WM at Silbury Hill / by Sasha Ward

A year ago today we went on a drawing trip to Silbury Hill. My drawings were intended to start a series about places local to me. I haven't done anything with these drawings yet, but am looking at them afresh in the light of William Morris' letter to his sister Emma in April 1849 (WM aged 15). The muddy path he took from Avebury is the one I was on for drawings I & II below.

'On Monday I went to Silbury Hill which I think I have told you before is an artificial hill made by the Britons ….. we went through a mud lane down one or two fields and last but not least through what they call here a water meadow up to our knees in water, now perhaps you do not know what a water meadow is as there are none of them in your part of the world, so for your edification I will tell you what a delectable affair a water meadow is to go through; in the first place you must fancy a field cut through with an infinity of small streams say about four feet wide each the people to whom the meadow belongs can turn these streams on and off when they like and at this time of the year they are on just before they put the fields up for mowing the grass being very long you cannot see the water till you are in the water and floundering in it except you are above the field luckily the water had not been long when we went through it else we should have been up to our middles in mud, however perhaps now you can imagine a water meadow : after we had scrambled through this meadow we ascended Silbury Hill it is not very high but yet I should think it must have taken an immense long time to have got it together .

 Looking across Silbury Hill towards Avebury (showing the water meadow and the muddy path) by Ray Ward

Looking across Silbury Hill towards Avebury (showing the water meadow and the muddy path) by Ray Ward

Ray worked his drawings into a series of illustrations for Adam Thorpe's book On Silbury Hill, published in July by Little Toller Books.