This place has numbers, as well as letters. The coordinates of Woodston are 52° 19′ 2.12″ N, 2° 28′ 39.43″ W. That is its location on the globe, and location in the life of a farm makes for three inescapable inheritances: geology, climate, angle of relationship to the sun. The waxing and waning of the moon have influence, too; the stars, unlike the navigational aid they provide to those at sea, have none, except to charm the scene.
In the beginning there was nothing here. Only void. The ancients believed in four Elements - Air, Fire, Water and Earth - and while we might sneer at their science, the physical early history of Woodston is exactly a story of these things. From the nothing of the void came, via the ‘Big Bang’ of 13.5 billion years ago, the gaseous cloud (Air), which reduced to a burning ball (Fire), to something solid (Earth). Order out of chaos. By 600 million years ago, there was terra firma in the place that one day would be called Woodston. After Fire and Earth, then came Water. Life in its earliest forms appeared 3.8 billion years ago, complex life 570 million years ago; it slowly evolved in the warm Ordovician and Silurian seas which covered Woodston then; relics of those primeval seas are the Silurian coral reefs and fossil trilobites at nearby Ludlow.