At the edge of the puddle are two sets of deer prints

THIS farm has been neglected while waiting for a new owner, and Nature has not stood upon ceremony in reclaiming her own.

Bracken sweeps along the open ground while woodland stretches are dark and devoid of cover, all plant life shaded out except here and there where a tree has fallen.

Thin sour soil, this, held together in places by heather and eroded by the wind into patches, by the sun into cracks. Now rain runs down the gaps, but not enough to seal them.

The river is nearby, and a tributary cuts across a corner of the farm, doing little good in its silted-up present form, though the diggers are here now to open up a pond, and pipes will be installed to stop the floodwater washing off more soil.

You could not grow crops on this if you wanted to: it is grazing land, which is the best use for poor-quality hungry soil.

As a side-effect, wild flowers grow, which bring in flocks of insects to feed flocks of birds. The shower pimples grey water on the surface of the work so far.

Pylons march across the land: a problem or not depending how sensitive you are to the hum and emanations.

They have their own angular looks, but I don’t like to walk under them, and most animals avoid them too if they have the chance.

There are rabbits here, which is why I am, two badger setts, one of which is active, and I am not sure how many fox earths and where because I have not yet walked the land enough.

You need to go over land so many times to pick up the feel, the warp and weft of it. The farm is waiting for its future.

The new fences are partly built: the old fence staggers gap-toothed along the boundaries, the ditches overgrown, barbed wire much in evidence. Here rubbish has been tipped and deep ruts show the to and fro of people who have no business here.

Now the gates have been replaced at either end, and when the fence is complete, maybe the rubbish can go as well. So much to be done, and this is just the land: the house and the buildings need some care as well.

Here at the edge of a puddle are deer prints; two sets large and one set tiny. They will enjoy the pond, I think, for it has been given gentle slopes for animals to come and drink in safety.

In winter, this land lies heavy, as evidenced by the coarse grasses and sedges, but when the ditches run again, the mud will not be quite so bad.

Here lies a derelict caravan, slewed on its axels deeply into the ruts. More work for someone. It would make a good wildlife-watching base if it were not such an eyesore. The shower stops and humidity rises, plus a host of biting insects.

Along the ridge goes the single footpath, the passing of humanity once again marked by litter. It is not such a popular path, but may become so in time, once the flooding becomes less.

It is honeycombed with rabbit workings down the side, which is useful from my point of view because if you want to reduce rabbit numbers you need to be able to get at where they live.

The rabbits are useful to another as well, for a fox is creeping down the hedgeline, intent on his hunting and heeding me not at all.

Small rabbits spill suddenly through the grass as he pounces, crunches, swallows and moves on.

I am alone today with no dog to restrain from chasing the fox, so I stand and watch him hunt for quite a while, until the midges get too much for me and I start on my way back to the far gates.