Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Stile Style

Public footpaths in England go through fields and forests and anyone can walk on them. There is an etiquette to it however. Dogs and humans are asked to stay on the path, close gates, and  not "worry the sheep". Especially during lambing time.

To allow people to pass through fences between properties while keeping animals where they belong stiles in many styles, or gates are employed.

Here is a stile that we found particularly charming. How old might this be?

Cows cannot make it to the next pasture through this one, but sheep, or lambs at least, would have no problem clambering up and over. To keep them from straying there is often a kissing gate that requires a two step process to get through. Even a very clever sheep would probably only be able to figure out step one.

Each time we came to a stile we could not help silently reciting this old nursery rhyme:

Leg over leg, 
As the dog went to Dover;
When he came to a stile
Jump! He went over.

While researching the exact words of the rhyme we found some "interesting" sites. This man with his little friend is one. This rather dark history of nursery rhymes is another.

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