parallax background

Biggin Hill as a place

Learning: Freedom vs Force
21st September 2016
The Biggin Hill Meet
13th January 2017



What is it about places? When Susannah and I first looked around in May the bluebells were out. That sold it to me along with someone’s attempt at a wood-fired oven built into the ground.

I did know of course that the bluebells would be gone. But when Anne and I did a tour when we first arrived there was a herd of deer just keeping their distance – equally entrancing. There was a large woodpecker that was finding something to consume under the grass mowings. Beats drilling holes in trees I guess.

You would not believe that a place inside the M25 within spitting distance of an airport and only a couple of miles from shops could be so tranquil. You can’t even find it – the caretaker explained that putting up signposts would only invite people who shouldn’t be there.

The landmark when you turn off the main road is a garden centre, and when Susannah and I had become hungry doing our inspection we raided the garden centre for food. It turns out that on weekdays the world’s poshest burger van struts its stuff. Venison and steak and blue cheese and … For someone who doesn’t do burgers, Anne and I had to have another raid to make sure by memory wasn’t deceiving me. At weekends the guy plies his trade at posh weddings – maybe 400 burgers in a day!

There is one of those old Nissan huts on the site, where apparently bomber pilots during the war were housed away from the airport to avoid german bombing raids. The buildings aren’t as ancient as the ancient woodland but they sort of grow together and the building was certainly not EU funded.




So we sat on huge logs and watched the fire all day on and off. Someone rigged tarpaulins between trees the better to sit and watch the fire when it was raining. There were of course a handy stack of paving slabs to make a pizza oven. Where can you go really where stuff is just to hand for projects as they come to mind. The scout leaders were thrilled to see that initiative had been used and different things had happened. The spirit of the place was definitely “which mad project shall we do next “.

As I write this it is a gorgeous warm breezy autumn day. And I was surprised by that when I looked up because in writing I was transported to Waylands. A spell of sorts.

Aidan Ward
Aidan Ward
Aidan Ward is a freelance consultant, social entrepreneur and educator. He is a great cook and baker, a kitchen gardener and enthusiast for wild food. His key interest is in how childhood development happens when it is nurtured in the right environment.

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