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56 The Post • A Walk in South Devon


been replaced by modern breeds and dairy herds by beef cattle. Of 30 milking herds in the parish in the 1950s, only 4 remain. This walk follows several ‘green lanes’. Green lanes are ancient ways that were once trading, droving and smuggling routes. They would also have been used at one time by the people trying to avoid the tolls imposed on the main turnpike roads. Many of the area’s green lanes have fallen into disrepair over the years, becoming eroded and overgrown. However, two initiatives in recent times have helped halt the slide. One of these, On the Right Tracks, has used money donated by visitors through local businesses to carry out vital repair work to the network. 50 green lanes have also been restored through ‘Life into Landscape’, a project supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund which has enabled resurfacing, drainage, clearance,


and hedgerow restoration works to take place.


Wildlife Rushes are found in the damp grassy bottom of the first valley walked on the route provide butterfly ‘rides’ - warm, sheltered and sunny corridors


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Hoppy Green Lane Photo by Derek-Harper.


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between trees and hedge- banks that are perfect for these insects. The meadows south of Alleron Bridge are also rich in but- terflies. Species include the Clouded Yellow, with dark fringes to its yellow wings, and the large colourful wing ‘eyes’ of the Peacock Butterfly. The subtle brown and cream speck- led wood, orange and white- winged orange tip, and the Red Admiral, with its white and red markings against a black dark background, are also all likely sightings. Seasonal flowers along the route include the bright yellow stars of Celandine, delicate pur- ple violets, and leggy Red Cam- pion with deep pink blooms, all of these classic hedgerow plants. In the spring, Primroses are especially plentiful on the green lane at Beer Hill. Among the birdlife, the Buz- zard may be seen wheeling on the thermal air currents above or even perched in trees or on posts. A large and handsome bird of prey, it has rich brown plumage with pale barred markings, and flies on broad wings with ‘fingered’ tips. By the early 20th Century, the buzzard had been persecuted almost to extinction but it is now a familiar sight in the South Devon countryside.


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