30 Days Wild: Day 23

Finally! Something not garden related! We went for a bit of a walk!

For day 23 of 30 Days Wild, we decided we'd go on one of our favourite walks in the nearby countryside. It's a route we've not been on for a while, because when it's been raining it's a really challenging walk. The ground gets so boggy in places that it's almost impossible. However, with the dry weather we've had we knew it'd be a great walk!

The walk starts off from a local supermarket, then goes along a disused railway line until you get to another industrial estate right just beyond the edge of the town. Along part of the route, you'd not even realise there was an industrial estate nearby!

After crossing a very busy main road, and walking up a bit of a hill, there is some land which rabbits use as their home:

Sadly there weren't any out today, nor much of anything else either for that matter. It's usually teaming with wildlife, but all we had today were a couple of butterflies (which we couldn't get close enough to to get a photo of nor identify!), some grasshoppers (which we couldn't see!) and a great spotted woodpecker (that we couldn't spot, but could identify from it's voice without the drumming!) I know that actually sounds like a lot, but for this area it really, really isn't!

A little farther along the path, you enter some woodland:

I don't know what's happened here, but the trees on the right are usually so dense with leaves that you can't see through them. Today though was the first time we've seen what was beyond them - not a lot really. Just a hill and some denser woodland.

After that there is a short walk along a country lane and then onto the bridleway. Although this is a bridleway, it's also the private road to a house, a dairy farm, and a 17th century grade II farmhouse:

As there is a dairy farm here, there is a lot of pasture land:

After walking alongside the farm, and passing the listed farmhouse, the next field slopes down. Ordinarily, we'd follow the bridleway as the stiles on the footpath are in a state of dangerous repair. But look:

A brand new stile! The council must have had some money left over at the end of the financial year that they needed to spend! But wait! There's more! At the other side of the field there used to be another dangerous stile - but it too has been replaced!

This makes it so much easier to use the footpath here - although we're both surprised it has actually been sorted, as we have never encountered another person along this part of the route.

Looking back up the hill from the new stile to the other new stile:

After the second new stile, there is another hill. Walking up here takes you towards some holiday cottages, but before that there is a little paddock with some horses. These aren't the horses we normally see in this paddock, and they were a little shy at first - until we tempted them over with some long, juicy green grass that they couldn't reach!

After the horses there is a drystone wall opposite the holiday cottages. Ordinarily this is really nothing worth writing about - after all, walls like this are everywhere in these parts! This time though there were some tiny little dandelions growing next to it...

How tall are these?! They are chest height on me (and I'm 6' 2".) We've never seen dandelions this tall around here before, so we immediately noticed them. After these, we headed towards a footpath that goes through some more pasture:

This particular crossing is usually very difficult. At the start, the is a very narrow squeeze stile. In fact, the stones have shifted over the past couple of years and it got to the point where you can just about get a leg through. The field is usually full of cows and very boggy, which has contributed to the movement of the stones. But no more! The stones have been completely removed and a wooden stile put in their place.

Although the new stile makes it easier to pass, I'm quite annoyed about the removal of the stones. They could have been lifted, repositioned, and then set so they didn't move in the future. This would have maintained the heritage of this location, and wouldn't have been difficult to carry out.

After this, we walked through two fields, only to be greeted by this:

The footpath in this section goes through the gate (the first two photos) and down a slight hill to the left of the gate in the photo above. I don't know why the gate has been tied shut, but it should not have been. However did it is preventing access to a legal right of way!

However, it's not all bad. That small section is usually overgrown and difficult to pass, and whoever is responsible did have the common sense to open their gate at the bottom. Although there is a footpath sign by the gate on the way up the hill, it isn't actually a footpath (nor a legal right of way) as that goes to the left and not through the gate. There is also no sign at the top, and no explanation as to whom has done this. If I had my penknife with me, I would have cut the rope tying the gate shut (and, just FYI, would be legally able to do so.)

Further on from this minor annoyance is some plantation land. There is usually a horse here, but this is the first time we've seen this 'dalmation' horse! (Note: not actually the name of the breed!) I'm no good with horse breeds, but from a quick Google search it could be an Appaloosa. There are also two tiny little ponies to the left of the horse.

I really don't like this bit of land, as it always looks so untidy and unsuitable for animals.

After this, there is a short walk up a track and through a gate. After this gate, we were informed that a rally event was taking place so we needed to be careful when walking down the track (which is a public footpath!) because there might be one or two cars left. They really hadn't taken sufficient precautions to ensure the safety of walkers. I've since tried to find out about the event, but I can't find anything online. I suspect it's another one of those events paid for by city yahoos with more money than sense...

After this, we battled our way through the overgrowth to the railway crossing:

This section of the walk is always a pain because it gets very overgrown, usually with hogweed, and I always get Anneka to stay back a little while I use my size twelve's to clear the path!

After crossing the railway, it's up another hill and across a field, when we saw this:

This is a new gravel track which has been laid very recently. There has never, in living memory, been anything of the sort here before. There is also no mention of it whatsoever on my OS map of the area, so we're certain there never has been any sort of track here in recent times. It appeared it had been used by the aforementioned yahoos. This constitutes the creation of a new access track, without planning permission (I've checked!) which is not only a breach of planning law, but a bloody eyesore. I've reported it and hopefully my less-than-useless council will do something about it. (My hopes are not high in this regard...)

After calming down, we moved on the the next field. The farmer always grows the grass here very long, as it's later used to feed his animals during the winter. This, of course, means it's a nightmare for me as I suffer with hayfever. This is the view from the soil:

And this is the field:

It's one part of the walk that I really don't like. The hill is long and steep, with thick deep grass. Worse still, it means we're on our way home. Still, there's a badly designed bench at the top to sit on while we eat our sandwiches and have a cooling drink!

After here, we walk through the field where the lonely tree (main photo) sits. I usually take a photo of this tree when we walk this way, to see how it changes at different times of the year. This photo is from September 2015:

We have this in a wooden frame in our living room!
After this there's a meadow which is always filled with buttercups at this time of year. Except that it had been, but they'd been brutally murdered!

Quite why the farmer decided to cut the grass during wildflower season is beyond me - and it really angered me. This is a great location for pollinators, and given how much they are struggling this is the last thing I'd want or expect to see. This is how it looked in May last year:

Now, you might say that May and June are different months and there will be different levels of growth - and you'd be correct - but this field still had flowers growing in it. You can see them in the first of the above three photos! After we'd calmed down (yet again on this walk sadly) we moved through the still at the bottom of the field, into some ancient woodland:

As we walked down, I seemed to notice the sounds more than I usually do, so I recorded them. I hope you enjoy 'The Sounds of Walking in the Woodlands'!

You can read all of my 30 Days Wild posts here!

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