A gnarled tree

High and Dry (Corner Ash)


There is a byway open to all traffic, or BOAT, near Alton called Water Lane. It is, for much of its length, a sunken lane or holloway – that is, a route lower than the surrounding land surface. Holloways can be created by the passage of many feet or through the action of water, sometimes both. Unsurprisingly, given its name, there was evidence that Water Lane had, in part at least, been eroded by water. About half way to Alton, it turned into a very pretty, cobbled stream. The route was wide enough to drive a cart down, which helped to make the stream shallow enough that an artist in a sturdy pair of waterproofed walking boots was able to wade all the way without getting her socks wet, even in January.

There were several places where the bedrock – more soft, white, chalky greensand – was exposed by erosion and many where mature trees clung interestingly to the sides of the path. Unfortunately, it was January and the light wasn’t great, so a fair few of my photographs were unusable, particularly on the lower, damper reaches of the route,

This ash tree, however, was near the start of my walk down Water Lane, just before the path narrowed to a cart-width (the tree marks the corner of a junction with another track).

A gnarled tree
High and Dry, ink on kaolin-coated board, 16 x 12 inches / 44x34x3cm framed