A glimpse into the shade-world

A short trip has been in the planning for quite some time now. We are embracing the colder months, setting off on a number of day-rides between now and February, and embarking on a weeks riding and exploring on the South Coast in Dorset.

We have chosen Dorset, not only for its natural beauty, but also for its history. One of my favorite things about cycling across the English countryside is the pleasant surprise that comes with stumbling upon something you had no idea existed, something fascinating and educational, something that helps construct a better image of the place that you are currently exploring. It can flesh out a trip and develop it into something entirely new.

map
Mapping our route out on an Ordinance Survey walker’s map

In Dorset’s landscape can be found, albeit with some difficulty, ancient tracks trodden deep below ground level. Holloways, that connected villages before the more direct or accessible roads had been developed, snaking undetected through areas such as the Marshwood Vale, concealed beneath intertwined trees and weeds. On these ancient paths it’s said that one could feel transported back in time. In Holloway Robert Macfarlane describes this phenomenon.

            ‘Down in the dusk of the holloway, the landscape’s pasts felt excitingly alive & coexistent, as if history had pleated back on itself, bringing discontinuous moments into contact & creating correspondences that survived as a territorial imperative to concealment, escape & encounter.’

            ‘Many of those who have walked the old ways have seen them as places within which one might slip back out of this world, or within which ghosts softly flock.’

It is safe to assume that this is going to be a wholly different trip to anything we have done before, a trip with a strong sense of place and identity.

holloway jacket
The jacket for Holloway by Stanley Donwood
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7 Comments Add yours

  1. Julie Musk says:

    Having met you on the Lancaster Canal with breakfast on the campsite there, it’s good to see you’re coming to our part of the world. We publish books on Dorset and you might like to take a look at http://www.rovingpress.co.uk for more inspiration. Louise Hodgson’s books (Secret Places and More Secret Places of West Dorset) also describe these special holloways and more. Need a place on route to sleep the night? Let us know. We live on NCR26 in Southover, nr Frampton, just NW of Dorchester, if that’s any help. Happy new year!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. jlwlalor says:

      Hi Julie! Great to hear from you. I’ll try to find a copy of Louise’s book before we set off. As for the offer, that would be wonderful. We are still planning the trip at the moment so I will keep in touch. Thanks again for the breakfast. Happy new year!

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      1. Julie Musk says:

        You can order Louise’s books on Amazon, or I can post them to you direct (with free p&p) – just tel me on 01300 321531. Can also chat about cycling in Dorset, route planning, if that’s helpful.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. jlwlalor says:

        Thanks Julie. I will have to give you a call sometime this week after work – probably around 6-7pm. Also, if your’e interested, there is a short video from the trip on the blog too!

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      3. Julie Musk says:

        Thanks for the video and am enjoying reading your diary notes. You could call me after 25 January, as am about to go on a skiing break. Regards. Julie

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      4. jlwlalor says:

        Hi Julie, sorry I haven’t been in touch. We will be in Dorset from the 25th of Feb through to the 2nd of March. Our route is loose to say the least, with a few main locations in mind. Hope you are all well!

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  2. Julie Musk says:

    That’s OK, hope you enjoy the trip. Feel free to drop in if you’re anywhere near us. Tel 01300 321531

    Like

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