Nuthanger Farm
Sat 05th Sep 2009 at 23:07:12
Box canvas 36x48” (90x120cm)

Nuthanger Farm is one the famous places in the Watership Down story. The farm house was built long ago and it has not been possible to find out exactly when. The first document that can be found at the County Archives in Winchester is an estimation of the farm and surrounding land, dating back to 1721!

The representation of the house and its buildings is as realistic and accurate as possible, though there is an “artistic licence” taken. The small front brick wall has not been painted, in order to have a better view of the house and imagining it would have been extremely impractical for a farmyard to be enclosed by an L shaped wall joining the house on the shorter side and dividing the farmyard in two. It has not been possible to determine when it was built but it would be reasonable to think that it might have been once the site ceased to be used as farm (at present the house is divided into holiday cottage units).

Back to the story! Hazel decided to visit the farm Kehaar spoke of and to talk to the hutch rabbits, just to find out more about them. Wouldn’t it have been great if there had been one or two does already at the Honeycomb by the time Holly came back from his mission to Efrafa?

He took Pipkin with him as a companion for the journey.

They set off before dawn, surrounded by the starlit summer night, already paling to the East by the time they reached the road.

Hazel found out the farm location from a young rat.

The sky was growing lighter each moment now and they started to make their way up the slope towards the farm.

Part 2 On Watership Down
From Chapter 24: Nuthanger Farm

By kind permission of Richard Adams

Nuthanger is like a farm in an old tale. Between Ecchinswell and the foot of Watership Down and about half a mile from each, there is a broad knoll, steeper on the north side but falling gently on the south – like the down ridge itself. Narrow lanes climb both slopes and come together in a great ring of elm trees which encircles the flat summit…

…The house may be two hundred years old or it may be older, built of brick, with a stone-faced front looking south towards the down. On the east side, in front of the house, a barn stands clear of the ground on staddle-stones; and opposite is the cow-byre.
As Hazel and Pipkin reached the top of the slope, the first light showed clearly the farmyard and the buildings. The birds singing all about them were those to which they had been accustomed in former days. A robin on a low branch
twittered a phrase and listened for another that answered him from beyond the farmhouse. A chaffinch gave its little falling song and farther off, high in an elm, a chiff-chaff began to call. Hazel stopped and then sat up, the better to scent the air. Powerful smells of straw and cow-dung mingled with those of elm-leaves, ashes and cattle-feed. Fainter traces came to his nose as the overtones of a bell sound in a trained ear. Tobacco, naturally: a good deal of cat and rather less dog and then, suddenly and beyond doubt, rabbit…

…While these scents reached them they were also listening. But beyond the light movements of birds and the first buzzing of the flies immediately around them, they could hear nothing but the continual susurration of the trees. Under the northern steep of the down the air had been still, but here the southerly breeze was magnified by the elms, with their myriads of small fluttering leaves, just as the effect of sunlight on a garden is magnified by dew. The sound, coming from the topmost branches, disturbed Hazel because it suggested some huge approach – an approach that was never completed: and he and Pipkin remained still for some time, listening tensely to this loud yet meaningless vehemence high overhead.

They saw no cat but near the house stood a flat-roofed dog kennel. They could just glimpse the dog asleep inside – a large, smooth-haired, black dog, with head on paws. Hazel could not see a chain; but then, after a moment, he noticed the line of a thin rope that came out through the kennel door and ended in some sort of fastening on the roof…

- Aldo Galli -