"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Berkswell Windmill, Lesser Celandine and Butterbur at Temple Balsall

There was an Open Day at Berkswell Windmill on Easter Monday so D and I went along to have a look round.

The Windmill which is a four-bladed Tower Mill was first built in 1826 on the site of a former post mill. Historically, it was used to ground flour and animal feeds. It closed in 1948 when the last Miller, John Hammond died.

Its a Grade 2 Listed Building and Scheduled Monument. It was restored between 1973 and 1975 but fell into disrepair again following the death of its owner. A restoration which cost £200,000 has recently taken place and the windmill is open on certain dates throughout the year.

This camelia was absolutely covered in bees - sadly it was in somebody's garden so I couldn't get close enough to get any bee photos.

I fell in love with these planters.

The following three photos were taken by D with the Canon Bridge.

View from the top floor of the windmill

After a tour of the windmill and tea and cake we carried onto Temple Balsall to visit the Nature Reserve there.

The hedgerows were full of Lesser Celandine

The main reason for visiting the reserve was to see the Butterbur in flower. I've been fascinated by this plant since seeing it in a wildflower book (either one of the Ladybird series or The Observer's Book of Wild Flowers) when I was a child. The last two years I have managed to visit when it was past its best but on Monday it was in full flower. D was, however, singularly unimpressed and couldn't see why I was making such a fuss! Unfortunately, most of the photos were blurred - I'd turned down the ISO to take photos in the sun and then forgot to turn it back up when I entered the very dull and gloomy reserve!

Butterbur Petasites hybridus

The plant is Dioecious meaning male and female flowers occur on separate plants. The leaves continue to grow after flowering and can reach 2 feet across - they were once used to wrap butter (hence the plant's name).

I think this is Scarlet Elfcup

I'd parked the car round the corner from the reserve near the entrance to the Cemetery and there were several Peacocks and Brimstones fluttering round. I've noticed before this is a good site for butterflies.

Somewhere right in the middle of this photo is a male Brimstone - I hadn't got the telephoto zoom lens with me and I just couldn't get close enough to get a picture. I chased one butterfly into the Cemetery disturbing a pair of Green Woodpeckers who were "anting".

Good to see signs that trees will soon come into leaf.

More Lesser Celandine

and Violets.

Some photos taken by D with the Canon SX50 bridge.

The built in zoom came in handy and he managed to get a photo of one of the Peacocks after a great deal of patient stalking!!

Along the lane we came across a bank outside a cottage covered in Primroses, Primulas and Wood Anemones

and a trio of Easter bunnies!


SeagullSuzie said...

I watched two Peacock butterflies yesterday flying together as I was going for a walk. Some beautiful spring flower combinations about at the moment, so glad to hear you got to see the Butterbur.

Ragged Robin said...

SeagullSuzie - Thanks Suzie. The warm weather this week has really brought out the butterflies and bees. Just seen my first Comma in the garden :)

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

Looking at the shape of the cap, is that not a smock mill? Gosh I'm having to dredge up juior school memories for that!

Ragged Robin said...

Simon Douglas Thompson - Thanks for the comment Simon. I've just googled Smock Mills and yes, I see what you mean. To be honest I haven't a clue myself - I only quoted what was on Berkswell Windmill's facebook page!! Perhaps someone else could confirm type?

Ragged Robin said...

Simon Douglas Thompson - Just been doing some research - think it is a Tower Mill as they tend to be cylindrical rather than hexagonal/octogonal and are brick rather than timber build. Didn't realise a windmill could be so complicated! :)

Countryside Tales said...

Gorgeous post full of lovely things :o) What is it about Windmills? I am fascinated by them. The Butterbur is an extraordinary plant and one I've never seen in the wild. Didn't know it's heritage re wrapping butter either- lovely bit of folklore. Much approve of the planters too :o)

Ragged Robin said...

Countryside Tales - Thanks so much CT. Agree about windmills - I think I've visited 3 local ones in the last few years! Butterbur likes damp sites- very unusual looking plant! Would love to know where the planters came from :)

amanda peters said...

Lovely post, I would enjoy going round the windmill, have a face planter on my wall, they do dry out very quick with plants in though.
Butterbur was my flower to find last year as I remember it as a child, we use to hide under the leaves if it rained. Kept on missing it flower, but managed to photograph last year, we have a lot round us as we live in a dam area, lost's of streams, above and under ground.
This years flower to find is Toothwort , another interesting flower..deriving it's nutrients from the roots of trees,usually hazel.
Amanda xx

Ragged Robin said...

Amanda Peters - Thanks so much Amanda. Interesting to know that you remembered butterbur from childhood too - a totally fascinating plant :) Yes, I'd like to find some Toothwort as well - thought I'd found some last year when doing my Plantlife Survey but it was a garden escapee! Name eludes me for now and too tired to check back! I do know a few places where there are hazels so will look out for it there. Do hope you find some.

Millymollymandy said...

Looks like a super place to visit - and the wildflowers are glorious! I can't see anything wrong with your photos with the SX50! :-) Thanks for putting me on your blogroll by the way and I'll do the same, now I'm on my desktop and can do these things. I'm so often on my Kindle these days and it's rather frustrating as it's slow to load blogs with lots of photos, so takes me ages to catch up.

Ragged Robin said...

Millymollymandy - Thanks so much. Son took the SX50 photos (I am still trying to find the time to work out how the camera works!!).

Thanks re: the blogroll. Sorry I haven't followed you yet - trying to find a way to do so without using Google plus. Have always had a problem following people using the desktop it won't let me do it which is very embarrassing when people follow you and you can't follow back! One of these days I'll manage to find a way to do so, I hope! Then loads of people who followed me years ago will wonder why I have suddenly started to follow them!!

Millymollymandy said...

I had that problem for about a year too as I'm on G+ and it always seemed to want me to use that profile. I'm not entirely sure what I did but I think I clicked on the G+ thing, it then asked me for my google password and somehow or other I was back to my Blogger profile..... but don't worry about it, really! Google is a right nuisance at times. :-)

Ragged Robin said...

Millymollymandy - Thank you. The following problem is why I always add people to my Blog List! Google is a pain at times - I've only just been able to use italics on the blog and still can't add links for some reason (think I use an old version). The reason I steer clear of Google Plus is because once I heard people moaning that it affects your photos. Probably no truth in it but just decided to leave the whole thing as simple as possible!

Toffeeapple said...

Isn't it lovely to see blossom and leaves emerging after such a long time?
I have seen quite a few Peacock and Brimstone butterflies and, even more exciting for me, quite a few Bee Flies; they are such an endearing shape, texture and colour.

Ragged Robin said...

Toffeeapple - Thanks so much for your comment. Yes, its great to see life emerging again - I think, much as I love the autumn, spring is my favourite time of year. Well done on the Bee Flies - yes they are lovely. Sadly, haven't seen one yet this year although did have one in the garden this time last year. Hopefully, will get a sighting soon :)

Millymollymandy said...

Actually G+ doesn't affect your photos at all and neither do they strip out the exif data and leave any embedded copyright data alone. It's facebook which affects photos and strips everything out - and they have the audacity to say that they own your images!!! But whilst I used to post images on G+ because there is a big photographic community there, I found it way too time consuming, so just stick to facebook and blogging now. :-)

Ragged Robin said...

Millymollymandy - Thanks so much for that information - it really is very interesting and by coincidence well=timed! Have my google blog account and am on Twitter but have so far resisted joining Facebook for a number of reasons (daughter had problems on their years ago - bullying and I also find blogging and twitter time-consuming enough!!!) But I have been considering joining facebook the last week or so just to use for natural history stuff as there are quite a few local groups (birds and moths) that use it. Am having second thoughts again now!!!

Millymollymandy said...

There is an excellent insect group for UK and N. European species full of really knowledgeable people who can ID species of just about everything, so when I'm back on my desktop I'll give you the link!

Ragged Robin said...

Millymollymandy - Oh thanks so much that would be very useful and much appreciated! Think I am going to have to join facebook as a lot of people on Twitter are raving about new Warks moth group just set up on there and also I discovered last night that Warks Badger Group of which I am a member have also just joined. I'll get my son to help me set up an account and try and limit my time on there! Since my husband retired its getting increasingly difficult to spend as much time on computer as I used to!! He is not impressed!!!