Country diary: yellow gorse reflects brilliance among the withered bracken
Kit Hill, Cornwall: The setting sun fills the south flank of the hill with golden colour – a gift for lingering walkers
Overlooking an expanse of darkening land, the south flank of Kit Hill catches light from the declining sun, now sinking towards far-off St Austell Bay. At the end of this unusually clear and sunny afternoon, dog walkers linger in the unexpected warmth, protected from the cold wind as they stroll along the trampled muddy path that glints with sparkles of granite. On either side, yellow gorse reflects brilliance among the withered bracken, heather, bramble and grass stalks, spun with gilded spider webs. Hollows, pits and dumps (relics from this once laboriously mined and quarried hill) shelter still-upright ferns; a bare wind-pruned thorn becomes a temporary perch for a throng of starlings, en route to their roost, and stunted hollies are berry free, unlike the increasingly rare and large specimens that survive on hedgerows downhill and nearer home.