It was a beautiful sunny December morning but the icy north-westerly wind hinted that winter really had arrived. The low sunlight picked out all the lumps and bumps in the fields, old field boundaries, terraces and trackways picked out in the pastures and largely swept away on the arable land. It was a great day for observing trees, their winter shapes so clear to see in the crisp light. Just above the River Pont near Stamfordham was an Ash tree with its typically untidy shape and a little further an impressive if slightly too tidy Sycamore stood next to a country lane.
The holly trees along the road sides and field edges were speckled with red berries and some of the hawthorn provided food for flocks of blackbirds and redwings, visitors from Scandinavia. These travellers are here to avoid the upcoming winter weather, which will inevitably be less severe than they would have had in Norway or Sweden.
In the small village of Dalton a flock of various tits fed in the trees above the old mill; blue, great, coal and long-tailed tits all feeding amongst lichen covered twigs. The path out of the village was along an old lane, an unusual survivor in this part of Britain. The tree-lined boundaries contained a numerous crab apple trees with the windfalls still littering the route.