Hollow Ways

Centuries of pedestrian traffic, herding sheep and cattle, have worn paths down into hollow ways. The path has sunken lower than the ground around. Trees and shrubs grow up along the sides, making shaded tunnels with their branches linked overhead. Adjectives sometimes applied to these paths are gloomy, spooky, enchanted, mysterious…

The tree roots on either side are now exposed along these sunken paths.

And badger sets conveniently find a place among the roots.

Many of these hollow ways in England date back to Saxon or even Celtic times. To me, walking along a hollow way is walking with history.

Pedestrian: The Daily Post’s Weekly Photo Challenge



  1. Ah yes, hollow ways. Your photos demonstrate this concept beautifully. Unlike the European hollow ways, where the trees from lovely shady arches above, the Australian hollow ways have been formed by thousands of years of animals, like kangaroos, wallabies and wombats, heading through the bush or grass to find water. The grass usually is much longer around these old sunken tracks. The traditional owners would use this information to hunt or to find water.

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  2. First time I have heard the term ‘hollow ways.’ Indeed mysterious and interesting. Great contribution to the theme Pedestrian. Thank you.


    • I first heard of it in archaeological contexts where people were attempting to read the ancient landscape. These forested ones of Europe (and possibly elsewhere) are charming and at the same time a bit enchanting. It is always a pleasure to walk along one.

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