Today’s guest picture is a fine Welsh tree spotted by my fine welsh correspondent Keiron.
Finally we got some steady rain here overnight, and although it wasn’t a downpour, there was enough rain to leave the ground looking definitely damp when we got up in the morning.
It was deemed to be too cold and windy for an enjoyable outside coffee morning so we had to eat our chocolate biscuits and drink our coffee by ourselves indoors.
I did go out into the garden to see if the rain had sparked huge new growth but things were much as they had been yesterday, only a bit damper.
There didn’t seem much point in staying out so I went back in, waving at a hellebore as I did so.
Mrs Tootlepedal was busy with work for the proposed community land buy out * and I found inessential ways to pass the time until lunch.
It was technically a cycling day, but it was grey, with a vigorous and blustery wind, and as there was also a promise of rain in the forecast, I thought that a walk with Mrs Tootlepedal would be a much better bet.
We took the path up the river past the Duchess Bridge. Mrs Tootlepedal hadn’t been along this path for some time and was impressed by its mossy trees with lichen covered trunks surrounded by wild garlic.
We emerged out of the woods and followed the road towards Potholm.
There was plenty to catch our interest along the way, a romantic tree, copious stitchwort and crosswort….
…two men planting trees in a felled area on the opposite bank of the river, lichen on the wall beside the road and a great heap of lambs.
The star of the show to me was some fresh hawthorn flowers in a hedge.
Passing Milnholm farm we saw a potato field and more lichen on a branch…
…and signs of the recent frost in the shape of damage to a beech hedge on our left and then more damage all along the hedge to our right.
As we got near to the bridge over the Esk at Potholm, an oyster catcher tiptoed through a field, trying to avoid our scrutiny
Once across the bridge, we walked up the track into the woods…
…passing fresh ferns, poppies growing in wall and ajuga growing beside the track.
At the top of the hill, we left the main track and walked up a minor track through the woods.
This was the track I had followed on a recent walk but it was new to Mrs Tootlepedal who enjoyed the woods and the wild flowers in them.
We were interested to see that the recent frost had pretty well put paid the the yellow pimpernel but had left the tormentil unscathed.
We passed two very green spots, first what Mrs Tootlepedal thought was a moss like liverwort on a bank….
…and then a grassy clearing at the end of the forestry track.
We followed a bluebell lined path back to Holmhead…
…and walked down to the road through the snowdrop wood where we were brought up short by this magnificent soup plate sized fungus on a tree stump.
The road itself, with bluebells shimmering through the woods to our left…
…brought us down to the Lodge Walks where we were happy (but a bit jealous) to find a fine azalea which had escaped frostmageddon.
We walked across the dandelion covered football pitch…
…crossed the Jubilee Bridge (after Mrs Tootlepedal had spotted a nuthatch) and made our way round the Scholars’ Field. There I stopped to take a picture of the most common wild flower that we had seen almost all the way round out walk.
Mrs Tootlepedal was moved by the sight of the children’s play area, unused and neglected because of the virus.
We were both ready to polish of what was left of the boiled fruit cake with a cup of tea when we got home after a very varied and enjoyable five miles. Although it had threatened to rain more than once as we walked, an added bonus was the fact that we got round dry, with even an occasional hint of sunshine. In fact it didn’t start raining until quite a bit later in the day and I had plenty of time to watch the birds after the tea and cake.
Pairs of siskins (dropping food as usual) and goldfinches were joined by a lone siskin and a curious redpoll.
Siskins and redpolls continued to appear…
…and I watched them until it was time for us to Zoom with my siblings.
When she had first got up, Mrs Tootlepedal had seen a lot of birds feeding their young in the garden, but they were never there when I was looking, so I was pleased to see a young thrush in the plum tree right at the end of the day.
It is due to be warmer and wetter tomorrow, with a fine warm day to follow on Wednesday, so I hope that things will really start growing in the garden.
The flying bird of the day is not a siskin or a redpoll but a traditional chaffinch.
*If you haven’t looked at it before and are interested, details of the proposed community land buy out can be found here, and Mrs Tootlepedal wants me to add that any contribution to the scheme, however modest, will be very warmly welcomed and much appreciated. Our thanks go to those readers who have already helped us.