December 9th, 2015, was a day of glorious winter sunshine that tempted me out for a walk in the Essex countryside. I've been showing you my progress over the last two days so we'd better get moving again. Is your rucksack packed and your boots laced?
You can see the first part of the walk here:
And the second part here:
We're leaving the village of Ugley, which wasn't ugly. "Pretty Ugley" you could call it! But now we have to cross the M11 motorway which is a lot less attractive. Luckily there's a bridge for us to pass under so we don't have to risk our lives. Then we turn off our minor road to an even more minor road, though we're not clear of the twenty-first century just yet.
The road that we're following is one of those that gradually peters out; road becomes lane, the lane becomes a track, the track becomes little more than a path. Two cars passed me in the space of a minute but then nothing else. Must have been the rush-hour!
On the right hand side of the road, as I walked up it, there's what appears to be a ditch flowing with clear water. In fact it's the headwaters of the River Cam on its way to Cambridge and thence to the North Sea. We're going to follow it almost up to its source.
The track goes as far as the farm up ahead. It's so quiet up here that it's hard to realise that big trucks are thundering along the motorway just a couple of miles away.
Some of the farm buildings have seen better days, though other parts of the operation seemed modern and efficient.
The path was far from smooth and efficient though! Actually after this tricky section the conditions underfoot improved and I was able to wander along taking notice (and photographs) of all the little details that enrich such a walk.
The mild autumn we've had this year means that we're still in the fungi season. I'm pretty certain that these are Shaggy Ink Caps, though fungi are notoriously difficult to identify. (See Louise's comment below for a more informed opinion).
A fallen log in the "river" reminded me of an elephant! I must be getting tired to start hallucinating this early in the day.
These are the berries of a plant called Black Bryony climbing up in clockwise spirals. A welcome splash of colour in the hedgerows.
These I really can't identify. They were growing on a rotten tree stump beside the path.
A small flock of sheep in a field - a rare sight in the arable lands of East Anglia these days. On the map I can see we're getting near to places called Mole Hall and Swaynes Hall, but they'll have to wait till tomorrow.
How's the old feet? I'm taking this walk very slowly for you. I hope you're enjoying some of the variety to be found in this little corner of England. See you tomorrow.