A Walk for World Curlew Day


We went for a little walk...

In May 2016, I went on a short walk for Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, to support Mary Colwell on her 500 mile walk to highlight the plight of the curlew. Anneka and I had decided that, subject the the weather being acceptable - i.e. at least dry - we would go for a walk for World Curlew Day. (If it was raining, there would be very little chance of seeing or hearing this wonderful wader.)

Our route would take us from The Winking Man pub, through a nature reserve, around the back of the 'Five Clouds' ridge on The Roaches estate, through a lovely little village, before returning home. It is a little over ten and a half miles. I've put the map of our route at the end of this post.

We walked from the The Winking Man pub, along the road down to Black Brook nature reserve. After traversing a very muddy section, we walked up the hill toward Gib Torr rocks.




After we'd passed this point, we headed out of the reserve.



After a short section of road walking, we headed down to Goldsytch Farm. Near the farm, there is a footpath sign.



We walked a little further, seeing some lesser celandine.


From Goldsytch Farm, until the bridge we could hear some curlew with their characteristic bubbling trill call, and we kept looking for them. A short distance from the farm, we just managed to catch a glimpse of one as it flew up behind us. Sadly it was too fast, and then disappeared behind a bit of a hill, so neither of us managed to get a photo!




We climbed up toward Roach End, seeing these sleeping pigs along the way. They were snoring very loudly, and obviously enjoying the sunshine!


Once we got to Roach End, we had an ice-cream. There is always an ice-cream van parked there when the weather is hot. It was so warm that would couldn't take a photo of our ice-cream as it was melting very quickly! Once we'd taken our time savouring the flavours of our 99 flake cone scoffed down the lot in about 45 seconds, we moved on!

After leaving Roach End, we went through lots of farm fields, and saw lots of lambs. This one kept trying to climb the tree!


After a while it gave up, and followed its mother around.


When it was hungry, it tried to feed, but its mother kept walking off! I managed to get a photo though:





Here is another lamb, also feeding. This ones mother was a little less reluctant!


The sheep in the next photo is having a little snooze in the hot sun! At first we thought it was dead, as the only time I've seen sheep in this position they have been mauled by a dog. I got my binoculars out and could see it breathing, and after a little while it got up and walked away.


Here is yet another lamb feeding:


This one was grazing fairly near to us - nearer than the others anyway! All of the others ran off, or were escorted away by the sheep. This one didn't seem to mind our presence though.


On the way back, Anneka noticed this redstart in the tree! Believe it or not, it's the first one either of us had ever seen! It merrily chirped away whilst posing for the camera!



We were in the lovely village of Meerbrook now. There were so many daffodils everywhere!




When we've been for a walk in the local area, we usually stop at the village pub for a pint of cider. Of course, today was no exception!

"I want you!" says Annkea to her cider...


I ordered Anneka a pint of 'Lilley The Pink' cider, as I thought she'd like the name. I was expecting that it would be pink - given the name you can understand that, right? I have to admit to being a little disappointed when I saw it was cider coloured!


When we sat down, Anneka said "I could really go for some chips right now." Ok, hint taken...


This is a pub I've been going to for many, many years now. A while ago, they moved everything around and redecorated. It seems that now the focus is on attracting tourists rather than the locals, and the pub has suffered (not financially of course...!) as a result. At one stage you could go in and almost feel at home, and you could chat to everyone. You don't get that anymore, and I can't remember the last time I saw someone I knew in there. They still keep a decent pint, and the food is ok, but it's lost that homely, welcoming, country village pub feel. It's such a shame.

 Of course, no walk would be complete without the obligatory selfie... I have no idea what has caused that expression on Anneka's face!


And a quick portrait of the gormless arse lovely woman herself!


Once we'd left Meerbrook, we walked up Abbey Hill. Near the top is this lonely tree:


After walking down the other side of the hill, we were back in the town. I always hate this part of the walk. Being in an urban environment is so depressing, grey and gloomy. Then, to make matters worse, we saw a van with a sticker in the window...


For those of you who don't know, BASC is The Organisation For Illegally Killing All Wildlife Just So Their Members Can Shoot Grouse British Association for Shooting and Conservation. Follow this link to read all about them.

A little further along, it's wabbit season! There were lots of rabbits in this field!


Growing wild along the riverbank, we saw this tree in bloom:


Here is the route of our walk:

Click here to see the route in full on Mapometer

We really enjoyed this walk, and we'll no doubt do it again!

Main image: World Curlew Day, © Nicola Duffy

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