You may remember that we spoke a couple of weeks ago when,
after we had embarked upon your wonderful tour using your book,
you very kindly allowed me to telephone you and spared your
time to talk to me about C S Lewis and the tour.
As you know, we had become fascinated by Lewis and Joy Davidman
through research for our production of the play about them,
"Shadowlands" which we have just completed the run
of here in Portsmouth.
We had an amazing and very emotional week performing the play,
which was rapturously received by packed audiences and made
a deep impression on all those who saw it as well as those of
us who were involved directly in it. Once again I would like
to thank you sincerely for the inspiration that your book, tour
and words provided us with. This gave us that extra touch of
identification with the characters and enabled us to make our
performances that bit more real as a result of having walked
in the very footsteps that Joy and "Jack" did.
As promised, I included an ad for your wonderful book and the
work you are doing to promote the awareness of C S Lewis in
our programmes and have taken every opportunity to mention all
of this to friends and cast members.
I would love to send you a copy of the programme along with
our press review and preview if you would be interested to see
these. If so, please email me your address and I will get these
items posted to you post haste!
If you would be interested in seeing some photographs of our
production, you can view a catalogue of them at the following
web site :-http://firstname.lastname@example.org/my_photos
You will see that this also features catalogues for a couple
of our other productions.
Finally, on behalf of myself and Kerry (who you will remember
played Joy) I would like to thank you once again for the time
and inspiration that you gave us.
Trust 'destroying the real
Courtesy: The Oxford Times 31 March 2006. www.theoxfordtimes.net
A Wildlife Trust has come under fire for cutting down trees
in the tranquil woodland that helped inspire C.S. Lewis to write
'The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe'. The land next to the
author's former home in Risinghurst, known as "the real
Narnia," is now a nature reserve.
But Narnia has come under attack from chain saws, insists the
man who organises Oxford C.S. Lewis Tours. And he says the local
wildlife trust BBOWT is to blame.
Ronald Brind says the trust has needlessly cut down many trees
and are changing the character of the woodland that proved an
inspiration to the Oxford don, who became known around the world
for his Narnia books.
Mr Brind, author of 'A Guide to the C. S. Lewis Tour in Oxford',
said many foreign visitors who visit Lewis's old home are horrified
by the shabby state of the reserve.
But the wildlife trust, which own the C. S. Lewis Reserve,
strongly defended their work which is part of a long term strategy
to deter vandals and make the reserve more accessible to visitors.
Mr Brind was a boyhood friend of Lewis's stepson, Dougie Gresham,
and was a regular visitor to the author's household. He said:
"They have been up there with chain saws. When I asked
what was going on they told me they were taking out all the
non-native species. It is disgusting and scandalous. They include
trees with three foot trunks that have taken sixty and seventy
years to grow. American visitors who come here in search of
Lewis are distraught, they think it is horrific. This was C.S.
Lewis back garden for more than 30 years."
Mr Brind has also complained about the state of the lake and
the amount of rubbish strewn about the reserve.
With the Walt Disney version of the classic book certain to
renew visitor interest in Lewis this summer, one local resident
commented: "The wood looks dreadful. I suppose it will
get better in time. But they are destroying mature trees which
Lewis himself would have known."
BBOWT said local people had been consulted about a strategy
to clean up the reserve after repeated problems with vandals,
rubbish dumping and scramble bikes.
Sophie Lewis, of BBOWT, said sycamore trees had been cut down
to lighten up the site and encourage wildlife and undergrowth.
Ms Lewis said: "Because of their rapid rate of growth,
the trees that have been cut down would not have been there
when C.S.Lewis was walking around.
" Mr Brind wants a lovely place to take American tourists
to. But that is not our primary concern."
Reproduced with permission of The Oxford Times www.theoxfordtimes.net
Note from Ron Brind:
This is typical of what I am up against. I believe these people
are nothing more than environmental 'do-gooders' who are prepared
to destroy our history, without any consideration for brothers
Clive Staples and Warren Hamilton Lewis, who lived at the Kilns
for over 30 years, and poet Shelley who was believed to have
meditated there, and sailed paper boats on the lake. It is the
very reason we must continue to fight for control of this important
site, regardless of how long it takes. One day I hope we will
be able to open up the whole of the site, having restored it
to what it was whilst Jack and Warnie were living there, to
visitors the world over. This is part of Britains Christian
Heritage, and I want it back for future generations!
Response to The Oxford Times, and The Oxford
Mail re Trust 'destroying the real Narnia'.
I read with great interest the article about "Narnia under
threat" (The Oxford Times, March 31 2006). A personal visit
to the C.S. Lewis Nature Reserve confirmed the scene as described
by Ronald Brind. The destruction I witnessed was breathtaking!
An entire row of trees embracing the path now gone; remnants
of an exquisite tree at least 15 inches in circumference waiting
to be chopped up while squirrels scampered over their former
home; ancient vines which had hugged sycamore trees now lying
in piles for kindling. There can be absolutely no excuse for
this ravishing of the woods. How on earth will destroying trees
prevent vandalism and at what cost? The inane remark of Sophie
Lewis about Mr. Brind only wanting a lovely place to take American
tourists reveals how off the mark she and the BBOWT truly are.
The primary concern of the British as well as the American people
should be the preservation of wildlife areas, not their wanton
destruction. Shame on the BBOWT!
Wiggenhall St. Germans
I wanted to take a moment and compliment you on your excellent
For over 2 years now, I have been researching C.S. Lewis for
an upcoming production that I wrote about his life. I can truly
say that of all the reference materials I have used, I would
rank your tour at the top! Seeing the locales of Lewis' life,
hearing your fascinating first hand accounts of your encounters
with him and the family, all helped to solidify my information
and impressions of "Jack".
It is so apparent that you are not just giving a tour, you are
manning a crusade to help preserve the life and legacy of a
literary and Christian treasure.
Ron, best wishes to you and your family. Thank you again, your
tour was the highlight of my trip to England.
C S Lewis influenced you - submit your letter for publication
on the website'