Autumn trails continued

As last week’s walk was fun, I thought we could take a different route today and visit the farm about two fields over from the house. Don’t worry about your wellies (Wellington boots) as it has dried out since this morning. I suggest a light coat since our indian summer has definitely warmed the fields and valley. Let’s go visit the avenue of ancient trees.

Between the open meadow and the heather-covered hilltop lies a path of trees directing our way to the old farm that once housed horses, sheep and geese in its tattered remains. That’s where we are heading.

Under the umbrella of leaves, it feels rather close. A damp smell of soil and wet leaves lingers in your nose, tickling it until you sneeze. Watch where you put your feet for the knuckles and toes of the sycamore trees stick out to trip even the most intrepid walkers. Scattered amongst the fiery display of fallen leaves lie the discarded green husks of sweet chestnuts and empty acorn cups. The land dips and we have to cross an old country lane that once was the main road between the two villages. Up ahead is one of the many metal gates partitioning the fields and forests. On the left is the stile which gives us access. Henry doesn’t bother climbing over, but dives under and scampers down the path to the stinky bog which is now, thankfully, securely fenced off.

Once over, the avenue opens up, displaying the ancients living on either side of the path. Some waver to the left, some have fallen to the right but most stand tall, stationed to watch us humans pass under their far reaching open arms, catching the wind in their leaves as they doze in the afternoon sun.

Beyond the fences running parallel to the path on either side, views of open fields filled with sunlight brighten the journey. A surprise discovery of a supersized mushroom gives us pause as we take a quick snap of Henry, just to justify the size of this thing. Peeping up from the leaves and grass, trying to stand as tall as his friend, is another giant ‘shroom. We have to move on as time doesn’t linger when you’re on a walk.

A fallen branch has caused much devastation to the fence and its neighbouring tree, stripping it of its branches too. On closer inspection, it looks like an angry ash that has lost an ear. Can you spot his grumpy expression?

As though hiding from such destruction, a giant buried his head and body in the soft soil leaving his legs exposed to the elements. Such long limbs disappear into the branches above, catching the afternoon sun on his toes.

Turning back to see how far we have come, it feels as though our pathway may have disappeared into a keyhole, the play of the light highlighting the path once take in the distance.

Henry stops to admire the knobbly bits on the tree next to him, pretending he wasn’t trying to bark at the squirrels playing hide and seek with him from the safety of the other side of the fence.

As we follow the curved path and admire the open fields where the animals once freely grazed and travel further down the lane towards another stile which we have to jump over, we finally discover the derelict buildings of the farm. On good days, you can see the white doves that co-habit the eaves with other wildlife. Today, however, the ravens take centre stage, squawking and tossing their black heads, gossiping about the new rugby pitch being laid in the field opposite to the farm buildings. What will happen to their home once the company that owns the land decides that derelict buildings don’t fill bank vaults?

It’s soon time to turn back. Though the clouds have gathered and threaten to pour their teary hearts out, we feel safe under the protective foliage of the ancients and enjoy the fresh, mossy green air and crunchy leaves.

I know nothing stays the same forever but I do hope the ancient ones remain safe in their domain.

Thank you for stopping by and taking another dog walk with me. See you again, soon.

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