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The Combe where Bigwig met the Fox and Across the Iron Road,

in June 1983.


Sorry, this should be a panorama of the combe.
The combe (a small valley, especially on a hillside) where Bigwig met the fox.
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From chapter 30, 'A New Journey':

'Less than half a mile away to the west, they came upon a spinney adjoining the southern edge of Caesar's Belt. To the west again was a shallow, dry downland combe, perhaps four hundred yards across and overgrown with weeds and rough, yellowing summer tussocks.'

and from chapter 32, 'Across the Iron Road':

'The rough, weed-covered ground of the combe sloped away below them, a long dip bounded on the north by Caesar's Belt. The last of the setting sun shone straight up it through a break in the trees. The fox was below them and still some way off.'

You are looking north to Caesar's Belt, the local name for the Portway roman road. Hazel and his rabbits would have been close to the edge of the trees in the centre-left as the golden sunset streamed in from the far left of the picture. Efrafa and the Iron Road lies behind you. This was taken through a gap in the hedges that line the road which runs behind you and then turns northwards to cut across the right of the view. Once in the trees the road turns east again and joins the roman road for a number of miles. The Belt warren (to be named Vleflain in Tales from Watership Down) lies just beyond the trees to the right. The combe sounds to have been an area of open rough ground at one time, now it is very much more productive thanks (or no thanks depending on your viewpoint) to modern farming techniques.

See the site on Google maps.

Us rabbits don’t swear… much. When
we need to show how strongly we feel we usually say Frith is somewhere odd, like “Frith up a tree”, “Frith in a mist”, "Frith in a pond"
or my favourite, “Frith in a ditch”.

I’ll tell you another thing: I like the Efrafan
attitude to does: If you want a doe you
can… ooow! What was that
for Hyzenthlay?!

Bigwig told Blackberry to let him have a moment with you... and you don't argue with Bigwig!
I almost rejected these photographs, in that I was not going to use them for these pages. They didn't seem to show very much on their own, they were just shots of generic countryside. Then I remembered I sometimes took panorama sequences of two or three shots taken with identical camera settings from the same spot. When I put these two together I instantly remembered what they really were, for years I had forgetten I had taken this pair and had never seen them together.

Sorry, this should be approaching Efrafa.
Approaching Efrafa from the north.
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I cannot be certain precisely as to where this is. I beleive it's Efrafa in the distance, or, rather less likely, the iron road. Whichever it is, the rabbits would certainly have hopped this way and seen this. Maybe even at this:

'At that moment Silver came up to them.
"Hazel", he said, "I've just realized where we are and it's a lot too close to Efrafa. I think we ought to make off as soon as we can."
"I want to right round Efrafa - wide," said Hazel. "Do you think you can find the way to that iron road Holly told us about?"
"I think so," replied Silver.'

Sorry, this should be where the rabbits crossed the iron road.
This is where Hazel and his rabbits crossed the iron road
and 'Soon they were feeding in the meadow beyond'. They soon moved
on however, resting up in the woods on the right.
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'They went rather hesitantly down into the cutting, half-expecting the fiery, thundering angel of Frith to appear out of the twilight: but the silence remained unbroken. Soon they were all feeding in the meadow beyond, too tired to pay attention to concealment or to anything but the ease of resting their legs and nibbling the grass.'

The railway runs toward us slicing through the undulating downland countryside, first on an embankment and the "roadless railway arch" then, as the terrain lifts, into a shallow cutting which the rabbits have just climbed out of. Soon, after Kehaar's warning of Efrafan wide patrols, they moved on to the woods just visible to the right.


That's quite enough of that! I knew it wasn't a good idea. I'll take you to select another location.