After visiting the Battle of Edge Hill memorial I made my way to Little Kineton and The Red Road. My previous post describes how this road leads to the battlefield site and how it came to be named.These screen shots show the location.
I walked down the Red Road on this very bright but cold and very windy day.I had no battery or signal on my phone and so couldn’t Periscope. The batteries in the camera and phone didn’t last long so in fact the walk, from a documentation point of view was a complete fiasco.
I hadn’t really planned it properly.But what transpired was interesting. It was such a journey of discovery that recording it would have somehow diminished the experience.
I met several people walking on this wonderful afternoon.A couple, an older man and possibly his grandson, a younger lone walker….
The road comes to a divergence where it leads to a farm, but the public right of way and the ‘Civil War trail’ see page 4 of this PDF continue in a fork to the left.
The videos are on Youtube but this is just the walk along the Red Road before it becomes the track
This follows an old bridle way and continues to where the track does not exist. It is grass and no track. on either side are hawthorn bushes.
It ‘feels’ old. It was not difficult to imagine the thunder of horse hooves and the sounds as people moved to and from the battle.. ( But then I’ve aways had an over vivid imagination!) There are many myths about the site being haunted.. from soon after the battle to the present day..
Here is one image I found on Google Maps as a submitted photograph
The Battlefield is to the upper right.
Before the gates which leads into this area there are lots of rather old but threatening signs WARNING that if a siren sounds you must leave the area immediately.
It is an ammunitions testing area.
Very occasionally there is the sound of a deep and distant dull ‘boom’ unlike anything I have heard before… apart maybe from the sound that a very rough sea can make.
There are other warnings stating that the area is MOD land and the Public Right of Way signs also.
Some of these can be seen in the videos in the next post…
I wandered up the bridleway in beautiful sunshine and at the end carried on over a small railway line wandering and following the road until I came to a strange scene.
I had been trying to follow the map but realised I may have gone wrong.
I wandered back and saw a runner coming towards me. I explained where I wanted to go and he directed me back to the Bridleway and then continued running.
There were no barriers or further warning but I had strayed off the Civil War Trail slightly.
Increasingly the MOD site were visible and the atmosphere changed from one of ‘past’ to something very contemporary and threatening because it was so unfamiliar. Rural but not so.
I have no images of where the battlefield site is actually on the MOD land as it is mostly inaccessible... see this site from the Battlefields Trust which has lots of information and archive aerial images of the site plus maps to show how the battle panned out… if that’s of interest.
There are some images on Google maps so I’ve put them on here with some markers of where I actually walked to on that day.The Red Road becomes the bridleway
The marker shows where I crossed the railway line and went straight on from the bridle way
The darker shows where I started to feel uncomfortable as I reach a junction I can’t find on the map
I move round the corner, realise I am lost and turn back. There is no sense here of the past only a threatening present, yet the highlighted image shows the proximity of the centre of the battlefield and Graveground Coppice see more below.
I was left with an uncomfortable feeling that I will not forget. I felt as if I was being watched.
To be honest I felt I should have been. I could have been anyone…not just an artist researching!
The more I investigate this MOD site the more I wonder if I should have been where I was…
It was not a derive. I was not a flaneur as I had a map and an intention, however I was in unknown territory which will inform all my future work with its potency and residue. As World Events unfolded this was to become more significant.
My exploration of simultaneity became one of direct experience….See the next post.
This image shows the proximity of Graveground Coppice where the other memorial is situated and the site of burial. The contemporary and memory meet.
These above and below show the entrance to Graveground Coppice recently…
I’m so aware of the 2/3 dimensional layering of ‘time’ and residue at this point, despite not getting this close to the site itself.
These above and below show the location of the Battlefield camp from the Parliamentarian side just off the Red Road.I do believe looking at this, that it is the ‘sheep’ field I used to walk the dog across many years ago….Personal memory overlaying all collective memory!
So many images…it is easy to become obsessed about this research but documenting what I can from a ‘historical/ archive’ point of view should help me when it comes to making the work…even if I don’t use this imagery.
A final paragraph or so for this post…
I walked back to the car as quickly as I could as the sun had gone in and the atmosphere had changed from the brightness as I set out.
There is a museum in the local St Peter’s Church there. I popped in to find a very detailed museum with interactive screens with maps and masses of information and displays on the social impact on local villages of the conflict.
There were also displays of weapons which I’d been thinking about and researching tentatively, examples of those used in the Civil War.
I couldn’t take shots because of no battery and lack of light!! But it was fascinating and a useful resource which I may return to but it was dark by now and difficult to see properly.
I’ve just noticed on the map in the Radway link that there is still a Primitive Methodist Chapel marked on the map…. Maybe I’ll investigate this at some point.
I returned home at about 6 ish and woke the next morning to Change.
See the next post