Day 20

My route this evening leads me along Market Lane above the church. The oilseed rape is coming into flower; another strong yellow to add to the palette. Apparently no one locally seems to know at which end of this lane any market was ever held. It leads past the abandoned village pond to a junction where Pinfold Lane, still a track, runs parallel to the coast, (a dry route for times of flooding perhaps?). Market Lane turns up to Gallow Hill and the heath.

Where the slope plateaus a series of barrows and pits can be found. These are from the later Bronze Age and there is quite a collection of them, including an easily identifiable burial mound, the Gallow Hill tumulus. There are ancient cemetery and cremation sites too from more than 3,000 years ago. Modern names label some of these earth piles; Three Halfpenny Hill and Three Farthing Hill.

I read on that the preparation of military defences during World War II caused considerable damage to the archaeology of the heathland, despite adding some new features of concrete and steel for later generations to ponder. All these man-made forms are prey to nature, being overtaken by gorse, bracken and heather.

Management of the heathland seems to be clumsy. It is clear that heavy machinery has been used to scrape clearings and try to encourage a mix of vegetation, but it does not seem to have been done with any particular care. It is disappointing to find such aggressive clearance work, heavy tyre tracks and piles of clumped broken branches spoiling the land.

My walk back to the village takes me past the snow showers of hawthorn flowers still throbbing with bumble bees. The roadside trees are song perches for chaffinches, blue tits and robins. A disturbed blackbird runs behind the abundance of alexander plants transmitting its broken, falling call: the sound I most associate with dusk. I watch two red deer on a bare patch of heath watching me.

Today it has been warmer outside than indoors. I spent the day moving between the desk and the kitchen before I closed down my work station. You have been to your local post office to send a parcel to England that is more expensive to despatch than the contents cost to purchase. There is no guaranteed delivery date.

The last grey clouds of a dissipating rain front move towards the sea as a smudged ribbon in the blue sky. This thin, lumpy band is decorated by the rising Moon. It will be full tomorrow. The Sun sets as white as the Moon as it rises; neither offering any heat.

My son reports by text “It’s really tough, but we go on.” Talking is beyond him at this hour.


Christopher Perry        6th April, 2020