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Countrystride #54: DAMSONS OF THE LYTH VALLEY

…in which we journey south to the snow-blossomed Lyth Valley to unearth the heritage of damson plums with long-time friends and local lads Desmond Holmes and Hartley Trotter. As shadows lengthen over the peat-cut mosses, we take a trip down memory lane, considering the history of the nutty-flavoured ‘Shropshire prune’ - from its use in the Kendal tanning trade to its long association with northern jam; we hear tales of the families, prisoners of war and Land Girls who picked the fruit; we reminisce about bonfires on Whitbarrow, Melvyn's Mobile Cinema and threshing-day hotpots; and we discover why retirement is still a long way off for the two octogenarians…



View over the Lyth Valley.

Our guests: Hartley Trotter (left), Mark and Desmond Holmes (right).
The view from Hartley's patio, his orchard below and Scout Scar on the horizon beyond the Mosses.
Helen in front of Hartley's orchard.
Limestone lane and a damson prune in blossom.