Heartscape

Our cottage stands atop a hill, where it is buffeted by the winds: the price to be paid for gazing out across fields and woods, hills and valleys. The garden slopes gently away from the house for a short distance, until a narrow and patchy strip of native hedge separates us from the field beyond. After this, the land falls steeply away towards the floor of the valley far below, where a narrow brook winds its way along the valley floor.

I often share here some of the ever-changing views from our hilltop, but seldom capture another of my favourite views; not taken from our hill, but rather of it.

Undulating landscape; natural terraces on the hillside and the valley floor beyond

I love these ridges that curve sinuously around the hillside, and the small neat hummocks which punctuate their contours, emphasised by shadows that lengthen as the sun slips around the hill. I sometimes wonder whether these wrinkles in the land have been sculpted by gravity alone, or with the help of the livestock that now graze this steep pasture?

Winter skeletons of trees and the glassy pond at the foot of the hill contrast with these textures in a pastoral scene that always sets my heart singing, as I follow the lane down the flank of the next hill into the centre of our village, or wend my way back up.

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18 thoughts on “Heartscape

  1. I’m a “country boy” at heart, and I would love to have a house with a view over countryside rather than an urban street. Ideally the view would include a river or a lake. When water is present there is always something to see!

    • I do love living here; almost every time I pass a window I pause to gaze out of it. I agree that to live overlooking water would be marvellous, and constantly changing. Though more prone to flooding, these days!

  2. Your hill looks almost terraced, I wonder if some farmer of long ago made the terraces to grow food for himself and his family before the Welsh hills were consigned to sheep.

    • They are tiny ridges, just a few inches wide, not wide enough to grow things on. There are far flatter fields around here, and plenty of them. At the top of this hill the fields roll much more gently in the other direction for miles, and are put to crops as much as pasture.
      I did wonder whether the land had been ploughed in its agricultural past, which would make the top soil softer and more prone to slipping, but can’t imagine such steep slopes being cultivated, so think it must just be gravity and grazing animals.

      • Very steep hillsides here in Italy and of course in Greece are terraces sometimes only a couple of feet wide but you say these are only inches wide so most likely not terraces, they are interesting. Have you do e Ny local research? Maybe you could find out more, I’d love to know.

        • Yes I’ve admired amazing terraced systems in Greece before. I think these are too narrow and steep still – and there is so much other rich agricultural land here that we don’t have that same need for intensive terracing – though perhaps somebody was ambitious!
          I’ve not researched them; will ask locally when I have the chance. I never quite remember, though I do admire them each time I pass. I think Cathy’s probably right, that thin layers of rock, most likely limestone, are the underlying cause, combined with the steepness and grazing sheep producing this effect. It occurs on quite a few of the steeper hills locally.

  3. That is indeed a lovely shot – I love those ridges too. Do they vary during the year? Instead of just slight soil slippage it could of course be due to different sub strata, relatively thin layers of different rock or sediment – any idea of the geology of your area?

    • Thanks Cathy, they are constant ridges, though formed from earth. Suspect you are right, though, that the earth has been influenced/molded by the edges of solid layers beneath them. From my limited knowledge of our geology (or any geology) there are many thin layers of limestone locally which would account for this.

  4. I would love to own a house with views over hills and fields; it would be so relaxing and restorative. Loved your description of the countryside around you – even that was relaxing just to read!

  5. Gosh that’s rather a lovely view, I am envious of your hills as it’s quite flat here (though in the trough of rolling hills on one side, but we can’t see them from the house!). The ridges really are quite wonderful. Bx

  6. Fantastic views, although not a stunning as yours I have a view of the Kent countryside from 2 aspects at home and I love it. But having said that I long for a sea views. One day!

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