The seasons

Lancashire Life|July 2020

The seasons
Summer comes to Pendle Hill and brings a cacophony of bird song and hazy views across towns and villages
Jon Flinn

The shiny metal and glass of Burnley sparkles in the bright morning sun far below. Ahead is the abrupt and uncompromising brutalism of Pendle Hill.

It’s the very end of May but the path across the pastures towards the hill from Newchurch is crusty and baked as though it were the height of summer and not just the very start.

Along the path towards Fell Wood the calves lie dazed and listless but the mothers rise protectively as walkers approach. A kestrel hovers for seconds before plummeting down out of sight into the hill-top reeds and long grass. Three much smaller birds flash red and yellow as they dip and rise into the breeze before they too disappear. Goldfinches are everywhere this year but it’s good to see them away from allotment plots and the niger seed birdfeeders of suburbia.

Further along the path, the drystone walls lining the fields are warm to the touch but the eastern edge of the wood tells a story of different weather with its wind-felled trees and triangular walls of root-bound earth and stone shaped like the cones of giant witch’s hats.

Inside the wood the drainage gullies running down the hill and under the Pendle Way path are dry and full only of bark and sticks broken from the limbs of trees in the high winds earlier in spring. The moss which lines the gullies looks pale, but Fell Wood is very much alive.


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July 2020