It’s already two months since I’ve ventured along the Lowman valley. The last time I was here the leaves were falling like bronze confetti; today the trees are bare and the freshly cut hedges catch the weak January sun like spiky flat tops. This lack of coverage means the vistas are even finer, and over on my right I glimpse a body of water that I learn later is called simply ‘The Lake’. Further investigations suggests it is likely at least in part the result of a flooded quarry. At Dog Down Cross the wind whips in from the North East, blasting the already decayed signpost whose fingers pointing to Bampton, Clayhanger, Hockworthy and Ashbrittle are barely legible under their layers of lichen. Meanwhile the finger that should point down the valley to Huxham is lost entirely, though whether this is the result of the ravages of time or vandalism by locals looking to confuse tourists is anyone’s guess.