On the A4169, just over the brow of the hill where the verge widens before the gateway down to Shadwell Quarry, it shows its true colours. Blown by the swiping wake of lorries piled with larch-lap fencing, the down has drifted off like steam rising from the tilth of fields across the road. Now liberated from growing and flowering and seeding, it is free to show the glorious trauma which earned its title, ‘fireweed’. Scarlet, crimson, sienna, umber, tangerine: its blitz colours burn along the roadside above a gutter-mulch of ash leaves and stubborn grass. Rosebay follows traffic and fire. It sets ...


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