The Real Watership Down Header

Watership Down from the North,

in March 1981 and April 1982.


Sorry, but this should be Watership Down.
Watership Down, seen from the track to Nuthanger Farm.
High-res
From chapter 47, 'The Sky Suspended':

''It's too fast for me!' he [Dandelion] thought. 'It's going to catch me!'...'I shall have to double,' he though desperately. 'But if I do it will hunt me up and down the lane and the man will call it off, or else I shall have to lose it by going through the hedge: then the whole plan will fail.'
He tore over the crest and down towards the cattle-shed...

In actual fact Dandelion covered three hundred yards to the cattle-shed in a good deal less than half a minute.'

What is a down? A down is a ridge, a
linear hill, formed where chalk rises and is
eroded away leaving a line of raised ground.
Take away the very thin topsoil and Watership
would be brilliant white. This is the steep,
scarp slope – the edge of the chalk – the
shallow, dip slope runs away from us
towards Efrafa as the layer of chalk
slips below ground.

Blackberry knows all sorts of interesting facts about Watership Down.
We shall leave Dandelion to get his breath back and to ponder on his dilemma. This shot was taken from the Nuthanger track by the site of the shed that Dandelion darted into. It can be seen behind me in the photograph taken from the down on the index page. Between my first visit in 1981 and the trip just over one year later when I took this photograph the shed burned down leaving only charred remains, which still lies like a septic scar beside the track. Realistically, Dandelion should not have run down the road, he would have much more likely gone along the field.

Watership Down - Yes this really is Watership wrong way round. The Honeycomb would have been among the trees that are just visible on the summit.

Sorry, but this should be Watership Down from the road.
Watership Down, seen from the road, the pylon standing in the field ahead.
High-res
If we walk on down the track to the road and cross it we see this view of Watership Down (taken in 1981). You can just see a path that leads to the foot of the down past an isolated bush and the pylon, if you walk along this path and go through the gap in the line of trees you are faced with the dramatic and exhilarating prospect of actually climbing Watership Down. Go on, try that walk now.

Watership is part of a ridge of downs, the one off camera to the right (west) is Hare Warren Down while the continuation of Watership to the left is Cannon Heath Down. If anything, the film depicted Cannon Heath, or just a simplified version of Watership; have a look at the film picture below:

Sorry, but this should be the film version of Watership Down.
The Down as it appears in the 1978 film.

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