Abthorpe, Northamptonshire Blue-purple columns of bugle and the crimped leaves of betony abound

“Do you ever get over to the Silverstone area?” queried John in his first email to me. I don’t, but when he then enthused that the rustic parish of Abthorpe “seemed to be a relic of a long disappeared countryside”, he had my attention.

South of Abthorpe a network of footpaths traverse straight lines across clayey fields of blossoming yellow oilseed rape and blue-green sprays of wheat. A visually unexceptional landscape perhaps, but an encounter soon hints at more. An unfamiliar voice from the apex of a small hedgerow tree: “Cheeese pleeese” it calls shrilly. And there it is, a neat little lemon-yellow bird with a fine acute bill – a male yellow wagtail. This red-listed insectivore was three times more common in 1970s Britain than it is today.

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Source: Guardian Environment