Make a ford

No, Chris Leigh hasn’t got a job at Da­gen­ham – the ford that he’s built only oc­ca­sion­ally has water in it…

Model Rail (UK) - - Contents -

Chris Leigh’s ford only oc­ca­sion­ally has water in it…

Ibe­lieve that, like a gar­den, ev­ery lay­out should have a water fea­ture or two, and from the time I first saw them, Pen­don’s aban­doned canal and ford were two of my favourites. It was a sum­mer 2018 visit to Pen­don that rein­vig­o­rated my in­ter­est in the ford. It has some­thing of Con­sta­ble’s ‘Hay Wain’ paint­ing about it, a horse and cart hav­ing ap­par­ently stopped mid-stream. My vil­lage has a ford. The brook that flows down the mid­dle of it, with a nar­row road and cot­tages on each side, is con­trolled by a small weir up­stream. Dur­ing 2018’s par­tic­u­larly dry sum­mer, water was held back and the brook and the ford dried up to the point that a stranger could prob­a­bly drive or even walk past it with­out re­al­is­ing it was there. At other times, the brook ‘bab­bles’ in typ­i­cal fash­ion. Kids wade up to their thighs, and un­sus­pect­ing mo­torists hit the water at a speed, which pro­duces a great bow wave and oc­ca­sion­ally drowns their cars’ electrics! The brook has even, on oc­ca­sions, bro­ken its banks and flooded nearby prop­er­ties. Hav­ing com­pleted my thatched cot­tages (MR251), I wanted to make a lit­tle dio­rama on which to dis­play them. A ford, a Pen­don-style cot­tage gar­den or two and a thatched cot­tage sounded idyl­lic.

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