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Three young men singing and walking round Britain


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"Three young men are walking the length and breadth of Britain, regaling passers-by with long-forgotten folk songs and sleeping under the stars".

Paul Kingsnorth joined them on their journey and reported -

Our day started at the Three Horseshoes pub in the Sussex village of Elsted, where the three had spent the night before, singing to the regulars and then sleeping under the stars in the pub garden. From there we ambled down a green lane, past old farms and steepled Sussex churches, stopping to pick wild garlic and young hawthorn leaves, then up through an old chestnut wood on to the South Downs.

Bathed in spring sunlight, the Downs offer a distant view of the sea. By the trig point on Harting Down, Ed, Will and Ginger break into a song about ''rambling in the new mown hay'', much to the delight of some passing walkers in cagoules and gaiters. . .

Later, by a copse at the side of the path, we eat rolls filled with bantam eggs and wild garlic leaves, and Ed, Will and Ginger tell me that this kind of meeting is part of the point of what they are doing.

''We want to show that it's still possible to do things like this,'' says Ed, ''and the only way to show that is by example. We're sowing seeds, I suppose, and the longer we carry on for, the longer we'll be able to notice those seeds growing.''

. . .''Throughout this journey we've experienced intense hospitality from all sorts of people, as well as beautiful communities that are completely isolated from each other,'' says Ed. ''I think people have no idea of their connectedness. There's a forgetfulness that we all rely upon each other. I see what we're doing as reconnecting with a cultural landscape from which we've been disconnected.''

They are forging links with people and with old songs, stories and knowledge. They are learning what plants in the hedgerows you can eat, how to make a fire, how invigorated you feel when you wake up in the frost, what a song means and what your real strength is.


They are not disconnected from the modern world. Their website is here and it's growing with accounts of their travels, local plants and histories. You can hear them sing Spencer the Rover here. Enjoy!

Comments (2)

They remind me of Belloc's The Four Men (1911). One has said on it:

It’s interesting to note as an aside that the BBC produced a radio version of the play decades ago. In the 1990s, the recently deceased Bob Copper, an English folk singer, wrote a photo book called Across Sussex with Belloc which retraces the path that the Four Men took and the actual towns, houses, pubs and other sites which make up the enchanted countryside of the novel.

Perhaps these three men do so with the implicit assumption that you and I will be the "fourth" and join their hearty venture!


Oh, this is wonderful, just wonderful. I hope they eventually write a book about their journey. I would say, though, that I can think of better things to do in new mown hay than ramble in it, at least if there is a bright eyed English lass about.

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