|Abandoned Moat Farm in Edgmanton|
Laxton is a village in Nottinghamshire. Its main claim to fame is that it is the only village in England that still operates the medieval "open field system" of agriculture.
I was there yesterday, still making a fashion statement, but this time my top was an authentic New York City Fire Department (NYFD) grey T-shirt, By the way, thinking about the good 'ol USA, it is generally believed that places there called Lexington can thank Laxton for their name.
What a joy it was to be out there in the May sunshine, plodding along rarely trodden public footpaths that took me to three more villages: Edgmanton, Weston and Moorhouse. I saw many things and creatures too: cattle and sheep, a badger and two hares that did not hang around long enough for me to get my camera out, a peacock, partridges, a fox, white geese with goslings and a barking brown dog that came out to "greet" me at Ladywood Farm.
|Laxton Church (Grade I listed) and dedicated to St Michael the Archangel|
Encountering unleashed dogs is one of the main perils of country walking. You approach farms with trepidation - aware that at any moment a dog may appear to drive you from its territory. Usually, they are chained up or in cages but once in a while there are scary meetings with dogs that are allowed to run free - even though the landowner is well aware that a public right of way passes through their property. As in urban areas, there are irresponsible dog owners out in the countryside too. Fortunately, I have never been bitten but I have had to say "Good boy!" on many occasions when I really meant "Back off Satan!"
|Not dandelion but hawkweed in West Field, Laxton|
I moved over the landscape like a beetle. In twelve miles I didn't see another rambler. Several sections of path were untrodden or badly signed. So different from The Peak District in that regard.
In lovely Edgmanton, anxious mothers called their children indoors as the stranger in the NYFD T-shirt plodded by. But soon he was gone - beetling along past the remains of ancient fish ponds and hedgerows with history. No stone wall field boundaries out there.
|Approaching the village of Weston and the spire of All Saints Church|
When I got back to Clint it was after five o'clock.
"Come on! Get your shoes on!" he snapped. "I'm sick of waiting here. One of those mucky tractors was eyeing me up earlier on. Let's get back to Sheffield tout suite!"
|Key worker scarecrow competition in Laxton. That's what COVID does to your head.|