You know I said I like stiles. Well here’s something even weirder; I love to see a lonely gatepost. By this I mean a gatepost which stands on its own, no gate, wall or fence surrounding it. History only knows what used to go on here that needed a gate. Like this one:

And notice, it’s not just a plain hunk of stone. Someone bothered to carve a bit of a pattern in it. Those hinges are so well inserted, they’re hanging on even though they haven’t been used (never mind oiled) for donkey’s years.

The two above were taken on the Ouzelwell slopes, near Lady Wood. The gateposts below can be found on the Caulms Wood escarpment a couple of miles away. When walking from my house, first you come to this one:

Which is pretty battered, but if you look closely you can still see bits of a stippled pattern. This stands on the bend of a really old cobbled track – actually, the bit where the track turns from cobbled to dirt.

Next you come to these two. You can still see the line of the old field boundary, and if you scrat around under the turf you can find the stones of a former dry stone wall. The problem with dry stone walls is that once they start to fall down it’s all too easy for people to pinch the stone. Not so with the gateposts, which must have as much below ground as they have above.

This pair of posts, on the other hand, stand in the middle of an expanse of grass with nothing to indicate the former boundary they provided a gateway through. The clump of trees on the top right is the site of a former house whose walls are no more than a foot high and buried in shrubbery. You can’t see it, obviously, but there’s another former house clump behind me. Don’t know whether the gateway was an easy way from one neighbour to get to the other, or whether a section of the track, which carries on across the hillside, broke off to come down to the second house.

The post standing on its own is extremely weathered, as you can see:

Its mate, however, has developed a symbiotic relationship with an elder bush, supporting the growth while the branches stave off the worst of the ageing process:

This was possibly installed by someone who considered themselves a cut above the rest, as they got a curved and carved top for their gatepost:

This obsession with nice bits of stone is maybe indicative of something in my psyche. I’m trying to avoid thinking about what.