • Celebrate

But it’s really worth reading Tyler’s longer form descriptions. Similarly he lists what Bioregioning involves:

  • slowing down, looking and feeling inward and outward to the land, water, creatures and people around you
  • making music, clothes, buildings, sculptures, relationships, furniture, poems, paintings and other necessities from locally available materials
  • cycling and sharing resources, money and energy within your region
  • growing and eating locally sourced, seasonally abundant, food
  • networking and collaborating with each other to build diverse communities and ecologies

I think that his simple rendering of bioregioning provides a good pointer towards ‘next steps’ after I complete the Bioregional Quiz questions (that’s right, I’ve not forgotten about these!)

Some of Ed Tyler’s bioregional mapping


The Wild East

English Activities

‘The landward farms produced not only corn, cattle and sheep but great herds of half-wild horses and ponies with a sprinkling of donkeys. They roamed free as the wind over the wide rough grass marshes bordering the sea-wall. When the day came for them to be rounded up and sent to market at Wickford and elsewhere, the scene was like something out of the Wild West. Rough riders on horseback, with cracking whips and yelling in broad Essex, hustled the horses, with flying manes, flourishing their tails like banners, into wooden corrals where they could be sorted out, branded and taken quietly up the lane to the farm on the way to market.’

– James Wentworth Day, A Garland of Hops (1978) Continue reading “The Wild East”

Azimuthal Projections, RetroSuburbia & Solarpunk


Azimuthal Projections is not a progressive rock album but ‘a map projection in which a region of the earth is projected on to a plane tangential to the surface, usually at a pole or the equator.’ I just came across (via Transit Maps) this azimuthal equidistant projection of Columbus, Ohio, USA which is catchily titled:   Continue reading “Azimuthal Projections, RetroSuburbia & Solarpunk”

Where You At Q5: When was the last time a fire burned in your area?


The fifth question in the Where You At? bioregional quiz is:

When was the last time a fire burned in your area?

This is one of the quiz questions that reveals its Cascadian/West Coast USA origins. As Carolyn Merchant has noted in Radical Ecology: The Search for a Livable World (1992) the quiz is ‘culture-bound’. I write that because the whole concept of a fire burning ‘in your area’ seems to reflect the spread of wildfire over large parts of a landscape, something that happens regularly enough to note in California, but is much less familiar in northern Europe.

The widespread deforestation of the Atlantic Archipelago has left the UK without a lot of standing trees to burn and the climate here means that we have rarely experienced the hot, dry conditions that catalyse these types of conflagration. Continue reading “Where You At Q5: When was the last time a fire burned in your area?”