Country diary: green shoots amid the retreating snow

Panorama of a city business district with office buildings and skyscrapers and superimposed data, charts and diagrams related to stock market, currency exchange and global finance. Blue line graphs with numbers and exchange rates, candlestick charts and financial figures fill the image with a glowing light. Sunset light.

Langley, Northumberland: The track with its parallel walls seems to pull me along as it swoops towards the land below

I’ve often driven past this gated lane, or paused to photograph the cotton grass that covers the heather moorland with snow in June. Now, though, the snow is real, caught in the dyke-backs and the sunless hollows. Today I’ve stopped here for the first time on the search for new local places to walk.

A wide lane, bounded by stone walls on either side, it descends in undulations through the upland fields. Maybe it was once a drove road leading down to the Tyne Valley from the long spine of the “Paise Dyke”, as the road to Allendale is known. It’s a relief to see fields greening up after weeks of frost or mud.

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