Quarter Days Walking Book Group, New Forest

An invitation to join the Quarter Days Walking Book Group.

Many of us here locally feel the global ferment and anxiety with regard to green and environmental issues. As newbies to the area, we wanted to meet like-minded people, care for the planet and do participatory stuff!

As a result, we plan to offer 4 seasonal walks, based around the old farming Quarter Days, giving time to Read, Ramble, Reflect and Relax.


The first event will take place on Michaelmas Day, Sunday 29 September 2019

3.00pm – 5.00pm (Sunset 18.43)


Setley Ponds Car park New Forest SO41 8PS


We can walk slowly, serenely, bound together by an appreciation of the countryside and a love of reading and participation so that we may return to our lives with a little less tension and with a little more delight.

The Book

The book chosen to launch the Walking Book group is The Overstory by Richard Powers (2019). The idea is to pre-read and discuss one section of this large book in each quarter of the year – aka ‘Slow Reading!’ The novel is already conveniently arranged in 4 parts: Roots, Trunk, Crown and Seeds.

It is available on Kindle as well as hard copy. Start reading now!


Everyone is welcome to join in this response to the countryside and witness the turning seasons that help to inspire us.





Surprise the Reader!

Notes from a Lymington bungalow? What is this contraption doing here?

I am hoping to draw your attention to the role of these Notes as a place to log the research snippets and discoveries left over from my America 18/70 blog. These nuggets of interest will help provide a context or background to the destinations.

The Great Black Swamp is no longer a feature of the Ohio landscape. But when European settlers first reached the western shores of Lake Erie, they encountered a forested wetland that covered nearly 4,800 square miles in Ohio and Indiana, and the immigrant farmers hated it.

‘It was in their view a pestilential menace and barrier to prosperity and as soon as possible they began the business of draining it.’

Responding to this business imperative, a typical gung-ho American inventor, James Hill came up with the perfect solution; the Buckeye Steam Traction Ditcher, an excavation contraption that could dig a ditch faster than a team of 15 men working by hand. When drained, the Great Black Swamp became some of the most productive farmland in the US. You can find out more by visiting the US Nature Conservancy here

This may not be my only encounter with the legacy of the drained Great Black Swamp. Intensive chemical farming practices are cited as responsible for blue-green algae infestations in a number of major waterways – including the Mississippi – See you later, alligator!