Bunyan’s Dell

I took a drive out to the Chilterns yesterday to look for Bunyan’s Dell near Preston in Hertfordshire.

For about 90% of the journey I was cruising along busy grey roads – M11, M25, A1(M) – and then, quite suddenly I took a turn and was enveloped by those luminous greens of late spring. Instead of the oily, dusty reek of car fumes the breeze coming through the open window held a mild musk of cow parsley and rapeseed. How quickly the balance can shift, in the city I feel like everything is built and dead but when I escape I feel like everything is grown and alive.

Bunyan’s Dell is named after John Bunyan the non-conformist preacher and author of Pilgrim’s Progress, who used to take services in the natural amphitheater of the wooded hollow. Since I think of dells generally as spaces that invite gatherings it seemed apt to use this one, with it’s history of congregation, as the example location for the term.

Although I was only really looking for the dell I stayed and shot some film because it seemed too good an opportunity to miss. The bluebells were past their prime but still beautiful and occasionally I heard, and once saw, deer through the trees.

I hope you like the film. Those of you who are stuck indoors and gazing out at the sunshine might like to turn the sound up and take 3minutes to imagine you are sitting with your back against a tree listening to the contented buzz of a bumblebee drunk on bluebell nectar.

More on dells here.