Commons along the Taw-Torridge Estuary

Before the heat really hit last week, I headed a bit further north up the River Torridge than Great Torrington. North Devon is a bit of an unexplored country for me, so though it takes about the same time as getting to the centre of Dartmoor, it always feels like another country. I also wantedContinue reading “Commons along the Taw-Torridge Estuary”

Great Torrington’s Commons

Great Torrington’s commons are huge (365 acres), varied (meadow, parkland, wood, golf course, wet scrub, river bank) and almost entirely circle this ancient, small town. Where do I even begin with them?  First, it’s worth testing out what I now know about common land with what I found on the commons register. Here, it saysContinue reading “Great Torrington’s Commons”

Corfe’s Town Commons – and Project Pragmatics

Corfe Castle is just about do-able in a day trip from Exeter, at least in the summer of a pandemic which has spilled more caravans and motorhomes than usual onto Dorset’s narrow, winding A-roads. I’d several reasons for visiting: first, it’s incredibly famous and I’d never been; second, I’m dipping my toe in the waterContinue reading “Corfe’s Town Commons – and Project Pragmatics”

West Penwith Commons – perhaps

I’d planned to look at the West Penwith commons a few weeks back, but didn’t fancy getting tangled up with G7 cavalcades or XR actions. So ten days ago, I braved the caravan-clogged A30 and headed back to an area where I lived between 2003 and 2008, the place where my daughter was born.  WestContinue reading “West Penwith Commons – perhaps”

Oh to be in England in the summertime!

In early February, I failed at a long walk around Chagford and Gidleigh Comnons, on the North-Eastern rim of Dartmoor’s high moor. The morning had started off sunny and though I could see the occasional shower from my vantage point on Kestor Rock, that also meant rainbows.  But dark clouds were towering up beyond theContinue reading “Oh to be in England in the summertime!”

Rights of Common in the Blackdown Hills.

I’m getting an increasing sense of excitement about tracking down and visiting commons, and I’m finding myself more interested in the obscure and the idiosyncratic than the great and iconic. A village pump near the A303? Bring it on. The problem here is that, for the very small commons, tracking them down becomes a matterContinue reading “Rights of Common in the Blackdown Hills.”

Non-fiction writing and films about place

Most books about the land seem to follow a fairly standard form if they’re not focussing on one particular place or telling a general history. A series of chapters takes an instance of the land type under consideration, describes it, describes a personal encounter with it, and uses it as the basis to make aContinue reading “Non-fiction writing and films about place”

The genre of place: three mid-Devon commons

I’ve always been a map nerd and I’ve been tracking down potential commons by spotting the pale yellowy-orange patches of Access Land. It’s how I found Wick Moor, up at Hinkley Point. OS Explorer 114 – Exeter and the Exe Valley – has revealed not an awful lot close to home, but North West ofContinue reading “The genre of place: three mid-Devon commons”