"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

Monday, 20 July 2015

Isle of Wight - Day 8 (3rd July) : Afton Down, Yarmouth

We left the cottage at 10.00 on the Friday morning - just as the cleaner arrived!

This badger sign was about 100 yards from the cottage. We didn't see a badger this holiday even though Niton is quite a hotspot for them and the visitor book in the cottage mentioned that one of holidaymakers had seen them in the garden. Opposite the cottage at the back there was what looked like a badger run in the bank leading from a field. We have seen badgers before on the Isle of Wight - one on the outskirts of Niton and one running down a field behind the house where we used to stay in Chale.

I forgot to mention in the last post that at dusk on the Thursday evening we had gone a drive along the coastal Military Road looking for barn owls where we have seen them before and we were lucky enough to be able to watch one from a layby one hunting along the margins of a field and on the grass verge.

We had a few hours to spare before the ferry so drove to Yarmouth along the coast road - is there a more lovely stretch of coast?

The first few photos are taken by D with the Canon (some from the car window) - the zoom coming in handy again.

Looking towards Freshwater Bay and the Needles


Chalk Cliffs Compton Bay

I persuaded B to stop off at a small quarry car park between Compton and Freshwater on Afton Down. I had read on a website that this was the best place on the Island for butterflies. Marbled Whites, Skippers and Meadow Browns were everywhere. Sadly, I didn't see one "Blue" butterfly all holiday - I think it was probably too late for the first emergence of Adonis and too early for the second and too early for Chalkhill Blue. It was my last chance to see Glanville Fritillary but as you already know yet again I was unsuccessful.

The next two photos were again taken with the Canon - my telephoto zoom was packed away in an inaccessible part of the car boot.

Large Skipper

A few photos of the downland wildflowers (with the Olympus)

There were dozens of Pyramidal Orchids

I will definitely revisit to walk this Down again when we have more time - there is also access to the coastal path from here. I am going to have to do some research and find the nearest patch of chalk downland to where we live (I can't wait another year before visiting this habitat again.)

We had about an hour to look round Yarmouth before we had to catch the ferry.

This is one of my favourite second hand bookshops. I managed to resist temptation this time but I did buy an ammonite necklace from a fossil and gem shop a few yards down the lane from the bookshop - again a shop well worth visiting :)

Finally, a few more photos of Yarmouth taken by D

Apologies for so many frequent posts - I know how hard it is to keep up when there are regular posts. I just have one more post to do on a day out D and I had in Stratford just before the holiday and then I'm up to date! Will at some stage do a post on plants growing in walls on the Island but that can wait a while!


Margaret Adamson said...

Don't apoligise for the numbr of posts as I have enjoyed them all as I did this one as well. It is sad when a holidays comes to an end but I know you will be back.

Ragged Robin said...

Margaret Adamson - thanks so much Margaret for your very kind comment. It just struck me at times that some of the posts were a trifle long with an awful lot of photos!!

Yes, we will be returning :)

Countryside Tales said...

Such a beautiful place with wonderful views. I've also enjoyed reading your holiday posts :o)

Ragged Robin said...

Countryside Tales - Thanks very much - so pleased you enjoyed the posts :)

amanda peters said...

I have really enjoyed your post of your holidays and all it's photos, have to say I do like the look of this area Freshwater and the views of the Chalk Cliffs looks lovely. Shame you did not get to see as many butterflies as you wanted, you will just have to go back.
I too would have been in the book shop, can spent to much time looking, OH not as keen as me though.
Look forward to the plants..
Amanda xx

Ragged Robin said...

Amanda Peters - Thanks so much Amanda. The coastal part which includes Compton Bay, Freshwater and the Needles is my favourite area. There is so much to see and do there. Lots of great places that we've been to in the past that we didn't visit this year such as Carisbrooke Castle, Osborne House, a Butterfly place, Lavender Farm, Calborne, the list is endless.... :)

We used to see more butterflies when D and E were younger and we had to go in August (school hol time).

I could have bought a lot of books! My OH is not a fan of my massive book collection. We've just picked an Ikea bookcase to cover one wall completely in the sitting room and he reckons it will only hold about one third of my books!! :( Will concentrate on putting all the natural history, geology and history books on it. I suspect a lot of the other books will have to stay in storage boxes. I am trying to buy less - buy more for Kindle and I have a wishlist on Amazon of about 150 books!!!

I've just finished the Dave Goulson book - its really superb :) Started now on the Matthew Oates "In Pursuit of Butterflies".

amanda peters said...

Both David's books have to be the best thing I have read in a long time, so would be interested in what you think of Matthews book, as I would like to buy that too..
Amanda xx

David Turner said...

What an enjoyable account of your holiday this has been, ending with some lovely downland flowers, especially the Pyramidal Orchids. It seems to be a good year for them as I have seen lots of them beside the roadsides up on the Yorkshire Wolds.

Shame you didn't see any badgers :-(

Kindest regards :-)

Ragged Robin said...

Amanda Peters - I started the butterfly book last night - and couldn't put it down!! :) Will let you know more when I've finished. Have also started reading Notes from the Field Edge by Paul Evans which is sublime too :) Need to spend less time on here and Twitter and concentrate on reading!!

David Turner - Thanks so much for your very kind comment. I was really chuffed with the orchids (they are such beautiful delicate flowers). Pity I couldn't find a bee orchid!!

A shame about the badgers but there'll be other occasions and the trip I went to see them at a sett has rather spoiled the magic of a chance encounter as I just want to watch them for hours on end again! IofW seems very good for badgers (and barn owls!!) :) Sadly, I think there was a poisoning incident at one of the Niton setts recently which is awful news :(

Deb said...

It's been lovely to read your holiday posts, every one has been so interesting. I just want to go to the IOW now. :-)

Ragged Robin said...

Deb - Thanks so much. You would love it there I am sure :) It measures about 23 miles by 13 so nowhere is very far away. The West side is quieter, more rural and less touristy. If you want to see some more posts to give you more idea of places there - check my blog archive for 2010 and 2011 for posts on 2 previous visits. Mainly in July of each year but there may be a few posts in the June.

Deb said...

Thanks Robin, I'll have a look. I was born and bred in Kent, but never visited the IOW, but I really wish I had.now. My friend used to go ever year and loved it. :-)

Ragged Robin said...

Deb - We find it totally delightful - it has such an old-fashioned charm (and I mean that in the nicest way possible). I've checked the posts - they are spread over June and July in both the years.

For a small island it has a great selection of habitats and places to go. I do hope you get chance to visit - if you do decide to please let me know and I'll send you a long list of lovely places :)

Caroline Gill said...

Thank you for your kind comment on my insect hotels. What a lovely time you have had in the I of W. It's not a place I know well, but it is a place I would love to know much better! There have been lots of Large Skippers here (competing in numbers with the 6-spot Burnet moth). I like the sound of the secondhand bookshop, too!

Ragged Robin said...

Caroline Gill - Thanks so much - as you will have gathered we love it there :)

I seem to be seeing more Skippers this year too - although not so many 6-spot burnets here. Need to get out to a nature reserve soon not had chance to go out much since the holiday:(

Deb said...

That's great, thanks Robin.

Ragged Robin said...

Deb - A pleasure :)

Millymollymandy said...

I agree, the coastline is stunning! A shame you didn't get to see those chalkland butterflies, or any badgers, but I'd have been chuffed seeing the barn owl hunting. Well you certainly packed loads into your holiday and it's been very interesting reading your posts. Lastly that's a great pic of the skipper! :-)

Ragged Robin said...

Millymollymandy - Thanks so much :) I'm so pleased you've enjoyed reading about the Isle of Wight. We were really pleased with the barn owl sighting - we used to have one fairly local to home but it disappeared some years ago :( Will tell D about the Skipper :)