It is an important aspect of the Ritual of the Seven Hills that things be in balance, and in the correct sequence. Just as it is necessary to acknowledge the importance of the man-made world, so too is it important to acknowledge the natural world. And as the natural world precedes the man-made world, so it must be acknowledged first.
Which brings us to Forest Hill, which was not, at the time, particularly forested – semi-clear scrubland would be a more accurate description – and not, compared to the blue mountains that rear not far east of it, particularly hilly. But it was enough. The Ritual of Nature could be performed here, and was, in all its skyclad glory on a midwinter’s night with a gleaming full moon. As a part of the ritual, seeds were scattered, which was only right and proper, but the seeds were the wrong seeds. They were not seeds of Roman plants, nor of native plants. The cultists – loyal servants of Queen Victoria every one – scattered instead seeds of traditionally English plants.
Forest Hill did in time sport a forest of sorts, but it was an ungainly one, with promiscuous mixing of species of various climes (including a few that no one remembered planting – or at least, no one would admit to planting an olive tree there). If the Ents of Middle Earth had happened upon it, even they, with their nigh to boundless love of the wild, would have felt that some judicious pruning was in order.
Suburbs near Forest Hill: