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
Sunday, 22 October 2017
NORFOLK - Day 1 Thursday, 19th October - Titchwell NR, St Mary's Burnham Deepdale, Morston Quay
B and I spent a couple of days in North Norfolk at the end of last week.
It was dry when we left home but by the time we had joined the M6 the rain had started.
Just past Peterborough the rain was easing off but there was a lot of low cloud over the fens.
Luckily by the time we reached Norfolk
the rain finally stopped although it was very dull and gloomy.
We arrived at RSPB Titchwell Marshes Nature Reserve late morning and after eating sandwiches in the car set off to explore the reserve - this was only my second visit.
Titchwell Marsh is part of a network of immensely valuable wildlife sites in Europe called Natura 2000. The reserve has been under threat from the effects of coastal change, increasing storm events and the impact of rising sea-levels. To combat these threats the RSPB has re-aligned sea defences to the north and reinforced some banks to the west and east. The measures taken should protect the site for at least 50 years.
The reserve has a wonderful mix of habitats - lagoons, reedbeds, tidal and freshwater marshes, beach, sand-dunes, woodland and wet meadows. There are many trails you can follow - the West Bank path, Fen Trail, Meadow Trail, East Trail and Autumn Trail. We decided to follow the West Bank Path to the beach and also spend time in the Parrinder Hides.
Island hide and freshwater marsh
We saw many Redshank on the marshes plus several Curlew.
Black-tailed Godwit - sorry not the best of photos!
Finally, we arrived at the beach which is vast!
Timothy came too - he was very annoyed I hadn't packed his hat and coat!
After a walk along the beach - lots of Oystercatchers - we returned to the Parrinder Hides. To be honest the waders and ducks were really too far away to get any decent photos. The highlight was a flock of hundreds of Golden Plover.
I saw several new species for the year - Golden Plover, Curlew, Redshank, Dunlin and Black-tailed Godwit but sadly no Bearded Tits a species which continues to elude me!!!
I was determined this time to try and visit one or two Norfolk churches. Somehow I managed to persuade B to stop at Burnham Deepdale at St Mary's. I left him reading the paper in the car so it was only to be a brief visit :( It was only 4.00 p.m. but being so dull and gloomy it looked as though it was almost dusk so photography was a challenge and photos are not of the best especially inside the church.
St Mary's has three particularly outstanding features - an Anglo-Saxon round tower, a Norman font which shows the labours of the months and a fine collection of medieval stained glass.
Plants in walls
The Round Tower is around 950 years old and it is capped with a lead roof (at one time the roof was tiled) and a weather vane.
Round Towers are a unique feature of East Anglia where around 175 from the Saxon and Norman periods still survive. Prior to the Norman Conquest in 1066 this region was able to construct churches using flints and conglomerate/puddingstone rather than dressed stone because they avoided problems encountered with corners when using such materials by creating round rather than square towers. These towers held bells to summon people to church.
Restorations of the church took place in 1797, 1855 and 1898.
The Norman font was once located in the North Aisle but during the 1797 restoration it was broken as it was moved and was taken to a nearby rectory for repair. It stayed in the garden for the next 40 years! before being returned to the church. The font is made from Barnack stone from Rutlandshire and shows the farming year from a labourer's point of view.
January - Drinking from a horn
February - Feet up by the fire
March - Digging
April - Pruning
May - Rogationtide Banner
June - Weeding
July - Mowing
August - Binding a sheaf
September - Threshing
October - Grinding corn
November - Pig killing
December - Feasting together
The west side features the Tree of Life.
The tower floor contains tiles and a child's stone coffin lid which is 3 feet long and has a simple cross and shaft.
Fragments of medieval glass are found in many of the church windows. In the medieval period people thought of the glass as jewels and they were originally made from yellow or green pot-metal glass which came from France or Germany. The colour blue was created using cobalt and red was formed from copper oxide.
By the early 14th century a golden colour was given to the glass by using silver nitrate - an idea which originated in France. The renowned Norwich glaziers thrived up until the time of the Reformation and they belonged to the artist's trade guild - the Guild of St Luke. The glaziers had to serve a 7 year apprenticeship and it is good to know that at least one woman was a member of the Guild. As centuries have passed the windows have got broken, damaged and re-leaded so now only fragments of the originals remain.
The windows in the porch contain fragments of 15th century glass. They are known as the Sun and Moon due to the heads at the top of each.
The North Aisle West Window probably contains the most important pieces of medieval glass - sadly the pictures aren't brilliant. The window includes a Merchant's Mark, musical angels, the emblem of the Trinity,Rose-en-soleil, St Ursula, crossed arms, heraldic roses, music and the inscription "Gelda" suggests the patronage of a local Guild.
It was difficult to get a photo of this window as it was behind the pulpit but it contains red and blue medieval glass giving the effect of jewels.
It was a shame I didn't get a sharper photo of the window in the tower which contains many 15th century blue glass fragments. The window features an angel pulling chains and below can be seen Mary Magdalene in a pink robe with a gold border holding a scroll.
After I had looked round the church we continued our journey passing The Tower Windmill which is a National Trust holiday property sleeping 19!
We stopped off at Morston Quay to check the time of boat rides the next day to see seals on Blakeney Point - there was only one at 9.30.
Then back to Stiffkey where
we were stopping at the Red Lion. (We had a super meal at this pub on our visit a few years ago when we had a self catering cottage in Blakeney.).
Most of the photos (apart from a few in the church taken with my Olympus dslr) were taken with the Canon Bridge Camera SX50.
Reference: Leaflet on St Mary's Church, Burnham Deepdale, compiled by the Church Tours Committee in 1984
A Tour of the Medieval Glass in the Church of St Mary, Burnham Deepdale by the Reverend Chris Wood, Rector 2010
Many thanks to Pete from the Quacks of Life Blog (see link on the right under "My Blog List") for church suggestions and confirming some bird identifications.
Photos for John Scurr - cropped versions of top and bottom of window referred to in the latter part of your comment. Sorry not the best quality to put it mildly the light was awful! but you may be able to make out a bit more detail.
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.