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This report is taken from PN Review 117, Volume 24 Number 1, September - October 1997.

Beating the Bounds Lawrence Sail

The last Sunday in May; and a walk of twelve miles or so on the eastern side of Dartmoor revealing a world every bit as beautiful as Hopkins found the bluebells in Hodder Wood at the same time of year, in 1873, or D.H. Lawrence the Cornish ones, forty-three Mays and a whole changed world later. In the banks and hedgerows of the lanes skirting the open moor, were drifts of pink purslane, along with stichwort, red campion, herb robert: at the edges of the moor itself, stands of bluebells, their elusive colour heightened by the sunlit ginger of last year's bracken among which they were growing. Here and there, creamy clusters of flowers weighting the upper branches of the rowans. And as a complement to all this, near the end of the walk, there came a view from the higher moor back towards the village from which we had set out. There was no mistaking the focal point of the church, with its square tower harboured by tall trees. To one side lay the lush green of a field tamed to a cricket pitch, where fifteen diminutive figures stood, each in his allotted place. They went about their rituals like figures in a dream: even a cry of 'Howzat!', the eagerness of it softened by distance, emphasised rather than diminished the impression of a scene out of time, closed off from the outside world, to be glimpsed now and then by Wellsian explorers topping some far ridge.

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