Sunday, 15 March 2009

Friday's Walk

Now that spring is here I have no excuse not to get back into my walking regime again (apart from gardening that is!) Anyway, nothing daunted, on Friday I set off to do a local walk using two footpaths I've not used before. The first one was great - contouring and cutting off the steepest bit of the hill - the bit wot has an arrow on it on the map, showing it's like mountaineering - a mini Porlock Hill in fact. The 2nd footpath leads around what was a promontory fort in Bronze Age times, and was then commandeered by the Normans as a suitable spot to put a motte and bailey on. Sadly, from my muddy pathway in the bottom, the hillsides were too steep to see the motte from.

There were a few wild daffodils flowering in the woods. I should love to go to the woodlands in Herefordshire now, where there will be acres of these tiny wild daffodils around Much Marcle.

As it is such wet woodland (all woodland is around here, because of clay over a bedrock of poor slate) there was plenty of Saxifraga oppositifolium (for some reason it is properly known as Chrysoplenium oppositifolium but I used an old book when originally identifying it - Keble Martin perhaps?) Anyway it's about the only Latin name I know and trips off the tongue beautifully! My girls used to chant it when they were small : ) It is flowering now and en masse is really pretty, despite such a tiny and basic "flower".

I had two choices of pathway home and as it had come on to rain as I reached the quarry where the path split, I came back through the woods on an ancient farm track which I think once led straight to the grange which was the last outpost of Talley Abbey's land, whose boundary was the nameless stream which bounds under the bridge by Trinity Church. The alternative was to cross a field and then a rickety bridge which was once the crossing to the tiny school (now a private dwelling) and back along the road.

I plodded along through the mud and puddles, past the stands for the local Shoot, and noted they had ruined the view of the little waterfall by cutting down trees and blocking it off, just so the "Guns" had a good spot to stand.

This is a trackway we used to ride along, and it held bittersweet memories of quick canters on Fahly, with Maggie doing her best flat-out trot (she could win trotting races, easy peasy!)

I was shocked, walking past the top of our yard on the farm trackway, what a MESS it looked. In fact, so much of a mess that I spent the rest of the day removing a couple of dozen strawberry plants which are now re-established in the paddock intake bit, weeding, tying up the tayberry and loganberry and planting to more tayberries, and then mulching them all. I also cut off two overgrown and cankered branches from the Pippin apple tree, cut back some Snow Berries (SO invasive), ripped out brambles and generally began the Big Tidy Up. It was so warm in the yard and March is always the time when I set the long soft fruit bed to rights. The gooseberries are looking very positive, with plenty of leaf spring forth and I am hoping for bumper crops again this year. They were pruned hard two years ago, but needed it - you could hardly get between branches to pick the fruit and we had about 30 lbs gooseberries that year. I must learn to bottle them this year . . .
At the top of the hill, the Canada Geese I have heard flying over, honking, most days, have stopped for B&B on their way South.

I obviously looked as if I needed Checking Out!
Cutting across the field, the view was slightly different than from the road.

This splendid oak tree was once part of a field boundary which is still shown on my map, though long gone.

This triangle of lnd suggests to me that there was once a cottage here, though no wall line remains, but as I approached it from the side, lots of debris has been accumulated, rather like a middle eastern Tell.

Shards of Victorian steen in the middle of the field, which remain from when china was thrown n the muck heap and then the muck heap strewn across the fields.

In Dorset we called these streams winterbournes (several villages have this name) as they only manifest themselves in the winter - or very wet summer weather!

Don't know what THIS chap is about?

Just a few primroses on the banks - delayed this year due to the cold weather - there are normally yards and yards of them.

The footpath at the bottom of the hillfort.

A carpet of Saxifraga oppositifolium.

The wet hillside led to a small stream at the bottom.

Wild daffodils.

The farm track home.

Trap for anything which might get tempted by young pheasants . . .

A badger sett.


sukipoet said...

what a wonderful walk and just out your doorway. Amazing there are so many paths that there are some you have not yet wandered. Thanks.

LBP said...

Thank you so much for taking us along with you on your interesting walks! I love the word "winterbourne" I have never heard of it, but I have seen those small streams pop up in fields.



granny said...

Beautiful photos again,thankyou.If only that little bunny could talk,I bet he has some stories to tell :0)

Arlene Grimm said...

Loved the bunny in the funny.

thelma said...

Jenni was that a real trap, and if so, should'nt you set it off?. That extraordinary long name for a flower, think I saw it in Essex in a wood, must check my Marjorie Blamey for it.
Lovely walk through a Welsh countryside by the way...

Bovey Belle said...

Yup Thelma - a real trap. We have polecats and mink (which i think it was set for)and they will wreak havoc amongst young game birds (and domestic fowl, as we found to our dismay when we kept poultry).

More upsetting is the farmer up the hill who sets snares for foxes. Having seen a fox he had caught, dancing around like a hangman's victim (only caught by the paw), it turned my stomach.