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news [2019/04/25 10:14]
jonathan [**Bluebell Walk 2019**]
news [2019/07/31 20:01] (current)
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 +=====**Summer Walk 2019**===== ​
 +                               MVWG Summer walk 9th July 2019
 +Although few attended it was a very select group. The day was close and warm so it was decided to keep to the open and explore the ancient tracks and paths. Our route was thus Gear lane, Doe lane up to Trowey over to Sicklebrook lane via the old pack horse bridge, down Owler Carr lane to the ford over the Moss then up towards Povey Farm. From there, down the field to the base of Ryalls wood, onto Doe lane and up to Litfield farm down the fields to join almost where we started at Gear Lane. Pleased that we decided to keep to the open because it was not long before we all got a bit of a dab on. Along Gear lane and down Doe Lane there were numerous butterflies but nearly all were ringlets. When we got up to Trowey, the cloud base was so low you could barely see the opposite side of the valley. ​
 +Shortly into the walk we were delighted to see the orchid meadow in full bloom. ​                                         ​
 +One is beautiful to see but a whole field full is a treat. Most were purple spotted but some may be crossed with Marsh orchids. ​
 +Below Sicklebrook farm we passed a new bungalow. Celia, on behalf of the MVWG, objected to the construction of yet more stables in the Sicklebrook area and jokingly commented that the ground plan looked more like a dwelling. A few years after the stables were constructed,​ permission was granted to convert the stables into a bungalow. ​ Its now up for sale, two bedrooms in 8 acres of countryside,​ yours for £650K. So much for the Green Belt. Shortly after that we had lunch in a field containing cylindrical bales of hay. Marie recalled reading about somebody being killed by such a thing but could not quite figure how a ball of grass could kill somebody. Trying to push one made us all realise that these things probably weighed half a ton and if one rolled over you it would be like being rolled over by a car.
 +Along Doe Lane Oliver and Marie were in discussion about the Saxons which all started when Oliver comment that this track/hedge row could be Saxon in origin. Sounds fanciful but the standard method of dating hedge rows is: number of species X 110 plus 30
 +This hedge contained hazel, field maple, oak, holly, ash and hawthorn, so this dates it to at least 700 years old. Perhaps our hedge saw the transition from Saxon England to Norman England which at times was extremely violent. The Domesday book recalls that a farm at Norton with 8 acres was valued at 20 shillings but after the uprising by Saxons in the north (now the land of the republic of South Yorkshire) and its brutal suppression by the Normans who burnt the farm, smashed the farm tools, destroyed the crops and livestock, the farm was revalued at a mere 18 pennies. Further down the sunken Doe Lane track where the sides were about three foot higher than the bottom of track and with three foot of hedge on top, even I at 6' 2 could not see over the top. It was like walking down a green corridor; it was warm, humid, still and quiet, Oliver made the comment that if we went back to Saxons times the view would probably be the same. Not quite sure though whether a Saxon would have had the opportunity to stop and sample wild raspberries as we did, but perhaps they saw a yellow shell moth just as we did.
 +On to Litfield farm and every step we took disturbed a host of butterflies but unlike before these were nearly all meadow browns. Two hedges within half a mile of each other yet hosting two different species.
 +So our walk drew to a close, very enjoyable but with a tinge of uneasiness. It was noted that many fields which in previous years had been closely grazed appeared now to the overgrown, abandoned. Meadow sweet was dominant in some fields suppressing other flora. Change of owners, farmers getting old, can’t make livestock pay? In spite of its apparent permanence, the valley is changing.
 =====**Bluebell Walk 2019**===== =====**Bluebell Walk 2019**=====


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