Entries tagged "west sussex"
My thanks to Leon Winnert – a double Natural Navigator course alumnus no less! – for taking the time to research church alignment in his area.
His findings are interesting and urge caution on placing too many eggs in the W-E church and graveyard alignment basket.
This is true of all natural navigation observations taken in isolation and there are anomalies in all methods, including the sun and stars.
However, I was particularly interested to note that there was a pattern to the anomalies he found – patterns to the break in patterns – wheels within…
Navigation is about knowing where you are as much as working out how to get to where you want to be. A lot of the fun may lie in finding direction, but natural navigators also need to be tuned to the clues that help us to establish exactly where we are.
For thousands of years, humans gained an understanding of their latitude from the height of the sun and stars, but there are many clues beneath the sky. From general notions, the smell of the sea from land or the scent of a Caribbean island after crossing an…
After the rather disgusting photograph a few days ago I thought it was time to right the balance with something more pleasing on the eye.
The snow has finally begun to thaw in this freezing microclimatic corner of West Sussex, but I did manage a fair amount of stomping around in the snow over the past week. This is a picture I took in my local beech woodland a couple of days ago.
Lichens are very sensitive to their environment - moisture levels and air quality in particular - but also the surface they grow on.…
One of the natural navigation techniques that ocean sailors have used for centuries is noticing that the incidence of flotsam and jetsam increases, on average, as you get closer to land.
A similar principle can be used on land to find towns or villages. The number of roads, paths, power lines and communication cables increases as you get nearer a town; of course light and noise pollution also increase. There are some more 'lateral' clues too.
On the weekend I was walking with friends in the South Downs. My friend had the map and so I…
Churches are well worth a minute of navigational inquiry. The church itself is likely to show a preference for an east-west alignment, with the altar at the eastern end. But the fact that they are often old buildings that have been left exposed to the elements for long periods, without incessant redecorating or even cleaning, yields other interesting clues in the form of lichens, algae and mosses.Gravestones tend also to be aligned east-west also, so that the dead are ready when 'the trumpet shall sound and the dead shall be raised'. Any exposed stone that faces east or west will…
I went for a short circuitous walk in the Lavington Plantation area yesterday morning. Always on the lookout for natural navigational treats, I was also secretly hoping to spot an adder - the area is known as a popular refuge for our island's only poisonous snake. In fact there is even a marked walk known as 'The Serpent's Trail', thought by many to be named after its twists and turns, but actually in testimony to the reptiles that enjoy the mixture of sand and mud on its heathland.The conditions were perfect, I could feel the summer heat rising up…
Welcome to all BBC Radio 4 listeners who have just navigated their way to this website from the full moon ramble that I enjoyed with Clare Balding.There are lots of places to explore on this website if you are looking for more information about the wonderful world of natural navigation, the courses that are available or my book on the subject.It would be great to meet you so if you are within reach of west London tonight, I am giving a talk at The Travel Bookshop this evening (Thursday 17th) at 7pm. Details and tickets can be…
The mists hang merrily over the cold fields of Eartham village in West Sussex.
A fun family trip to Kingley Vale yesterday, on what may prove to be the final truly hot day of the year. Kingley Vale, in West Sussex, is famous for its big, dark, ancient yews, but this photo is of a much younger oak.Where a canopy of dominant trees hogs the light, younger trees fight for their small share. This can often be seen, almost felt, in the shape of their branches.
A good morning for the stars, but a bit damper in West Sussex than camels would like. Still, no reason not to enjoy an excerpt from Clinton Bailey's 1974 article about Bedouin Star Lore:
Even in the late twentieth century many Bedouin are familiar with Polaris
(called al-Jidi) and Canopus (Suhayl), the two stars that indicate the directions
north and south. When a Bedouin, composing a poem, wanted to relate that
he was travelling south-east, for example, he said:
'Ahutt al-Jidi 'ald wirk il-matiyyah
W'adhrT naharhd 'an Suhayl al-yimain'
'I put Polaris…