On a beautiful May afternoon in Oxford I decided to take a stroll along Addison’s Walk in Magdalen College grounds. Addison’s Walk was a favourite of the author C.S. Lewis and Tolkien would often join him on his walks. I thought I’d take lots of pictures so those of you who can’t do the walk yourselves, can get a glimpse of what it’s like. Come join me.
As I walked along the High Street towards Magdalen I passed the Eastgate Hotel. Here Tolkien would often take lunch. He even lived in rooms next door on returning to Oxford after his wife Edith died.
Within a couple of minutes I was at Magdalen’s porters’ lodge and went through into the quad.
I turned right and walked past the chapel to the cloisters. The air was thick with the scent of wisteria which grows up the cloister walls. Wonderful!
From the cloisters I came to a path which led to the college grounds and there, on the right, was the gate to Addison’s Walk.
Going through the gate and across the stone bridge I looked back at Magdalen Tower. Addison’s Walk is a circular path and I set off in a clockwise direction.
Did Tolkien ever sit in this tree-stump chair?
He most certainly saw this bent tree branch.
The path turned to the right but I went to the left, over a stone bridge to the gates of the deer park. There on the wall is a stone engraved with the poem What the Bird Said Early in the Year by C.S. Lewis. For me this poem begins as something unremarkable and ends as something quite magical.
This year the summer will come true. This year. This year.
This year nor want of rain destroy the peas.
To Autumn, one year older, by the well worn track.
We shall escape the circle and undo the spell.
Quick, quick, quick, quick! – the gates are drawn apart.