A minor road from Leicestershire into Rutland crosses the Eye Brook and climbs in a series of twists and turns to the top of Kings Hill. On the last but one bend a stand of beeches crowns a bluff of land that gives panoramic views of the Beaumont Chase below. I always slow down here, and often just get out of the car by a gate and stand listening to the sighing of the wind in the branches. There is something very special about this place, and one of my New Year resolutions is to find out more. Early yesterday morning a heavy ice laden mist was covering the hilltop, and once again the boles of these trees drew me in. It was eerily quiet, and brought to mind Robert Frost's poem Stopping by Woods on A Snowy Evening, the last verse of which is:
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.
If you're travelling too, please take care. And a very merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you all.
I am a designer, writer and photographer who spends all his time looking at England, particularly buildings and the countryside. But I have a leaning towards the slightly odd and neglected, the unsung elements that make England such an interesting place to live in. I am the author and photographer of over 25 books, in particular Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2006), More from Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2007), Cross Country (Wiley 2011), The Cigarette Papers (Frances Lincoln 2012), Preposterous Erections (Frances Lincoln 2012) and English Allsorts (Adelphi 2015)
"Open this book with reverence. It is a hymn to England". Clive Aslet
"Enchanting...delightful". The Bookseller "Cheekily named" We Love This Book
The Cigarette Papers
"Unexpectedly pleasing and engrossing...beautifully illustrated". The Bookseller
"Until the happy advent of Peter Ashley's Cross Country it has, ironically, been foreigners who have been best at celebrating Englishness". Christina Hardyment / The Independent
More from Unmitigated England
"Give this book to someone you know- if not everyone you know." Simon Heffer, Country Life. "When it comes to spotting the small but telling details of Englishness, Peter Ashley has no equal." Michael Prodger, Sunday Telegraph