Tuesday, 21 December 2010

A Winter Tale

Whilst we’re taking a break from our Severn Way Walk we’re still out and about doing short walks in Shropshire.

A few days ago with the temperature at around minus 6 deg C I went for a stroll along what I call our ‘Hill and Woods Walk’, which is a short circular trek from home which takes us by the old mill, through the woods, up Lodge Hill and down the other side and back home. It’s a round-trip of just over 3 miles and very pleasant in any season.

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This day, however, was rather special due to a harsh hoar frost that had frozen everything into a delightful winter wonderland and I thought it would be nice to share it with you all. The photo above is of an Agapanthus in the garden before setting out.

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With several warm layers donned I walked out of the village and discovered a truly magical environment. Very little snow, although we have several inches here now, but just a very cold day causing the branches of trees to appear as if snow-covered but it’s just a thick layer of jack frost.

I sat for a while on a log and kept very still. It was a Robin that spotted me first and spent several minutes tentatively getting closer and closer until he was but 5 feet away, twisting and turning his head towards me. I like to think he was saying ‘Hello… what are you doing here? Have you got anything to eat?’ Sadly I hadn’t.

I continued to keep very still. There was a scurry in the undergrowth and a squirrel dropped by for a quick chat and to see if there was anything for him to eat. The poor little thing looked so cold and didn’t hang around for long.

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Then something moved just by my foot and dashed very quickly along a narrow run on the surface and disappeared into the undergrowth. I can’t be sure because it happened so quickly but it was tiny and a brown/blackish colour and I think it was a Pygmy Shrew. Near my foot I found a small hole in the ground which is where he must have emerged from unawares that a gentle monster had his foot almost covering his den.

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Walking on I couldn’t resist taking a pic of this delightful bracken covered in icing sugar.

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Through the woods and out near what used to be a pig farm was a lone horse sifting through the hard frost in search of grass.

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The short climb up Lodge Hill to the accompaniment of a perfect blue sky warmed the muscles and bones and I stood for a while on the top admiring the glory of an English countryside dressed in its winter clothing.

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Everything around was covered in frost and formed a beautiful contrast when viewed against a delightful azure sky. A perfect day. Such a perfect day.

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Catch you all soon


paulmuellerbowlah said...

Dear Mr. Watts

It's time to say "thank you" for this wonderful story.
Since beginning, I allways feel very warm in my heart,
when I read again a part of the story allong the Severn Way.
England's Country Side is very
beautiful, as your pictures show.
You are a very good Photographer
an know the nature arround you.
When I read the story's, I fell I am there on the way. Indeed, I am
63 an my legs not the best.
But I was allone und later with my
Wife many times in England, visitig friends, since good 40 years. These day's we travel once
a year and have to stay over night
on a British Airport, in a Hotel
little outside.
At least, we enjoy trough reading
and watching the slide show's, what we are not able to walk.
Wishing you and Pam as well the
other followers of the Walk
a Merry Christmas.
Paul Müller-Bowlah

Paul e Watts said...

Thank you Paul for your kind comments. A very merry Christmas to you and your wife over there in Switzerland.
The same sentiment goes, in fact, to all followers of this blog. Have a great time and here's our wishes for a prosperous and happy 2011.

Paul & Pam