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A Walk in the Country

Richard Bell’s Wild West Yorkshire nature diary,  Thursday,  1st October 2009

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‘Go through the stile and turn left along the top edge of the field. When you reach the hedge, turn right with the path down the slope, following the hedge on your left.

A timber bridge in the bottom corner takes you through into the next field.’


FOR ME, my comic strip-style map gives the gist of the route at a glance while my written directions - a sequence of left and right, top and bottom - have the potential for confusion; if you slip up on just one of those directions, the rest of the sequence will be nonsense. I always like to have the bigger picture.


I’m enjoying work on a new booklet of local walks. Dropping colour into my pen outlines using the paint-bucket tool in Photoshop 7 is addictive fun. The simple pen and ink drawing soon comes to life.


I think of this as a rare opportunity to do imaginative work as I’m normally something of a (willing) slave to nature but I realised when I pasted in this photograph of hawthorn next to my map that even in my ‘imaginative’ mode I’ve stuck pretty closely to the colours I saw in the landscape.

sketch map
wych elm

Wych elm in a hedgerow. It’s not such a common sight since Dutch elm disease struck in the 1970s but hedgerow elms survive by suckering; sending out fresh shoots at ground level.


Hawthorn in the hedge by the field on the extreme left of my map.