Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Bottom of the Field

In all the years (almost 15) that we've lived here The Man of the Place and I have never walked to the bottom of the field behind the house. We've been busy or it is raining or there are bulls in the field, the sheep are in lamb, there are lambs in the field . . . pick an excuse.

We've been in the field countless times for lots of reasons. In fact when George was in primary school, on fine days he could walk home (if there were no bulls in the field and it was dry enough). We would go half way down the field and then turn south toward the school which is three fields away. The distance of about three good city blocks.

If we are going on a walk it has always been much easier just to walk on the road to the north or south of the house. The west side of the house is all trees. As time has gone on the trees that were once small and of a size we could poach for a Christmas tree are now mature with big hawks and owls sitting in the top branches. The eastern aspect just gets ignored.
Walking due east from the house and once one gets past the point in the field for the turn to school, a ditch starts to form. The old beech trees (probably well over 200 years) used to be part of an old hedge. You can see the scars on these matriarchs of the field from their time in service as part of a hedge.This tree still has a bit of old barbed wire sticking out of it.
There is evidence around each tree that there are little animals living underneath the roots. Very Wind in the Willows!
It was the call of the curlew that inspired me to ask The Man of the Place if he wished to walk with me to the burn. In the spring and then all summer long we will hear the laughing cry of the curlew as they live their lives by the side of this burn.To hear their song, please click on these words that are underlined. The link leads to the RSPB page on curlew with a button to click to hear the song. It is Britain's largest wading bird and more than one live by this burn judging by the noise. Their cry reminds me of loons on Lake Superior. I hear the sound any time I am outside doing something that doesn't involve a lot of noise; hanging clothes on the line or digging in the garden. It's nice. Recently we heard these guys too, lapwings. My neighbour saw them arrive just the other week. The song of the lapwing reminds me of a comedy slide whistle. I love it when the summer visitors start to come back. There are about six lapwings in this field. They're pairing off and getting ready to nest. We saw them but as I don't have a long lens on my rubbish little camera, you'll just have to take my word for it.

You can see by the photos that the fields aren't as deeply green as they would normally be. We haven't had a lot of rain in the last month or so. In fact, since the snow melted, we haven't had much at all. Over all this is not so bad but it is lambing time and the ewes that have just given birth would be grateful for a bit more grass.

We found what is probably a badger set down by the burn and I look forward to going down there more often to investigate. I think it was badger rather than fox as there were about five holes, the holes were very clean and didn't smell. Fox dens really smell quite strongly of fox.To get down to the burn and home again we climbed over a part of a dry stone dyke (wall) that had been knocked over by one of the bulls last year. You can see in these photos the stones that have been pulled from the burn as they're all rounded and smooth and the stones left by the Romans when they were here centuries ago. There is an old Roman camp at the top of one of the nearby hills. As was common, the local tribes used the nice dressed stone that had been abandoned for their own houses and dry stone dykes.
I don't know if you can make it out, but there is the remnant of an old Roman road cutting diagonally through this field. Romans liked their straight lines when making roads and this road goes from the camp I mentioned earlier (you can make out the hill in the distance) to Carlisle 28 miles away which started out as Luguvallium in about 78 AD.
Here is The Man of the Place having salvaged some old fence posts on the return journey that were then cut up for kindling.

I'm quite happy to take any visitors on this walk when they get here. :-) Bring wellies!


Betty said...

What a beautiful place you have! I just hope Kelley doesn't read this post. She'll be packing her bags, preparing to move to Scotland. In fact, she and Al are there, now, touring Scotch distilleries. She always comes back reluctantly.

Sarah said...

I can't bring wellies as our bags are too small. Can you loan us some?? This looks like a good afternoon activity!

Peggy said...

Betty - Kelley and Al would be very welcome here. :-)

Sarah - Of course! We have loads of extra wellies on hand for special overseas visitors. :-)

Susie said...

What a beautiful walk, thanks for taking us along

Xtreme English said...

that curlew! it's exactly like the white birds in orlando. same size, shape, curved bill....but curlews, as you show here, are stripey grey/brown. what IS that white bird??