Monday, 24 February 2014

A walk up the valley

After FINALLY tackling some long-overdue housework this morning, I took advantage of the sunshine and had a walk up the valley, surprising a bevy of sunbathers as I did so . . .

Here they were before they noticed me.

The two greys are mother and daughter.

I was trying to capture some beautiful tree shapes again.  Here is one earlier in the walk.  I had just stopped to take a photo and then watched a pair of Long Tailed Tits playfully following one another along the hedgerow.

Nettle Soup anyone?  These are the first of this year's crop, in a sheltered hedge bottom.

Nother first sighting - Dog's Mercury, a sign of ancient woodland.

Foxglove leaves are putting on some growth now.

Rafts of Saxifraga oppositifolia in the wet alder-carr woodland.

There's an old trackway runs through these trees (you might just see the bank edging it on the stretch of deciduous woodland).  It used to go to an old cottage, whose name eludes me, but all that is left of the place now is half a brick.  I wrote a poem about it once.

Leaves of Lords and Ladies enjoying the sunshine.

Beside my neighbour's farm, an ancient Medieval holloway which takes you into the next parish.  I used to ride up here sometimes, and more recently, walk - either from this end going up and in a circle, or sometimes the other loop.  It has a real feeling linking you to the past, and the landscape looks totally different from this ancient trackway.

At Nant Gwilw, this huge old oak tree must be 600 years old or even more.  It is vast around the trunk.

The really spooky Nant Gwilw which has SUCH an atmosphere to it.  I think I have told its story before, but will have to try and find it in my "back issues".

Another winter-bare tree - an oak  - which has seen many a winter.

Lastly, found in a charity shop on my recent travels.  C. 1980s Laura Ashley hexagons.  £2.50.

And from the same household I presume, some 10 or so blocks, beautifully pieced, along with material for more . . .

Just £1.50 for all these.  it must have been my lucky day!

Had I not paid full whack for them at Christmas, I could have got a big cutting mat and an Omnigrid too (£4.99 each).  Ah well . . . someone else will benefit.


  1. So much to like in this post. Ancient trees, ancient trackways, ancient woodland indicators, all right up my street. That cottage has a very strange energy coming off it.
    Love the Laura Ashley bits and pieces- is there something in particular you are going to make with them?

  2. Love your posts and photos. I was wondering if you could point me in the right direction for some local research. My father's family (Watkins) originally came from Temple Bar. There is nothing online which gives any information about the community which now seems to be no more than a pub and a few houses situated around a crossroads. The family farmed there for several hundred years before the father was murdered in a particlarly cruel way in the mid 1800s. His widow loaded her many children and meagre belongings onto the back of a cart and moved to Willenhall where they became locksmiths. Any suggestions for books I could consult would be much appreciated

  3. I especially love the two bare branched trees. The first one is just beautiful. It always surprises me how quickly spring pokes its head through in England. When we lived in the northern climes of North America it always took so long for the snow to clear away -- often not until April and then finally spring comes. Your signs of spring seem to arrive in February and March.

  4. Lovely photos of your walk. The horses must be happy for the sunshine.

    cheers, parsnip

  5. Your sunbathers are lovely and how nice for them to be having a rest with some warm sun on their bodies. Beautiful trees and signs of plants coming to life.

  6. I always enjoy it when I can virtually accompany fellow bloggers on their walks..

  7. C/Tales - I will go back through my archives and try and find the post I wrote about it. For years I struggled to drive past it at night without panicking, and then I grew brave enough to approach it in daylight. NOT a good move . . .

    Sarah - how interesting. That sounds like the sort of research I would enjoy doing (no charge, I just love researching). Can't email you as I don't know the technical details it's asking for! I am boveybelle@ (and then it will be the server starting with y and ending in o. . . . Hope that makes sense, but I am trying to avoid trash mail!

    Chris - spring is arriving here right NOW!

    parsnip - I felt guilty waking them, but they had really been relaxing - the skewbald was out flat!

    suzie - they were out for the count, apart from the palomino, who was keeping watch. It's so good to see spring arriving.

  8. A really lovely post - what a great walk and wonderful to see the signs of Spring especially the Lords and Ladies and Dog's Mercury :) Some very atmospheric photos there :)
    ps I've nearly finished "Wine of Angels" - I just can't put the book down!

  9. So lovely to see stuff starting to grow at last. Not a lot here but snowdrops, but that will do for me. More stuff further down. A lovely walk with you and I do love teh sight of a snoozing pony. I went to feed Trigger just now and found him so fast asleep that he only woke up when I got really close. He looked extremely shocked and disorientated. Must have been a hard night in the pouring rain!

  10. Thanks for a lovely walk! Isn`t it good to see young foliage emerging from the earth?

    It was your photo of the old hollow way that gave me tingles up my spine. What lives and stories would have been played out along that trackway........

    Em - I think you are right. The cold, wet nights seem to wear out even the toughest native ponies so that a deep sleep in the sun is needed next morning.

    BB- I love those Laura Ashley hexagons. You did do well there. I think I recognise designs from the early 70s, if not before.

  11. Is spring really with us? or are we led down a false path of hope, and there will be snow in March! Lucky you with the Laura Ashley prints, and a lovely walk too.

  12. thelma - here in Wales, we quite often have a little Blackthorn Winter moment, with a light fall of snow, but rarely does it come to much. Just upsets all the bulbs which have come into flower.