The forecast for today was, shall we say, variable? Rain was a possibility both this morning and this afternoon, with sunny periods in each half of the day. Here in the UK, our clocks go back an hour on the last Sunday in October, so the sun will set today around 16:54, making the afternoon an hour shorter.
We’ve learned that our valley has its own micro-climate and the national, even the regional, weather forecasts can be a bit off. So, we generally finish breakfast and then look out of the window and decide whether or not to venture out. We’d admired a rainbow from the window at the back of the house, as rain rippled the small puddles on the paving there, whilst we ate this morning. But the sky had cleared, once we’d finished our cuppa, so we decided to risk it.
Often, we’ll set out with no clear plan, allowing our sometimes protesting bodies to determine pace, destination and distance. We took our usual steep route up into the forest and walked toward the sun that had now emerged from behind the remaining clouds. Horton Bridge is one of the points where options appear for three or four different routes, and we’ve usually discovered what we’re physically up to by the time we reach that point.
A visit to the fishing pond at Myristock beckoned; last time we went, there’d been little autumnal change, but recent weather suggested that might now have changed. It turned out to be the case. Of course, as we approach the flat area of water, other falling water decided to descend on us from above and we raised our hoods against light rain.
It didn’t last too long, but recent more copious rain had made the rough path circling the pond a little mushy underfoot. Anxious not to slip, slide or tumble into the deep water, we carefully circumnavigated, constantly on the lookout for new pictures to share with you.
Once round the pond, we took a slightly swampy track toward a more carefully maintain trail that runs for some distance past a couple of pieces of industrial archaeology and then off this path along a narrow track engineered by those who enjoy adventures on mountain bikes. It runs through unspoilt forest until it crosses a minor road, which we also crossed. A relatively short distance through the next part of the forest reaches one of the old roads constructed by the Forestry Commission to manage the forest.
We took this gravelled route along to where it joins the main road that eventually joins the village with a couple of towns. We crossed this to begin our return home, and entered one of our favourite parts of the forest; a pine plantation with a mossy floor and many tall trees. A place where it’s possible to wander freely in all directions, we chose our route and eventually ended up on the steep track that leads back down into the village.
I took 138 pictures en route. I present these few here as tasters of the variety of woodland we live amongst, in the hope it brings some joy in the wonders of the natural world. Enjoy!
Just a final point: as I prepare to post this piece, the rain, as we say in my native Yorkshire, is siling down! So, it looks as though our timing for the walk was pretty good.
If you’re visiting this blog, please be generous to those who can’t escape their own four walls at present, and share this post widely with them on social media, so they can enjoy it. It will also reach more people and hopefully remind them what a wonderful place this world is. Perhaps that might help restore some love and respect for nature and slow down our destructive urge to ruin the environment. Thank you.