Turn left up Yellow Lane

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CROWS chorus as we wend our way up Yellow Lane, an ancient byway cleaving ochre stone. I press my finger to the side: it feels moist, earthern.

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Daffodils tower over celandines and primroses peeping from grassy verges. Glimpses of bright blue sky and lime green fields flicker through patchwork hedgerows.

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Bindy’s on the lead in case she ends up under one of the occasional 4x4s that chunter past, or is startled by creatures scrabbling in the hedges.

Walking from Bradpole to Nettlecombe, we’re bathed in late sunshine at Cloverleaf Farm. Massing clouds are tinged with pink. Fingerposts are braced for yet more rain.

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It’s surprisingly hilly.

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We descend past Bell Cottage, to trees that winter left for dead.

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Then they’re basking in a golden glow as the sun beats a lazy retreat, leaving a spectacular haze behind us.

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I’m enchanted, full of deep joy that Spring is here. Mossy walls and ploughed fields take on a splendour that Bindy loves to look at, too.

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Lamb’s cries peter thinly off the hill. Two deer spring across fields, white bottoms capering. A buzzard flaps off a telephone wire as we approach.

This is mind-blowing. I half expect a mythical beast to show itself, perhaps a black dog, or black cat. A robin hops as, with the sun on our backs, Bindy ogles sheep and sniffs at badger tracks.

The map app instructs us to hang a sharp left down a track unsuitable for motor vehicles (I blush to remember trying to drive it a couple of years ago). Squelch, squelch, squelch.

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New moon hangs above us. It all smells wonderfully grassy in the cool dusk. Cows are lowing and the birds are still twittering.

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Down the hill, the lights of The Marquis of Lorne twinkle a welcome for their St Patrick’s Day shenanigans. I peel off wellies at the door. Was that the most beautiful walk of my life?

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2 thoughts on “Turn left up Yellow Lane

  1. The start of your walk reminds me of the hollow ways Louise Hodgson talks about in her book ‘Secret Places of West Dorset’, such as Spinners’ Lane in Walditch and one north of West Milton – have you discovered them? Louise says, ‘Hollow way comes from the Anglo-Saxon hola weg meaning ‘harrowed path’ or ‘sunken road’. Old route-ways are an understudied and underappreciated component of our historic landscape and Dorset is rich in these old ways … these sunken labyrinths of wildness, forgotten and underused, are hallowed as well as hollowed …’ she goes on to talk about associated hauntings. It’s a shame you didn’t see a mysterious black cat on your travels. Local expert Merrily Harpur (author of ‘Roaring Dorset! Encounters with Big Cats’ and ‘Mystery Big Cats’) says ‘Dorset is the county in which you are, arguably, most likely to encounter an anomalous big cat. It is third in the county league table of sightings … anyone strolling around the countryside might intriguingly glimpse one … They are a mystery that four decades of research has been unable to solve.’ So do keep a look-out and let us/Merrily know if you encounter one. Happy exploring!

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