Hilly Wood

An erudite local botany blog tells of a wood full of brilliant yellow, cyclamen-flowered daffodils Narcissus cyclamineus. Now is the time to visit and so we head for Hilly Wood near Cranbrook. N. cyclamineus is an introduced and naturalised species from northwest Spain and northern Portugal, where five daffodil species are endemic, according to a local nature conservation NGO from Galicia. TheContinue reading “Hilly Wood”

Early Spring

The two churches of Trimley St Martin and Trimley St Mary sit side by side; one thrives and the other crumbles. The reason two substantial churches were built so close together for neighbouring village parishes is apparently down to a family feud. The resulting Darwinian struggle for congregations had only one conclusion. Poor St Mary; the insult is compoundedContinue reading “Early Spring”

Oare Flightlines

The large pool known as the East Flood abuts the narrow lane to the old ferry to Harty. The waders and wildfowl within the nature reserve feed in the shallows at the water’s edge, nearly all immune to passing cars and a slow steam of walkers, some with dogs and others with binoculars and telescopes. AContinue reading “Oare Flightlines”

Shellness and Leysdown-on-Sea

The wind tears the waters of the Swale into waves. The grey plovers do not linger on the drowning groynes.  The high tide roost of oystercatchers and others shelter on the tip of the shell beach. High tide roost mainly of oystercatchers on the ness. A male hen harrier twists over the wide saltmarsh carriedContinue reading “Shellness and Leysdown-on-Sea”

Cliffe on the Hoo

Cliffe Pools, north of Higham on a breathless, sunny day in mid January is full of sleeping waterfowl. The RSPB reserve is a peaceful, patchwork of large lakes adjacent to the Thames; former clay diggings that fed the local cement industry. Now the industry is all around; power stations with huge chimneys, wind turbines, piles of sand and gravel,Continue reading “Cliffe on the Hoo”

Warm Harty and Shellness

Capel Fleet is sunny, warm and windless; today there are only timid sheep in the field and the brown bulls are gone. The Fleet is stacked with waterbirds and the large maize field full of geese, lapwings and the rest. Suddenly, the entire sky is on the move, sound fills the air and for aContinue reading “Warm Harty and Shellness”

Cold Harty and the Swale

The winding lane to Harty Ferry passes through Capel Fleet where a distant herd of great, brown bulls deter most away from the footpath that runs from the road across a flat landscape towards the distant Swale Estuary. The raised path is a stumble, being water-logged and pot-holed by heavy hooves; it arcs endlessly round a wide expanse of huge,Continue reading “Cold Harty and the Swale”

Mid Wales Midwinter

Aberystwyth is dark under a deep depression and saturated from the incessant rain. On the seafront, the high-roofed Old College squares up to the sea, foaming waves beat the high sea wall that protects this alarming Gothic pile. Safe on the landward side, we look in vain for a wintering black redstart that often sits high on a gargoyle and repeats its wheezy,Continue reading “Mid Wales Midwinter”

Trimley Marshes on the Orwell Estuary

The stone track from Trimley St. Mary runs down the hill passing ancient limes and oaks before turning east below a dense cordon of tall and stringy ash trees that runs round the huge container terminal at Felixstowe for a mile or so; here the sounds are not of the countryside or the coast but grating metal scraping metal, sirens,Continue reading “Trimley Marshes on the Orwell Estuary”