A few hundred miles south from home and spring is well advanced. The mornings were still frosty but the warmth of the February sun is noticeably hotter than in Northumberland. So in the lanes that criss-cross the countryside the primroses and celandines were in bloom. In the sheltered spots the hazel trees were showing both the male catkins and the tiny red female flowers.
Recent heavy rain made many of the lanes somewhat muddy, exacerbated by the seasonal cutting and harvesting of sections of the lane side trees. Some of the lanes are kept clear as part of footpath routes that cross the area or seem to exist around every local village. Unfortunately those lanes not designated as such are slowly disappearing, nature taking over again as large tractors require alternative access to the neighbouring fields.
In a few months the lane verges will be a blaze of colour from the spring flowers, for now it’s the more subtle hues of yellow and green; a soft and gentle introduction to the new year.