If you read my last offering - about the royal railway station at Wolferton - it might have occurred to you that it was a long journey for me to make to see a railway station. After all I have a railway station just 10 minutes walk from my back door. Not a royal one it's true, but the former station master was once a contestant on Mastermind so that's at least some small claim to fame.
One of the beauties of England (and the only thing that keeps this blog ticking over) is that there is always plenty to see in a small area. What I'd come to see was the admittedly rather unattractively named Dersingham Bog.
We don't have many bogs in East Anglia. We have fens - mile after mile of them. We have marshes too, but very few bogs.
OK, so what's the difference, surely they're all just mucky, badly drained bits of ground. Well yes they are, and though it won't make any difference as far as your soggy feet are concerned, it makes all the difference to the plants and flowers that grow there.
Marshes are frequently inundated with water, either fresh or saltwater, and are nutrient rich so support a wide variety of plants. Fens have water flowing through them, while in bogs the water is just trapped there and gradually becomes more and more acidic from decaying plant matter.
The water in this bog has run off from off the iron-rich sandstone and the iron has created an "iron pan" (sounds like something you'd have in the kitchen I know) which prevents the water draining away and impedes the roots of most plants. Mosses love it but only certain highly specialised plants can grow in a true bog, plants like Sundew.....
....as the bog is so poor in nutrients it supplements its diet by catching flies and other insects on its highly specialised sticky leaves. If you look closely you can see some half-digested flies. Very tasty.
Bog Asphodel, as its name suggests is another plant that thrives in this harsh habitat.
There are a few areas of open water like the magical little pond above, which is largely hidden from view.
Towards the margins of the bog more grasses are able to survive because the nature reserve, despite its name, does not only include the bog, but also the sandstone edges which support heathland and some woodland.
All three types of heather, common heather, bell heather and cross-leaved heath grow on the heathland and on a sunny day these attract a wide variety of insects.
This is the only insect I managed to photograph - a male Gatekeeper butterfly. He'd just been chasing a female and was maybe pausing for breath, or planning his next move - either way he let me get close enough to grab the above photo.
And the insects attract lots of birds, most notably the rare Nightjar. These are nocturnal birds so unsurprisingly they weren't around on a bright sunny day, but I did see Stonechat, Buzzard and Kestrel as well as many more common birds.
Walking through this area always sends my mind reeling back to more northern areas that I used to frequent regularly in the past. There's cotton grass, there's heather and there's the scent of the pines.
Unusually, the best views of the reserve are obtainable without much effort to anyone leaving their car in the parking spaces near to the village of Wolferton and undertaking a short easy walk along a sandy track around the top of the sandstone escarpment.