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In the world of poetic experience it is depth that counts, not width. A gap in a hedge, a smooth rock surfacing a narrow lane, a view of a woody meadow, the stream at the junction of four small fields – these are as much as a man can fully experience.
– Patrick Kavanagh

At opposite ends of this month I have walked in both the light and the dark at the same time of day. My usual night time walks at around 7 or 8pm have changed dramatically over the course of this moon’s wane and wax, turning into twilighted affairs soundtracked by the bird’s fluorescent choir sung to the submerging sun.

Ash Gateway - 14th April 2022

Ash Gateway – 14th April 2022

Stood in the half light of a Spring dusk I watch the bats return from hibernation, venturing out for their first hunt of the season. I had almost forgotten about them, holed up in their little bat caves, nestled in tree holes, in barns and in lofts. Their sudden return into earshot illuminated their absence over the Winter months and I realised I had missed the little things.

In the top corner of ‘The Fair Field’, the grazed swath of grass one passes through to climb the Tor’s Dragon Path, live a stand of ash trees whom I regularly visit. One ash stands on each side of a farmer’s gate, pillaring the passageway with their upward reaching trunks. Exposed buttressed roots provide a convenient throne from which to watch the light come down over Glastonbury town.

In the height of summer, the bugs here are so plentiful that the passage become a bustling bat tunnel, scores of the flying furries circle the next field and are funnelled into the fair field, between the two trees, narrowly avoiding each other with last minute aerial acro-bat-ics, too quick for the human eye to register in completeness.

The bat’s ultrasonic peeps and clicks add to the gathering signs of Spring’s quickening. I observe hawthorn’s fresh green, the maples flowering and leafing, the first green licks of birch, and the weeping willows aureate display, among many others.

On a recent walk, 2nd April, I spied the first oak release, their catkin fountains glinting in the sun set with tiny fresh green oak leaves poking from their tops. From a distance the trees are so laden with flowers that they appear haloed in a godly glow, each individual bud a little vector of potential, a knowing returned yearly that displays the tree’s assuredness that life will continue and that the next year’s earth may, or may not, harbour its sapling.

In recognition of these wonders of April’s display I decided to rewrite the poem October’s Party by George Cooper, adapting it for Spring.  I include the poem here:

April’s Party

Adapted from George Cooper’s poem October’s Party.

April threw a party,
The leaves by hundreds came,
The elder, thorn, and hazel,
And trees of every name

The blackthorn, plums, and cherries
Threw confetti on the land
While they waited for the oak the ash
And beech to take their hand

The willow led proceedings
With flute upon the breeze
The maple strummed
And the chestnut drummed
While blossom
Danced with bee

With full moon’s belly bulging
The music played and played
With vigour and in eagerness
Everybody stayed

Then the doors swung open
And lady birch appeared
Followed close by beech and oak
And ash towards the rear

The party now was raucous
An orgy on the breeze
The trees danced in their dresses
Of bright green-golden leaves

And with Beltane round the corner
The party underway
With vigour and in eagerness
Still, everybody stayed

To dance the night to dawning
And the chorus of birds
When April threw a party
Everybody heard

MW 03/22

For some years I have propped myself up against the gate in this fair field’s corner, scattering a patient gaze over the town in one direction and into the next field in the other direction.

When patient enough, I have had encounters with jays, owls, rabbits as well as the lambs that are grazed here. On increasingly regular occasions I am joined by the badgers. I observe them taking intimate forays out into the open field, oblivious to my watchful eye as I stand silently upwind.

I hear them snuffling around on the overgrown embankment, travelling along protected passageways carved of bramble and thorn, tunnelling their sets into the lowest tier of the Tor. I imagine they are set upon grand adventures, perhaps excavating in search of the fairy realms.

The Monster Ash - 14th April 2022

The Monster Ash – 14th April 2022

So too, in this fair field’s corner, lives a giant pollarded ash  of more than 4metres in girth whom I affectionately call, The Monster Ash. This ash has far reaching regrowth from its vast pollarded trunk, battle scarred from its ancient war with the winds its snapped limbs form devilish horns. A small hole top and centre of its trunk creates a singular eye with which it peers at you and through which, at the right time of year, and given clear weather, one can spy the full moon.


From this Fair Fields corner I admire the glided arrival of the first house martens, the first full bursts of wren song, and I am buoyed by the continuous avian compositions that not only drift over me, but also simultaneously, into, under and through me.

The burdens of the dark month’s are lightened by these choirs and their internal reflections loosen the tensions and rigidity of Winter’s residue. The fiery licks of flame emitted by tiny beaks thaw the remaining cold as the Winter is finally chased out, and Spring’s song is hung.

This dance of Spring invigorates my creative energy and spending time within this fair field’s corner reminds me that contentment is to be found in the knowledge that the most modest of patches is a tiny stage upon which take place grand sagas, mostly unnoticed, mainly forgotten, yet forever awaiting rediscovery. I rest knowing that fair field’s corner may be as much as this man needs to experience.

I leave you with a poem written earlier this month in this fair field’s corner.


Branchlett feet
And needle claw
Tales on your tongue
Beady eyed
A poem
Spoke to Sun

Be meek before the morning comes
Be bold before the day is done
For within wren’s golden song
There lies
The spark of Summer.


A Visual Diary – Apr 2022

Upcoming Tree Walks

Public Tree Walks – By donation (unless stated)

Meet at St John’s Church, High St, Glastonbury, unless stated.

Abbey Tree Walk & Talk

Note:  Abbey Entry fee is not included

Meet the Abbey trees and learn tree identification.

Sat 14th May – 11am – 12.30pm – £10pp

Book: 07548 936 081

Public Tree Walks, Glastonbury – By Donation

Sat 16th Apr – Spring Tree Walk, Glastonbury – 11am – 1pm

Sat 21st May – Spring Tree Walk, Glastonbury – 11am – 1pm

Book: 07548 936 081

Public Tree Walks, Wells

Sat 7th May – Wells Tree Walk – £10pp – 11am – 12.30pm

Book: 07548 936 081

Tree Identification Workshops

Sat 30th Apr – Spring Tree ID Workshop – 11am – 12.30pm – £10pp (children free)

Sat 28th May – Spring Tree ID Workshop – 11am – 12.30pm – £10pp (children free)

Book: 07548 936 081


Private walks

Walks for individuals, groups, and retreats at a date and time to suit you.

Call Matt to book: 07548 936 081

Matt Witt

Author Matt Witt

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