Anne Waggot Knott – Bibliotreks Part 5

Great Knoutberry Hill, a stone path across a dried up muddy landscape.

Bibliotreks: 5. Around Great Knoutberry Hill

Did I find what I was looking for on this, my fifth and final walk? Yes and no.

I was aiming for a little moorland tarn. The dry stone walls follow the county boundary, crossing the centre of the tarn which has a structure in the middle: a dry stone grouse butt. I had my swimsuit in my bag and was hoping for a refreshing dip, a symbolic swim across the border.

I found the grouse butt. It’s a stunning little piece of architecture, crafted, well-considered, a really special place. But I didn’t find much of the tarn. Certainly not enough to swim in! It had dried up in the recent heat, the bed a cracked skin of peat pitted with the hopeful tracks of birds and animals.

It’s been so dry recently, I wonder at what point ‘heatwave’ becomes ‘drought’. The cracked, eroded peatbog was clearly suffering. This is such a fragile environment and I felt I should leave it be. It’s a beautiful place but in wetter weather it would be a near-impossible bog trot, so be warned!

Thunder was rumbling moodily. I beat a hasty retreat before its favourite companion joined in too. This walk was definitely about water, and the lack of it. Drought and storms, often symptoms of human carelessness.

Anne Waggot Knott

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