Still exploring

We have about 32 acres here, divided up into lots of parcels the largest being around 11 acres. In the lush green summer some parts of the land seemed totally inaccessible, but as the leaves dropped and plants died back for winter those undiscovered places began to reveal their secret entrances.

We hadn’t explored much of the lower western edge of our land. It was a job that needed to be doing, not least because our neighbour keeps animals and we had no idea what state the fencing is in down there. A wall of brambles defend the bottom of Sunshine Meadow, that combined with the land becoming a lot steeper from then on down, makes access to the river on this side a prickly challenge.

Looking East

South-facing slope to the left, hazel coppice to the right. Lovely flat (if overgrown) grassland straight ahead

Armed as ever with loppers we cut our way through, watching the ground at every foot step to avoid the few rabbit holes along our new path. Stooping under the fallen branches and guarding trees at the bottom (possibly bird cherries) we found a wonderfully calm oasis shielded to the south by historically coppiced hazel and to the north by the slope we had just descended. A long, narrow, east-west strip of grass, probably the flattest bit of land we have found! Our imaginations ran wild, what a beautiful tranquil place, even the sound of the river is distant here, and what an amazing south-facing slope to work with. This, I think, is where I would like to spend my holidays! Looking closer at the slope, succession from grassland is in full pace, young ash whips are meters above the protecting brambles on the slope, what possibilities!

Bracken down by the river

Entrance into the bracken covered field down by the river, looking south towards our neighbours wood

Pressing on, as we had one other field to visit along this edge of our land, we continued our path south towards the river. Once on half-welly walk we found a gap in the trees that we hadn’t seen before, the bracken jungle in the field below had hidden it from view in the Summer. Now the rust red fronds beckoned us in. What a treat! Another flat meadow! This one edged to the south by the river, then beyond that a steep north-facing wooded slope and to the east, along the river, one can just about see the Ent. The air is so magically clean and fresh down here. We were speachless, we are so lucky to have so many different micro-climates on the land.

What to do with this piece? Well, currently Craig is thinking that a couple of pigs would do a brilliant job of clearing the bracken. We know that the previous farmer used to keep pigs down here, indeed, we occasionally find some of the electric fencing he used to keep them contained so I guess it could be possible.

I have to admit, I am a little stuck for names for these two fields – well they are not really fields. If you have any suggestions, please do let me know.

By the way, the fencing in this field is fine. It will need some attention further up, on the other parcel as it was evident that sheep had been under one of the larger gaps of the fence, but as there are no animals on either field at the moment, no rush.

Just one more section of our land still to explore properly, our woods next to the far-away field – so far we haven’t been any deeper in than the spring.

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