By: Blonde Two
The latest Two Blondes’ expedition was not up on the wilds of Dartmoor but up and down some of South Devon’s green lanes. I am not sure what green lanes look like in the rest of the country (please do tell me) but down here in Devonshire, they are often sunken with tree roots at eye level and trees arching over the path. If you have an Ordnance Survey map, the green lanes are easy to find but you do need to make sure that a) you are allowed to use them and b) they are actually passable. Footpaths (people), bridleways (people, horses and bikes) and byways (people, horses, bikes, motorbikes and 4x4s) are all marked on the OS map but you will need to check permissions for the other tracks that are marked as white.
You can be quite clever planning routes around green lanes, if you know where you are (a great excuse for exploration), you can walk in the countryside between quite busy towns all day and never be too far from home. Some are well looked after and provide a pleasant walking environment, others are more worn down and involve a fair amount of picking through rocks and tree roots. Most of the ones that we used were very steep!
Just like the tracks on Dartmoor, Devon green lanes can have very pretty local names; ‘Sweetheart’s Lane’ in Galmpton, ‘Drunkard’s Lane’ in Aveton Gifford and ‘Runaway Lane’ in Modbury are a few examples. We Blondes have walked this expedition route a few times before and have given its lanes our own set of Blonde names.
Hay Bale Lane – purportedly a byway but blocked at one end by a local farmer and his very big hay bale.
Puddle Lane – always has an enormous puddle (more like a river) that requires wading through or climbing around. Mountain goat Blonde One climbs, I pick my way through the red mud!
Nettle Lane – we must have first visited it later in the year and at that time, the nettles were armpit high and sticks were required to break through.
The Worst Lane in the World – always dusty, far too steep and goes on and on and on. I defy anyone to enjoy walking up it.
Green lanes are good fun to explore and almost always link pubs together (or churches if you prefer). I would recommend taking a map as their enclosed nature can make them a bit confusing. It is a bank holiday today, why don’t you go and find some?