30/04/2015 - 21:10



Glazegate Lane is an ancient 'green lane' that traverses a combe set amidst a series of undulating hills and valleys in the South Hams district of Devon. It is a conduit through a rural idyll, a wildlife corridor full of bucolic charm and it is a palpable gateway into deep time.






Within the South Hams there are 191 of these ancient tracks, each steeped in millennia of usage by myriad travellers. Some to take livestock to market; others to haul smugglers' contraband from the coast; the fishchowters who would land their catch of fish downstream of Totnes quay side to avoid paying duties.



The characterful holloway sections, where the branches of the hedges on the earthen banks embrace one another, are portals that ensconce the traveller. The colonnade of the trees' inner canopy and the high banks offer shade from the sun, some respite from the winds and soften the impact of rain showers for those upon a journey. In spring time Red Campion, Bluebells, Buttercups and a wealth of charming wildflowers adorn the banks, themselves richly festooned in ferns, mosses and ivy. Rabbits burrow into the sidewalls and badgers, hedgehogs and field mice can be seen at times scurrying about in the gloaming luminance of dawn and twilight. One soon forgets the not too distant modern roadways and sounds of bird song, mooing cattle, bleating sheep across the combe, warm spring breezes blowing through the flora fill the ear and mind instead. It is place, like all of the old ways, to walk unhurried... to savour the opportunity to immerse the senses. In adopting the slow pace of the pastoral landscape, we learn to see rather than look and the bounty of what one begins to notice about the natural and rural charm becomes all the more rich for it.



'Glazegate Gold'


It gladdens me to know that such places are still here for us to enjoy, steeped in a long history of traveller's journeys for multitude reasons - each with a story I am sure! These green lanes exist in many parts of the UK and elsewhere in Europe, so even if you are unable to explore the 400 odd miles in the South Hams, there maybe one waiting for you to add more footsteps to  - near where you live.








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