Today I have been a-sawing and a-lopping, mostly holly, but some hazel, blackthorn and hawthorn too. Much of it has been slim branches above head height, so my hair and fleece are peppered with holly sawdust, and I smell strangely piney and sappy.
Across the farm there are a few linear areas that are neither field nor boundary. They are tracks wide enough (just) to have once driven a horse and farm cart through, and are ditched, banked and hedged at the sides. It is possible, indeed probable that pre-records the tracks joined up to allow the farmer reasonable access to wet and hard to reach fields, but now they stand alone, shortened, testimony to past times.
I call them green lanes - although they are not in the true definition of the word - because that is what they look like; leafy tracks, arched by trees and native hedge, and in autumn paved with leaves.
Back in 2005 the tracks were hidden beneath willow and bramble, the ground heavily poached by cows, the banks slumped, the ditches choked and deep clay covering the loose stone that was once scattered on the surface. One of these tracks was made both passable and off limits to livestock last winter, and now it is the turn of the T-shaped lane running from the farmyard down to the lower fields. From what was a shambles, I have cut a path. It looks glorious right now, but next week the beautiful arches will be cut and laid into hedges. I know though that in a very few years the Gothic shape will be back and I will once again get horrendously sweaty in my efforts to tame what won't be permanently tamed.