• They spread and they spread

    When we arrived in Herefordshire almost 30 years ago we soon got our bearings and using old maps, latterly a wonderful 25"/mile sheet from 1904, came to understand how the landscape around us had changed in a century. Dozens of orchards had disappeared - a trend that was still ongoing when we moved here, but has slowed down considerably in the last 20 years as thankfully a handful of people have come to realise how ecologically valuable old orchards can be. We found footpaths and bridleways that had been long forgotten and cottages that had been erased completely.

    Barely 500 yards along our track and out across the fields a tiny triangular copse marks the site of one of these erstwhile abodes - now reduced to a few ridges and mounds and forlorn, forgotten bits of rusty old ironwork and scattered bricks. The cottage must once have had its own little garden with a few clumps of snowdrops that burst forth every January. Abandoned, the garden has all but disappeared beneath brambles and nettles and yet every January the snowdrops spring back to life, multiplying, spreading throughout the copse. Any human influence here fizzled out over 70 years ago, but nature ploughs on regardless. I love it!

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