The Countryside About Us: June 1993

posted 12 Jun 2013, 09:36 by James Mansell
No doubt there will be on the book shelves of several homes, Edith Holden’s “The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady”. It is a naturalist illustrated record of country walks taken in 1906 in Warwickshire. My first reaction after reading it sometime ago was that of envy. If only, I thought, such journeys could be made around this area. Would that I could turn the years back to those idyllic times and wander around such lanes and meadows here in East Suffolk. Pastures awash with wild flowers, hedgerows prolific with birds and wild fruits, grassy tracks, clear streams and reed edged ponds were so lucidly described and illustrated in her diary. Yet if I could take Edith Holden with me now, I am sure she would quite readily write another diary. “The Country Diary of a New Elizabethan Lady “would do quite nicely for a title. The footpaths, riverside meadows, and peaceful lanes that comprise this delightful area would easily suffice with material more than enough to make future Suffolk folk sigh for those halcyon late twentieth century days. 

We would begin our walk passing through a meadow thick with yellow buttercups. Clover is flowering in amongst the seeded perennial ryegrasses. Field poppies and, in the wetter places, ragged robin would contrast nicely with the yellows. The unmistakable call of the cuckoo and green woodpecker would divert out attention as would a “charm” of goldfinches keeping well ahead of us. On past a lofty sycamore tree, we see the craggy cracked willow by the bridge. Maybe a tiny tree creeper has its nest wedged in the bark. Over a small stream we probably disturbed a foraging moorhen before turning left down a nettle lined path. A bramble hedge conceals a greenfinch’s nest. Dog roses make a pink archway ahead. Yes, Edith Holden would find more than enough to compile another diary. Nature’s delights are still there for those who seek them out. 

Roger Sykes