Sunday saw me head off to the village of Potterne, just south of Devizes in the middle of Wiltshire, as I was dropping off a painting to the Wiltshire Museum for an art competition. The walk took me to the Local Nature Reserve of Drews Pond Wood, which is very small but also perfectly formed and much loved by the local community. The small stream flowing through the wet woodland had lesser celandine flowering on its banks and much mossyness - I do love mosses and ferns. The rest of my walk took me through farmland and next to Potterne Woods, which clings to the steep valley side. It's going to be covered in bluebells in a month or so's time, as many leaves were making an appearance already amongst the hazel coppice. The views across the valley and beyond to Salisbury Plain were beautiful, before the rain came in!
Then yesterday, I was walking a proposed nature trail route with an ecologist friend, with a view to me illustrating the various boards along the way. The trail is in the grounds of a caravan site in Alderholt, on the edge of the New Forest and Cranborne Chase, with the drive there featuring extensive banks of wild daffodils along the roads - amazing. The trail runs alongside fragments of wet wildflower meadow, pony paddocks and hay fields with orchids, ancient woodland (with more wild daffs) and some old fishing lakes, so there is much variety and inspiration for the boards. It's a lovely walk, and I'm always jealous when people have this sort of thing on their doorstep, never mind actually owning the land. Hopefully the walk, and our advice on management to improve it for wildlife, will draw in more people to the site, and help people gain a greater appreciation for nature without being tidied up!
Now I've just got to find the time to fit them all in - I'll be very busy over the next few weeks!