I was lucky enough to experience exactly this earlier in the year. Having lost one of my most frequented permissions in Lincolnshire to the dreaded green waste, I rang a number of farmers who had previously been kind enough to let me search their land to see if they had anywhere available. All were unfortunately saying “No” until, near the bottom of my list, I finally got a “Yes!” The farmer remembered me and said that if I popped over he would show me where I could go, including two new fields that he had bought from his neighbour the previous year. Now, popping over is not that easy, as I live near Wigan and the farm is in Lincolnshire, some 125 miles away. But I made arrangements to see him early the following Friday, before he went away for the weekend.
Friday took an age to come round, and after a very early start, I battled the M62 across the cold, misty Pennines and fought through the early rush hour traffic south of Leeds. I headed down the Roman road known as Ermine Street before taking a narrow side road into the quiet countryside under a cloudless, ice blue January sky.
The farmer was ready when I arrived and I jumped into his Land Rover and was given a tour of his six fields. It was, however the two new fields that I was most interested in. They still contained the dead stubble from last year’s crop but they were close to a small ancient village and a few hundred yards from the village church. The farmer said that he ha