We traveled down to Gloucestershire to present a garden talk to a gardening club in mid-March. They were a lovely group and the talk entitled “The Power of Gardening” was well received followed by some interesting questions. We stayed overnight at the bottom of Bredon Hill with my sister and brother-in-law. The following day we took advantage of a glorious, sunny day to walk partway up the hill.
As we walked up the lane with its gentle but persistent gradient we wandered through the last of the cottages and marvelled at the beauty of the drystone limestone walls some with vertical capping stones.
We soon left the village behind and continued to climb steadily as the hedgerows become wild and the landscape changed every few hundred yards. Several trees were decorated with mistletoe the beautiful semi-parasitic plant which boasts yellowy-green berries. The seeds inside the berries are distributed by two birds, the mistle thrush and the blackcap. Moss, algae and lichen adorned every fence, tree, gatepost and gate, turning them so many shades of green, yellow and grey.
The hedgerows and verges were hosts to many early spring wildflowers and a few garden escapees. The blossom coming out on the hawthorn was so out of season as their common name Mayflowers give a clear indication of when they normally decorate our hedgerows.
The lane we were following became a track and took us through open countryside and through a hamlet of limestone houses hiddenbehind tall walls, hedges and gates. Here we found interesting little surprises.
Beyond this cluster of buildings we walked further uphill until we felt we had had enough so sat for a rest before descending following the same route. But the walk had one more surprise in store for us, a decorated red telephone box.
What made this walk so special was the fact that Bredon Hill was the favourite place to walk to for my family as I grew up nearby. It was here with its richness of wildlife from plants, to butterflies and from insects to deer that I developed my deep love of the natural world. Also when Jude and I were training to be teachers we chose this hill as the subjects of our dissertations. But within a few years of beginning my teaching career I had a serious road accident which meant for decades I could not walk far and certainly would never have climbed Bredon Hill. This walk was the first time for about 50 years that I made the climb up the hill.