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.