Monday, 24 August 2015

Walesby Woodlands and Cornfield Weeds by the Side of a Busy Road.

Last Saturday was a beautiful August day, real high summer, with temperatures in the mid 20s and clear blue skies.  We needed to take Jet for a walk and so opted for Walesby Woodlands near Market Rasen as it would be somewhat cooler for him in the shade of the trees.  On the way we stopped on the Caistor drag so that I could photograph the fabulous patch of cornfield weeds that have been planted on the wide grass verge.  These were once common weeds of our farmland, but as agriculture has become more industrial they have become an unusual sight.  The practice adopted by some councils of planting them along roadsides is an admirable one.  I used a slow shutter speed to blur the traffic as I wanted to create an impression of movement along a busy main road.  It is also a reminder that natural spectacles are not always found in wilderness areas; rare flowers can often be found on roadside verges.  The Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust encourage this with their development of roadside nature reserves.  We noticed this only the other day when we drove north from Stansted airport, after dropping our daughter off.  We left the A1 just north of Stamford to seek out the source of the River Witham and, as soon as we crossed the border into Lincolnshire, came across our first example and a few miles later another near Woolsthorpe, birthplace of Sir Isaac Newton.  These small reserves hold a wealth of fascinating wildlife.

Returning to Walesby Woodland,s we enjoyed the familiar walk and Jet enjoyed wallowing in the occasional muddy puddle in order to cool down.  We chose an ice cream from the cafe at the caravan site instead!  I was interested to note that the bracken is already beginning to adopt its autumnal hues, adding bright patches of colour to the woods.  There are some magnificent Scots pines here and it would be easy to imagine oneself in a Scottish Caledonian pine forest.  Rosebay willowherb was already past its flowering best and was rapidly going to seed; another sign that autumn will soon be here.  Another name for this statuesque plant is fireweed, alluding to the fact that it thrives on land that has been subject to fire, in particular, bombed areas of cities during World War II.  One of my favourite trees, the rowan or mountain ash, was ablaze with colour now that the red berries are ripe and hanging in large clusters.  Blackberries are well in fruit  and we have already enjoyed our first pie combined with windfall Bramleys from the garden.

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