n.b. After the urgent work of hedge cutting, trimming, mending, it is the time to plough. This is the moment to open the ground to air, rain and frost so the soil can break up, breathe and prepare for sewing and the warmth of spring.
It seems that every field I have passed from Norfolk to Hertfordshire is being worked today. This is the heavy, steady work of the season; rod by rod, acre by acre with the patience of the ploughman.
n.b. With lambs weaned after four months, or so, the bonds between ewe and offspring are still strong. When the flock is disturbed by a passing walker pausing and taking in the view at the gate, the baa-ing begins between ewes and lambs; they have recognisable voices. I am sure there must be shepherds who learn who is who in their flock from the individual calls.
n.b. Here, in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, (ANOB), the land is wonderous to observe.
These chalk hills, laid down over millenia, have been worked by various human species for tens of thousands of years, They have been sculpted by farming; stripped of variety by sheep and cattle; denuded of woodland by the need for fuel, housing and shipping.
What we are looking at is a wholly man-made environment. Even the hills have been re-shaped by tumuli and crowned by huge earthworks, such as Maiden Castle. It is not an area of natural nature, it is an area dominated by farming that is strictly managed by tight planning regulation to restrict changes to its current manicured presentation.
The outstanding natural beauty is found in small clumps of green, where the diversity of life exists in isolation. The planning regulations in an AONB inhibit development of these rare spaces, but still allow glades to be cleared, houses to be built – if you have money.