INTERESTING

This Guy Saw A Hidden Place In The Middle Of Nowhere On His Map And Had To Investigate

by Elzaan Van der merwe

Have you ever saw an X on a map and thought damn, if I could only go looking for it? Maybe it will be gold or treasure of some sorts? Who knows it can be, but fear is the thing that holds us back in life and dampens our sense of adventure.

But Gawan Mac Greigair didn't let anything stop him. He recently purchased an Ordnance Survey (OS) map and saw a religious symbol in the middle of nowhere.  This peaked his curiosity and he decided to go out and explore a little bit.

"It’s 4cm to 1 mile, so it’s the right scale to be able to include symbols for intriguing things in the landscape, including historic monuments, ancient earthworks, places of worship and so on," said Gawan.

"I happened to have a free afternoon on that day, and there was heavy fog blanketing the top of the North Downs all day," he said. "I couldn’t resist the chance of an otherworldly walk in mist."

"The North Downs is a range of chalk hills in Kent (which give the White Cliffs of Dover their whiteness) – it’s classed as ‘Ancient Countryside’, and it is full of secretive nooks and crannies, and has a long history. I had seen this symbol on the map before and it had intrigued me because it seemed unusual that a place of worship would be located quite far from any village and that it would be right on the edge of a woodland."

He doesn't consider himself to be religious or a believer of some sort, but he does have a sense of adventure, and he appreciates the mystery behind places and things. 

"The most memorable part was the moment when – after thinking I had lost my way in the wood – I was approaching where the symbol on the map seemed to suggest the place of worship ought to be. I was straining to find it through the mist, which was difficult given that I didn’t know whether to look for a ruin, a pile of stones or an actual church. I think I gasped at the moment when I realized I was looking straight at it."

Let's follow Gawan on his journey where he discovered a mystical and magical place in the middle of nowhere. 

He saw this symbol and he couldn't help himself

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He had to go explore

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"I’m always moved by old woodbanks, knowing that they’ve acted as boundaries for centuries, and this wood was bounded by one, topped with spaghetti beeches and hornbeams."

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"The first section of wood was dominated by hazel coppice, which I feel I don’t encounter very often. I always imagine hazel as a friendly tree, which is just as well in this very Poe fog."

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"I came to my first turn, I had to turn right, at a right angle, on reaching this flooded track."

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His imagination ran wild with the possibilities of what he will find

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"But the experience of the woodland in this dense fog was a joy – the everyday took on an entirely different presence."

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"I came across a sudden steep hollow. It seemed unmarked by any horsehoe of close contour lines on the OS map, so this is when I first started to suspect that I’d lost my way."

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"By the hollow, this old tree was simultaneously living and dead – a termite metropolis nevertheless sprouting fresh young limbs."

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"I checked my map again. Three sides of a squarish rectangle was my route. Two right angled turns to the right. Just past the hollow a muddy but confident track went fogward at 90 degrees. This must be my second turn. I must be pretty close."

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"Two pairs of beeches waltzed with each other alongside the track, as two birches stood by, waiting for their chance to cut in."

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"Last year’s beech leaves were still clinging on to saplings in the understory, where the winter winds weren’t able to dislodge them. A strange bright confetti in the murk."

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He felt lost, but he decided to man up and continue with his adventure

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"But this side of my square route was getting absurdly long, it didn’t make sense any more. This imperious beech appeared to give me directions, but I couldn’t interpret its gestures and I don’t speak beech."

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"Primroses cheered me on though, urging me not to panic. Thanks guys, you’re the best."

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"I decided to take the next obvious right and hope for the best. It took me through a recent coppice, where the felling had exposed another monumental beech (a very unusual standard tree in a coppice, where oak is much more usual."

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He couldn't see it yet but it was right there in front of him

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"I wasn’t quite sure what I was looking for – a recognisable structure, a hollow overgrown by hornbeam? But suddenly the hairs on my neck stood up and I realized I was already looking at it."

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"Just the suggestion of a gable, an echo of a spire, materialising surely with each step forward."

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"It wasn’t the heap of stones I’d half expected, but a tiny, living church that seemed to transpirate from the wood that it was nested in."

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Creepy but yet so beautiful in it's own way

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Some head stones were visible

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"I found it was open."

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Is it old or was it recently built in the middle of nowhere?

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"I find it hard to state this without hugging myself and clapping my hands in childish glee, but this church has no electricity and is still lit by working gas lamps."

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Every chair has a special made cushion

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"The fog seemed to press its nose to the windows."

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"But it was held at bay by the colours inside."

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Beautiful St. Margaret illustration

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"I’m not a believer in heaven, but I appreciate the notion of places where other forms of reality become tangible, where past and present interlace."

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He's a man that knows when to appreciate something rare and wonderful

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We finally have our answer! The church is indeed as old as the 13th century

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The castle of mysteries

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He thought he would only find ruins, but he found something much better and interesting

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Anyone joining us for a hiking adventure to the church?

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