Country diary: the fells are buzzing with hope

Thousands of birch, holly, hawthorn, rowan, oak, alder and aspen are being planted to create new habitats and lessen flooding It was midday, but already the sun was low to the alder-fringed ridge of Dryhowe Pasture. A buzzard passed above the skyline, its underwings and tail stained like December’s landscape: peat-dark, and the paler patches like snow-remnants on winter bracken. A kestrel swerved elegantly into view, then dropped into the top of a birch tree, sunlight filtering through its fanned wings.

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