Tuesday, 8 June 2010
BUTTERCUPS AT BUTTERKNOWLE
Footpath markers criss-cross the British countryside. They point the way across fields and stiles. This stile is a wooden climb through a drystone wall and it was easy to cross. Others on this walk were wonky, well hidden by thorny bushes and/or covered with nettles. DJ discovered that shorts are not always a good thing on a warm sunny day.
Butterknowle is at the western end of the old coalfield. At this high spot on the fells of the Durham Pennines, the coal seams were nearest the surface. The coal was found early and many mines were dug down and into the hillsides. The coal finished quickly because the seams dipped down and away to the North Sea to the east.
Our walk took us past several old pits but the above is evidence of the waste slag and an old building.
The area is now agricultural. The meadows were full of buttercups, the trees were blossoming and the burns were trickling through the trees. The foals are everywhere and the horses are pleased to see you.
The Appleby horse fair is on this time of year, so gypsies, tinkers and other travellers abound. There are horses, waggons, carts and big caravans. Nearly every paddock has a few foals sun-bathing out-stretched on the ground or prancing around. It's lovely.