This post features a wander in the countryside beyond our garden gate. We literally walk down to the bottom of the garden, past the chucks, go through the wooden gate and enter our borrowed landscape. We ambled for four hours spending much of the time standing, looking and listening or sitting and taking in the atmosphere. At no time were we more than a mile from our home.
An alternative title for the post could be “Why we live where we live and why we love where we live.” Join us as we wander around our local patch, our own personal bit of countryside.
We walked alongside the fence line along the paddock to join the public footpath which led us diagonally across a field of winter wheat. Reaching the far side of the field we looked back to get a view of our home snuggled within the short row of houses.
Looking back across the field we have just crossed gives us a different view of one of the hills we can see from the garden.
We needed now to walk along a lane for a while, a narrow lane with high hedges on each side and verges full of wildflowers. Climbers clambered over the hedging bushes.
A bonus was the appearance of the first ripe blackberries. We enjoyed them and thanked the blackbirds for sharing their larder with us.
Luckily this gently uphill trek on tarmac was short-lived and we soon clambered over the hedge via a wooden style and revelled in walking with the feel of soft grass beneath our feet. Here the land is rich pastureland enjoyed by dairy cattle. The cows here were all lazily sitting down chewing their cud.
A tiny stream acted as our guide across the pasture and to the edge of our secret wood with abandoned fishing pools now overgrown and in places looking more like swamp land.
Whenever we walk this wood, whatever the time of year and whatever the weather, the light has a special quality which lights up the overgrown pools and turns trees and bushes into silhouettes.
We can look up into the tree canopy of the steep valley sides as we walk along the water’s edge and appreciate just how tall some of the trees are. Below them is a thick carpet of brambles displaying their white flowers with hints of pink and their glossy, black fruits. Occasionally a tall rose-coloured flower spike of Rosebay pushes up through the bramble carpet. The trees are busy with mixed feeding flocks of Warblers and Titmice, the brambles resonating to the powerful song of Wrens and Dunnock.
As we reached the end of the wood walk an old wooden gate invited us back into open countryside. Jude the Undergardener glimpses the next part of our walk leaning on the gate as she waits for me as I finish taking photos.
A walk across a sloping field on ground churned up by the feet of cattle takes us to the fishing pool, our halfway point and the perfect place to sit on the grass slope and enjoy our usual fruit and coffee. By the pool the farmer has provided a picnic bench and today a family are enjoying a picnic and three generations are doing a spot of fishing.