It may not be the best known part of Hadrian’s Wall, and there is no wall to be seen, but the low winter sun, hard frost and calm conditions made for a great short walk. Halton is a small scattered hamlet centred around Halton Castle and its small neighbouring church. The lumps and bumps in the ground could be the vallum of the Roman wall, the remains of rigg and furrow or more recent quarrying.
The sun did manage to melt off the frost where it fell but in the shady spots it lingered. There were few plants out in flower though a dog’s mercury had done so in a sheltered spot below the castle. Birds were a little more abundant, if rather shy; yellow hammers and chaffinches hung around in the young plantations while blackbirds and fieldfares fled from hedgerows as we approached. Least bothered by us was a grey wagtail feeding in the mud of the old mill pond.
Once again there were lichens to be seen, often providing the only real colour on the walls and trees. The yellows of Xanthoria in particular give flashes of brightness on stone walls and hedgerow twigs.