Friday, 21 August 2015

The Devil's Punchbowl.

On Sunday afternoon we went to The Devil's Punchbowl which is just outside Hindhead in Surrey.

It used to be a real nightmare.

I've taken this photo from Wikipedia because it shows the busy A3 main road from London to Portsmouth in 2011 just after it was closed to vehicles.

This was where we walked - the same place - although my picture is taken a little further along the bend of the Punchbowl.

And here's why - you can see that the road was diverted into a huge tunnel system nearby, this is another picture lifted from Wikipedia;

Afterwards the old road was broken up and it was returned to nature, with lots of tree planting and landscaping.

However, you can clearly see the course of the old road;

This is the stone commemorating the 18th century murder of an unknown sailor. The stone is cursed - anyone who moves it dies - as happened the last time it was moved!

You can see the sweep of the punchbowl in the background;

Legend has it that the bowl was formed when the Devil was fighting the god Thor (who lived at nearby Thorsley) and at one point the devil picked up a great chunk of earth and threw it at Thor....leaving a big hole in the ground.

We walked up to the top of Gibbet Hill, which is where the three murderers were hung.....later the Celtic Cross was set up because locals were scared of the spirits of all those who had been killed at the top of the hill.

There's an amazing view of the Surrey Hills from the top;

With binoculars I could see the arch of the new Wembley Stadium and Harrow-on the Hill just in front of it.

Nature is struggling to reclaim the old road - here's an oak seedling with an 'Oak Apple' growing on it.

It's actually a 'Gall', a wasp lays an egg in the Oak and the larvae grows up in the protective ball the tree makes around the wound.

In earlier times, Oak Apples were ground up and turned into ink.

The Devil's Punchbowl has been transformed; no more fumes and traffic jams. There are birds, seedlings and grass where once there was carbon monoxide.

It's quiet again.

Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)

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