The Green Man Brings Spring to Chapel Meadow
£37.00 – £850.00
An original painting in watercolour. Size 525mm x 457mm. The painting comes to you unframed. The price includes P&P to UK addresses.
Prints come at size A2 or a digital image is available for self-printing for one-off domestic use only. Read more about this option.
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About The Green Man Brings Spring to Chapel Meadow
This painting shows the Green Man bringing spring to Chapel Meadow, the field opposite our house in Freeland, Oxfordshire. For four years, we have been carefully observing the meadow from our home on Pigeon House Lane.
At first glance the meadow appears to be completely “ordinary”. But four years of observations have shown us it’s extraordinary and rare. If you look closely, carefully and slowly, you discover it has real magic. And it’s that magic I have attempted to capture in this painting.
Biodiversity abounds in Chapel Meadow
The meadow, owned by Witney Town Charity, is part of an ancient wildlife corridor stretching from Eynsham Hall Park to the west to Pinsley Woods and Blenheim Estate to the east. For the last few decades, the meadow has been managed so sensitively by the tenant farmer. It’s mown for hay just once a year, and as far as I know it’s not been ploughed or grazed for years. This has allowed it to grow naturally and is full of many species of grasses and has a wide uncut margin of wildflowers attracting a huge number of insects.
We have seen foxes and muntjacs, and with our windows open, we hear tawny owls twit-twooing. Barn owls visit for the small mammals: voles, mice, shrews. There are also bats and squirrels, amphibians and grass snakes. The meadow is bounded by mature trees and deep tangled unkempt hedgelines of oak, ash, holly, rose, bramble, hawthorn, and blackthorn. This makes it the perfect home for numerous bird species including corvids, thrushes, woodpeckers, finches, and tits. It’s biodiverse and beautiful. A place to treasure! And not a place to trash…
A magical meadow threatened with annihilation
When we moved to our house, we were aware that someone someday might want to come and “develop” the meadow, which is owned by The Witney Town Charity. It’s now under threat from greedheads, specifically a speculative housing developer called Spitfire Homes. They seek to destroy this magical meadow by building 80 so-called “sustainable” houses on it. In a village the size and character of ours, that’s insanity. Yes, there’s a village campaign to object to it, and West Oxfordshire District Council have refused planning permission. There will planning appeals, and I suspect the courts will ultimately decide. There’s much more about it, including loads of objections from villagers, including me, on the WODC website here.
Painting the magic while it still exists
I thought I’d better record – in a painting – some of Chapel Meadow’s magic, in case Spitfire Homes are eventually granted permission to build, and it’s annihilated forever. What better way than to imagine the Green Man – the ancient woodland spirit of life and regrowth – joyously parading across the meadow, bringing spring and spreading hope and life?
The figure of the Green Man is inspired by the pose of Arthur Rackham’s illustration of the Pied Piper. Also pictured are a pair of swallows, a song thrush, a green woodpecker, a great spotted woodpecker, a mother muntjac and her fawn, a fox, a common frog and two fairies.