Beating the Bounds 2021

Beating the bounds is a centuries-old tradition, aimed at reminding everyone of boundaries that were important in their lives. During Rogationtide—the fifth week after Easter—villagers, with the rector and other local dignitaries, would walk the parish bounds. The children would carry willow wands to beat the boundary markers with, and in some ceremonies children had their heads bumped on boundary stones to imprint them firmly in the memory.

Figure 1: Katy Andrews with child being ‘bumped’

Today the parish boundary is not so important, and modern maps show them clearly enough. But other boundaries still are important and the map usually fails to show them—the boundaries of our commons and village greens.

Figure 2 Procession on Leyton Marsh carrying willow wands

There are all too many interests keen to encroach on the margins of our commons and greens. If no one objects in time, it can mean common land is permanently lost. So beating the bounds is just as important today. It reminds your local community that they have a common or green with a boundary to be guarded, and in the process also shows them how much enjoyment and interest the area has to offer. It’s a practical and enjoyable way to protect a valuable part of our heritage.

Information from The Open Spaces Society, read more here:

This year, we are unable to carry out the Beating of the Bounds in the normal way, because of Covid restrictions. So instead we are providing a method for people to carry it out on their own or in small groups. We have created a “geocaching” activity, which follows the course of the Beating the Bounds procession.

To take part, you will need a mobile device that understands location information. There will be a number of “geocaches” at predetermined locations. On this website there will be a Clue List for you to download and print out. On the Clue List, for each geocache there will be a clue and its coordinates (a pair of numbers). Input the coordinates into your mobile device, and that should guide you to the vicinity of the geocache.

Each geocache consists of a small box. Although a little camouflaged, they should all be visible. Some you may need to poke around in the vegetation a little to find, but no digging will be required! Inside you will find a rubber stamp, which you should use to stamp your Clue List. Please put everything back in the box afterwards, and put the box back where you found it!

The Clue List will be posted on this website on the morning of Sunday 9th of May, once all the geocaches have been placed in position. So keep an eye on this website! The actvity will finish at 6pm. After that time, the geocaches will be removed.

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4 Responses to Beating the Bounds 2021

  1. Pingback: Virtual Beating of the Bounds: Stop no.4 | Save Lea Marshes

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  4. Marion Osborne says:

    Oh, I just read this while looking for the FB event which I’d clicked as interested. But cannot find it :-(.

    I do not use a smartphone due to my visual impairments, and would certainly be able to do the beating tge bounds on my own due to Covid if I knew where & when to go. But I cannot find this info, or the FB event info.

    It sadly looks like I won’t be able to join in because I do not have the modern technology.

    I have for a long time been actively supporting nature & environmental matters in the marshes, including ELWP, Waterworks Nature Reserve and Orient Way footbridge repairs, also Orient Way Pocket Park.

    I hope it all goes well, and perhaps I will wander around the marshes trying to find others who are beating the bounds, with some luck. I will keep 2 metres safe distance & wear my mask.

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