Monday, 7 September 2015

Week 77 02/09/2015 - Soaked... again and Hind Sight

Photo Blog Week 77 - Wed 02 September 2015

My recent trips away included 9 days of camping which unhappily coincided with 9 days on which it rained, some torrential so you probably appreciate that I'd had enough of it.

Wednesday morning was fine with grasses and foliage in the Park lush and healthy (after the rain!) and occasional glimpses of blue sky through gaps in the cloud. However, on surfacing from the Timber Yard caf√© after lunch, light rain had arrived. I optimistically set off on a route which included high open moorland and at the remotest section was treated to yet another soaking and with the long wet grass and long overdue for replacement boots my feet were swimming by the time I returned to the car.

Summer Drawing to a Close

Summer is clearly on the wane and colours are beginning to appear in the tree canopies. In the woods and meadows everything is covered in seeds and the long grasses are beginning to pale. However, as other colours fade keep a look out for the stags who are building up for the rut around October. Their antlers are now full and clear of velvet, muscles are building and the coats of the red deer are taking on the rich ruddy colour from which they are named.

Photo's frequent until beginning of rain then sparse.

route: Car Park; Drinkwater Meadow; Paddock Cottage; Rock Outcrop (over Cluse Hey)


North Face of the house

Drinkwater Meadow

I was asked to check the meadow for any remaining sheep so spent a while zig-zagging across the meadow
Drinkwater Meadow track above the car park




A collapsed section of wall stripped out and fenced awaiting rebuild

Always worth a look over the wall between the trees to the side of Drinkwater Meadow and the Fallow Deer sanctuary



Looking back from the far end of the meadow, The Cage sits above the trees

route: Drinkwater Meadow; Paddock Cottage; Pursefield


 mixed layers; bracken, meadow, moors and woods


Rosebay Willowherb under the conifers of Pursefield wood

Paddock Cottage is now undergoing renovation including removal of the render added a few years back and a return to lime washed stone. Internal renovation is also underway.

Cluse Hey and Park Moor extending to Bowstonegate Farm on the horizon left of centre

This open meadow below Paddock ridge is gradually being invaded from below by rough pasture.
 
In order to maintain this pleasing grassland a fence is being installed lower down allowing grazing to take place which will control growth and prevent further incursion by bracken. 

There are very few locations in Lyme Park that heather is seen and this is the time of year to spot it. This clump is in the bottom of Cluse Hey in an area of the Moor where the deer do not graze.

My favourite coffee stop

Rock outcrop, lovely young oak and purple heather

route: Rock Outcrop (over Cluse Hey)Pursefield; Westpark Drive; The Knott


Rangers working on the fence I mentioned earlier which in years to come will mark the boundary between English woodland below and meadow grass above.

Bilberry covered in little highlights of red

The best bank of heather in the Park (unless you know better)

Sun breaking through on Westpark Drive

Leaves above backlit by the sun

Stream reflecting the light sky

grass full of water droplets

Blackberries ripening on the brambles

Woodford Aerodrome (AVRO)

The historic airfield where many classic aircraft were manufactured, including the extraordinary Vulcan, is no more.

Many years ago an annual air show took place here and was enjoyed by many, me included. The later years were badly affected by the increase in operations at nearby Manchester International Airport making flight clearance difficult to obtain and the last couple I went to were badly affected by adverse weather.
 


Larch 'curtains' on Hase Bank to the side of the track

Larch is deciduous pine and it is these soft delicate needles that will fall and create the wonderful golden carpets around October and November

More seeds and fruit, Horse Chestnuts (conkers)

route: The Knott; Four Winds; Mill Pond; Timber Yard


Ah, this is where the Wallers are!
 
A constant supply of stone is needed but it needs sorting. A laborious heavy day's work. Big 'ugly' stones will be separated for use as foundations, good shape and size flat stones onto a stack for 'copes' the vertical capping on the wall (always difficult to find) and small stuff goes as 'packing' material. What is left you can hopefully build with.
In an ideal world long stones that would stretch right through the wall connecting the two shells of the wall would be laid out but these are an extreme rarity in this stone supply so are generally absent.

Attractive inverted world in the Mill Pond
 

route: Timber Yard; Drinkwater Meadow; Pursefield (ridge); Deer Clough; Cluse Hey


Sheep back on Drinkwater Meadow
 
You may recall that I checked there were no sheep left earlier and indeed there were not. The farmer had taken them off to the farm where they were checked over, the lambs separated out and the adult sheep later returned.
Unfortunate for any dog owners whose hopes were raised. We thought they were gone for the winter and the 'dogs on lead' signs removed before we knew they were coming back.
 
 
Fungi fest'

Bracken covered slopes of the Western moor

Rowan berries

I have a strange fondness for this stile from Deer Clough into Cluse Hey.
It looks pretty any time of year.

route: Cluse Hey; Western Moor; Park Moor; Bowstonegate Farm; Knightslow Wood; Drinkwater Meadow; Car Park

 
Common Ragwort
TOXIC!
Common Ragwort
This upright yellow plant, which appears in verges and edges of fields, is highly toxic to livestock and horses and is one of the few weeds which has legislation in it's name; the Ragwort Control Act 2003. It is the responsibility of any land owner to avoid it spreading to areas where livestock or horses are kept, hence you will sometimes see it being harvested on motorway verges.
The toxicity is highly damaging to the liver and causes death.
When being cleared, skin must be covered to avoid contact as the poison can enter through the skin.
Oddly, the best info' sheet I located is from Oregon state, USA at smallfarms.oregonstate.edu
The RHS have more information regarding Ragwort control etc. www.rhs.org.uk
 

Nature's Artwork: Beautiful layered landscape featuring Cage Hill through misting rain

Heavy rain moving in from the right over Manchester with Stockport sunlit through a break in the cloud

Panorama from Cheshire left through Manchester centre to Bowstonegate Farm right

A group of Hinds out on Park Moor.
 
The red deer at Lyme have an amazing ability to disappear. The combined herd of Moor and Park include approaching 400 animals but there is many a day that I see none. In amongst the grass viewed from the Knightslow to Bowstones track there are approaching 20 hinds in this group seen through a long lens. Spotting with the naked eye is something that comes with time; it's usually just one or two brown dots in the grass that you see first.


Higher up on the Moor 3 stags are resting in the long grass. Initially the antlers (see extreme left) look like dried sticks in the grass then you notice they move and a head may pop up.
This shot is again on a long lens

Stag House (remains of)

This year's cattle on the Moor are big handsome beasts

Nice hair cut!
 
Typically they are on the path which intimidates some people. They are placid animals and if you meet them just pass by calmly, if you're a little ill at ease chat to them as you walk by, it helps you and them

A fine specimen of a Bull.
Not the least interested in me, it's the gorgeous red head with the horns that has his attention.

The rain has abated but a dark grey cloud base is still scurrying over


Finished for the day and driving out of the estate, I had to stop briefly on the main drive to watch these hinds from the car window.
 

Hind Sight!

This hind has worked out that the young shoots on the tree are very tasty and repeatedly stood on it's hind legs to reach them.
(photos poor as I hadn't noticed that my lens was smeared after all the rain earlier)
 





Today's track




Total: 9 miles (14.63 km) 5 hr 30 min

duration includes stops for chats, inspections, photo's and snacks

This Time Last Year


 Have a look at This Time Last Year 

Week 35 03/09/2014 - North West Boundary, Outside and The Stables


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