Thursday, 27 August 2015

A Late Summer Walk

Today J and I went for a little walk. He'll be back at university before long and I'm back at work next week, so we decided to fit one in before the holidays finish. We last went for a walk together in the Easter holidays and I posted about it here. Living in a rural town works well for us - we are on a fairly busy road but less than 5 minutes away is the countryside. So we pulled on our walking boots, turned right, then left at the end of the road and set off across the fields.

Down the valley past the elderberries, already ripening and turning a fabulous shiny black.

The fields were full of pink clover ...

... and bird's foot trefoil.

There were dark, furry broom pods ready to pop open,

purple flowering grasses,

tightly-closed umbellifer seed-head 'cages',

and huge thistles which were taller than us.

After a while we dropped down into the woods. By then a hot sun had come out and it was a relief to walk in the shade.

The trees above us swayed in a soft wind, and I was reminded of Thomas Hardy's description of trees' 'voices' in Under The Greenwood Tree:

"To dwellers in a wood almost every species of tree has its voice as well as its feature. At the passing of the breeze the fir trees sob and moan no less distinctly than they rock; the holly whistles as it battles with itself; the ash hisses amid its quiverings; the beech rustles while its flat boughs rise and fall."

Today the breeze wasn't strong enough to make the trees sigh, but it was fascinating to look up and see their trunks and boughs moving, creating flickering patches of light and shade on the floor beneath us.

The sloes are just beginning to be touched with tinges of purple. In a while we can pick some to make Sloe Gin with.

Out of the woods and back into the sunshine, we walked past clumps of purple knapweed, a-buzz with bees.

Then came the best treat of all. A common blue butterfly. Looking closely at it, you can see its blue furry body and striped antennae. It feeds on the bird's foot trefoil growing all along the valley.

Its mate was with it, a pretty brown version, dusted with blue and with orange spots. I've been very lucky with butterflies this summer, and am delighted to have got these pictures. J and I share an interest in natural history, although he is much more of a scientist than I am.

On we went through a good deal of mud (it has been very wet this week) past these autumnal-looking seed-heads.

Down to the bottom of the valley to follow the course of a little brook. It gurgles musically under a pretty brick bridge here, half-hidden in the undergrowth.

Then over a little waterfall too, splashing over some rocks. After all the rain the brook was very full and quite fast-moving.

We left the brook eventually and passed some delicious-looking brambles. We wished we'd brought a container, but neither of us had thought of it, so we left them for the birds.

After a couple of hours' walk, we arrived at the next town and bought cheese and onion toasties and coffee for lunch, just as we had when we went on our spring walk, and caught a bus home. It was a lovely way to spend a morning with J, and chatting as we go is as enjoyable as the surroundings. I really appreciate these moments with my now grown-up children, little windows in the lives that they are forging for themselves when we can catch up with each other and enjoy each others' company. 
I'm very glad we found time for it.


  1. What a lovely walk,your photo's tell a beautiful story.

  2. How lovely spending time with your son, I know what it must be like, Our son is starting Uni in September, we are enjoying spending time with him, it will be hard when he moves out, but he knows he can always come home when he wants to, or spend a weekend her, lucky Uni is only about 10 mins away. We will see him every week I know for sure, as he has asked me if I will do his washing. We used to make Sloe Gin every year where we used to live, haven't got a clue where to find Sloes here , once we are sorted, we will be enjoying more walks and also join the National Trust, I love been out and about with nature, Your photos are lovely x

  3. Lovely, lovely. I know what you mean about being able to appreciate time with grown children - my eldest is 17 now and bordering on fully adult. We can have mature conversations and enjoy each other's company yet he is still 'my boy' and I love him for it.

  4. I too used to enjoy special moments like these especially when the children were away at Uni. That looks a lovely walk straight from your door and so much to see! Sarah x

  5. How lovely to have a morning with your son, and such beautiful countryside. We live in a little town as well, just up the road from the countryside, and it's something I really appreciate. Glad you had this time together before the busy term time life starts again. CJ xx

  6. What a lovely walk to take with your son and how lovely to spend one to one precious time with him. Occasionally my eldest will accompany us on our walks which is lovely. The youngest one wouldn't dream of walking with us oldies!

  7. What a wonderful walk! Thank you for taking us along. I hope that your son has a great year at Uni! xx

  8. What a lovely walk. I often find walking side by side the best time to talk. Special time in busy days xx

  9. I am glad to hear you had such a good time/walk before work starts again! :)

    Take care
    Crochet Between Worlds

  10. Precious time together. I am also on the university return countdown. Daughter starts again this weekend, and son will then be leaving for a year in NZ. Of course they have to go, but we still miss them.
    So envious of your blue butterfly. I've never seen one in Scotland.

  11. Spontaneous vacations are often the most fun. LOVE the old post office, such charm.


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