Sunday, 10 April 2011

A walk in the Woods

Today it was  Old Wardor Castle - a 14th Century ruin on the edge of Wiltshire and Dorset now in the care of English Heritage. Very pretty, very well manicured and pretty busy with the Sunday picnic crowd.

We had a quick look around and then headed off into the woods where we had them pretty much to ourselves.

Spring is definitely well underway with a noticeable change from a few weeks ago.

The blackthorn is starting to go over, the hawthorn starting to come out and the path sides are thick with spring flowers. I counted lesser celandines, windflowers. deadnettles, violets,  and shepherd's purse as well as the common dandelions. daisies and buttercups. Plenty of primroses too.

It is a lttle early for bluebells but part of the woodland was carpeted with leaves with just a few flowers starting to appear. The Ramsons were also forming a deep carpet in another part of the wood but the leaves are starting to mature and looked a little tough so they were left in peace to scent the air with garlic.

Leaving Wardour Castle we drove back past Cley Hill  and on impulse stopped to climb it. A chalk outcrop, it has the remains of an iron age fort ( left) and some bronze age barrows on the top.

Although it looks a steep climb, rising as it does from the clay lowlands it isn't as bad as it looks and the view from the top makes the effort worthwhile.

The Bronze age "bowl" barrow.

In summer the hill is covered with chalk loving flowers and is an SSSI. Today though it was much too early for the orchids but the cowslips made a good show. It will be several weeks before we get them blooming at home.
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