My birthday was a civilised affair, with the lovely circuit from Fovant Badges down to Broadchalke on the Saturday. I've posted about it before - although the weather was a bit gloomy for pics, it still has some amazing views.
The Sunday saw a group of us converge on a pub in Beckhampton for a walk to Windmill Hill. Beckhampton is in the World Heritage Site containing Avebury stone circle. I'd not been to Windmill Hill before, and the route took us passed some standing stones and other lumps and bumps in the ground, before reaching this Neolithic causewayed enclosure, apparently the largest in Britain. The view from the top across this ancient landscape - now mostly agricultural - were very pretty but again, the anticyclonic gloom permeated the day.
Then last Sunday, with a hankering for birdwatching, we opted to potter around Blashford Lakes Nature Reserve, before following the Avon Valley Path to Ringwood for lunch. Surprisingly close, and although the route followed a stream behind an industrial estate, it was very pretty, and might feature in a future painting. We attempted to continue the path the other side of Ringwood, and were partially successful - the fields were extremely boggy, but we did make it as far as a lovely stretch right next to the wide, sweeping River Avon, before bog-factor increased massively.
Now is a great time to visit the reserve, which is internationally important for overwintering and breeding wildfowl. Its woodland is also great for other species of birds, many of which we watched at close quarters on feeders, including siskins, gold finch, chaffinch, nuthatch, robin, blackbird, great tit, blue tit and a dunnock scuttling around below the feeders accompanied by a very fat squirrel! We also disturbed a twitcher photographing a treecreeper with an enormous lens - with a bright white breast, they skulk close to the branches (hence the name), picking out insects (that's the treecreeper, not the twitcher).
Finally, work has taken me to Kendal and Lincoln this week, with brief opportunities to explore. I did manage a lovely little walk at Sizergh Fell, only a short way from the glamourous Kendal Travelodge, and an evening foray up to see the beautiful Lincoln Cathedral.
A more sedate week now beckons thankfully!