There used to be two paper mills in the glen below my house, but it takes an archaeologist’s eye to see them now.
You’ll find traces if you know where to look: the bit of railway track in the Esk, the broken concrete blocks under the birch roots, the knobbled trunk of a fallen monkey puzzle tree that once stood in the mill owner’s garden.
With a little help, the dereliction of industry returns to earth.
Now we walk there and mark the seasons by snow drops and crocuses, savoury shoots of wild garlic, gorse blossom, the progression of greens, yellows, reds and browns as summer turns the corner.
We make campfires and dens, search out frog spawn and blackberries.
This place gives me hope: that wildness will creep between the cracks and that nature will win, in the end.