This is a place of contrasts. A landscape of light and shadow.
Ice, created in the cold dark hours of the night, still lurks in the shade, certain of its grip only as long as the sun stays away. But light is inexorable; it creeps around corners reaching into the dark places, warming them and banishing the frost. Only the return of night will release it.
The cars have been painted overnight with the lightest of brushes. Intricate patterns of swirling ice leave behind the imprint of ethereal leaves.
Vegetation still standing from summer framed and encased with thousands of droplets of water, frozen in their moment of suspended animation.
The ancient oaks lining the old paths around the fields have more or less dropped their leaves and now stand stark against the skyline, their branches a twisted supplication to the Spirits of the Air for the return of the light and the start of a new season of growth.
Hidden down old Green Lanes walked for centuries and now largely forgotten, tumbled down trees stagger across the paths and offer up their secret bounty of sulphurous mushrooms, the unexpected riot of colour given by way of apology.
Bales of hay left out in the fields since the harvest remain there in long lines, like forgotten sentries.
The thorns in the hedges whisper of their ancient purpose, faint echoes left over from a time when nature's barbs had the job of enclosing animals.
The skies seem somehow larger in winter; a vast acreage enfolding the dormant land.
Deer, disturbed by our presence stand and stare, immobile for a heart beat before the loud hammering of instinct takes over and drives all thought from them. They flee, certain that we mean danger.
Along the hedges, architectural umbellifers offer themselves to the skies, dessicated suggestions of former glory.
And beneath and behind and around it all the Chalk stretches, record of an ancient geology, its layers of time frozen and captured in the crushed skeletons of a million small sea creatures. It rolls out and away, dipping and curling, cradling the winter crops and nursing the few wild things that still live among it, rolling and unrolling, a never-ending landscape as vast as the skies above.