Hagg Wood – The Green – Clark’s Lot – Hollins Lane – Slackwood Lane – Leighton Moss – Lower Hide – Yealand Allotment – Hawes Water – The Row – Hagg Wood
Lesser Celandines enjoying the sunshine.
The western edge of Hagg Wood, a small copse which edge’s Bottom’s Lane, seems to be a good place to spot our common songbirds, or at least at the moment it is, whilst the trees have no leaves.
I keep returning to this particular path at the moment, because I’m anxious for clues to help me identify The Mystery Tree. It has been suggested that it might be a Sycamore, A Field Maple or an Ash. Here are its buds…
…which categorically rule out the latter. And if it’s a Sycamore, it will be in leaf very, very soon, so I shall soon be able to confirm or discount that possibility.
The oak trees, which form the line which ends with the mystery tree, have much browner buds, in clusters and part way along the twigs as well as at the ends, rather than singly and only at the ends of the twigs.
As well as the ground cover plants, which I mentioned in my last post, many of the woodlands under-storey shrubs are coming into leaf ahead of the trees above them. Honeysuckle is one of the earliest and is now often fully decked out with leaves. The raspberry canes have leaves again, and the gooseberry bushes have both leaves and flowers…
Gooseberries are quite common locally and are very obvious at this time of the year, but, sadly, much less easy to spot in July when they are fruiting.
Leighton Moss from the ‘Sky Tower’.
Although I’d set off with blue skies and sunshine, by the time I reached Leighton Moss, the sun was sinking low and it was beginning to get a little dingy for photography. Which was a bit frustrating, because I was very struck by the Alder trees…
On the left are the cone-like fruit which have been on the tree all through the winter, on the right the long dangling male catkins, and just above those the tiny female catkins.
As I struck out across the causeway, the sun was sinking behind the ridge of slightly higher ground which isn’t named on the OS Map, but which I shall call Silver Helme after the Scout Camp which is situated there.
From the causeway I continued along the Lower Hide path, which, in my mind at least, is ’round the back’ of Leighton Moss.
Eventually reaching Lower Hide itself.
I was enjoying getting a variety of different perspectives on the sunset. I was also very excited because skimming low over the water were lots of very fast-flying birds…
Even if it hadn’t been so dark, I’m not sure I would have been able to tell whether these were House Martins, Sand Martins or Swallows. But I don’t care, because I know what they mean – they’re here to tell us that spring has arrived!
The remainder of my walk was a bit dark. I’d neglected to bring a headtorch. Again. Half an hour later, having crossed Yealand Allotment to Hawes Water…
It was still just about light enough to see to walk.
In the woods I heard something crashing about in the trees – Roe Deer I thought. Which was confirmed moments later when one of them ‘barked’ nearby. This is a pretty unearthly cry, and quite loud when it’s close to. I think that if I hadn’t heard them before I might have been unnerved by it.
When I passed Hagg Wood again, it was Orion’s belt I was trying to photograph (without success) and I was glad that I’ve walked these field paths many times before, including in the dark, because there was no moon and it was exceedingly dark, so it helped that I knew exactly where I was going.