Tuesday, 10 January 2012

A Winter Walk.







Do you fancy coming with me on a winter's walk through the fields? The day is dull but not cold, sun now and again and a light breeze - so off we go.

Gateways are always muddy at this time of the year - I really don't know why as the fields are mainly empty other than sheep and they do not have a habit of congregating near the gates. But once Tess and I get through the gate and into the field proper, the ground is quite dry.

We walk down the hedge-side and come across a new rabbit hole. My goodness me, how clever those rabbits are - they always put their holes in sheltered and dry places. This one looks quite cosy don't you think?

The beck is very full and slow-flowing at present. Of course this is Sod's Law because in the summer, when our neighbouring farmer friend is crying out for water for his beast, the beck will be almost empty.

Here and there the wall has fallen down a little. Usually there is wire netting as well because sheep do love to jump on to walls - that is probably the reason there has been a bit of a fall in the picture. The stiles between our fields are quite narrow - this is also to stop the sheep moving from field to field but it does make for difficulty for anyone wide of the hips!

Every sloe and every holly and hawthorn bush has been stripped of berries. There is hardly a bird to be seen other than the odd cock blackbird skulking in the hedge-bottom and a small flock of starlings flashing overhead. Here and there there are a few crab apples left on the ground. The birds only eat these in emergencies as they are so very sour.

There is little colour in this landscape. Only the lichen on the stone walls give a golden glow. Coming as I do from the fenlands of Lincolnshire, I love the browns of winter - the bare earth, the bare trees, the lack of colour. John (Going Gently) on the other hand, years for the bright colours of summer.

John Clare, that poet of the Countryside, puts it better than I ever could, when he says,

"All is gone, and nothing but the grass
remembers Spring."

Oh yes, the grass is green as we make our way home, but it is a sad, dismal green - no new growth here - just the drooping blades of last year's grass. But what is this we see in the grass - an aconite! I knew Spring was only just round the corner.

20 comments:

Dartford Warbler said...

Aconites! Wonderful....

Pondside said...

I always enjoy your walks, Pat. Over here the grass is as green as it will ever be, as summer brings drought. The mosses are brilliant and the cedars and pines glow in the rain. The sky may be grey, but there's colour on the ground.

Gwil W said...

You see Pat you are not the pipe and fireside slippers Frau you sometimes pretend to be. Bravo! to you and your faithful outdoors camera.

Reader Wil said...

Thank you for the walk with you! It was lovely. I see that nature is really not knowing wether it's winter or spring or perhaps... autumn?

It's me. said...

Envy your walking spaces--wish walking here were easy--not many paths--private lands and busy roadsides. Stone walls are nifty too--stones are scarce in Louisiana.

angryparsnip said...

I always enjoy your walks... even without the bright colors of summer this walk is full of muted but just as lovely colors.
So different from where I live.
I would love to have a winter walk on my blog but as walking is impossible right now maybe hopefully in the spring I will try one. It would be so different from yours !

cheers, parsnip

Heather said...

That was such a lovely walk Pat - I can almost smell the fresh air. The lichen and aconites are so cheering and I love the little beck. I think I'd have a job getting through that narrow gap in the wall and need to take a few more real walks myself after the excesses of Christmas.

Bovey Belle said...

What DW says!!! I can only compete with Celendines - found one out on New Year's Eve (amazing).

I love the comforting feel of dry stone walling and yup, reckon I'd have to breath in and go through that gap sideways and on tippy-toes!

Not much colour around I agree, but the winter feels like it has let a little bit of spring in early, and we have grass growing here.

rkbsnana said...

Look back at the rabbit hole picture...it's shaped like a rabbit in profile. A lovely walk indeed.

Mary said...

The acid green color of the lichen is so lively amongst the dull browns and greys..............but even they are fine by me. I'm such a lover of neutral shades and the countryside is never boring no matter why time of year.

Lovely walk - enjoyed it immensely Pat.

H said...

Lovely walk. I would join you with a great deal of pleasure.

I didn't recognise the aconite. My wild flower knowledge is shamefully dismal, but I do know that I have snowdrops flowering in my garden, plus a single primrose!!.

(And I know what you mean about squeezer stiles!)

Elizabeth said...

My welly boots await!
Love the rabbit hole.
Thank you.

Loren said...

Thanks for the walk.

I'm always amazed that our two areas are half a world away but look remarkably similar throughout the year.

Toffeeapple said...

What a lovely walk, thank you for taking us along. so good to see the Aconites.

Dave King said...

What a wonderful walk! Thanks for inviting me along.

Crafty Green Poet said...

wonderful colours in the lichens here. I like the rabbit hole too, they are clever little creatures...

George said...

I enjoyed this little walk with you, Pat, and I love that John Clare quote. Personally, I love the landscape anytime of the year. Every season sings a different song.

The Weaver of Grass said...

Glad you all enjoyed this winter walk. The weather is set to turn a lot colder tonight. Thanks for calling in.

Rare Lesser Spotted said...

Wonderful blog and wonderful pictures which contextualise what the countryside is about during the winter months.
XX

Mairi said...

I photographed that same bright mustard lichen on a very blue day last week. Does that gap in the wall in the photograph serve as a stile? I've never seen one like it if it does. Through, instead of over. makes sense. A lovely walk. Thanks for the tour.