Watership Down from the North,
in March 1981 and April 1982.
From chapter 47, 'The Sky Suspended':
Watership Down, seen from the track to Nuthanger Farm.
''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
In actual fact Dandelion covered three hundred yards to the cattle-shed in a good deal
less than half a minute.'
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.
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.
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.
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 Down, seen from the road, the pylon standing in the field ahead.
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:
The Down as it appears in the 1978 film.
Bigwig here to return to select another location. It might be best to avoid his ears,
his fleas live there!