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Saturday 23rd October 1999

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ducks and a pigeon WE LOOK BACK at five ducks and a single pigeon which are snoozing in the sun in the gateway to a garden. For the first time we notice that the stone post by the lane is a milestone.

milestone The sun picks out the inscription;

'Wakefield, 4 miles 934 yards'
I like the degree of accuracy.

On the other side it's;

'Huddersfield, 9 miles'

packhorses I was impressed by mysterious atmosphere of the lane in the mist last Thursday. It doesn't surprise me to see this evidence of its long history. But I'm surprised that we've walked past so many times without noticing it.

At the time the stone was carved this narrow, in parts sunken, lane was one of the main routes along the valley. Much of the packhorse traffic would have been connected with the woollen industry.

kestrel Over the park a Magpie gives magpieclose chase to a Kestrel. So many people complain about the magpie, it's nice to see this proverbial villain full of righteous indignation for a change.

toadstools under beech Chestnut brown-capped fungi with white stems and gills grow under a Beech amongst the fallen leaves.

long-tailed tits On the towpath there is a group of Long-tailed Tits in the hawthorns and, once again, a Kingfisher flying on ahead of us and stopping in the overhanging branches of the thorns on the opposite bank. As I've probably mentioned before, kingfishers used to be a rare sight. Now we see them as often as we might see Mistle Thrushes and more often than we see Song Thrushes.

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

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