Thursday, 28th May 2015
I took myself off for a walk around the top path of Penrose Estate on Thursday. The sun was sort of shining in between the clouds, and sometimes the sky was even quite blue – but it was very windy. A quick ramble of just 3.5 miles took me an hour and a half by the time I’d finished playing about with the camera trying to get some close-ups of birds and butterflies. It was a bit busy as well with all the half term tourists out enjoying the dry weather. Lovely for them, but they kept disturbing my wildlife!
Penrose Top Path (3.5 miles)
As I go down through the harbour, I’m surprised by how many people there are! I don’t know why I should be – it is half term after all, I just didn’t expect to see so many. So I walk quickly along the coast path heading for Loe Bar, but then turn left up the steep hill towards the new top path in the hope that not many people would do the same. A bit quieter here but still a fair few admiring the views and the walk. The fields alongside me are full of green crops – not sure whether this is barley or wheat but it looks lovely waving about wildly in the wind:
Way across the other side of the field I spot a bird sitting on a post and manage to get a bit of a blurry shot:
He’s sitting here for quite a long time, but it’s so windy I have trouble holding the camera steady. The hedgerows are full of red campion and foxgloves now, all pink and pretty. But there are lots of thistles too – not so pretty – but good to photograph as they don’t wave about too much in the wind! Now I’ve looked at the picture again, I’m not sure this even is a thistle – can’t find it in any of my books.
I managed to get one shot of a butterfly – I believe this is a Speckled Wood.
My butterfly book tells me that the male Speckled Wood defends his territory by launching aerial assaults on intruders, I didn’t even know that butterflies had territories – did you?
The views across the fields and down to Loe Pool are lovely and I sit on a bench for a while and watch the world go by:
There’s a flock of something – probably gulls – on the lake, and in the far distance a grebe gliding gracefully along – too far away for the camera though:
Walking on, I spot a pretty little flower on the edge of the field – a new one to me – but it’s apparently very common – it’s called the Common Ramping Fumitory. Found in arable fields, waste ground and hedge banks it’s one of five ramping fumitories that are hard to tell apart.
The name ‘fumitory’ is derived from a medieval Latin word meaning ‘smoke of the earth’ and is so called because if you pull one up, the roots give off an acrid, gaseous smell. If you get the sap in your eyes it will make them water as if affected by smoke. So – leave them be! They are quite pretty though all along the edge of the field – and seeing them here makes me remember that last year chamomile was growing along the edge of this field, Mr RR picked some and made tea with it. And that reminds me to tell you that I have a new book which I spotted at the Ashmolean in Oxford – it’s all about edible wild plants and herbs and is so lovely with gorgeous illustrations and even recipes. As soon as I find something edible I’ll be letting you know!
Time to move on – just across the top field towards the farm, past the young cows lazing and grazing quietly in the meadow:
noticing the hawthorn in blossom:
and the house martins flitting away around the barns – too quick for photos!
Walked 376.5 miles this year
Associated artwork for Ricketyrambler by Andrew Major: