The Real Watership Down Header

The Nuthanger byre and other farm buildings,

in October 1984.

Sorry, but this should be the thatchless Nuthanger byre.
The byre at Nuthanger farm, thatchless and in need of care and attention.
A byre is not a barn. Byres are animal sheds, barns are for storing crops. Adams calls this a cow-byre, which is self-explanatory. It's an ancient design, an 'aisle-barn', with two rows of upright wooden posts running down it's length, supporting the roof half-way up. Inside, the posts form a central 'nave' with 'aisles' either side, terminology borrowed from church architecture. It's hipped (the roof slopes) at one end, this end, only, suggesting it may have once been longer. It had two doorways, both on the far side, which is consistent with it being for used to house animals.

Nuthanger Farm is a typical old mixed farm.
Well, it was once. It had facilities for grain,
cattle and pigs, all it lacks is a duck pond, which
is rather tricky on top of a hill! Farms like this
are now all gone, they are simply, oh, what
was it that Kehaar said, all 'ineconomonic'.
After your WWII farms like this could not
survive, and their land was all sold off
to make much bigger farms.

Blackberry knows all sorts of interesting facts about Watership Down.
Here, Nuthanger's byre's remains stand bare, all its thatch removed. If the idea had been simply to re-thatch it then there'd be no reason to strip all the old thatch in one hit. To demolish the byre then you'd have pulled the whole lot down, thatch and all. No, the thatch has been carefully removed, leaving the structure fully intact. While I have not returned to Nuthanger farm in the twenty years and more since I took this photograph, other people have. Their photographs show that this remaining part has been covered in corrugated iron. However I found out when looking carefully at my 1982 photographs was that this is just half the byre as was. The byre was indeed longer, and only two years before. What we have here is the remaining part, less than half the original building.

Sorry, but this should be more of Nuthanger's outbuildings.
The other outbuildings at Nuthanger farm.
The film sets the hutch in the byre, the remains of which are just off to the left of this photograph. We are looking through the gap opened up by pulling down half the byre, which extended to the building on the right. The book sets the hutch in a 'low-roofed shed' somewhere here. Adams is not specific, though it doesn't seem to be any of the buildings seen here.

Nearest to the house is the granary. We know its a granary because it's small and stands on staddle stones - those stone mushroom thingies. The reason for them is that they deter rats and the like from getting to the stored grain. Nearer to us is possibly another byre or, more likely, a barn for the storage of winter animal feed. It's long since been re-roofed with corrugated iron; it would, of course, have originally been thatched.

Sorry, but this should be Nuthanger farm with all its out buildings in 1982.
Nuthanger farm with all its out buildings in 1982.
This is a photo that I intended to be in the original Real Watership Down. However I messed up the numbering - this was a duplicate number 13 - and so it never got scanned onto the photo CD. It's Nuthanger on a dull day, in fact the day I saw Watership Down for the first time, and so the photo was rather dark and flat. Its a similar view to how it appears in the film. One thing to note is that the roof extension on the barn facing us covers what look to be a pig sty. The part of the byre visible here has since been demolished.

Sorry, but this should be blow-up of the pig stye.
The stye at Nuthanger.
Here's a blow-up of that sty. Yes, that's what it looks like all right. Not mentioned in Watership Down of course, but I add it here just to show what am old-fashioned mixed farm like Nuthanger was like. In other words the sort of farm in the time pre-WWII when I beleive Watership Down was set.

Sorry, but this should be the back of Nuthanger farm house.
The back of Nuthanger farm house.
This is a rabbit's eye view of the back of Nuthanger farm house. Adams's rabbits never ventured here.

Sorry, but this should be another view of Nuthanger farm.
A final view of Nuthanger farm.
Can you have too much of Nuthanger farm? I think not... I think not....

There are still more photographs to see - How about seeing the bits of Watership Down Adams left out!

ReturnClick Bigwig here to return to select another location. It might be best to avoid his ears, his fleas live there!