Sunday, 19 April 2020

Daily Walk

My corner of the world is situated high up on a Cotswold escarpment, surrounded by several valleys, and gives far distant views across to Wales. The area is made up of several small scattered communities resulting in a large variety of different walks immediately on the doorstep.
Come! climb the stile and let's see what we can find on the Common. It is a designated SSSI (site of special scientific interest), a European Special Area of Conservation, and known for its rare flowers, butterflies, and prehistoric remains. 
In the dip beyond the trees lies a deep valley; the far distant blue hills are situated on the Welsh/English border, and on a good clear day it is possible to see a pyramidal shaped mountain in the Brecon Beacons called Sugar Loaf.
There are literally thousands and thousands of Primula veris - cowslips currently flowering on the Common.
Primula veris - sunset - these cowslip is not commonly found, but if you look really carefully sometimes you will manage to spot one.
But, these are the much rarer Primula elatior - oxlip, which are now beginning to go over. An oxlip is a hybrid between a cowslip and a primrose.
Arum maculatum - lords & ladies, cuckoo-pint, are reasonably common, and whilst not strictly poisonous they do contain oxalate crystals which are very sharp and can penetrate and irritate the skin.


The Orchis mascula - there are plenty of these tiny early-purple orchids in flower. There are over twenty different wild orchids growing on the Common throughout the year, a few of which are exceedingly rare and difficult to spot.

The Blackthorn blossom has been flowering continuously since March. It looks as if there will be plenty of sloe plums to pick this autumn to make some sloe gin for Christmas. Long ago the shrub was associated with witchcraft and it was thought that the wood was used to make witches' wands and staffs.
This old milestone is a reminder that once upon a time there was an ancient highway crossing over the Common carrying stage coaches down to London.
I have no idea what tree this is - do you know?

Time now to return home for a cup of tea,


but as we turn into the garden we suddenly notice that our Camassia qumash is in flower.

60 comments:

  1. I think we are climbing the stile and not the style, but I nitpick no doubt. The views are splendid indeed. I have visited this area a couple of times and have fond, fond memories. It always seems to me to be the inspirational landscape for "The Lark Ascending." I doubt that I shall ever make it to the UK again, but if I do, I will be sure to head for the Cotswolds at some point.

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    1. Happy to have my error corrected David - already changed.
      It's a lovely gentle landscape with a homely feel, and I love it.
      Although Skylarks are becoming increasingly rare, we still have them nesting up on our Common.

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  2. Oh, so So So Lovely! Thank you for bringing us along on your ramble! The Common is such a wonderful thing... we don't really have them over on this side of the Pond. Your litany of blossoms is positively lyrical and clearly you know your wildflowers. Thank you again for sharing!

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    1. The Common is the same as it has always been - it has never been farmed and is just as nature intended it to be. The wildflowers to be seen during the year are a delight.

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  3. Dearest Rosemary,
    What a lovely sight of awakening nature in your necks of the woods as they call it here so often.
    Those wild primulas did remind me of our spring in the Venice are of Italy where we lived. By the way, missed seeing you on all those chapters so far...
    We're very busy with our Manuscript, a scientific one and very complex but I still try to visit my loyal readers!
    Hugs and enjoy your spring walks.
    Mariette

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    1. Dear Mariette - I haven't forgotten you, and will try to visit soon.
      We are enjoying a wonderful Spring which is helping us all cope with the current situation.

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  4. This beautiful post was a gorgeous beginning to yet another day in mostly lock down circumstances. I feel like I've just had the walk alongside of you dear Rosemary to view England's Cotswold beauty closeup.

    I was interested in the historic marker - although partially worn I'm thinking that it says Cirencester 12, correct? That's where my SIL's parents lived for many years - and I visited once. Lovely place and recall passing Prince Charles' Highgrove estate on the way. Your Common has a fascinating history - have you found fossils in your garden by chance?

    Cuckoo-pint and cowslips, a reminder of childhood treks through the fields and woods, and climbing many stiles in my area of Devon - oh to return to those halcyon days! I'm actually tearing up thinking of it all.

    Thank you Rosemary - I think of you often and hope to meet up again some day - preferably on the Common!
    Hugs to you both from us. Stay safe XX

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    1. Dear Mary - how I wish that you could have been with me so that I could show you all the delights to be found on our Common.
      I am sure that you too realise that it now almost 1 year ago that we all met, and who would have thought that we would be in the strange situation we are in now.
      Yes, do come and see us again and preferably on the Common would be great.

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  5. Hello Rosemary, I think that you must have used some of those blackthorn wands to enchant that landscape! In Ohio, most of the early spring flowers are delicate in color, but yours seem so colorful and vibrant.

    The joy of coming across a rare wildflower is intense--a real gift from nature.
    --Jim

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    1. Hello Jim - the colours individually do seem vibrant. May be it is because the air currently is extremely still, calm , and very bright.

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    1. Thank you for your visit and kind comment.

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  7. You are surrounded by such beautiful wild flowers!

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    1. I have always loved wildflowers ever since my school days.

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  8. Wonderful photos of beautiful flowers. Thanks for sharing. I've never seen most of these.

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    1. I suspect that you must have equally beautiful wildflowers too.

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  9. I read your blog with my morning tea. A real treat to join you on your walk. Cowslips were a favourite flower of mine as a child. I felt such joy at finding them unexpectedly. I'm finding it hard to understand the restriction on being outside. Here in Canada, specifically British Columbia we are encouraged to get out into the fresh air for our physical and mental wellbeing. We have to follow the social distancing rules of course, 6ft minimum, 10ft preferred. Much better to be breathing fresh air than rebreathing air contained in our homes, particularly in small homes with a large number of occupants. I feel sorry for people in flats who have no garden, it must be especially hard on them. Stay well.

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    1. It was wrong of me to say we had had the government allotted time out of doors, but that is the way we currently happen think about it. We can stay out as long as we need in order to get the exercise we want either walking, running, or cycling etc as long as we keep socially distancing from others. No fear of that up here, as we hardly see anyone else, only in the in the distance, so we wave to each other in acknowledgement.

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    2. We both are very fortunate to live in less populated areas. Incidentally Camassia quamash is native to my area and a significant traditional food of the Coast Salish nation.

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  10. We are so lucky to have such an intricate and interesting landscape to explore. I think you said in a recent comment on my blog that all your photos are taken on a shoot-and-point camera: you'd better hang on to it as you get wonderful results! I think your tree is a female grey willow or female goat willow; the two trees are very similar and hybrids further confuse matters. The male trees are usually referred to as "pussy-willows".

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    1. I think that you are correct John, having looked them up, I would go for the female grey willow. Thank you for your generous comment re: photos.

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  11. What a lovely place to walk - and take fabulous photos. I was going to say Pussy Willow for your tree but your last poster beat me to it.

    It reminds me a little of the common my friend took me to, looking down over the village where she grew up (which is now NOTHING like the village where she grew up having been expanded and expanded and no "locals" living there any more.) There was a "tump" where she used to gallop her pony up onto and along. Happy days. There was an ice cream shop too - good local made stuff, and I could have murdered one when gardening in the heat this afternoon!

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    1. It sounds rather like our Common as we have locally made ice cream for sale up here, but I don't recognise the village you mentioned.

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  12. In a beautiful place you live and admire plants and flowers. Primroses delight me. Regards

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    1. Glad you enjoyed seeing Giga - hope all is well with you.

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  13. Stunning photos!! And how wonderful to have such a beautiful area for walking. John takes Ranger for a walk around the block morning and evening and that's about it. Take care and stay safe. Best, Jane x

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    1. Do you not go out with him Jane? I trust that you too are getting some fresh air - may be in your garden instead.

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    2. I spend a lot of time in the garden, but because I am not in the best of health, with the anxiety and depression I suffer, I don't feel safe going out at the moment. I became very ill through it and lost so much weight I went down to 5st 3lb. I'm now on a different anti-depressant, which seems to be working, and am eating and putting on weight again and up to 5st 8lb now. I still have a long way to go, but I'm feeling hopeful. Thank you so much for your concern; I really do appreciate it :)

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    3. Do take care of yourself Jane, and please keep yourself very safe. I hope that you will soon gain all of your strength back again. This dark moment in our history will have been particularly difficult for you, the sooner it is over the better it will be for youX

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    1. Wouldn't swap it Tom for anywhere else - it's near enough to be almost your local too.

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  15. What a wonderful walk with all those delightful wild flowers. Do you actually have a set time you are allowed for your walk. We are told just to walk in the neighbourhood and we do about 1.75 kms with 3kg weights for added exercise.

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    1. Sorry Susan - that remark just happens to be the way we think about our time out currently. We can stay out as long as we need to get the exercise we feel we need.

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  16. Yes, you're fortunate to be in a fine part of the country there with a network of good walks on the doorstep. Loved my trips to the Cotswolds and enjoying spring up here as well. Fantastic spell of weather last three weeks we are having.

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    1. Spring is really beautiful this year especially because of the wonderful weather.

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  17. Lovely view and nice to see your part of the world showing what you see.
    The flowers are colourful as is that blossom, must look a picture.
    Take care.

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    1. Mother Nature is really blooming this year - my blue Camassia has been absent for a few years, and suddenly she has reappeared again.

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  18. Wonderful photos of your nature walk!

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    1. Thank you very much - glad that you enjoyed.

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  19. What a beautiful place to live with such lovely views too. Your photos are just beautiful.

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    1. Thank you for your kind comment re: the photos Catherine - I do appreciate living here and think that we were quite fortunate when we were looking for somewhere to live that we found this spot.

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  20. Dear Rosemary,
    I have always loved the word and the idea of "the Commons". Your Commons is a little paradise. Are new plants introduced? Who takes care of the Commons or are they left to themselves.
    As always your photos are extra special and the blue of your Camassia in your very own garden is almost ethereal.

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    1. Dear Gina - the plants that grow on the Commons are flourishing naturally, nothing has been introduced. Cattle and horses are bought onto the Commons in early Summer until late Autumn and they graze down the grasses and flowers. The only human intervention comes in the form of the National Trust who send their conservationists along to check on what is happening. They remove any small alien trees and shrubs that have started to grow which possibly arrive via birds or wind.
      We were delighted to see the Camassia in flower again. She has been absent for the last three years, we thought that she was lost, so we were very happy to see that she was back.

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  21. I have no idea about the tree. Frankly I am amazed at how much knowledge you have about plants, and you certainly have some beautiful ones in your part of the country...Janey

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    1. The tree is a female Grey Willow Janey - another blogger kindly let me know.
      I have always loved flowers, and in particular the wild ones. I had a great Botany teacher when I was at school who would take all of my class out on expeditions searching for flowers, and tell us all about them.

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  22. Such divine vistas beyond! And an abundance of wildflowers at your feet. You do live in a beautiful part of the world.

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    1. It's a very cosy, homely landscape in which to live.

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  23. Your walk is full of beautiful views near and far. How lovely the wildflowers are, and those expansive views of valleys and mountains take the breath away. The scenery reminds me a little of our walk in Frith Woods almost 4 years ago now, except that was in summer and blazing hot. I loved the views over the fields to the towns in the valley below.
    Your own garden holds delight, too, including a welcome cup of tea!

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    1. The weather has been lovely during all of our lockdown which certainly helps lift our spirits.
      Frith Woods lie roughly to the very far left of those far distant trees seen in the view over the stile.

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  24. You really do live in an idyllic place Rosemary, and I enjoyed the walk so very much. The scenery is breathtaking, and the flowers are lovely. The Blackthorn bush really appeals to me, blossoms like snowflakes! And a cup of tea is always just perfect after a good walk.

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    1. Dear Blackthorn is really lovely this year, the blossom is particularly dense, and it doesn't seem to know that it is time it stopped flowering.
      There's nothing quite as good as a good old cup of freshly brewed tea along with a tasty little nibble on the side too!

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  25. Thanks for the tour. I've read stories with cowslips and blackthorn in them, but never known what they looks like.

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    1. I am pleased that this post has put a face to some of the flower names that you are familiar with.

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  26. How lucky you are to live in such a beautiful spot of the world, and specially in this time of lockdown to be able to go for a wonderfully healthy walk in this gorgeous landscape .

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    1. One of my granddaughters has just emailed us and said exactly the same.

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  27. Dear Rosemary - I’ve been always happy for you that you live in such a beautiful part of the world. Having some refreshments after strolling around the area for both body and soul is a time of bliss, even with a little of anxiety deep in our heart. During my daily walk, I feel strange sensation from nature, benevolence on timid-looking mask-wearing creatures named humans.

    About the post before the previous one, I agree with you for the Gaia’s revenge thought. As you wrote carbon emission has fallen sharply due to the new coronavirus. There would be ways to deal with global climate change if only every nation works for the same purpose. Weather has been too changeable here, repeating February and May in turn, with strong wind most days. So abnormal. But the climate talk has been overshadowed by the overwhelming news of COVID-19. Take care.

    Yoko

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    1. Dear Yoko - I suspect that we have a long hard struggle ahead of us before all of this is over. However, may be in time, we will be able to look back at this dark moment in our history and realise that it was possibly a force for good, and that mankind does take notice and change for the better.

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  28. Hi Rosemary...
    Gee...I sure wish our walks were this beautiful...💙
    What a beautiful spot you are lucky enough to live in...
    Stay safe...
    Cheers!
    Linda :o)

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    1. Hi Linda - we are all soldiering on together in this crisis, who could have imagined that we would have such a dark moment in our history to contend with - glad that you enjoyed seeing our walk - take care Linda & all of your little family too.

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