Crossing the little Whitelake Bridge on Hearty Moor, on the Somerset Levels, and there on the bridge’s guard rail were flowers – I assumed in memory of some victim of a road accident, or even someone drowned in the river.

But looking more closely at them, they were accompanied by no words of mourning, and they looked more like charms, not memorials.  And then I remembered where I was – not far from Glastonbury, and also not far from Worthy Farm, at Pilton, which hosts the world famous Glastonbury Festival.  There are many around here, especially in Glastonbury, who hold Pagan and other, non-mainstream beliefs, and here were what appeared to be charms above moving water, above a river.

I have dabbled with Paganism, and found it far, far more attractive than the monotheistic mainstream religions of the UK.  But I’m now at the conclusion that although I have a deep love and regard for the Natural World, this is not for me anything religious, but rather something that invokes feelings of great love and wonder.   I don’t worship the Natural World, but I respect it – and the more so because, unlike us, it manages to exist and thrive without the aid of all the made up stories – the imagined realities – which appear necessary to keep human societies –  and human minds too – in order and intact.

And so here then, deep in the Somerset countryside, because of the way they see the world, because of what they believe in, someone has placed these simple objects above moving water.  And to me, in so doing, they have added a little piece of beautiful magic – and diversity too – to this world.

Click onto the image to open a larger version in a separate window.

Technique: Z 6 with 70-300 Nikkor lens at 300mm; 1600 ISO; Lightroom, using the Standard V2 picture control; on the Whitelake Bridge, northeast of Glastonbury, on the Somerset Levels; 5 Apr 2019.


And finally – some keywords that will often be mentioned in this archive series:

Droves:  to avoid crossing other peoples’ land when accessing their own, the farmers constructed a series of tracks, known as droves, between the fields. Some of these droves are now metalled roads and many persist as open tracks – all of which allow wonderfully open access to this countryside.

Rhynes: the fields are bounded by water-filled ditches – which both drain the ground and act as stock barriers. Hence strange landscapes – where fields appear quite unbounded, except for a gate with a short length of fencing on either side of it, where a bridge crosses the water-filled boundary ditch to provide access the field.  These small wet ditches communicate with larger rhynes (“reen” as in Doreen), which in turn flow into larger drains, e.g. the North and South Drains in the Brue Valley. All of these waterways are manmade and, by intricate series of pumping stations and flood gates, all of them have their water levels controlled by local farmers, internal drainage boards or the Environment Agency.

Pollarded Willows: the banks of the rhynes were often planted with Willow trees, both to help strengthen the banks and also to show the courses of roads and tracks during floods. These Willows are often pollarded, i.e. their upper branches are cut off, which results in distinctively broad and dense heads to the trees. Pollarding keeps trees to a required height, while ensuring a steady supply of wood – more important in the past than now – for fires, thatching spars, fencing and so on.


  1. I love the photos, the idea of finding this little memento, and even more, your bit of philosophy. As always, you write with a grace and economy of words that allow your ideas to flow straight to the reader. Thank you for this image and your words.


This blog has two pleasures for me - creating the images and hearing from you - so get your thoughts out to the world!

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