The Ramparts

By Sally Pudney on 18th February 2015

When I was having a clear up/clear out after Christmas, I came across a photograph tucked between some books on my bedroom bookshelves. (Yes, I do have bookshelves in my bedroom – there seem to be books all over the house!)

Dad's walk Ramparts 001

The photo was of the bridle path running from Stanway Green, where my parents used to live, across to the Maldon Road, and continuing on the other side down to the Roman River. When I was a teenager there was nothing but fields on either side, and we knew the path as ‘The Ramparts’.  I believe archaeologists would more accurately describe it as ‘Grymes Dyke South’, for it is, in fact, one of the late Iron Age earthworks that were built to protect Colchester on it’s western and southern sides. I think there are three of these lines of earthworks, protecting the land that lies between the River Colne and the Roman River, and they each have a built up ‘rampart’ with a ditch on the outer side – the ditch being mostly filled in, and now forming the path. It is possible that this, the most outlying one, was slightly later but was certainly thought to be in existence by AD 10.

Going ‘along the Ramparts’ at Stanway Green was a favourite walk of my Father’s, and he must have taken the photo long ago at just about this time of the year. I thought what a lovely painting it would make, with the very soft misty colouring, looking along the path into the sunshine. I loved the way the path seems to disappear into the light. I never normally paint just from a photograph – I like to have some drawing to fall back on at least – and this wasn’t even a photo that I had taken myself, but it was a photo of a place I used to know very well, so I thought I’d have a shot at it and see what happened.

Dad's walk Ramparts 002

I’ve made a start, anyway! I may have to break off from this to get my ‘From my February garden’ painting done, though, as February seems to be slipping past rather speedily!

It’s been the most beautiful mild sunny day here – hope the sun’s been shining where you are too! 🙂


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