If Tolkien hadn’t imagined Middle Earth at Moseley Bog outside of Birmingham then he would have found his inspiration at Berengrave Nature Reserve near Rainham in Kent. A chalk quarry where spider trees rise from a flooded floor, ice covers crystal clear lakes and tangles of debris hang from the branches as if we were in the Louisiana bayous.
It is not a cosy place of well tended trails. It is a place of magic and myth and dark thoughts. Never sunlit, even in the heat of summer. A place of silence and uncomfortable feelings. A place to drown your sorrows or your body in, your last word escaping in a bubble beneath the ice.
It is the cut through on the way home which causes children to quicken their step. It is a Boggart hole. May its secrets persist. We need the darkness on the edge of town. We need the wildness more every day.