Spring in autumn

The harvest has taken the barley that was growing in these fields. The land has been ploughed, harrowed and re-sown – and next year’s wheat or barley (hard to tell at this stage) is starting to come up. There’s the green sheen of spring in this early autumn landscape! In the hedgerows, the season is more obvious.

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Stretton Westwood

We walked this way two months ago, trying some new (to us) paths on the Wenlock Edge, just a couple of miles from Much Wenlock, We’re extending the route a little today, which adds distance but not much more interest. It’s a hazy day; despite the clear blue sky and sunshine, July’s colours are long gone, and the autumn leaves are still mostly ahead of us. Nevertheless, it’s good to be out – infinitely more enjoyable than long drives down busy motorways…

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Barrow and Willey…

… from Shirlett – a route we’ve trodden before. We walked this way a couple of times in July, on two very different days. Today, although it’s a warm and still afternoon, there’s change in the air and on the ground. The barley’s been cut, the oats are looking ripe, blackberries and sloes abound and the toadstools are proliferating. A fine fly agaric stands half-way up Ned’s lane, first of the season. There will be more, I suspect.

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Chestnut Coppice and the Severn

Once again, we’re seeking the shade – it’s warm, there’s not a cloud in the sky and there’s no breeze worthy of the name. We’ll walk down through Chestnut Coppice, then follow the well-shaded old railway track northwards to Linley. A wander along the riverbank leads us to Dean Brook, where we can rejoin the railway and head back. Very pleasant, perfect for a day like this.

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Toadstools and dragonflies

The toadstools are really coming into season now – there’s a wide variety of shapes and sizes down Ned’s Lane. Further on, as we approach Round Hill, I remember the dragonfly that posed for us here a week or so ago. Today there are two of them, both posing obligingly (a brown hawker and a southern hawker – I think…). Elsewhere a red admiral basks in the sunshine. It may be autumn meteorologically, but astronomically it’s still summer…

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Chestnut Coppice and the riverbank

There are toadstools galore in the woods! Later, stopping to gaze upon the river, there’s a flash of blue as a kingfisher flies to a bush on the opposite bank. Perhaps if we wait he’ll re-emerge? Yes – to fly away downstream and out of sight. Sometimes it’s the briefest of moments that make the day special.

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