Sunday, 22 January 2017

Moss, mud and ice

It's that time of year - lots of mud everywhere. however, we've had a reasonable run of nice, crisp winter days lately, resulting in beautiful places being even more magical.

Last Sunday we ventured to Kitt's Grave - the woodland and scrub mosaic to the north of the A354, and part of Martin Down NNR. It's an especially quiet part of the reserve, and with most wildlife hunkered down at the moment, it gave us more time to appreciate the gnarly old oaks and beeches, festooned with moss.

Our walk took us out of the reserve and into the adjacent Forestry Commission-owned Vernditch Chase. This area of woodland is plantation Scots pine and larch, mixed with plantation beech and hazel coppice, where ancient woodland clings on.

No frost or ice on that walk, but today we went for a beautifully-sunny and cold circular walk form the Silver Plough pub in Pitton, just north of Salisbury. It takes in large arable fields and pockets of ancient woodland, including the Clarendon Way and a brief detour to the Clarendon Palace ruins patrolled by llamas. It was extremely cold today, with all puddles frozen, leaving abstract flowing lines and air bubbles captured within. All leaves had a delicate sparkling frosting, and it's amazing how pretty old logs look with frozen highlights. Overhead, fieldfares and redwings flew, with thrushes and blue tits calling.

I'm off skiing in Italy next weekend, so look out for my 'not local patch' blog post on my return in February - where has January gone!

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