For Keepers’ Corner in July, we are looking at the theme of ‘Journeys’.
This oil painting of Ivinghoe Beacon by Brian Bennett features a well-known long-distance path that runs through Bucks. The Ridgeway National Trail starts in Avebury, Wiltshire and follows a ridge of chalk hills in a north-easterly direction for 87 miles to Ivinghoe Beacon in Bucks. Sometimes called ‘Britain’s oldest road’, The Ridgeway follows the same route used since prehistoric times by travellers, herdsmen and soldiers.
West of the Thames, The Ridgeway has wide, open views of rolling chalk downland and near the Trail are archaeological monuments including Stone Age long barrows, Bronze Age round barrows, Iron Age forts and the figures of white horses cut into the chalk. East of the Thames, The Ridgeway travels through the wooded and intimate hills and valleys of the Chilterns AONB where, as well as further archaeological treasures, there are nature reserves rich in the wildlife of chalk grassland habitats.
Brian Bennett (1927-2022) painted extensively in the Chilterns and Ivinghoe Beacon was a favourite location. He used a palette knife rather than a brush which gave his work a strong textural quality.