The recent changes in the rules for social contact regarding Coronavirus allow my brother and I, as single person households, to now visit each other and travel together to take exercise. So we headed off a few miles to the Pegsdon Hills, the most easterly part of the Chilterns.
There were few people around as we climbed up the steadily rising lane, eventually reaching the top of the scarp slope, overlooking the plains of Bedfordshire. These deep valleys were cut at the end of the last Ice Age by the meltwater.
Chalk hills like this form the basis of "England's green and pleasant land" - nothing too spectacular and dramatic, but all gently rolling grasslands studded with a few trees.
Benches wait at the top of almost every slope to reward the walker with wide-ranging views to the north.
Or down into the vales where the sheep graze. I'm always fascinated by the tracks that sheep make across the land and one day I shall manage to photograph some sheep actually using them!
Hoo Bit is a small meadow surrounded by woodland and maintained by the Wildlife Trusts for wildflowers like this Common Spotted Orchid.
Sunlight came and went as we turned back towards Deacon Hill. Can you see that suggestion of red on the field in the middle distance?
From the top of Deacon Hill we could see it was a field of poppies. I got out my map and could see that, while it was not exactly on our intended route, it could nevertheless be reached by a reasonably short diversion.
But first we could enjoy the view down into the valley of Knocking Hoe, another spot renowned for its orchids and which I visited last year. This time I decided to concentrate on flowers that were much more plentiful and showy...
Although poppies grow wild and sometimes appear in huge numbers where wheat fields are left unsprayed, these seemed to be a commercial crop, but were no less striking for that.
There were a few people there taking photographs, including one family with a small daughter who was not performing for the camera as she should - and her name, believe it or not was Poppy.
I spent rather longer than I intended taking photos too, but it was the sunlight and cloud shadows that I wanted to co-operate rather than small children.
Are those poppies a planted field? They are stunning!ReplyDelete
I'm so jealous of all your places to walk. I think I said that a few times already😜
Finding that orchids grow in so many places has been a pleasant surprise. When I was a child I always found them to be exotic and thought they only grew in tropical regions.
I grow a few now and sometimes find them challenging .
But the best are those we discover in our wanders hiding in plain sight.
I think they may be a commercial crop as they seem to be growing in rows (see photo number 7). I have read newspaper articles where farmers have complained of photographers ruining their crop of poppies by trampling all over it. I'm happy to report that such people as were present yesterday were behaving impeccably.Delete
What sort of cash crop would poppies be I wonder?ReplyDelete
They are used in baking, but you can also buy poppy seeds online for your wildflower garden - they must come from somewhere!Delete
Enjoyed that, John - beautifully photographed as usual. Glad to hear you're staying safe in these troubled times.ReplyDelete
Those poppies are incredible!ReplyDelete
The views are spectacular and the poppies are fabulous! You have lifted my spirits!ReplyDelete
Glorious! I love poppies and in this great density they are so lovely....ReplyDelete
How absolutely beautiful. Smiling at the errant small two legged Poppy as well.ReplyDelete
I read an English autobiography a while back (Frank Muir's). In it he said that he had always be told not to go to sleep in a field of poppies because if he did he would never wake. I would be very, very surprised to hear that England has ever grown opium poppies (and wonder whether just sleeping near them was so effective anyway).
There's a lot of confusion between Field Poppies, which these are, and Opium Poppies. Field Poppies do have a mild narcotic effect and used to be used in folk medicine to make a syrup to aid sleeping. Opium Poppies may also have been grown on a small scale in the past and recently fields of opium poppies have also appeared, grown for the pharmaceutical industry to make medical morphine.Delete
It's good that you can meet and walk together again and what a great walk it was, spectacular views and lovely poppy fields too:)ReplyDelete
I am so pleased for you that you have been able to continue your lovely walks with your brother again and also for us too, so that you can reveal the great photos that you take. Love all of the poppy ones in particular.ReplyDelete
How terrific that you and your brother live close to each other and can get out in this manner. I suspect that this kind of fraternal association is quite rare.ReplyDelete
Beautiful green slopes John, this is the only time of the year when I can say that about our countryside 😉 The fields of poppies are a breathtaking pop of colour amongst the green 💚💛ReplyDelete
Wow! What a hike! I was so impressed with the lovely green hills and then to see the small swipe of red become that full field of poppies! Really fabulous photos and perfect hike with your brother. How lucky you are! Thanks so much for sharing.ReplyDelete
A lucky surprise, and what beautiful country. It reminds me of some areas of Virginia and West Virginia. Those poppies are glorious. I am so glad you and Les can get together again!ReplyDelete
Beautiful poppy field John. It was worth the effort to detour.ReplyDelete
Truly beautiful photographs. A wonderful walk there. And that field of poppies... it's as lovely and stunning as it gets. Thank you for that.ReplyDelete
Your countryside is stunningly beautiful. These photos are awesome. And those poppies, wow! Gorgeous!! Thank you for taking me along to see all this beauty. You have a wonderful day. I hope you and your brother get to have your lunch together soon. Hugs, Edna B.ReplyDelete
All other flowers pale in comparison to poppies!ReplyDelete
Beautiful views! The poppie fields are incredible.ReplyDelete
We you took us to see some spectacular countryside.ReplyDelete
What an incredible landscape. You mention light and clouds towards the end but right from the beginning I was wishing we had been having such light around here - where the landscape is also stunning but grey skies and mist seem to be the June norm.ReplyDelete
It must be wonderful to be able to spend time with your brother too. I am feeling sad for families where, for instance, there might be three lone siblings. However would they chose who should get to form a 'bubble'?
I'm sure it was good to see your brother again. Those poppies are gorgeous. I'm rather envious, no big fields of them round here. I think I'd have to go right over to around York to see some.ReplyDelete
Just so much beauty! Each and every shot is wonderful. I love all those poppies...ReplyDelete
Hi John - it is a green and pleasant land that you so clearly offer us ... and the poppies ... gorgeous - thanks for your walk out with your brother ... all the best - HilaryReplyDelete
what are the poppies grown for I wonder?ReplyDelete
What a wonderful walk this must have been! The poppy fields are stunningly beautiful.ReplyDelete
You found your 'distant' poppy field then John!ReplyDelete
Delightful scenic images you have taken on your walk with your brother.
That is so good that you can walk with company again. The landscapes are breathtaking and the poppies so striking. Over here where there are commercial crops of poppies there are security fences all around.ReplyDelete
Glad to hear you can meet your brother now. The field of poppies is stunning. Beautiful photos, and lovely countryside. I used to live in Bedfordshire and enjoyed many picturesque walks.ReplyDelete
What a view looking down at the sheep! That field of poppies is just amazing. Lovely you can share a walk with your brother now. I’m sure you enjoyed the company.ReplyDelete