Saturday, 8 February 2014

The Hole in the Wall

This may look more like a door than a hole in the wall, but as far as I am concerned it is "The Hole in the Wall"

It is one of the pedestrian entrances to Knole Park, a large medieval deer park where the public are free to roam, run or ride.

Growing up nearby I know every entrance well, but this is my favourite.

The road just outside this door is deeply shaded with a high wooded bank on one side and the Kentish ragstone park boundary wall on the other.

At this point, from the outside it is impossible to see what lies on the other side of the wall. I think that is why I like it. I like that feeling of walking from dark into light. The view opens up as you push through the door and see the landscape that is in all seasons beautiful, even on a dull day last October when I took these photos.

This sweet chestnut is the first thing that grabs the attention after entering the park here. It is one of the ancient trees that survived the 1987 gale, when Knole lost 70% of its trees. We used to collect the sweet chestnuts in winter and take them home to roast on a shovel over the fire. I have eaten many picnics near here. The path ahead follows the valley of a prehistoric river course along which I ran unwillingly on winter cross-country runs from school, usually in bad weather when the lacrosse field was covered in snow so thought unsuitable for play. 

Sometimes there will be deer near the 'Hole in the Wall'. Often there will be dog walkers, joggers or horse riders. In my childhood there were lots of rabbits to be seen early in the morning or at dusk. Not far from here our dog got stuck trying to catch one as it disappeared down its hole.

What prompted this reminiscence was the unexpected and unwelcome overnight appearance of a hole in our boundary wall at home. Our very own and very large 'hole in the wall'. Early yesterday morning we were got out of bed by our neighbour who kindly told us that part of our wall was now on the road - a very large part as it turned out. This was not what we wanted to hear on a day when we expected to enjoy a lie-in. There are now barricades on the road around the danger and we hope that not much more will fall before it can be repaired, but we have to wait several days before the insurance assessor can visit. At least it's not our house and we are not in danger of flooding, like so many just now. We have done all we can do, contacted all the agencies that need to be informed.

I suppose I am coping by escaping to my happy memories of 'The Hole in the Wall'. And meanwhile the sight of our hole is causing a bit of a local stir.


Photos: my own

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