A visit to 'The Kilns'

[The Kilns in summer]

The house now stands in Lewis Close, surrounded by houses, but still abutting the beginning of the Shotover woods. In Warnie's words, "the house… stands at the entrance to its own grounds at the northern foot of Shotover at the end of a narrow lane, which in turn opens off a very bad and little used road, giving as great privacy as can reasonably be looked for near a large town." The two men were not recluses, of course. But for people whose professions required frequent interaction with any number of colleagues and students, it was refreshing to be able to return home to their sanctuary, of which Lewis wrote to a friend, "I never hoped for the like."

A local Naturalist's Trust has acquired the woodland and pond to the north of the Kilns, but unfortunately they are in a sorry state. The pond is stagnant with all sorts of rubbish dumped in it, and the woodland is in great need of proper management. The site is a pale reflection on what originally attracted Jack and Warnie to the site.

The Kilns now stands in the Oxford suburbs, at the head of ‘Lewis Close’, but the path to Shotover that runs to the right of the old pond -- originally properly constructed by Jack and Warnie -- their ‘public works’ -- is still in use.

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