A record of wildlife in my garden and various trips to the Warwickshire countryside and occasionally further afield.
"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, 7 November 2016
Autumnal Woodland Walk at Salcey Forest, Eleanor Cross and "Fright Night" at Aston Hall
D was keen to go on a woodland walk to see some autumn colour and had spotted in the "i" newsaper a recommended walk along Church Path Trail in Salcey Forest, Northamptonshire. So the weekend before last we paid a visit. Salcey forest is a 500 hectare ancient semi-natural woodland managed by the Forestry Commission. It includes remnants of a medieval royal hunting forest and contains "druids" or veteran oaks that are over 600 years old. Management techniques to improve biodiversity include the removal of plantation conifers to encourage the natural regeneration of native trees. Broadleaved trees are thinned selectively to open up the canopy creating trees of different ages. Coppicing has also been reintroduced.
The car park was packed but most people seemed to remain near the car park or by the tree top walk (more of that later!) and the one and a half mile Church Path Trail was fairly quiet.
Autumn colours were developing beautifully.
Lots of fallen leaves to walk through :)
We didn't see many birds but did find a few fungi species although not as many as I had hoped. Id is ongoing - in fact, when I get a minute I will put try and post some photos on i-spot. Fungi id is not my strong point! Edit - I think the species in the middle photo may be Sulphur Tuft?
This is the Church Path Oak (now fallen). William Henry, the 6th Duke of Grafton used to rest under this tree on his journey to and from Piddington Church.
Lime Tree Walk
We had now reached the Treetop Way which is 15 metres above the woodland floor and right at the end is a Tower 20 metres high.
The beginning of the walk- not too scary!!
I got as far as the part you can see in the distance in this photo and then my fear of heights kicked in and I have to admit I returned to the start!
D continued on his own (the next few photos are his) - I wouldn't have got much further than I did because apparently the walkway starts to sway and
there is a rather frightening stairway to the tower. Heights don't bother D but I don't think he was so keen on the stairs.
Views from the top
We had lunch in the Forest Cafe - broccoli and stilton soup with crusty bread.
It would be worth returning to the forest in Spring/Summer when over 50% of English butterfly species can be seen here.
I couldn't see Purple Emperor in the photo above but I believe they do still occur here. Denys Watkins-Pitchford ("BB"), the author, artist and conservationist saw his first Purple Emperor at Salcey. Later in his life he bred and released this species at Fermyn Wood in the same county.
Before the journey home we made our way the few miles to Hardingstone to see one of the three surviving Eleanor Crosses. Queen Eleanor of Castile died in 1290 at Harby Nottinghamshire and her body was taken to Westminster Abbey, London. Her husband, King Edward I, arranged for crosses to be built, between 1291 and 94, at the places where the funeral procession had stopped overnight. Originally, there were 12 of these medieval crosses but today only those at Geddington, Hardingstone (both Northamptonshire) and Waltham Cross (London) remain. The cross at Hardingstone was constructed at the edge of Delapre Abbey and was begun in 1291. It was built in 3 tiers and the top may once have held a cross. The bottom tier contains open books which may once have contained painted details of Eleanor's life and prayers for her soul. I found the cross very beautiful and very moving and was so glad we had made the detour to find it.
On Sunday, 30th October, we attended a Halloween "Fright Night" at Aston Hall. Photos weren't allowed of the actual event but here is one of the hall as we arrived.
The event lasted an hour and really was rather scary. It contained a variety of spooky, ghostly tales, enactments and some rather frightening "surprises". I quickly learned not to stand on the front or back row or at either end! It was my first visit to Aston Hall since taking D and E when they were little but I will try and return next year (in the daytime) as it is an interesting location.
This year's Halloween pumpkin and
a beeswax candle I recently bought. The design isn't for Halloween but I love the bee and skep :)
Welcome to my blog. I have been interested in natural history from an early age and we have tried to create a garden attractive to wildlife. I also enjoy reading, photography, collecting fossils, visiting historic buildings and gardens and supporting Aston Villa. Please feel free to leave a comment and, if you would like to email me, my email address is ciraggedrobinsATgmail.com - remember to replace AT with @. Thank you for visiting.