Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Familiar Ground


Back in familiar territory as I took a walk from my own back gate into Meldreth village. One of the quaint cottages that stands along the High Street, mixed in with more modern housing, had what must be some of the last roses of summer blooming in the garden.




Behind the houses on the east side of the street runs the clear water of a stream which is rather ambitiously known as the River Mel and from which the village takes its name. And following along beside the stream is a pleasant footpath, populated this morning with numerous dogs taking their people out for some exercise.



Through the kissing gate and out into the meadow where a few assorted cattle graze and laze about.



Behind the churchyard someone's been raking up the leaves, though Autumn has hardly started yet. There's enough leaves on the trees to keep them busy for several more weeks. If I were in a less familiar place I'd hardly register such details, let alone stop for a photo. But here on familiar ground these details become important.



Crossing another meadow that should be home for a brown horse and a grey. Don't know where they are this morning. Maybe someone actually rides them.



My footsteps lead me to a secret path through the wood. There used to be signs at either end of this path but they've been missing now for over ten years, so only a few folk suspect the existence of this overgrown path. About midway along there's a sign with arrows pointing in both directions "Permitted Path". Encouraging and reassuring, but otherwise not particularly useful.



Out into Shepreth Meadow, a long narrow strip alongside the river.



It's the River Cam, also known as the River Rhee, making its sluggish way to Cambridge, like a rather reluctant scholar.



By the river stand some huge, ancient willows that have been in a constant state of decay for at least forty years that I know of. While some have succumbed to the blows of passing time, others remain defiant if battered.



There follows a bit of road walking into the village of Shepreth.



I wouldn't want you to think it's all woodland, streams and quaint cottages. Most of Cambridgeshire is agricultural land and, increasingly, new housing. But there are still places worth seeking out if you know where to look, if you're on familiar ground.


So if you go down here, through the little gate in the overgrown hedgerow, you'll come out into Shepreth Moor, which is not moorland in any normal sense, but an area of rough, unimproved pastureland. At the moment it's being grazed by these gorgeous little sheep, Manx Loaghtan sheep, a rare breed originating from the Isle of Man.


The walk began with some of the last roses of summer and, fittingly perhaps, it ends with surely one of the last butterflies, a Red Admiral. There's nothing nautical about these Admirals, indeed the name was once Red Admirable, which on this October morning makes perfect sense.


Take care.

29 comments:

  1. Absolutely splendid photographs! Looks just as I image England to look. The rose and the butterfly, in particular, are gorgeous. Your descriptions are priceless, i.e., "sluggish scholar."

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  2. It was nice to see the photos. Beautiful places!

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  3. Great photos and a marvelous walk, John! Thanks for taking me along!

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  4. belle promenade dans la campagne anglaise avec des pointes d'humour "dogs taking their people out for some exercise" "busy for several more weeks" et pour moi un exercice pour me familiariser davantage avec l'anglais ... merci

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  5. Now that's an area worth exploring! It must be great to walk there no matter what season it is.

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  6. Hi John - absolutely delightful ... and wonderful to see the Manx Loaghtan sheep in situ ... they got mentioned in my A-Z Rare Breeds this year ... what a peaceful journey into Shepreth ... love it - cheers Hilary

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  7. Looks like a fairytale land, John.

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  8. Beautiful photos! It is also the tail end of summer here in central Pennsylvania and I too, saw what is probably the last butterfly of the season.

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  9. So good to take this walk with you on familiar ground. Love these photos and this look at autumn there.

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  10. Thanks for taking us along on your walk.

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  11. So nice to be able to walk and enjoy the "familiar ground". You must really enjoy seeing the seasons change when you stroll through the land. Very nice photos, John and thanks for taking us along for the walk.

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  12. Definitely my kind of area for a dander!

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  13. A very fitting beginning and ending to this enjoyable walk John, merci beaucoup ✨

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  14. Thank you for a lovely walk, John. I found the sheep interesting, not having heard of that breed before - horns are nice, how is the wool? And the willow, poignant, indomitable and very impressive.

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  15. A lovely walk and a beautiful collection of photos!

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  16. When we scattered the farmer's ashes in his beloved fields a Red Admiral came and rested on the grass and stayed while we did it. Since then I have seen so many and each one makes me think of him.

    As for sweeping up the leaves = as someone said = don't bother - leave it for Old Boreas to do.

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  17. You have some beautiful countryside to walk in.

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  18. A lovely walk. I've always enjoyed when woods give way to a bit of meadow.

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  19. Nice to get back to those nice country walks.

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  20. It must feel good to stretch your legs on home ground again. It was good to share the sights with you.

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  21. Thank you for sharing your "familiar ground" John - I thoroughly enjoyed accompanying you (electronically) on this journey. (and thank you for your generous comments on my post)

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  22. I saw your blogs interesting name. I love the ancient willow tree!

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  23. What a fabulous trek about! Your photos are great and I enjoyed all the things that you found to share.

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  24. A beautiful walk with a touch of all the things I love.

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  25. What a lovely walk, and photos to match.

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  26. A beautiful early autumn walk. The cows look like a painting.

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  27. You have a wonderful place to walk, right out your back gate. I particularly like the quiet of Shepreth Meadow.

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  28. I love the shot above the sheep showing the agriculturial land...but I just love it all anyway. That sheep sure has his eye on you.

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