As Heather needed to go to Brigg to pick up a piece of rope sculpture that she had had on display in The Steel Rooms gallery, we decided to take Jet for a walk in Broughton Woods, a spot we had been keen to visit for some time. We chose to follow one of the Ancholme Valley walks that took in both the woods and the river. After a cloudy morning the weather improved during the day to give superb light and, later, a fabulous sunset. We set off around 12.30 conscious of the fact that we had 7.5 (turned out to be 8!) miles to cover before it got dark, so we tried to keep moving. Despite this photography opportunities were everywhere and I was also experimenting with my polarising filter, not so much to achieve deeper blue skies, but to see what effect it had on the colour saturation of vegetation.
The woods were wonderful, with still a great deal of late Autumn colour, and, all too soon, we were out in open fields and heading for the river valley. The route took us past a derelict barn which looked to be ancient and was, in fact, the site of Thornholme Priory, an Augustinian House founded around 1150 by King Steven. This track across the fields was once Thornholme Moor, a very wild and lonely part of Lincolnshire. From a nearby wood we could hear the calling of rooks and the screech of at least one jay.
Just before reaching the river we passed a wet scrub area that was once clay pits, but is now rich in wild life. Here we spotted the first fieldfares I have seen this winter. There was also an apple tree, heavy with fruit. We sampled a couple and, despite being an unknown variety, they were delicious; crisp, juicy and quite tart. We slipped a few in the rucksack to take home.
We soon emerged on the bank of the 'New' River Ancholme, which we followed for a mile or so. New because it has been canalised; the old river can still be followed in parts, particularly through Brigg. The new river is used for both boating and angling. I had hoped that we might see some large raptors along here, as we were opposite the carr lands of Worlaby and Bonby, but things were very quiet. We did spot a cormorant sitting on a pipe crossing the river, though, and a heron glided into the fields on the opposite side of the canal. The route left the river at Broughton Bridge which is a rare example of an 'inverted' suspension bridge. It is thought to have been designed by Alfred Atkinson and the wooden deck is suspended on wrought iron rods from the pair of arched iron ribs spanning the river.
The route finishes by walking along the road for a mile or so back to Broughton. As we neared the finish, the sun was rapidly setting in our faces and we were rewarded by the most wonderful sunset.
We completed our day with tea and scones in the Steel Rooms when we went to pick up Heather's walk, although one more project awaited when I got home: a trip to Cleethorpes to photograph the lights for my degree work.