Out In The ‘Blue Remembered Hills’


Into my heart on air that kills

From yon far country blows:

What are those blue remembered hills,

What spires, what farms are those?

That is the land of lost content,

I see it shining plain,

The happy highways where I went

And cannot come again.

From A. E. Housman’s  A Shropshire Lad  1896


We are lucky enough to live on the edge of Wenlock Edge whose ridge-top road delivers us straight to the heart of Shropshire’s hill country. Caer Caradoc, Lawley, Ragleth, Long Mynd, Stiperstones are some of the most well known of our uplands, each striking in its own way and often featuring in old tales and mysterious legends. This is not surprising considering that humans have been walking these lands for at least the last 9,000 years when the ice sheets retreated.

The whole area is rich in prehistoric remains – burial cairns, standing stones, hill forts, Bronze Age field systems, trackways, drove roads and trade routes. This photo was taken from the northerly flanks of the Long Mynd, on the lane to Ratlinghope and Bridges, and looks over the Lawley to the long blue-green spine of Wenlock Edge.

July Squares #18

43 thoughts on “Out In The ‘Blue Remembered Hills’

      1. It is, I discover, now you’ve mentioned it. She must have borrowed it from Housman. As did a few other people including playwright Dennis Potter.

      1. Yes, nothing like it down here (that I have found). But I love being closer to the sea. I guess we never can ‘have it all’.

      2. Yes, the sea would do it for me too. I often think I’m going to live beside it – as if it’s something I’ve planned. In fact that notion first took root when I was scarcely a teen, but staying at the hotel of a family friend in Mawgan Porth. Something to do with sand in sunbleached floor boards in a little cliffside villa.

      3. I’d love to have a house where I could just open the door and walk out the gate down a sandy track and onto the beach. Sadly not going to happen now as those sort of houses are way too expensive.

    1. Yes that Potter creation was v. memorable, and I think it’s interesting to view/come to Housman through that particular prism. He was v. angst-ridden. The seeming simplicity of the Shropshire Lad verses and their antique rhymes can make it too easy to underestimate him too. It’s amazing though in how many meaningful other quarters his words crop up – e.g. the scene of Finch Hatton’s burial in Out of Africa; the set-to-music versions of Vaughan Williams and Butterworth. Words as catalysts to others’ creativity.

      1. I agree that the simplicity can be misleading.
        I read a lot of the first poems thinking he was writing about WWI, then went back and realised they predated that war by 20 or so years. It’s not surprising the poems were so popular with soldiers then.
        Definitely a catalyst for many others’ work.

      2. Yes, I was surprised about the war references, and thought the same as you. Seems it was the Boer War loss of life that was concerning him.

      3. Yes; and I guess Britain was busy all through the 19th century sending soldiers to subdue populations rebelling against its colonial might. Even here in NZ.

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