Therefore all seasons shall be sweet to thee,
Whether summer clothe the general earth
With greeness, or the redbreast sit and sing
Betwixt the tufts of snow on the bare branch
Of mossy apple-tree, while the nigh thatch
Smokes in the sun-thaw; whether the eave-drops fall
Heard only in the trances of the blast,
Or if the secret ministry of frost
Shall hang them up in silent icicles,
Quietly shining to the quiet Moon.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

A Winter Walk

B Baggins and I went down Shorts Lane and onto Blackamoor this morning, there were grey skies and a cold wind blowing. I saw the farmer ploughing this field in the autumn and now it has a new crop growing - barley I suspect if it's the same as last year.

I don't think the farmer will be very pleased to see these little heaps of soil! Moldy Warp the Mole has been busy by the looks of it. Does anyone else love the Little Grey Rabbit books by Alison Uttley - Moldy Warp is one of the characters from these delightful stories. I have only ever seen one mole and that was a dead one kindly deposited on the back porch by my wonderful old cat Raffles - now long gone across the Rainbow Bridge. It was totally undamaged and must have died of shock I think. It was a lovely little creature with the most beautiful fur. I was very sad about it's death and after I'd told him off Raffles was very sad too! I apologize for the poor quality of the photograph, I tried several times and this is the best of a very bad lot.

These old moss covered dry stone walls give me pleasure every time I walk past them. It's sad that so many of them are poorly maintained these days. Dry stone walling as a country craft is definitely reviving but it's very expensive to employ someone to repair walls. In the old days the farm labourers would have had the skill to do such jobs in the winter months. My dad had this skill along with several others including being able to use a sickle. Judging by the rabbits that came home in his capacious pockets I suspect he had some skill as a poacher too!

B Baggins investigating the various scents in the grass verge, apart from other dogs there are horses,foxes,rabbits and badgers around here. There's a large badger sett close by and in the early summer I'm going to go at dusk without B Baggins and see if I can watch them for a while.

Even in the depths of winter, when everything looks lifeless at first glance, there are signs of life if you look for them, these are fresh young nettle leaves emerging in a sheltered spot protected by a high bank from the icy winds that come whistling down off the moors.

After the snow melt and a couple of nights of heavy rain Blacka Dyke is looking pretty lively, it sounded as though it was having fun as it raced merrily along.

This stone plaque has appeared very recently and will weather nicely into its surroundings I think. Although we have Alderman Graves to thank for giving Blackamoor to the people of Sheffield he hadn't actually owned it for very long. It was bought from the Duke of Rutland in 1927 when the Longshaw Estate was sold.

Thick stems of ivy twisting round the branch of this tree. This doesn't, contrary to common belief, strangle the tree. Ivy has its own root system and simply uses trees for support in the same way that a climbing rose does. I speak with the authority of the Royal Horticultural Society behind me:) Ivy has great value for wildlife. As ground cover in woodland it greatly lessens the effect of frost, enabling birds and woodland creatures to forage in leaf litter during bitter spells. Growing on trees, it provides hiding, roosting, hibernating and nesting places for various animals, birds and insects (including butterflies), especially during the winter months and in areas where there are few other evergreens.

Even in this wintry landscape there is some colour, the reddish brown of the dead bracken fronds adds some warmth to the scene and the green of the moss cheers things up too.

This is where I often cross over Blacka Dyke via the stepping stones and climb up to Lenny Hill, from there you can take several routes depending on how far you want to walk. Today though I stayed on this side of the river and walked further up into the woodland area. No photos though as this is also where my camera instructed me to 'Change Batteries' and I hadn't brought any spares!


Pamela Terry and Edward said...

What a wonderful walk. It's difficult to believe that we have snow and you do not!

By the way, I have something in the mail to you! Something yummy.

Comfrey Cottages said...

Thank you so very much for sharing you and B Baggins walk with us:)Sigh, Little Grey Rabbit books were not part of my childhood but.. I do tend my grandchildren and I do intend to search for them now! lol I love old children's books, with their enchanting stories and wonderful pictures!
Moles are cute little things and their fur is so beautifully soft. I have had the priviledge of seeing a few actually alive. I used to have a cat named Shadow, now passed over the Rainbow Bridge also, who loved me so much she would bring me many little moles. Several times they were merely stunned and as she self satisfiedly washed up, they revived and snuck away while I watched:) lol I love that wall! And all the rest of your lovely land and water spots! I so hope you can see some badgers (and take pictures) at the sett, sometime. That would be so wonderfulxx

Roy said...

Lovely old dry stone walls Rowan. Yes the farm labourers dug ditches as well as laying hedges etc. I can remember people digging ditches on the farm in fact I did little of that when I was a boy. (Oops!! shush!!.)

Penny said...

My first words were going to be 'what a wonderful walk' but I was beaten to it, still, it was a wonderful walk, thank you.

Granny Sue said...

Thank you for this peaceful walk. It's beautiful, Rowan. And the man who donated the land--wow! Some people put their money where their heart is.

Thimbleanna said...

Oh, thank you for taking us along on your walk this morning. I LOVE those beautiful stone wall. Especially when they're covered with moss!!!

ChrisJ said...

Yes, I loved Little Grey Rabbit as a child sometime in the 40's. I used to ask for her at Christmas, but often my mother couldn't find them. You are the first person I have 'met' who mentions these books. I thought they were a figment of my imagination and I'd got them mixed up with Beatrix Potter's books.
We had lots of moles in the field behind our house at Flamborough and I have seen a good many.
I love your walks along the lanes and fields.

Diane said...

A lovely walk Rowan - Im envious as I was stuck in the office today. We have noticed loads of mole hills - even when the ground was solid. We thought that their digging equipment must be amazingly tough!! I remember holding a mole when I was little. It was a beautiful little creature. The Rivelin Walk is the one at Walkley. xx

Tina said...

Thanks for taking me with you on your wonderful walk with such great pictures! We just have to see the beauty on a grey day, too!
Have another nice day!
Tina in Germany

Purple Flowers said...

A lovely walk for you through the countryside. I enjoyed reading about it. Thank you for sharing.

laoi gaul~williams /I\ said...

thank you for taking me on this walk rowan :)

WOL said...

Even in the dead of winter you have green everywhere! If I had such lovely country to walk through (and such a dashing companion as Mr. Baggins!), I would take walks daily. -- Ah, but then if wishes were horses. . . I'd be knee deep in it, wouldn't I?

Rosie said...

What a delightful walk! Would you believe that the only live mole I've seen was on a Welsh beach? We were walking along Nefyn beach and I saw the little creature out of the corner of my eye - we both said at the same time 'It's a mole' it had made indented runs in the sand and bits of earth that had come down from the top in a small landfall - I wonder how it survived? I love the name moldy warp and Little Grey Rabbit, too:)

Mac n' Janet said...

Enjoyed walking with you today, it looks much greener where you are than what we have here.
As to moles, we have one digging up the backyard and I'm not feeling very friendly towards it.
Few signs of spring yet, though the ivy in one of my beds is growing nicely since the trees above them have shed their leaves

Anonymous said...

Oh, such a wonderful walk. What a beautiful landscape.
Thank you so much for taking us with you !!
Have a wonderful day.

Dartford Warbler said...

What a peaceful walk. Thank you. It is so good to see even the faintest signs of spring.

It has poured with rain today, so Old Dog just had a hurried dash around in the bracken.

Moles - we have one ( or maybe two ) wreaking havoc on our lawn. There are more new mole hills every morning. The cats sit and watch the molehills but never seem to catch anyone....

Anonymous said...

What a lovely walk. Such lovely photos, thanks for sharing ... :0)

Shirl x

debbie bailey said...

How blessed you are to have such beauty around you. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Moomin Mamma said...

:O Moldy Warp!! Goodness me! I had forgetten about these books! My favourite was Fuzzipeg :D I loved the illustrations by Margaret Tempest.
I can see me going on a hunt for these books in charity shops.
Lovely post, as always Rowan xx

Piecefulafternoon said...

I love the stone walls. In NW Washington they build a lot of dry stone walls - though the stones are much bigger, I've finally discovered one being built - it took three men and a little machine that could lift the stones and put them in place - one to drive and two to direct - quite interesting - now I plan to take photos of many of the walls. We are fortunate enough to have on at the edge of our yard.

Dog Trot Farm said...

What a lovely walk, so peaceful, but yet so much to view and absorb. I love old stone walls, they are truly an art form with a rich history. We have many stone walls throughout our woods, however, mostly round rocks placed by farmers from long ago. I love the way the flat stones are positioned on the walls and the moss just adds more interest. Thank you for a delightful stroll. Belated New Year greetings from snowy Maine.

Pamela said...

Such a peaceful visit here...a beautiful walk that refreshed me.

Kiki aka Victoria said...

What a beautiful blog you is lovely to meet you! This post was too..I loove love those old stone walls..such beauty in them..and this last photo you magical about it...!
Have a sparkling day!

Tramp said...

What an interesting walk.
I've rested near ivy and spent time intrigued by the ecosystem it houses.

Kath said...

I enjoyed a look round your nieghbourhood and seeing your walk through your camera.

SouthernHeart said...

I would love to have taken that walk in person with you and B-Baggins, but I did the next best thing and sat here at my desk with a fresh cup of coffee! Just missed the fresh air though. ;-) Loved the pics as always...


George said...

What a lovely walk, Rowan. There is so much wonderful variety in your surrounding landscape, and I am especially fond of all of those hand-laid stone walls.

Carolyn said...

Hi Rowen,
I enjoyed going along on your walk-it is so different from here with several cm. of snow!


ruthie said...

Isn't it wonderful to walk through the woods and see those tiny sprouts of green, a sign of things to come. I love Alison's books & her characters and one of my all time favourites is her "the country child",have you read it, such vivid descriptions, and glimpse into a world long past.

rel said...

Oh my Rowan,
I do love these meandering walks with you.