The Amazing Art of Cath Whitehead

Cath does the same with her depictions of the countryside of Devon, with the light falling on the red soil churned in furrows by the plough and the sea as it sits moodily in a steep sided estuary. Trees become painted as giant friends, with almost a personality they are so firm and present to the viewer. The intrusion of the human world in the form of architecture becomes monumental and reduced to the bare minimum.

Cleeve Abbey, Somerset

We parked the car where it was dry and approached the area on foot. The first building we came to was a gatehouse and there was a notice there from the ‘Almoner’ to say that this was where food was given to the poor. The monks helped the local people when they were in trouble, needed food. Then beyond the gatehouse there is nothing until one reaches a building that looks like a later farm house. A drainage ditch or water supply leads from the gatehouse to the main buildings or the ruins of them that are left.

Spring Hawthorne

I was walking along the River in Somerset and there ,so early in the year ,was this Hawthorne, a whole tree ablaze against an azure sky. It seemed unreal after months of grey. But it was real. Cicely Mary Barker said in her poem illustrated by her painting of the Hawthorne fairy that the Hawthorne is the first. It is brave and forges ahead.

Poetry From A Railway Car

Robert Louis Stevenson in 1885 wrote, in ‘A Child’s Garden of Verses.’ :

From a Railway Carriage
‘Faster than fairies, faster than witches,
Bridges and houses, hedges and ditches…

Bude, Cornwall in Winter

The wind is everywhere and the sky is over and above and the turf under your feet on the headland is springy. From here, there is a flag pole, and monument that tells you how far it is to the nearest land, and where. It is North America with thousands of miles of sea between. There is the fullness and the emptiness.

Its’ beauty just goes on and on and the world and any cares no longer exist and there is just this beauty and then not even that, just infinity and peace.

The Hundred Guinea Oak

We went to the Vyne and the house and gardens were lovely, but there was also the Thousand Guinea Oak, which is still there and in good dark green leaf, six hundred and fifty years old. It was safe, given special food and tested for atypical winds. Through time it has hollowed out and is now home for many creatures.

Okehampton Station Re-Opened

We have a line opened full time for all from Exeter all the way through to Okehampton. It has a real station again, not a picture postcard but an active service line that takes people from the heart of Dartmoor and the beaches of North Cornwall back to the beating heart of civilisation via a train. It can take them home to jobs and all that entails in the South and South East of England. It’s doable now and the community must be glad.


There is also an Old Man Willow here that is just beginning, as if he heard the notes of Spring and decided to put a push on but then hesitated and is now waiting for a better moment. So the leaves are very gently there, of the palest green. Underneath is the perfect bench for looking at the tiny fronds that are the beginning, just like us.


From up here we can see fields of white, black trees, hedges, fences, stark in the early morning. There is a tunnel of winter wonderland trees. All the trees are adorned in white as if by a paintbrush, the hedges outlined in white. It’s a joy to see such beauty and be awake so early. We stop at the crossroads at the height of the hills, Seaton is one way and Sidmouth another. The pub up here in this desolate spot is the Hare and Hounds, sitting square to the crossroads.