IT’S COOL and calm and we are all alone, on Allington Hill.
Steeply, we climb the rocky, winding footpath. Shrieks and twitterings echo from trees.
Pigeons warble. Crows caw and circle. Dead leaves rustle, spiralling out of the sky.
Coppery ones crunch underfoot, as Bindy sticks her face into rabbit holes. She’s the same colour as mud on the track, dried to a gingerish, sandy hue.
Ferns, ivy and holly are still gloriously green, this warm October morning. There’s pink flowers…
…and red berries…
…even a cricket, chirping away in the long grass. (Or is it a grasshopper?)
We head for Lime Kiln Track, where the wind in the birches sounds like water. The summit is strangely cratered – was this a Roman fort? No, says the Woodland Trust – these small pits are quarries dating back to the 13th century.
The vista of the Marshwood Vale opens up as we round onto Jubilee Way.
All around us are the gentle noises of Bridport – traffic on the A35, a lawnmower, a horse whinnying in Symondsbury.
Laughter echoes up from some outhouses somewhere down below. Gone are golden fields of late summer. We spy creamy dots of sheep and Frisians clustering in the shadow of Colmers Hill.We amble past banks of brambles, fragrant with blackberries.
Above, apples are lit up, like little suns.
Ahead, a couple meanders, arm in arm. We descend, autumn sunlight winking through the foliage.
Below Bluebell Walk is The Drive, strewn with bark, winding into a leafy tunnel.
Bindy’s close at heel, not wanting this walk to end. But we’ll be back tomorrow, and the next day, and the next…