I first wrote about the lost earthwork-cum-execution site atop the Hog’s Back in Surrey known as “seven ditches” around four years ago, and it was the first piece of work I added to this blog when I set it up in 2011. Since then, as well as remoulding that paper into the form you will find it in today, I’ve written various additional bits and pieces on “seven ditches” as a name and as a place (you’ll find them all under the Work heading with a bit of judicious cursor hovering). More often than not, I’ve relied upon the internet to tell me about certain things when I didn’t have access to the relevant publications, to the point where I got all meta on the topic and wrote something about Googling “seven ditches”. Rather brilliantly, when I repeated the search a couple of days ago, I found that Surrey Medieval (or was it Wikipedia?) has been bumped off its top spot in the search results by 7 Ditches, a Dutch TV company. Thanks to the wonders of Google Translate, I can tell you 7 Ditches ‘makes TV interviews with entrepreneurs and other fascinating people’. With such a remit, I look forward to hearing from them before long.
The reason for my return to Google searches of old was that I was in the process of writing something else about “seven ditches”. About three months ago, I came over all angsty and took to my laptop to try and set the world to rights. There and then I vowed to try out some different approaches to my research, one of which was to write things of more phenomenological and/or psychogeographical nature. Such pieces are best produced at the time or very shortly after the direct experience(s) of the place(s) under discussion. So far, I have not been able to work this angle, but I have found the time since conference paper delivery/exam sitting/essay hand-ins to write up an account of a visit I made to the Dorset “seven ditches” where the titular earthworks still survive in an overgrown and largely out-of-bounds state. The time-lag between my visit and hitting the Publish button has been of the order of nine months, which has done nothing for my powers of recollection and so I have had to rely upon the notes I made on my phone (!) more than I would have liked. With the weather improving and greater amounts of free time on my hands, I hope to be posting similar reports of trips out into the field without anything like the lengthy delay this one has experienced.