Yesterday I thought I'd repeat the local walk I undertook back in October and wrote about in the post Familiar Ground. So once again I set out from my back door.....
The familiar and reliable clump of snowdrops was flowering near the little River Mel in Melwood. The floor of the wood will eventually be sprinkled with snowdrops but so far there's just the two clusters showing.
The tiny stream whispered its way beneath the little bridges, a Grey Wagtail flickered downstream and further along a Little Egret silently rose on snow-white wings. Despite the stormy night the river was at its usual level and there was nothing more than a few twiggy branches littering the footpath.
As I emerged on the roadside the church looked very fine in the winter sunshine. I turned right along the village road, past the field with the horses, down the lane to Malton, then picked up the little-known path to Shepreth.
A muddy path followed the edge of the field. I added some big boot prints to the dainty tracks of a Muntjac Deer that must have passed by earlier.
Wood Pigeons clattered up through the branches as my steps threaded through the strip of woodland.
The tightly confined track narrows the vision down on to the details - the lichens, mosses and fungi - on the fallen trees and branches.
Not many people pass this way as can be seen by the way the grasses encroach upon the path, seen here from the height that a passing fox might view his way ahead.
Aha! The realities of winter walks in the English countryside!
We're in Shepreth Meadow now, where there's this neat little pond to provide water for the cattle that are kept here during the summer months. It's probably fed by the River Cam which is just behind those bushes.
The proud but battered willows alongside the river defy the passing years.
It was becoming clear that the water was no longer confining its activities to the course of the river but was beginning to spread its wings and invade the meadow. Aided by determination and waterproof boots I negotiated this bit but was later brought to a halt by an impassable flood. Thwarted. Nothing for it but to turn around and retrace my steps.