As you know, we have been busy with home improvements this year so haven’t had the time to go on our usual walks very often and I haven’t taken as many photos as usual. Richard and I did manage a walk or two in April along the lanes and over the fields.
Our local farmer has taken to sheep farming in recent years and this year he coppiced many of his overgrown hedges and then waited to see what came up again. He has selected the plants he wishes to retain in the hedges and has cut out the rest. He has put up stock fencing next to the new slim-line hedge and all is looking very different now.
We took our usual walk across the fields just after the coppicing had been done. All the heaps of wood were burnt and you can see a smouldering heap of wood-ash in the centre of this picture.
The last time we had walked this route there had been a thick hedge just in front of the ditch in the foreground.
I was quite concerned about the loss of the hedges because they are usually full of nesting, singing birds in the spring. However, the farmer does care about the local wildlife and had left reassuring notices next to the ex-hedges stating what he was intending to do.
A view across the open fields. This walk was taken at the beginning of April while the weather was still bright and warm.
This oak tree had been blown down in storm ‘Doris’. The green you can see is the ivy that had been growing up the tree trunk. Most healthy trees can cope with ivy growing on them and this one had seemed to be healthy.
An upright tree this time, with holes it in, probably made by woodpeckers.
Another view of the fields and that blue sky!
Red Dead-nettle (Lamium purpureum) and Groundsel (Senecio vulgaris)
The Blackthorn blossom (Prunus spinosa) was very good this spring.
This rather dull and unassuming little plant (not a clear photo, I’m afraid) has the interesting name of Sticky Mouse-ear (Cerastium glomeratum)! The leaves are the shape of a mouse’s ear and they are also sticky as you can see in the photo; the leaves are covered with grains of sand.
I found yet another Barren Strawberry plant. (Potentilla sterilis)
It is easy to tell the difference between a Wild Strawberry and a Barren Strawberry even if there are no flowers to be seen. The leaves of the Barren Strawberry are a mid-green colour and are matt whereas the Wild Strawberry leaves are shiny and yellow-green. The leaves of both plants are toothed but the Barren Strawberry’s terminal tooth (the one at the tip of each leaflet) is smaller and shorter than the ones next to it. You can see this quite clearly on the photo above. The Wild Strawberry’s terminal tooth is as long as or longer than the ones next to it. The flowers are different too. The Barren Strawberry flowers have large gaps between the petals and the sepals are clearly seen in the gap. The Wild Strawberry’s petals are close together and the sepals are hidden behind them.
A Blackthorn hedge in flower
A view of St. Peter’s church tower in the distance
One of my favourite views through a gap in the hedge
Another view from our walk. The field close-by has barley or wheat growing in it; the yellow field in the distance is of oil-seed rape.
A field of Oil-seed Rape
This photo is of the bank of a ditch and shows the lumps of chalk that can be found in the clay soil here
The verge at the side of the lane was covered with Lesser Celandines (Ficaria verna)
Another view across the fields…
Ash tree flowers ( Fraxinus excelsior)
Most of our fields are surrounded by deep ditches.
Annual Mercury (Mercurialis annua)
Most of the Mercury that grows here is the perennial Dog’s Mercury which is found in (sometimes) large swathes under hedges and in the woodland. The Mercury in the photo above is the Annual Mercury which doesn’t grow in swathes and is branched (unlike the Dog’s Mercury). It is not a native plant but has been here for at least 1000 years, introduced from mainland Europe.
Cowslips (Primula veris)
A pond at the side of the lane
The last of the Primroses (Primula vulgaris)
Part of St. Margaret South Elmham common
Another Blackthorn hedge
Another short walk we took was to view the orchids flowering along the verge near to us.
Early Purple Orchids (Orchis mascula)
Early Purple Orchids
We also saw purple Bugle (Ajuga reptans) and Dandelions (Taraxacum agg.)
This seems to be a Cowslip/Primrose cross
An over-exposed and out-of-focus photo of Lady’s-smock/ Cuckooflower (Cardamine pratensis)
Richard and I also called in at our neighbour Cordelia’s Daffodil Sunday when every year she opens her beautiful garden to the public in aid of St. Margaret’s church.
Her garden is full of spring flowers
The weather was perfect for the open garden this year
The Old Rectory
Looking towards the church from the Old Rectory
The drive up to the house
I apologise for the length of this post!
My music choice this time is ‘The Banks of Green Willow’ by George Butterworth
Thanks for visiting!