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climbing plants country walks countryside hedgerows Shropshire South Shropshire wildlife

First walk for months! Part 2

Continuing our countryside walk from our home village in south Shropshire, we packed up our fruit and coffee and followed the footpath between a hedgerow and arable fields. We were amazed how the fauna was affected by crop ‘overspray’ combined with a spell of dry weather. Right where we had enjoyed our snack ‘overspray’ of weedkiller was destroying the plantlife in the trackway and along the beginning of the headgerow. In places the hedge shrubs were also burnt and yellowed.

We had plenty to enjoy though to take our thoughts away from the effects of modern agriculture. In the hedgerows were heavily scented honeysuckles and wild roses

We rejoined the lane back to Plealey ,after we had traveled the length of the arable field,and on the gateway we found this sign, “Shropshire – love where you live”, which after some of the sad sights we had seen seemed a little ironic. As we neared Plealey we saw this field corner near the lane, an eyesore indeed!

But there was lots to see, heartening views of wildflowers along the roadside.

       

The strange brown ping pong ball sized features on an oak tree were some of many galls created to feed and protect wasps as they develop from eggs to juvenile wasps ready to bore their way out and take to the air.

Wild rose flowers are always great to admire and there were lots of varied shades from white to a deep pink colour.

 

Categories
country walks Shropshire trees Uncategorized

First walk for months! Part 1

After not being allowed out of our own property because of the coronavirus once we heard I was allowed a little freedom we immediately went out for a walk around the village. We set off down our lane which goes through the village and soon turned left into Well Lane where we soon found the footpath we were after.

We were delighted to see a puddle, the first we had seen for weeks.

It was good to see that Mother Nature has continued her good work during lock down and we enjoyed seeing wildflowers, grasses and seeds on trees. This earl stretch of our walk took us along an ancient drovers’ road with hedges both sides. Occasional glimpses though gaps show crops growing sadly regularly covered in chemical sprays. We were to discover the bad effects of this later on our walk.

   

Sadly there were signs that plants were suffering from the long spell of hot dry weather.

After walking for half an hour or so we reached an old beautiful manor house where our path turned at right angles skirting the lake. Alongside the lake was a beautiful extremely wildlife friendly wide verge of wild flowers with annuals added for extra insect food. Below is a short gallery of photos taken of this feature. As usual click on the first photo then navigate using the arrows. Enjoy.

After enjoying the wildlife border and its wildlife we walked on a little way to a place where three fields met and stopped for a break. (See part 2)

Categories
countryside landscapes light quality

A Hill Top Winter Walk

In mid-February on a cool day with a cold wind we took a walk along the top of Llanymynech Hill on the England/Wales border. Jude and I regularly meet up with a group of friends from our college days back in the late 1960s/early 70s, often at gardens, National Trust properties and on this occasion we met up for a pub meal followed by a walk.

Although it is not far from us we haven’t visited it before although Jude did go when she was a child. Come on our walk with us by following the gallery of my photos. Click on the first photo and navigate with the arrows.

Perhaps we will return in the summer and follow the same walk again and see what changes with the seasons.

 

Categories
arboreta autumn garden photography National Trust ornamental trees and shrubs trees wildlife

Woodland Walk – The new woodland walk at Attingham Park

We arrived at Attingham Park, the closest National Trust property to home, for a coffee and wander in the woods, to discover a sign announcing that a new woodland walk was now open. We had to try it out even though it was a miserable looking day. But once in the wood it didn’t matter what the weather was up to as the sky was hidden by the towering trees. The local bird life however didn’t appreciate the weather for they were virtually absent and almost silent, bar Wood Pigeons flying over the tree tops and small flocks of tits moving rapidly through the branches. The one ornithological treat was being surprised by a Treecreeper that swooped down onto the bottom of the tree trunk alongside us and scuttled its way upwards. It seemed totally unaware of our presence.

An inviting sight.

Lovely rustic seats gave frequent and welcome resting places. The seats were made from logs and slabs of wood felled from the park. The path was soft and relaxing to walk on being surfaced with pine needles or just deep woodland debris. Our footsteps were thus quiet and did not disturb the woodland peace.

A carpet of leaves underfoot and tall trunks on all sides called us onwards deeper into the Attingham Park woods. Logs and branches of all sizes were left in piles to attract and give shelter to insects, including the Lesser Stag Beetle which frequent the understory.

As the colours were so muted under the greyness of the cloud cover, the most striking feature of our walk was the textures found in live and dead wood. Mosses and lichens carpeted stumps and felled trunks with silvers and greens, and the spent dried leaves had settled onto rough textured bark.

Sweet Chestnut leaf and bark.

This orange oak leaf  rested on a fallen tree, its orange matching perfectly the spots of the Coral Spot fungus. Amazing juxtaposition!