Our Boxing day walk threaded forest edge and reed dense rough grazing. Two peat rich burns merge below the forestry village and our short walk encircles the modern settlement of some 30 + houses and village hall. It was created by the forestry commission for the permanent workforce after huge swathes of conifer began to be planted here in the 1950’s, but is now occupied as affordable housing by a population with only tangental connections to commercial forestry. We cross a footbridge and follow the tributary stream past an attractive series of small waterfalls marking the boundaries between underlying shale and sandstone layers. We navigate a tricky fording of the peat rich flow and trace our way over a mass of moss and reeds to a corner of mature forest with its diminishing avenues drawing our eyes to distant vertical exits. The village campsite, now bereft of tents, lies closed until Spring. Power here is proudly renewable, thanks to national park & government grants, all solar or wind. At the village visitor car park where we started & finished our mile and a quarter hike, there is an information board and a composting toilet. Below the dark skies observatory the sad sight of three fallen totem poles lying on the ground. Carved some years ago and a local landmark, the fallen timbers show clear rot at their hearts. Will they be replaced we wonder? Let’s hope so. Somehow they catch a spirit of place here in this remote spot, perfectly still under a grey sky with not a soul in sight; just the odd vehicle passing.

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