Approaching autumn

An evening wander, up Ned’s Lane and back down past Round Hill. There are thick tangles of wild hops in the hedges beside the road, and some of the bindweed and bramble leaves are decidedly warm-toned. A few low-dangling damsons (I’m thinking of jam already!) have been tested by several fingers already, but the fact that they’re still there means they need a little more ripening. Soon…

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Linley Brook and Stocking Lane

In January, we walked over Nordley Common and down to Linley Brook, where what should have been a pleasant path beside the stream was more like a jungle assault course. Perhaps in early August it will be fit to walk? Yes, it is – though still quite muddy in places, it’s more like the enjoyable amble we’d expected. Varying our route a little now, we stop to watch four sheepdogs, who clearly know what to do and how to do it (see the YouTube clip below).
Crossing the main road again, Stocking Lane takes us to a quiet field path leading over the hill and back down to the start.

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Clockwise at Aldenham

A familiar route which we follow more frequently in the other direction. The weather forecast suggested the the showers would clear (they did!) but the sky would be heavy with cloud (those little dark grey symbols). Yes, that was true too – but with little gaps to let the sun through, spotlighting little details in the surrounding countryside.
The dragonfly (a black-tailed skimmer) was very good at flying off, further up the path through the barley, whenever I got almost close enough for a half-decent photo. They know, don’t they?

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So different…

It’s been a very warm day – 30C in the early afternoon, with a clear blue sky and strong sunshine. Far too hot for walking, but soon the cloud moves in from the west, and the evening temperature is just over 20C when we set out along the lane at Shirlett. Very different from four days ago too -the skies were clearing when we walked this way at about the same time.

Poppies and peacocks

Taking a closer look beside the path from Barrow to Wyke and back. There are poppies in the wheat and barley, and more butterflies than we’ve seen for a long time. Most are nervous, taking flight before we’re aware of them, but others are prepared to pose, too interested in a spot of nectar to worry about passing snappers. Our walk is delayed by refreshments too – the blackberries are ripe and juicy!

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Harley and Homer

Nothing to do with motorcycles or poets… Between the two, we’ll pass through the farm hamlet of Wigwig – where did that name come from? It’s a short walk (just over 4 miles) in mostly quiet* country below the Wenlock Edge, and very pleasant it is too!
* except the very last short stretch approaching the busy main road

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Clearing

27 July: early evening – the air is clearing after a grey, damp day, and there are clearings here and there in Shirlett woods. The light warms as the sun dips. A little earlier, we’d remarked that the more interesting sights – kites, deer, small rodents etc – only appear when you’re not expecting them. Five minutes from the end of our wander, a muntjac trots across the road.

Carnage and Henley

Blame Spooner! We’re wandering along the lanes below the Wenlock Edge, through Kenley and past Harnage Grange. There are showers about, and we have to take shelter below a huge oak tree for a minute or two – the rain’s soon blown past. Before the rain, the butterflies were out in colourful profusion, mostly too active for photography, but one or two pose obligingly.

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Still dull…

Grey skies again, and it is still – barely a breath of wind. The Met Office said <5% chance of rain at 3pm and 4pm, so we must have been unlucky. A light rain began  to fall 20 minutes into our walk, and felt a little heavier as we neared our intended turning point – we’ll turn back… No, we didn’t get wet, but now, at 6pm, it’s pouring down! Thunder and lightning!