A note on walks
About the walks
The walks around ET’s poems are suggested starting points to explore the area of each poem. I do not provide maps but give OS Map details and also GPS coordinates where appropriate. The walks are described impressionistically though key places found along the way are mentioned, rather as ET describes them in his Field Note Books. Readers will want to find their own routes - much as ET did when Robert Frost describes him in his poem The Road Not Taken on a typical walk:
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I -
I took the one less travelled by....”
Many of the footpaths which ET followed still exist though, sadly, the roads he walked on are now much less suitable or safe for walking because of the huge increase in traffic. So alternatives are suggested where possible.
Over time I will also try and replicate some other walks from his Field Note Books which did not directly inspire his poems. A great lover of maps, ET knew his way round the countryside of southern England and Wales as well as anyone. He had a huge capacity for walking - whether between his home in Steep and study at the top of the hangers; for a few miles after work; or on day or several day expeditions exploring an area, or going to stay with friends. Two of his sign-off lines to Robert Frost were “our love to you all and I wish you were all within reach this side or the other side of the Downs” and “I wish you were a day’s walk away....”
When his friend Eleanor Farjeon asked ET why he wanted to join up to fight in WW1 he replied by picking up a handful of earth, crumbling it and saying “Literally for this...” So for a proper appreciation of Edward Thomas’s work it seems appropriate that, as well as reading his poetry and prose, we should also walk the ground that he walked and try to see the land through his eyes.
Edward Thomas’s country is still very much out there, waiting to be explored. It would be good to hear of your
discoveries, insights and ideas so they can be included on this website.