For the team at Kingcombe, the garden’s design and layout is geared far more to visitors with six or eight legs than two. In one corner is a well-stocked bug hotel, thoughtfully kitted out with bits of twig and straw, flowerpots stuffed with hollow bamboo stems, pinecones, hunks of mossy bark and scrolls of corrugated card. The only thing that’s missing is a little swinging sign saying ‘Vacancies’.
If you are lucky enough to witness roosting horseshoe bats, you may see them gently swinging to and fro, rather like a gymnast about to start a routine on the high bars. They have switched on their directional sonar and are detecting your whereabouts. They know you are there.
When it rains in the hills the river down here
sings a wild song, foams at the mouth,
twists its tongue on the messages it brings,
keeps us in our place.
Richard Skelton has spent nearly half a decade living in a small valley, high in the Furness hills of Cumbria, in northern England. Beyond the Fell Wall is a distillation of his thoughts and observations on this particular patch of land.