Sunday, June 19, 2016

An Unexpectedly Long Walk!

My plan for this afternoon was to do a circular walk from home, past Cornard Mere, through the field to Henny, where I'd been tipped off about a kingfisher family.  A walk of about 4 miles in total - see route below.

It started very well.  I set off with a packed lunch and walked through the fields

where I was joined by loads of damsel flies and sky larks singing high above me.

I walked past Cornard Mere, where I could hear water rail squealing (I've still never seen one).

under the railway bridge, across a field to the River Stour at Henny where I sat on the bridge and waited for the kingfishers (they didn't turn up).

When I was ready to go home I realised that my route back across the field was blocked - by a very large and angry sounding bull.  

He was mooing loudly and pawing the ground and I didn't think it would have been a wise move to have tried to have got past him - a detour would be required!

The biggest problem was that I was now stranded on the Essex side of the river, a river with very few bridges, and I needed a route that would let me cross the river to get back into Suffolk. I had 2 options, to walk on the road from Henny to Sudbury, which is narrow with very steep banks in places, and quite busy with cars going to the Henny Swan pub, or to find another route.  

After consulting the OS map app on my phone I started walking into Essex.  It was beautiful, and I could see, right in the distance, the spire of the church at the end of my road.

After a while though the footpaths deteriorated

and at one point I was having to fight my way through nettles and deeply regretting the fact I was wearing shorts!

Eventually, and I mean eventually, I crossed the river and the railway again and found myself on a small road heading back to towards home.

When I finally got home (4 hours after first setting off) I tracked my detour.  The blue route below is my intended walk, the red one is what I ended up doing, (the spike off the right near the end was me visiting the co-op for an ice-cream!).

Instead of 4.1 miles I ended up walking 7.8, I just hope the stings on my legs stop stinging soon! 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

In No Particular Order

A sort of random post today.

When I go up to my parents in North Norfolk I tend to go on the back roads to avoid the tourists (a coast road in summer can be a very slow moving, frustrating journey) and I've often seen this little church through the trees.

For years it had scaffolding etc around it but recently I noticed that it had gone so last weekend I decided to drive up the track and have a closer look.

It has a beautiful round tower and amazing arches.

It was the church for the village of Appleton, a village that has long since gone although apparently you can see outlines of it when the fields are lightly dusted with snow.

I haven't found out why the village disappeared but I hope that one day someone might do some excavations, although I suspect that might be unlikely as it is all on the Sandringham Estate land.

Still - the arches are pretty, I don't know why I'm so fascinated with arches, especially ruined ones!

A few days before I went to my parents I finished my fairisle cardigan.  I ended up having to do a last minute re knitting of one sleeve when I discovered that I'd made a colour mistake on one of them - fortunately very near the top so I only had to unravel about 20 rows.

I'm really pleased with it.

Finally, yesterday I took the afternoon off work and my friend and I drove to the other side of Suffolk, about 1.5 hrs away to Minsmere.

First stop was the Bittern Hide where a bittern was on the edge of the reed bed opposite for about 20 minutes preening, and fishing.  Then he crouched down, puffed himself up and boomed.  I've never heard a bittern boom before let alone watched one do it.  The warden in the hide was beside himself with excitement too as he's never seen it in 20 years of bird watching (red arrow indicates the bittern, looks a long way away but the view through binoculars was stunning).

click to enlarge and nearly see the bittern!

Then we walked to the Island Mere Hide.  It rained whilst we were in here but it didn't stop the bearded tits from flying around and one perched for quite some time on a reed and we got a really good view.

When it stopped raining we walked to the scrape where amongst other things we saw a marsh harrier swoop down and take a black-headed gull chick (gruesome but kind of retribution for the fact that they've taken all of the avocet chicks so far this year!).

After a cup of tea overlooking the sand martins we made our way to the Discovery Centre and then upward through the woods to the Springwatch studio to be in the audience for the live transmission of Springwatch Unsprung.

me, far left

It was just as good as last year!

Minsmere is a wonderful place to visit - during our three hours on the reserve we saw/heard at 11 species, most of which are rare or threatened.  If you're into wildlife and in the area I can highly recommend it.