A Landscape through Time
The ramblers finally reap reward
at top of hill where they pause,
gasping for breath, hearts pound, calves burn
as about them they look, look and turn,
to see the Dalescape laid out below
what formed this magnificence? They want to know.
The stone was laid in ancient warm seas
where, waving branches like trees in a breeze,
generations of corals lived, died,
sediment compressed, thrust to the skies
by tectonic forces immense, slow,
from which hills silently grow.
Ice Age glaciers carved the Dales,
meltwater traced ghost rivers trails,
leaving waterfalls long since dry,
erratics, spewed from glacier foot, lie
marooned on hilltops, where children play
imagining giants arranged them this way.
The first men came just to hunt
leaving behind only tools too blunt.
Lynchet terraces marked the fields,
dry stone walls drizzled the hills,
where man began to leave his mark
on this modern day National Park.
Legions of boots and hooves
gouged out telltale grooves,
of Roman roads, drovers lanes.
Monastic flocks from vast Fountains
driven miles over the hills
to distant markets in the vales.
Industry and mining took its toll
as man dug out lime, lead and coal.
Mills, canals, Ribblehead’s great span
devised by engineers Victorian.
Tarmac rivers wind near and far
bringing tourists and the age of car.
The ramblers take part themselves
As hiking boots mark out trails:
Pennine, Nidderdale, Coast to Coast,
all have spectacular views to boast
and ramblers, awed, try to define
the essence, of a landscape through time.