Monday, 30 December 2013

Wandlebury In Winter

Christmas has gone, but the calories linger on! So on a bright morning what could be better than to go out for a walk in the countryside, in Wandlebury Country Park to be precise.

Only one car in the car park when my brother and I arrived. But having wrapped up against the cold we turned our backs on the usual trails, crossed the road and headed for Little Trees Hill.

For very little effort we were rewarded with views across the city of Cambridge. We picked out all the famous landmarks and then puzzled over several new buildings which seem to have sprung up overnight.

Down the hill, back across the road and into the Wandlebury woods. I wrote in a recent post about the ability of trees to recover from seemingly catastrophic damage: here a tree has been blown down by wind at some time in the past and the trunk and branches have been removed by the wardens leaving just the root disc. But see how the remaining roots have sent up a squadron of straight poles which have survived despite two more trees having fallen on top of them.

Catkins in December which, along with the bright sunshine made it look like spring - even if it didn't exactly feel like it!

A gentle ascent through the trees led us to Ely Viewpoint where, as promised, Ely Cathedral could be seen dimly on the horizon.

Sauntering down the beech avenue, looking out for elusive Goldcrests that could be heard calling, but were tricky to spot.

And on to the Roman Road which, incidentally, is where Robert Macfarlane begins his journey along "The Old Ways", a book which should be on the shelves of anyone with an interest in the British countryside.

Frosty leaves could still be seen where the sun had failed to penetrate. A Blackcap sat rather dejectedly on an overhanging branch. You never used to see these little warblers in winter but now, thanks to global warming perhaps, they're a much more common sight. This one looked as if he might be regretting the decision!

Then it was time to turn back through the woodlands and meadows of the Country Park. At the car park, which was now almost full, we were approached by an enthusiastic birdwatcher.
"Where are you off to now?" he enquired.
"Home for dinner!"

Take care.


  1. Lovely photos, we've had some great, and very mild, weather this month (as well as the not so great weather!) and the light in your photos is great. I have 'The Old Ways' but haven't read it yet - I haven't had time to enjoy it properly so I've been saving it for happier times!

  2. and me both John, went out for that walk yesterday; big difference .. temperatures! Your intro' photo is certainly beckoning a good day ahead. That's really interesting to observe the new growth on the fallen tree. Love the catkins.

  3. Home to dinner, and a few more calories? Looks like a lovely walk. Have a grand New Year John.

  4. I could dream my way for hours meandering along with you on this walk. I miss Cambridge and Ely and the Lady Chapel with its beheaded figures except for one. Great to see the fat catkins presaging hazel nuts in the coming year. It is odd, I have only been there twice but the very earth sings to me.

    Wishing you and yours the Happiest New Year ever!!

  5. Making me wish I was there. The photos make me feel homesick. How odd. Have a lovely New Year's, John!

  6. Thanks for the views from your world John. My favourite in this series is the seventh photo down of the man walking along the leafed path between the wintry trees. Have a great New Year.

  7. Thank you for that stroll - it almost removed some of my excess Christmas celebration too. Even if a bit chilly, you seem to have had a wonderful weather for that kind of roaming.

  8. Such lovely long view of Cambridge and Ely. The golden browns and dark greens together are so inviting.

  9. That was a wonderful walk. Such lovely photographs. The trail photo reminds me so much of a path that Roger and I walked in a place called Pogonip in the Santa Cruz mountains. Always full of surprises, like all good trails! Happy New Year!

  10. Wishing I could burn calories by reading about your walk-- it continues cold, windy and overcast here and I haven't walked as much as needed.
    The views of Cambridge from the hill are wonderful--never realized there were highlands that near.
    Squinted to look for Ely Cathedral, but wasn't certain where to look.
    It would be such a thrill for me to walk the Roman road.
    crisp, inviting photos--yearning for some sunny days here

  11. I was hoping for a calorie-burning walk tomorrow but the forecast is...wet. But I enjoyed burning virtual calories accompanying you. Best wishes for a very happy, healthy 2014 full of special moments.

  12. thanks for the photo tour of the pathways through the park as well as the climb up the hill -- good way to start the new year! barbara

  13. I have not been able to get out walking lately - so it was good to visit Wandlebury through your eyes. I must go there again.

  14. Some lovely photos, it looks a beautiful area. There are lots of hazel catkins about this winter. Robert MacFarlane' s book The Old Ways is really interesting, must dig out my copy and re-read it. Happy New Year!


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