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Friday, 31 July 2015

Passaford Lane


Here’s an environment. 

Passaford Lane leading from the Devon hamlet of Passaford to Mutters Moor named after Abraham Mutter, one of  smuggler Jack Rattenbury's accomplices. 

Passaford Lane is one of those sunken lanes or hollow ways often encountered in Devon. We have a few in Derbyshire too. It is a steady climb up to Mutters Moor. Rough and stony underfoot and quite gloomy in places with all the overhanging trees, but pleasant enough in summer. Jack and his band of smugglers may well have used it on their way to Otterton.

A rabbit hops into the path, spots us immediately and hops back. So I think of rabbits and Peter Rabbit one of Granddaughter’s favourite stories which I must know by heart.

The lane is strewn with flints of all shapes and sizes so now I'm reminded of Neolithic times. Flint tools and those ancient, mysterious folk who scratched a living in these hills, using those same flints to make their axes, arrowheads and scrapers. I wonder if I’ll find one?

It's sweaty work climbing, the sheltered ground still damp, the air humid. I think of water and if it is better to stop for a quick drink or wait until we reach the moor where a welcome breeze probably awaits. 

A wren flits through the bushes lining the lane. Was it a wren? Might have been a wren but gone now. May have been a robin after sandwich crumbs. Human = sandwich crumbs - is that how it goes in the robin’s brain?

The lane is an environment. It stimulates thoughts, sweat, muscles, digestion, memories, impressions, ideas, emotions and the imagination. Environments do that.

5 comments:

Roger said...

Particularly evocative is the special smell in such places. A special world we can never really be a part of.

Demetrius said...

Disgraceful, it should be widened immediately to allow caravans to pass each way. With the relevant additional facilities of course. Devon's economic growth depends on this kind of work.

A K Haart said...

Roger - yes, it's like trying to be part of that delicious aroma of rain after a long dry spell. The lane had a slightly damp, earthy, woody aroma, not as strong as it will be in autumn.

Demetrius - there wasn't even an ice-cream van at the top. These people don't know how to live.

James Higham said...

Not sure I'd have the energy these days.

A K Haart said...

James - doing it seems to create both the energy and a desire to do it again.