GLASTONBURY’S SACRED LANDSCAPE
A361 history part 7
I was walking up Glastonbury High Street during the Frost Fair last December when I noticed Eddie’s pottery stall and I stopped to have a chat. He told me he was off to New Zealand soon, and ‘another’ visit to California later – with all expenses paid. “That’s nice. How do you manage that?” It turns out that he gets invited to indigenous craft fairs on an international scale, as an indigenous potter.
A little pot on a ledge quite high up in the stall caught my eye; it was round, three inches high and three and a half inches in diameter, with a simple design worked around the outside. It bore a resemblance to pots that were found in the Glastonbury Lake Village, iron age Celtic. “Yes, similar but not the same. Being indigenous doesn’t mean you’re a museum piece. There’s a living tradition and it develops.” (1) So I bought the little pot on the ledge.
The old Celtic pots were unglazed and this one is too, on the outside; inside is a beautiful mixture of gleaming metallic colours. I thought I’d give it to someone for Christmas, but by the time I’d got home I’d changed my mind and decided to keep it. I wasn’t quite sure what for though – some kind of ceremonial work? The kind of ceremony I had in mind was to do with efforts to stop a bypass being built around Glastonbury. There are plenty of practical reasons why this shouldn’t be done, but the real one is that it would wreck Glastonbury’s sacred landscape. A group of us had come together for a short meditation and attunement, focusing energy on the subject. Perhaps the little pot would be useful in developing this idea.
On Boxing Day morning I was invited to join another short meditation, this time around the wellhead at the White Spring. There were three of us, including Rob, who this morning would be completing four years of walking across this area, getting to know and understand it. Once we had walked over this land together, crossing the Whitelake and the Redlake, two little rivers – these days just streams, really – which join on Hearty Moor to become the River Hartlake. During his explorations he had noticed the connection between the Whitelake and the Redlake and the White Spring and the Red Spring, and that is what had led to this morning’s little gathering
When we had finished at the wellhead, I felt strongly that we should move on from the White Spring to the Red Spring, in Chalice Well gardens. The others agreed, so we filled a jar with white spring water and set off round the corner to the Chalice Well. I wanted to fetch my little pot, but it would have meant a diversion and a distraction from a smooth transition to the Red Spring. Amazingly, on our way there was no traffic at all as we turned into Chilkwell Street and made for the entrance to the gardens.
But when we got there the gardens were closed. Boxing Day. So we went on down the road to my house, picked up the little pot, walked up my garden and climbed over the fence into Alice Buckton’s orchard. We slipped through the back gate to the Chalice Well gardens, past the compost heaps and garden sheds, into the gardens and up the path to the wellhead. No-one seemed to have seen us; certainly nobody challenged us. I filled my pot with water from the lion’s head on the way.
The space around the wellhead I consider to be a bit like the Goddess’s living room; she’s always very hospitable. At the same time we had the whole place to ourselves, sitting around the well, where the three of us acted out a very simple and spontaneous ceremony. We mixed the waters, passed the little pot around to drink from, gave the last of the water back to the well itself, and then left and returned the way that we had come. As we walked back up Chilkwell Street we noticed that the Chalice Well was just being opened: it had been closed until 11 am.
Sacred landscape or economic growth?
The debate about the Major Road Network and its local manifestation, a suggested bypass round Glastonbury, has been conducted largely in terms of what we don’t want – heavy traffic grinding through the town, or damage to the surrounding landscape and its detrimental effect on our health and our tourist industry. Of course we don’t want any of these things, but what is it that we really do want? What is our vision for Glastonbury in the future?
Glastonbury’s landscape does have a special and very lengthy history. After the Romans had left and abandoned their sea defences, a long period of unusually stormy weather resulted in the Levels and Moors being inundated anew. A landscape dotted with villas and temples was returned to primeval wetland, half submerged, whilst a resurgent Celtic culture was Christian but also retained (or reclaimed) its animistic connection with the landscape.
This Celtic landscape had a mystical quality that became the backdrop to the Arthurian legends, our national mythology, the ‘Matter of Britain’ that has been retold time and again over the centuries in different literary forms to suit the changing times. At the centre of this has been Glastonbury, with its “holy house at the head of the moors adventurous”, its sacred islands hidden away in the wetlands, and the iconic image of the Tor standing at its focal point like an ancient precursor to a medieval cathedral spire.
It is this that we are the guardians of, and it’s on this that we must base our vision for Glastonbury’s future. We can and must change with the times, just as have the legends of King Arthur. We can do this whilst staying true to the magic, whilst valuing the quality of inspiration, whilst remembering that the place we live in is somewhere very special. The future we can create here – if we decide to – is one full of imagination and creativity, of fresh solutions to human problems.
However, we live in the midst of a culture that has very different values. The bypass is being promoted in terms of economic growth, of value supposedly added to Mendip’s slender economy, of commercial and industrial opportunities. Someone, in other words, is hoping to make a lot of money. The real cost, to the birdlife on Harty Moor, to the already much-diminished rivers Redlake and Whitelake, to the environs of the Tor that is still sufficiently iconic to be the central image at the London Olympics’ opening ceremony … the real cost to all that would never even be counted, and would never be repaid.
Glastonbury is a town that for more than thirty years has been divided culturally, and there are clearly two very different visions of what its future might be. The issue of this bypass has come up at a time when the two sides of the long-standing divide have begun to work constructively together. There is a danger that the result will be renewed division. It is difficult to see how an attitude that regards economic development and economic growth as the hallmarks of success can, in all honesty, sit comfortably with a desire to maintain the essentially spiritual value of a landscape rich in history, heritage and legend. How we can resolve this is now our pressing challenge. (2)
What is our vision for Glastonbury in the future? I could start to answer this by describing what I am doing myself, now. I am a director of the Old Clinic Ltd. Our building used to be the town’s clinic, during the war and up until the 1970s. Now it provides offices and workshop spaces at reasonable prices for small, community-scale businesses. It is financed through the Triodos ethical bank. We have solar panels on the roof and the rest of our energy needs are supplied by Ecotricity. We use organic paint for decorating and non-toxic cleaning products. And we make a profit, worthwhile though not excessive.
At the same time, our MP is keen to promote a new road, though it seems this would largely be a way of servicing what he has called the ‘Mendip Secondary Growth Zone’. This district has been identified (he hasn’t mentioned who by) as being ‘ripe for development’; but, compared to our real aspirations, the type of development we can expect is very unlikely to be appropriate. Nor is the road.
A few years back a senior Somerset County Council economist said (off the record) that Glastonbury is the most economically promising town in Somerset. This is because ‘alternative’ businesses had first of all rescued the High Street from shuttered-up emptiness back in the 1980s, and then built on that by establishing events like the Goddess Conference, the Glastonbury Symposium, Megalithomania and (until recently) the Glastonbury Children’s Festival. These have attracted a lot of visitors to the town.
All that has been done with virtually no help from public money or public bodies, and it strikes me that all we really need is to be left alone to get on with it – then we can produce our own homespun version of ‘economic development’. The success of the Red Brick Building and progress made both economically and environmentally by Avalon Community Energy are examples from recent years.
The idea of a ‘Secondary Growth Zone’, which is predicated on the building of Hinkley Point and which sounds like a tumour, comes from the Devon and Somerset Local Enterprise Partnership’s growth plan. LEPs are partnerships between business leaders and local authorities – with business being the senior partner. They were set up by the Conservative government in 2010 as part of a ‘five year plan to rebuild the economy’. Five years have gone by but this approach continues, as a handy way of maximising corporate profitability.
As a result of these two linked government policies – the ‘secondary growth zone’ and the ‘major road network’, Glastonbury is under threat. What is really important about our town and its landscape is of little value to regional economic planners. To local home-grown business, however, Glastonbury Tor and its setting is of immense economic value – just as it is also of historic, environmental, emotional and spiritual value to our community generally.
So opposition to a bypass is also opposition to the whole way of life that values ‘economic growth’ above conservation and a human-scale existence. Glastonbury may be different in its attitude to this than other towns in the district, but that does not make us unimportant. We have shown ourselves to be very good at finding creative solutions to seemingly impossible problems. Ours is the voice of the future. (3)
Dion Fortune, Wellesley Tudor Pole
What is special about Glastonbury?
Sacred landscape is hard to define. There is no real answer to the question, ‘What landscape is not sacred, and therefore appropriate for road construction and other development?’ As an Australian miner once famously said, when arguing for mining rights on Aboriginal land, “If you believe these bloody Abo’s, you’d have to believe that the whole damn world is sacred.” Well, quite. Nevertheless some places are focal points of energy or sites of special spiritual significance. Glastonbury is one of these.
The modern antiquarian John Michell wrote in 1993, “Everything about Glastonbury, the landscape, the light and atmosphere, its archaeological relics and its accumulation of unique legends, contributes to the mystery of the place. Its special quality is made obvious at first sight by its most prominent feature, Glastonbury Tor, the central pivot of its mythological landscape. Steeply uprising in the middle of a watery, hill-fringed plain, it is one of the natural wonders of England.” (4)
To this natural wonder people in growing numbers have been attracted, particularly since the late 1960s. By the end of the 1970s there was an established community with its own community centre at the Assembly Rooms. By the end of the 1980s it had a growing and very visible presence on the High Street. By the end of the 1990s it represented an established and significant constituency within the town, and still it continues to grow. Traditional Glastonians may not understand this particular breed of recent arrivals, and in some cases may thoroughly disapprove of them; but they cannot just ignore them and pretend that they are of no account.
This ‘alternative community’ is finding its way into literature. During the 1990s the writer Phil Rickman was working on his Glastonbury novel, ‘The Chalice’. One strand of its plot is a proposed new road to be built through the Glastonbury landscape and as one of his characters says, “Basically we have very different values and when some local issue arises it all erupts. Like the proposed new road … Most of the natives are in favour because it will relieve traffic congestion in the small towns and villages, but the incomers see it as an invasion of their rural haven, the destruction of miles of wonderful countryside. So whichever way it goes, half of us are going to be furious.” (5)
Of course dividing the population into ‘natives’ and ‘incomers’ is simplistic, and the town is far more than a ‘rural haven’ with ‘wonderful countryside’. Moves to have Glastonbury acknowledged as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, for instance, are based on more than just its pretty surroundings. One important aspect that can be traced back for centuries is that Glastonbury has been – and remains – a place of pilgrimage and people’s experiences here have changed their lives.
During the war Glastonbury was the focus for the nation’s psychic protection. In the belief that the Nazis were using ‘dark occult forces’ to undermine Britain’s morale, the well known psychiatrist and magical practitioner Dion Fortune established the ‘Watchers of Avalon’. She sent a letter to all its members each week, “to be opened simultaneously at a given time. All would concentrate, ‘tuning in’ to each other and the group soul of Britain. Before long they were claiming success; certain national figures began to make influential speeches that seemed to echo the private contents of the circulated letters.” (6)
Wellesley Tudor Pole, who later founded the Chalice Well Trust, had a more direct communication with some national figures and in 1940 he managed to arrange a meeting with Winston Churchill. He put forward his suggestion that a “silent minute of prayer for peace, already established within some groups, should be made available to the whole nation through the broadcasting network.” This began with the first stroke of Big Ben at nine o’clock each evening. “It was a source of strength and hope in the war years, not only in Britain but anywhere in the world able to receive the Home Service broadcasts.” (7) These and other endeavours to project a ‘magical shield’ around the British Isles contributed, so those involved believed, to the final victory. Visualisations used by these groups were often focused on the Tor.
An example from peacetime, and on a smaller scale, shows that Glastonbury and its heritage can also play a practical healing role. I have a friend who worked for an insurance firm based in Bristol for the best part of 25 years. He finally became ill with stress and what seemed like a fatigue of the spirit. He struggled on for as long as he could, commuting to Bristol, getting dispensations for time off and time working at home in an effort to help him to continue in productive pursuit of his career. In the end, however, the corporate world is simply not psychologically healthy.
Nevertheless the culture encouraged him to think of himself as a failure if he could not keep going, so that the whole process dragged on for a couple of years before he finally came to the decision that he would have to leave. He then got a job working at the Abbey, leading tours around the ruins and giving short talks about its history. He is now a ‘heritage worker’. He is paid a lot less than he used to be, but he’s a lot happier and healthier. The change of job did not entirely solve his problems overnight, but it has helped him get on the right track. And I think it must be true in a more general sense that preserving and honouring our heritage is good for the whole community and its state of psychological health.
Reasons to believe in Glastonbury’s spiritual importance are evident ever since the founding of its Abbey (and probably before) right through until the present day. More recently, however, our increasingly secular world has ignored the significance of spirituality. It is to Glastonbury, of course, that many who feel called to help right this balance are now being drawn.
The landscape north of Glastonbury Tor
What is ‘sacred landscape’
The concept of sacred landscape goes back to the earliest times, when generations of hunter-gatherers and then early farmers would each inherit from their forebears the land in which they lived and which sustained them. Amongst such people, in a very real sense the dead live on in the living and also in the landscape that they have loved and worked and known intimately. The combination of the land, the people, the ancestors, the stories passed on from generation to generation, and the pattern of stars above that are often understood as being reflected in the patterns in the land, are all numinous elements of an intimate connection with the land – which is thus ‘given in sacred trust’.
For most of the human race this deep connection has gone, and the process of its disappearance has been speeding up in recent generations. In many documented cases, imperial and more recent capitalist powers have set out to actively destroy that link with subject-peoples’ ancestral roots. What remains is often disjointed and lacking real cultural context, often consisting of folk tales, prominent landmarks and archaeological remains with inadequate interpretations.
Glastonbury has a substantial body of legend and mythology, at least one prominent landmark that is world-famous and that has been known as remarkable for centuries (“and did those feet, in ancient time, walk upon England’s mountains green? …”), and archaeological remains that include what was once the greatest Abbey church in the realm. The combination is extraordinary. It also has a growing number of people wishing to re-discover (or re-invent) the cultural context for all this.
Strangely, however, most do not explore what is actually meant by the concept of ‘sacred landscape’, tending instead to simply take it for granted as an ‘obvious’ fact. One person who has looked into this question (not about Glastonbury itself, but its surroundings) is Amy Lou Martin, who has included on her website an essay about the Somerset Levels as sacred space. I was particularly struck by her pointing out the similarity between the history of the Levels and various creation myths:
In these creation myths, and many others, a Being always appears and creates something of this chaos … Out of the pre-existing waters comes creation … Considering the history of the Somerset Levels, this idea of creation being born out of watery-chaos is rampant … This watery-chaos has not been easily tamed … It took the best part of 1000 years to create what we have now.
The similarity between creation myths and the history of the Levels is: before was watery-chaos, then creation, then order, light and beauty. If I knew nothing of its history, I would consider the Levels now ordered, light and beautiful. That the landscape itself still holds nature myths feels very real to me. No matter what man does, nature is always perfect. The Levels have probably been ‘order, light and beauty’ to people in the past, those who succeeded in ‘mastering’ their landscape. Part of mastering is acceptance of what cannot be mastered. (8)
This is a real insight, though there is something about it that doesn’t quite sit comfortably. I don’t think ‘order, light and beauty’ quite describes the Levels today, even though I love the area. ‘Acceptance of what cannot be mastered’ is hardly the modern way of thinking. Ham Wall, for instance, the nature reserve that Amy had based her thoughts and observations around, is an attempt to re-construct a natural landscape that had been destroyed by peat extraction. It is remarkably successful, but nevertheless that’s what it is and the water levels have to be maintained artificially.
Amy does argue convincingly for a recreated landscape to be valid as sacred space, though the Levels in the time of the Lake Villages – when the Brue valley had become the natural meeting place and spiritual centre for people from neighbouring tribes – seems to me more like ‘order, light and beauty’ than most of what has happened in modern times. (9) Glastonbury was chosen partly for reasons of practical geography, but also for its landscape qualities: as an island amidst the marshes, which were neither quite land nor water; with its remarkable configuration of hills, especially the Tor and Chalice Hill; and with several holy wells, as well as venerable trees.
As far as the Levels and Moors are concerned, the main difference now is that they have been pumped almost dry, the water table deliberately lowered; it is no longer really a wetland at all in most parts, and many of the wetland birds have all but disappeared. The pre-existing waters have not been sculpted and enhanced – they have often been banished. This says a lot about what is wrong with our culture: that which is wild and naturally fecund has become frightening, so we have done our best to cut ourselves off from it.
Efforts to save the wildness and to get back in touch with the natural world do, however, have a positive effect – even when they do not achieve their immediate objective. The film made about the road protests during construction of the Newbury bypass, for instance, shows the activists describing the sense of peace and closeness to nature that came from living in the woods and up in the trees, especially making a relationship each with ‘their’ particular tree. (10)
The same sense of peace has been mentioned several times when the landscape to the north of the Tor has been discussed – such an important area to preserve where we can breathe fresh air and see the Tor in its natural context. The birdlife is also particularly rich. When I walked there before Christmas, besides the usual gulls and a group of starlings, there was a buzzard, swans, heron, egret and lapwing; apparently evidence of otters has also been seen along the Redlake.
A tree dwelling on the Newbury bypass site.
How can we defend it whilst staying true to its sacredness?
The Newbury film illustrated very clearly the cultural divide that was experienced, between the protestors on the one hand and the contractors and security guards on the other, much the same as the one in Glastonbury. Is it worth trying to resolve this on a political level? I am beginning to doubt it – how can we resolve the future and the past? Nevertheless, in the present, what I have seen is the importance of an attitude of what the Sufis call Adab, of maintaining respect for everyone – even including our enemies – as human beings; though this does not of course mean that we have to agree with what they are doing.
To argue for special treatment being due to a place or a landscape, for reasons that are spiritual rather than economic, requires, I believe, a new way of doing politics. Polarisation into ‘left’ and ‘right’, for instance, is part of the problem and not the solution when it is understood that all is essentially one, part of a subtly unified whole. This, though, is much more easily said than done, especially as our whole political system is based on division, on winning and losing; and when that flawed version of reality is beamed into our homes day and night.
An answer, perhaps, is dealing with political dichotomy as paradox rather than as opposition. Welcome strength in diversity. Hold the two seemingly incompatible viewpoints together in the mind; let them find their own way to be one.
Recently I was on holiday, and I had some very strange dreams on my last three nights away from home. I don’t remember dreams very often so three in a row was very unusual. In the first, to my enormous surprise, I found myself as a haulage contractor. Considering my active involvement in a campaign against the local freight haulage route, this was a little strange – but well worth taking note of.
I had invested all my resources in buying a new fleet of trucks – it was a small business and that meant about six, but I have since discovered that six big new trucks would cost about half a million pounds. Then I found out that these new trucks were ‘fake’. Instead of being made by the well known manufacturer that was named on the badge, they were actually much cheaper copies. This would create all sorts of problems with getting insurance and would also make maintenance much more expensive – but I could afford to do nothing about it because I had already borrowed and spent all the finance that I could raise.
I can’t remember at what stage I actually awoke, because I remained in the dream-space and I found myself feeling the worry and anxiety of a small businessman in that situation. As I gradually woke up fully I also reached a place of understanding: this is the state that we all are in, one way or another, so long as we are caught up in the world of the ego-self and in particular its manifestation as the capitalist economic system. I felt completely trapped. So I was able to feel some empathy for my haulage-contractor self.
The reason I have included this dream here is that I believe that it is important not to get permanently stuck in our endlessly left-brain thinking minds. Opening ourselves to other forms of input – from the right-hemisphere brain, from intuition, from coincidence, or from Spirit – enriches our lives as well as providing fresh and workable answers. This is what I meant when I suggested how to deal with paradox. It may take a leap of faith, but it can work.
The sixth great extinction
Our culture is dying.
This is something that many people will not accept, and that many may never accept even as it becomes increasingly obvious and unavoidable. It is not because they don’t understand; it’s because they are afraid to even look in that direction. This is the result of our increasing secularisation and polarisation, the disrespect for the natural world and spiritual values that have become so prevalent. This is what enables the soul-less values of economics to hold sway in a world that desperately needs something deeper.
It is worth noting here that during the 1930s, when economists first attempted to measure the economy, early models were designed to favour production that resulted in some form of social worth. They set out to measure the economy’s contribution towards achieving goals that had intrinsic value, such as improving nutrition or health. Then, however, the second world war intervened and politicians wanted a measure of overall output, in order to determine the quantity of resources that could be made available for war production.
The answer was provided by the economist John Maynard Keynes, and the key indicator of economic success became known as Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Since the war this relatively simplistic method has continued, and we can say that what is actually measured is what is actually valued. Contributions to GDP include armaments and ammunition, and even class A drugs, but give no value to bringing up our children or caring for our homes and families.
GDP is based entirely on quantity and not quality. Repeated sales of goods with bult-in obsolescence increase GDP; goods built with real craftsmanship to last, usually add less. One car with one careful driver adds little to GDP; a reckless driver who crashes his c ar adds repair bills and the cost of hospital treatment, for himself and his victims. Similarly, preserving the environment adds minimally to GDP; activities that damage it generally add far more. (11)
73 years after the cessation of hostilities, the world’s economy is still geared up for war. However misunderstood, and even however thoroughly mad it can be, Glastonbury is nevertheless a valuable symbol of the rejection of this dreadful modern mode.
As the degradation of our stricken culture increases, its desperation to survive will also grow. At the same time the seeds of something new are being planted, including here in Glastonbury. In this situation I believe that Glastonbury is a good place to be. I hope that the essential parts of its sacred landscape survive, and I feel bound to do my utmost to help to protect it, to do my best to stand in the way of forces that would destroy its fragile sanctity. This, of course, can equally apply to anywhere else in the world, but I am especially fond of Glastonbury.
There are many things worth saving from the creeping dark destruction. These are mostly things that are part of the natural world, or of the indigenous cultures that have lived in harmony with the natural world; but we are living in the midst of the sixth – and perhaps the greatest – great extinction of species on this planet. It is also the only one that is known to have been caused by the activities of one of Earth’s species, seemingly out of control.
We do not know how much will be swept away, how little will survive. We can do our best to save and preserve that which is worth saving and preserving; but as the great edifice of this culture finally comes crashing down around us we cannot be sure that anything, anything at all, will survive. And it does not serve to be attached to survival.
What really matters is that we can recognise what is happening, witness it and shed our tears for the Earth whilst in return we listen to Her tears of sadness and pain. Perhaps here in Somerset the pain and destruction is not so awful as elsewhere, but it is still very poignant. Besides, we don’t know how long, we don’t know how huge the destruction will be. To be truly alive, however, is always to live in hope.
For many of us – perhaps for all of us to some unmeasurable degree – we cannot fully grieve because our culture has taught us to avoid facing up to the reality of death. If we do, if we can, if we accept the death of a loved one, as we must, then perhaps we can be awake and fully conscious of the death of species, of oceans, of ecosystems, even of the Earth Herself. We can do our best to save what is worth saving but in the end we may simply have to let go, to say goodbye, to know that we are collectively responsible but to refrain from self-indulgence, from pity, from panic. Perhaps everything has to die, before the new and beautiful can have space to grow; we do not know.
I am living here in Glastonbury, standing beside the Tor, living in hope – and at the same time doing my best to avoid attachment. During the war the silent minute, the secret protection of the nation, was focused here; and the land here remembers. That time, however, is past. What happens now is only now, not the past – nor the future. What really matters are our intentions rather than their results. I am living here in Glastonbury, standing beside the Tor, and if the life-blood of the land is drained into a dark pit of economic developmental destruction, I will still be here, quietly waiting for the water levels to rise.
There are those who will come then, maybe after I have died; maybe so far in the future that even my words can never reach them; but I am here, now, and my intention towards them is a spark of love. May you be welcome. I am sad. I am excited. I am standing between those two poles and I am ready, ready to do what all creatures have always done in the end – they have lain down and become part of the fertile soil for that which will grow here later.
For now, however, we are alive, active and busy. We are not just challenging the oppression of heavy traffic shaking our houses to bits, or some distant decision dictating that the answer is a bypass bisecting our sacred landscape. We are challenging the way that things have been done for so many years; the assumptions, the duplicity, the dead weight of bureaucracy. Whatever the result may be we can enter into this with creativity and imagination, we can deepen our connections with each other, and we can enjoy ourselves with as much good humour as possible.
Notes and References
- Eddie Daughton, ‘Pyromantics’, Street, Somerset.
- Based on an article published in the Glastonbury Oracle, April 2018.
- Based on an article published in the Glastonbury Oracle, August 2018.
- John Michell, The Glastonbury Mystery, foreword to Patrick Benham’s ‘The Avalonians’, Gothic Image Publications 1993.
- Phil Rickman, The Chalice, Macmillan 1997, p 16.
- Patrick Benham, The Avalonians, Gothic Image Publications 1993, p 262.
- Ditto, p 138.
- Amy Lou Martin, Do the starling murmurations at Ham Wall enhance the sacredness of the Somerset Levels? http://www.awomanswords.com/natural-beauty/sacred-starling-murmurations
- Bruce Garrard, The River, Unique Publications (revised edition) 2018, Chapter 2 pp 68-77.
- Tales of Resistance – The story of Newbury Bypass, documentary by Jamie Lowe. See http://www.newburybypassfilm.info
- Observations based on BBC Radio 4, Economics with Footnotes, 5 August 2018.