"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

Friday, 9 October 2015

Herefordshire Part 4 : Owls and The Great Oak

Saturday, 26th September

Final day in Herefordshire. After breakfast and checking out of The Gables we spent an hour or so having a final look round Weobley.

I popped in the Green Bean Shop and stocked up on Ecover Cream Cleaner (unbelievably, I can't buy this locally!).

A long discussion followed on what to do for the rest of the day, D wanted to go to Puzzlewood in the Forest of Dean and I was keen on Hay-on-Wye (am reading Magus of Hay by Phil Rickman at the moment!) but B didn't want to drive further from home. My suggestion of Hereford Cathedral did not go down well :( At this stage I was starting to see that B was on the verge of suggesting driving straight home especially as E seemed to have had enough of holidays so to keep D and E happy I suggested the Small Breed Farm Park and Owl Centre, near Kington.

There was a superb variety of owls on display in the Owl Centre although I have to admit I am never very happy to see wild birds in captivity but at least it gives children the chance to learn about such species and perhaps get interested in their conservation.

This is Numpy, a Milky Eagle Owl






Then a look round the Small Breeds area



Miniature Horse

Angora Goat

Miniature Zebu - the smallest breed of cattle in the world.

We drove through more of the villages on the Black and White Village Trail - sorry no pictures as we didn't stop. I lost count of the number of interesting churches we passed which I would have loved to explore!

I did persuade B to take a detour and visit the Eardisley or Great Oak (I think it may be the only tree in England to have its own signpost!). Unfortunately, there was nowhere to park safely so B dropped me off for a few minutes while he drove up the lane and back.

The tree has a girth of 9 metres, 17 centimetres indicating it is about 900 years old. The tree has become "stag-headed" and the trunk is hollow. A forest in the area was recorded in the Domesday Book (1086) and perhaps this tree is the last survivor of this wood. It was a landmark on maps dated 1650. I gave it a hug and spent a moment thinking about all the history it has witnessed.

Just round the corner from the tree this lovely cottage was for sale - what a beautiful place to live :)

It was a really lovely short break and I would have no hesitation in recommending the Gables if you ever need a bed and breakfast in the area. The tea-rooms there are also excellent as D and I had soup and welsh cakes there last year.

The Gables Tea Room

This is the Heron's Cross Jug I bought :) It was very difficult to make a decision as I was very tempted by one with butterflies and another with bees. In fact, I could easily have bought half a dozen!

We stopped off at Monklands Cheese Dairy on the way home to stock up on Hereford Black Butter which is delicious and something else I can't buy locally.

*D (photos taken by D with the Canon SX50)


Chris Rohrer said...

I am love with this trek. A old wise last remaining tree, owls, cute cottage and an artsy pitcher. What's not to love! I would love to explore the "mind" of that tree. Oh what it has seen over its lifetime. Love your treks and tea time:)

Simon Douglas Thompson said...

I always worry about the raptors I see at the local resuce centre when they come into town, but I've found no evidence they are a problem, so there you go. I love those owls!

Ragged Robin said...

Chris Rohrer - Thanks so much Chris :) The tree is very special :) Sorry no cake for you in this post!

Simon Douglas Thompson - Thanks very much. The owls had plenty of room to fly around and were obviously well cared for. I just feel so sorry for wild birds (or animals) being kept in captivity.

Margaret Adamson said...

WOW! such avarety of Owls.Love all the other critters you photographed adn that is a quaint cottage. Have a wonderful weekend.

Ragged Robin said...

Margaret Adamson - Thanks very much Margaret - glad you enjoyed. Have a great weekend too :)

Countryside Tales said...

I got lost admiring the wols (although, like you, I am uncomfortable seeing them in captivity) but then I got totally lost in that wonderful old tree! As you said, such history it must have seen. I could close my eyes and be there with it.

SeagullSuzie said...

That was a lovely trip to enjoy through your photos. Trees and owls...just a few of my favourite things!

Deb said...

Great post Caroline. I love the owls and the cottage is gorgeous. Such a pretty jug too.:-)

Ragged Robin said...

Countryside Tales - Thanks very much CT :) The tree was just magical - I not only hugged it but talked to it too!

SeagullSuzie - Thanks so much - have more owls for a blog post next week!! :) We went to see the Birmingham Big Hoot Owls today. So many and all models so didn't have to worry about the captivity bit!!

Deb - Thanks very much Deb. I love the Heron's Cross Jug (I use them as vases :) ). I checked out the cottage on a property page when I got home!! Its bigger than it looks - a pity its come on the market a year too early!

Pete Duxon said...

have you ever been to Much Marcle church? It has a wonderful tomb to Blanche Mortimer and a yew tree you can sit in :D

Ragged Robin said...

Pete Duxon - Sadly, no I haven't Pete. But yes I know it has the yew! I don't think its that far from home so one day will try and go on a day trip. I could spend a week in Herefordshire just visiting churches and NT properties!

David said...

Shame you couldn't visit Hereford Cathedral but nevertheless it certainly appears that you had a good day exploring more of Herefordshire. I share you dislike of captive birds but sometimes some of these birds have suffered accidents or poor treatment in the past so at least they are well cared for at such centres, albeit in less than natural surroundings!

All the livestock looked in fine health whilst I have to admit I am a huge fan of reindeer, they have such friendly faces :-)

The Great Oak is certainly an impressive specimen and as you say it is fascinating to think of all the history it has witnessed in its long life.

Kindest regards and best wishes to all :-)

Ragged Robin said...

David - Thanks very much. David and I did go to Hereford Cathedral a few years ago but we only had a couple of hours there (I managed to stupidly park in an area where you could only stay so long) and I would love to return and see more. A lot of Dad's family lived in Hereford so it would have been good to look round the city as well!

Agree with your comments about the owls and livestock. Years ago when D and E were little we had a holiday in Scotland and visited the reindeer herd in the Cairngorms which was a wonderful experience :)

With very best wishes to you and your family David.

Millymollymandy said...

I read your reply to my comment on your other blog so I've skipped the church post other than looking at the photos as church interiors are not so high on my list of things I find interesting. This post is much more my cup of tea! I also feel bad about birds of prey kept in captivity but usually they are the only chance I get to see them, particularly owls. Looks like an interesting place to visit with the other animals too. Some great shots there with the SX50 although your photos are great too.

And as for that tree - wonderful, what history it must have experienced! Love your jug. :-)

Ragged Robin said...

Millymollymandy - Thanks so much Mandy. I realised with horror recently that the Nature Notes bit of my blog title isn't as relevant at the moment! Partly because I tend to put garden wildlife stuff on the other blog and partly because when I go out to nature reserves or wildlife spotting I don't always take the camera!

Would agree with your comment re: owls in captivity. I haven't got quite such a problem with places that rescue and keep owls that couldn't for one reason or another be re-released into the wild. The SX50 was very useful - due to zoom and the ability to get shots through the cage bars (neither of which I could do with the Olympus).

The tree was one of the definite highlights of the holiday :) and I could have bought several of the jugs!! :)