A pilgrimage through Ancient woodlands

I would like to take you on part of a route followed in June known as the Jerusalem’ Pilgrimage, from Haslemere to Chichester. Dismounting from the train in Haslemere you head out of the town, past the large gated houses. After about 15 minutes you leave the busy road and enter the ancient woodland. First there are easy climbs up and through the woodland. Passing tidy piles of logs hewn from the old trees, where once woodworkers would have been busy creating and making in the wood itself. Then, an unexpected find; a plaque in the woods dedicated to a member of Clan Farquharson from Upper Deeside, Aberdeenshire the stoutly named Bernard Alwyne Farquharson.

Remembering the past

The cross section of tracks through the woodland takes you across the Serpents Trail, to the highest hill in Sussex, a place which Tennyson fell in love with; you can imagine him striding out wrapped in his cloak, notebook in hand. Based on the top of the hill is the ‘Temple of the Winds’, named after a bronze age circular bank. Here you will find a spot that has a mystical feel, a curved stone seat from where you can admire the views.

The Journey continues as you enter the deep, dark, Green woods of Ancient Sussex a woodland which consisted of Oak and Ash and Thorn. Although tired by walking the woods offered an opportunity to immerse oneself. The thick intertwining woodland with moss bedded floors, remnants of the bluebells, fading in colour and life as the trees thicken with leaves and take over the forest. At intervals you can see old tracks sunken between hedgerows, pause to wonder the many who have travelled along the track

Trees that once bloomed are showing signs of wear and tear, maybe a life that once was or maybe they are still living and breathing. A whole collection of gnarled faces embedded in the trees.

As the walk continued through the woodland the walk started to feel slightly oppressive, the trees surrounding us 360 degrees, the lack of open space created a feeling of being trapped . The humidity sucking up our energy on a warm day. Eventually as we started to reach Midhurst the woodland moved to one of pine forests, the sun managed to get through the trees and dappled light on the forest floor. The following day would be one of Chalk Downs.

On returning back to the Studio I wanted to represent the woodland in a painting, so I took some found sticks and used these to create a painting of the woodland.

Experimenting mark making with different sticks

Ancient Woodland: acrylic painting with sticks

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