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.

Monday, June 06, 2011

A June Morning

We've been having some beautiful early mornings recently and B Baggins and I have been up on Blackamoor taking advantage of the sunshine and the tranquility. The wild roses are beginning to flower and I could look at them for hours. They are so beautiful and delicate with a lovely faint perfume.

They are equally beautiful when the buds are just beginning to open.

There is often a small herd of cows in the fields at the top of the lane where I park my car. They have several calves with them at the moment but the only time they were right near the road I didn't have my camera with me!

At the bottom end of the lane is this friendly looking ram who has a little harem of eight ewes to keep him company.

B Baggins taking advantage of Blacka Dike to cool down and have a drink before we start the steep climb up to Lenny Hill. A lot of these photos are clearer if you click on them, the sun is so bright that you can't actually tell that he's lying in a river in the small version. The water levels are very low at the moment because we've had so little rain this spring. I don't need to use the stepping stones as it's shallow enough to walk across.

The flowers on this wild rose are white and I think it's a field rose rather than a dog rose but I'm open to correction here.

The highest point of this particular walk, the small mound is the top of Lenny Hill. Just below where B Baggins is standing  four tracks meet so you have a choice of walks from here. I shall be turning down the track to Strawberry Lee Lane as it makes a nice circular walk back to Shorts Lane.

I usually spend a few minutes sitting on this bench which stands where the four tracks meet. Carved around the top of it are these lovely words. I'm not sure whether it's poem or prose but I always read it and this morning I put a small notebook in my pocket so that I could write it down.

Heather welcomes all
Purple petal blowing
Sways of breeze
Cuddle with clouds of fragrance
Gusts of wind tickle softly
And so you carry on your journey.

Where a few weeks ago these branches were thick with blackthorn blossom now they are thick with sloes which will be put to good use in the autumn. They are green at the moment of course but as the year progresses they will ripen to a beautiful deep purple/black.

The huge soft leaves of the burdock with pink clover and buttercups. Burdock roots can be eaten and with the addition of dandelion root plus various spices and other bits and pieces they make the world's most wonderful soft drink - dandelion & burdock:)

I was really surprised to see that the spiky beech nut cases are already very visible and there are going to be lots of them by the looks of it.

Here I have turned off Strawberry Lee Lane onto a footpath that leads down between two farms. Until a couple of years ago it was just a steep,muddy track but now there are steps and a rough surface and happily all the wild flowers are now coming back.

B Baggins was determined to be in this photo! I was actually trying to photograph the plant by the wall which I've always known as vinegar plant because that's what my mum called it. I think it's proper name is common sorrel though. I grew up calling a lot of things by their country names, my dad showed me a bird that he called a peewit and I was an adult before I realised that it was another name for the lapwing. The call it makes sounds like 'peewit' which is how it got its country name.

This pretty daisy is the Scentless Mayweed.

Right at the bottom of the path is a small enclosure filled with ox eye daisies and pink campion. You definitely need to enlarge this to see properly how pretty it looks.

The path must have been straightened here at some point as it now goes past rather than through this lovely old stone squeeze style.

I knew what this was well before I got there because I could smell the wonderful scent of aniseed in the air - these are the seed pods of Sweet Cicely. The leaves can be used when you are cooking rhubarb or gooseberries as it reduces the amount of sugar that you need. The seeds are also aniseed flavoured and can be dried and used rather like caraway seeds. I love this plant for its name alone and have it growing in my garden but it grows wild in many places around here.

Finally we cross the narrow wooden bridge over the stream and walk up the field back to Shorts Lane. It's sheer delight to walk up here at the moment as the fields are thick with buttercups and it looks cheerful even on a dull morning. The whole walk can be done in about 45 minutes if you treat it like a route march but B Baggins and I take about an hour and a half because we are both looking for interesting sights and smells - in my case the smells are wild roses, elderflowers and sweet cicely:) I think B Baggins has a different agenda:)


Anonymous said...

Beautiful walk, Rowan. Thank you so much for taking me along!

Janet said...

I always enjoy your morning walks. I get to see all the beautiful flowers and learn about the different plants and how they can be used. I wish I had your knowledge of such things.

Roy said...

Lots of lovely things to see Rowan. I wouldn't describe Rams as friendly although they may look it.{:)
The rose could be a Field, or a Burnet, equally it could be white version of the Dog, they are so difficult unless you examine closely the leaves and where its growing.

Morning's Minion said...

What a lovely place for a walk. I, too, would take it slowly for all the sights, sounds, scents. You have reminded me of the wild roses which grew along the dirt road where I lived as both child and adult in Vermont. The blossoms were often dusty from the passing cars, but so sweet. I think that I have come across wild sweet cicely--although I didn't know the name, I recall the scent as you describe it and can remember where it grew.

Penny said...

Oh what a lovely walk I have had with you, we only seem to travel to the UK in autumn and winter ( long ago when we were skiing and I had a sister living in London). So this early summer walk was bliss.
thank you.

George said...

What a lovely walk for you and B Baggins, Rowan! I find myself quite envious. In August, however, I will be returning to your countryside for a week's walk along the Hadrian's Wall Path.

Piecefulafternoon said...

Oh what a lovely walk and all the great flowers to see and smell. I had never heard of Sweet Cecily - it sounds very interesting. Thanks for taking us on your walk.

Von said...

Ah!Delightful, I can smell it all!

debbie bailey said...

You are blessed to live in the midst of such beauty. I've never seen a 'squeeze through'. What was the original purpose?

Jane said...

So enjoyed your description of everything, (& I learned a thing or two :) - I almost feel as if I came along with you. You are right about expanding the pics - it makes a big difference.

Nan said...

What a beautiful, beautiful walk. That dear dog! And the horns on the sheep! Are there any bugs that bother? This time of year we have black flies, and some people have mosquitoes.

WOL said...

The white-faced cows look like Hereford -- which is a kind we have here. Those and the black Angus are the two most common breeds on ranches. The ram has had to have his horns cut so he can see where he's going. I just love your pictures of walks you take with the beautiful green fields and flowers. Your country is the right size for walkers, and you have a long tradition of it. Here everything is so everywhere and a long distance in between them. Plus it's too darned hot out to walk to the back gate never mind anywhere else.

Rowan said...

Debbie - a squeeze stile was a means of allowing people to pass through from a path to a field or one field to another but it wasn't wide enough to let animals through.
Nan, there aren't any real problems with bugs at this time of year, flies can be irritating later in the summer, picking bilberries in early August isn't always a very pleasant experience:) As far a B Baggins is concerned there are ticks around but he has Frontline so they aren't really a problem.

Bovey Belle said...

What a lovely walk and beautiful photos. We have so little that isn't along a lane around these parts (although the scenery is beautiful). The Sweet Cecily is something we have lots locally, and indeed, it is the County plant for Carmarthenshire.

Rosie said...

Oh, what a wonderful walk - I've enjoyed reading all your observations of the things you saw whilst taking it. When I was a child Lapwings were always called Peewits and like you I never knew until much later that they were Lapwings. I love the name Sweet Cicely and would love to have some growing in the garden:)

Dartford Warbler said...

Thank you for a wonderful Yorkshire walk. Dry stone walls and a river rushing over stones. I miss those things, here in the sandy south of Hampshire.

We have a few wild roses growing in the garden. Brought in by birds from the Forest heathland. I love their simplicity.

Gracie said...

Thanks for letting me walk along with you among that beautiful landscape!

MorningAJ said...

I used to have a dog called Baggins. A long time ago.

Love your photo of the ram. He looks very impressive with those horns.

Thimbleanna said...

You're so funny. I'm not sure whether to hope B Baggins found what he was smelling for LOL. It all looks so beautiful. I'd love to be able to come to England and just hike around -- it seems like we're always too busy seeing museums, etc. to enjoy all of the beautiful outdoors!

Medieval Muse said...

The scent of wild roses is simply divine, isn't it?
I think B Baggins must know the perfect backdrop for his canine beauty - love the photo of him with the stone fence:)

What a beautiful post and thank you for inviting us along on your walk.

John said...

Thank you for such a pleasant ramble. I grew up thinking that Wood Sorrel was called Wood Sorrow - that's what I heard it as. That B Baggins looks a characterful hound!

Kadeeae said...

What a beautiful walk, and the sentiment on the bench is lovely :)

I think your B Baggins may have the same 'walking aspirations' as our Jasper, lol.

Mary said...

Loved this walk in the country - and I'm with B. Baggins when it comes to cooling off in the stream! So cute.

SouthernHeart said...

What a wonderful journey today with beautiful photos! My favorites are the roses...


Anonymous said...

I really love how much beauty you see in life Rowan. Your hawthorn has already blossomed? Mine hasn't opened yet we are a little behind here with our garden season.
Have a wonderful week,
Hugs Rosemary...X

Diane said...

I always call them Pewitts too!! Ive not done this part of Blackamoor - I'll have to give it a try. You took some lovely photos Rowan

Wanda..... said...

I would love to wonder through that field of Buttercups or wall down the rock walled lane with you and B Baggins. You certainly have a beautiful path to walk with all the widl flowers and rolling hills. The wild roses are in bloom here too. Loved the bench with the carved words. It was a lovely June morning walk with you, Rowan!

rel said...

Wow! Let's see: stone walls and wild flowers, anise aroma wafting towards me, and trickling brooks through wooded glens. It's a paradise to contemplate.

The Cottage Garden Farmer said...

Ah Dandelion and Burdock, takes me back! Lovely photos too. Kathy

Rosemary UK said...

Is B.Baggins a german shorthaired pointer ? I ask because we have one called Fizz,named by my grandson,who at the time was a great fan of 'The Tweenies' children's programme.She is now 9 years old and my grandson is 14! how fast time goes.

Pomona said...

What a beautiful walk! I have sweet cicely in my garden, too.

Pomona x

~Sheila~ said...

What a wonderful walk.
It would be such fun to join you as are you are so knowledgeable, i know I would learn a lot..
I have noticed lots more calves than usual this year on our drives up to the lake, they are so sweet.
We seem to have a wider variety of wild flowers than we used too, along the verges, since 'they' stopped spraying the 'weeds'!
When I was about five my walk to school was past a clump of wild roses, and I always had to stop and admire them.
Another thing I liked was dandelion and burdock pop, the closest I have found in Canada is root beer, but I don't care for it.
Regards to Mr. Baggins..
and hugs to you..

Rowan said...

Rosemary, B Baggins is a happy mixture which includes Weimerana, Pointer and Greyhound. We got him from the RSPCA at 8 months old, in there because his owners 'couldn't control him'. He didn't even know the command 'sit'. All he needed though was plenty of exercise which he hadn't been getting and two terms with an excellent local dog trainer. I spent a few minutes each day while we were in the woods reinforcing what we'd learnt at the classes and he's turned into a lovely dog. He's 8 years old now but still very fit.

Kiki aka Victoria said...

Wow Rowan...such beauty all around are so blessed and lucky..your photos are a feast for the eyes..thanks for sharing this adventure..Love that stone all the beautiful blooms and gorgeous creatures..very special! I always enjoy my visits here! Thankyou!

kerrdelune said...

A long walk that is perfect in every way, nad it is good to see B. Baggins trotting along too.

Anonymous said...

Hello Rowan,
Your walk is my idea of a perfect way to start the day and I enjoyed coming with you. The picture with the foxgloves and dry stone wall looks very like the Lakes scenery.
I have never seen sweet cicely growing wild before, only in gardens.
Have a lovely weekend.