This was painted, en plein air, in the last of September’s sunshine. There is a convenient patch of access land on the steep slope of Stubbington Down with a view across the rich farmland of the vale of Kingsclere, looking west towards Beacon Hill and bounded – at this point – by the dramatic slope of Cannon Heath Down to the left and the milder Isle Hill to the right.
The Vale of Kingsclere
Oil on canvas, 60 x 30 cm
Cannon Heath Down is a popular local viewpoint and carries part of a long distance footpath, the Wayfarer’s Walk alongside racehorse gallops. It is marked by two swooping hollows, the Warren and Coombe Hole (only the latter appears in this painting), whose names indicate their past use as medieval rabbit farms. Knowing this, it seems all the more appropriate that Richard Adams chose the down next door (just around the corner), Watership Down, as the title and setting for his groundbreaking novel about anthropomorphised rabbits.