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Walk through the woods in springtime


This is something I meant to post months ago… but didn’t, partly because the photos didn’t come out well. There is a strip of woodland running from behind our house, for about half a mile alongside the canal. Its called ‘Longacre woods’, which I like… and in springtime there are bluebells :)

Last year I was up early and went for a walk… the photo album dates the 20th may, this year I went on 30th April, yet it looked as if the display was pretty much over… I know people are saying that spring is 3 weeks early this year, and that last year they said it was two weeks late, but I was amazed to see so much difference. Last year it took my breath away, (partly because for some reason I don’t think I’d ever noticed it before), but this year it was a bit of a let down :( Maybe I was expecting too much… it is only a small patch of woodland afterall. Anyway, before I rabbit on for hours, I decided to mash a few photos from both years together, so if you fancy taking a spring walk with me…

First we must walk down the towpath…
I find it a beautifully peaceful place, especially when there are no boats around! (but thats me being unsociable

I love the reflections of the trees on the water, especially in that magical morning light. Further down there is a tree that we call the ‘upside down tree’ after my brother apparently named it thus as a child. Back then it was still quite young, and stood out as a reflection on its own, but the impage is less effective these days, as its bushed out and blurred in with its neighbours.

You probably can’t see it, but in this picture there are some ducklings! They nested in the hollow at the top of the beech tree in the woods behind our garden (the top fell off in a storm about three years back). It must be at least 18 foot up, with brambles at the bottom, yet they managed the jump, and I got dragged out of bed by my mother one morning yelling ‘Get up Jen! The ducklings have hatched and we need to usher!’ Unfortunately I was too dozy moving, so only caught them as they hopped into the cannal.

Eventually you come to a break in the woods where some steps run down to a wire covered platform, as the ground dips towards a stream bed, then rises again in to the woods up another flight of steps.

At this time of year the scent of wild garlic will hit your nostrils… strong, but not unpleasant :P

A carpet of bluebells!

Bluebells and brambles

In comparrison this year the display was far earlier, and much later on when I saw it. In all honesty its my own fault for not having gone until the very end of the month I spent at home… I used to go for walks along here almost every evening, but instead this year I was either out, not up early enough, or in the garden until it was too late. Next year I will just have to try harder :P

Beyond the bluebells the terrain drops down again to where a bridge crosses the stream.

This tree fell down a couple of years back, yet is still growing, this time in a sea of ransom :)

I love teh way leaves look when they are overlapping, especially fresh spring leaves… theres something magic about it. Reminds me of one of the flowerfairy poems by Cicely Mary Barker:

‘Look up; look up, at any tree
There is so much for eyes to see:
Twigs, catkins, blossoms; and the blue
Of sky, most lovely, peeping through
Between the leaves, some large, some small,
Some green, some gold before their fall;
Fruits you can pick; fruits out of reach
And little birds of twittering speech;
And if you’re quick enough, maybe;
A laughing fairly in the tree!’

The whole fairy bits a bit… well… but I did love the flower faries as a child… (guess who got to be the harebell fairy for fancy dress?!;), and trees were something I always loved as a child (here is the part where I confess to stashing acorns in any concievable place, and having my mother discover them as they grew into trees (like an oaky version of miss. willmott’s sea hollys). We had at least two in the front garden for years before they got dug up, and oakydoak, who I had in a pot for years, was found in the compost bag:)

Anyway… tree leaves… pretty.

We come to the end of the woods, and ascend once more up steps bordered by ransom.

and the outside world awaits!

Maybe tomorrow I will add some more photos… after this you emerge into what used to be a field, but which is now a bit of a pretty wilderness, planted up by the woodland trust I think with young trees and dog roses and the like, with mown paths between them.

Here you come across several options: either you turn left, and then climb over a stile and return to the towpath, with the chance to walk further, or return home. Alternatively, you can cross to the end of the field, turn right into lodge lane and walk past along the lane past the houses (and nursery!), and then down beside a bridge onto the canal again. Or lastly, the way I went, is to walk down another grassy slope, hop over the stream at the bottom, then up up the other side, and through more planted wildernessy bits (this time of the grassier variety), and either continue left, then emerge further back on lodge lane, or you can turn right and walk behind the woods, and re-enter just before where the bluebells grow, and then return the way you came. This last way takes you past my favourite hornbeam, which I like to give a quick hug to on the way (provided no-ones watching of course).

Anyway, I hope you enjoyed the trip, and weren’t put off by me waffling too much… I’m afraid its 6am and sleep wasn’t coming again, so I gave up and wrote this. Its fully light outside again (and has been getting that way for some hours). The lone pidgeon has been and gone, pecking at the lawn outside my halls window again (last time I saw it was around the same time on friday morning… but that time I was finishing a term paper, not writing a blog :P) I’ve finished all my exams now though, so am freeeeeeee until the end of the september, so plenty of time for the garden again…(if it doesn’t rain all summer again!), when I eventually get back there… Right now though I shoud really get to bed, as I’m supposed to be going shopping with Pippa in 6hrs… and could do with at least a little sleep before then :P Hope you all have a nice gardening bank holiday weekend, and plenty of good weather… be it rain or shine that you desire! xx

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That was great jennyfer, love the descriptions and the photos. Blue bells are always great ut I think my favorites are the wild garlic, ecpecially on the sides of the stairs. Absolutely gorgeous.
Hope your exams went well (how much I don't miss THAT time of my life!)
Dull and grey here but still planning going out the the GC, just need to drag Mark out of bed ;->

29 May, 2011


Great blog Jennyfer, I loved your walk and poem. Every year I keep promising myself to go too Black Berry Camp which is supposed to have a wonderful display of Blue bells and is only a short drive from us. We did get to see the Snow drops this year ( did you see my blog in Feb) they were stunning. Hope all goes well with your exams. :-)

29 May, 2011


what a lovely walk, those bluebells look fantastic ~ a mist of blue. i love the trees and their leaves ~ always have ~ i had the tree fairy book when i was younger! i liked the larch.
i hope your exams go well.
are you going shopping with The (now famous) Pippa??!!

29 May, 2011


No I hadn't read it Teds (not quite sure how I missed it), but certainly have now! They look gorgeous there :) I've never seen a big carpet of them like that :P

Thanks Columbine :) I hope they went well too! The only major sticking point was my europe one, where i stupidly tried to answer a question on progress in the renaissance being an example of a secular religious belief... foolish of me, because I didn't really know what I was talking about, so just waffled... I hope you have a good time at the GC, and get some nice plants ;) Its grey and cloudy in Newcastle too, but the sun looks like its trying to break through... hopefully it will do the same for you :)

29 May, 2011


Oops, sorry Sticki! your comment popped up while my back was turned :P I will have to look up the larch fairy when I get home!
- I should be going shopping, but Pip hates early mornings possibly more than I do, so we'll see! I'd better go wash my hair incase though!!

29 May, 2011


The woods are wonderful....I am pleased you shared the walk with us, Jennyfer. You will be relieved that you have a long stretch away from uni (and study, essays, exams) and can get into the garden once again.

Do you go into the woods to pick any blackberries? seems there are some in the woods and I wouldn't expect them to have any pesticides on them so would be safe to eat.

Enjoy the long weekend...and the long summer which stretches before you :) We've got grey skies, intermittent rain and plenty of wind here and as I'm a fair weather gardener most of the time I'll not be venturing out much. It is so cold we've even had the heat on in recent days!

If you get out to the shops....have fun!

29 May, 2011


Haha, shes only just got up the lazy slob (meant affectionately), so we're going tomorrow or tuesday instead. I'm not sure about the blackberries in the woods... we have some in our garden (plenty of brambles all round), and some on the edge of the woods behind the garden, and thats normally enough :) Its nice to know that they're reasonably clean though :) I've been learning this year about that debate between organic and affordable... and confess that I will buy the 70 pence cabbage most times, since organic is twice the price! Mum grows a lot of veg at home too (hence not having time/energy for most of the flowers, which works for me:)

I hope the weather cheers up for you soon! (if not I will try and bring a bit of semi-shine back with me - I swear the weather is nicer in newcastle than back down in the north-west!) Can't wait for the stress-free summer though :)

29 May, 2011


Thanks for taking us on a brilliant walk with you, really enjoyed blog and photos :)

29 May, 2011


Thanks Clarice :)

29 May, 2011 ~ this is the link for the picture that i remember jennyfer
i have been to those woods at blackberry camp teds ~ they are amazing ~ a real carpet of blue but i didnt seem to get any really good pictures.

29 May, 2011


Hehe, aww :) I love this one:

30 May, 2011


Oh, these pictures are so cute! :-)
Had to good time at the GC...Let's says it a good thing we were walking and could only carry so much! Of course it's been very windy and rainy since so no planting yet.
From past expirience in exams waffling is what you need to do. You write a lot and they don't really bother reading everything ;->>

30 May, 2011


Lovely to see a bluebell wood. I grew up next to one and also on the banks of a canal aswell :) so it brought back many childhood memories - happy ones and horrible ones lol
Good luck with your results. I'm sure you'll be pleased with them. Enjoy the summer. I hope we get one this year .

30 May, 2011


your comment about exams takes me back columbine ~ i banked all my hopes on that!!
when i did a course later in a different setting i used to put funny bits in to see if they noticed!!

30 May, 2011


Thanks Hywel :)) and I hope we get a summer too!! (although not too many heatwaves... I burn far too easily :P)
I hope the waffling works too! Sometimes it does... sometimes it doesn't. It certainly got me through my GCSEs with little effort, but had an awful effect on my A-levels. The problem is that each time you start a new level of education they seem to expect something different from you, so a bit of waffle at uni-level could well help ;) We'll see.... one of the other questions was on a source about collectivisation, so I and several others I've spoken with just recited what we could remember of an A-level Russian history module!
Lol Sticki! I hope they did notice :P I think they probably get quite good at skimming through things
+ glad the GC trip was a success columbine :)

30 May, 2011


what is collectivisation?? i did some A level history ~ not russian tho!!

30 May, 2011


Oh, its basically when Stalin made all the peasants join their farms together and work to quotas set by the state... it wasn't very successful and agriculture has been refered to as the 'stepchild' of the regime ;)

30 May, 2011


there we are ~ you have answered a whole question in 35 words ~ why do we need 2000 word essays??
thanks jennyfer

31 May, 2011


Hehehe, if only! One of the girls who I'm living with next year is doing zoology... she had an exam today that was all multiple choice answers... literally true or false. No fair!!!

1 Jun, 2011


certainly not fair.
i always used to wonder why you couldnt text the answer to the tutor!! they could set the title of the essay and you would have to answer in one text ~ would save a lot of time!!

1 Jun, 2011


Haha, that could be interesting! Then again having about 200 characters to explain an answer sounds tricky in its own right :P... would have to hope the tutor was very well versed in text speak!

1 Jun, 2011


yes i thought it had its own challenges ~ but surely not as bad as having to construct so many arguments and prove this that and the other!!

1 Jun, 2011


yes, definitely preferable!!

1 Jun, 2011


But how non waffling answer will justify paying a fortune and sitting in a class listening to the lecturers waffle for 3 years?
I took history and literature in uni, and while most of it was the usual long essay answers couple of tests were multipul choice. Have to admit I thought it was too lazy from the teachesr. You don't expact to go to university and answer multipul choice questions....

2 Jun, 2011


no you certainly dont!! my course was part time ~ while i was working in a job that was related to the course. im sure this will be true of all colleges and universities ~ some lecturers were a waste of time but others were really good.

2 Jun, 2011


With history its annoying because in first year we got about 7 contact hours a week... and its supposed to go down to almost nothing in third year.... yet the year after next students are going to be paying 9 grand a year for it.... blatantly not value for money, especially since the first semester of lectures was pretty pants. Its not like we even have specialist facilities/equiptment like music/the scientists get, so i'm not sure how they can justify it by saying its 'fair'.

.... I do like my lie-ins though.

4 Jun, 2011


it makes me cross ~ its all the lecturers making a fuss if you ask me ~ i think they should offer 2 year courses if students would like the option ~ im sure it could be fitted in. my oldest son did an electrical engineering type course ~ computer stuff ~ that was nearly full time ~ well, in theory it was ~ i dont think he was full time!!!

4 Jun, 2011


yup, and stupid anti-arts government... even though I bet most of them did humanities subjects!! I don't know whether its actually the case or not, but i heard that some of the sciences would be subsidised... so we'd be paying more than our courses, while they'll be getting more but for less... bah. And yeah, I don't know how its worked out exactly, but at Newcastle its a 'Russel Group' university or something, so they get paid to do their own research.. fair enough, but at the start of the year we had one of the lecturers give us a speech about how we shouldn't bother our lecturers with emails and stuff because they had their own research to do that was more important. And in the prospectus it was going on about how the course covered from 'the big bang to the modern day', when really it starts after the collapse of rome. Next year we have two options from the dark ages, then nothing from 1066 to the early modern period... skipping out like 600 years of british history (lol, and my favourite part;). But thats just Newcastle... most of them actyally say 'oh we start with the Saxons' or whatever, so at least you know what you're getting in for.

There has been talk of two year courses, I think three is a nice amount of time if you're my age, but the first year doesn't technically count towards your degree, its just a trial run that needs passing. So if they're putting the fees up, maybe reducing the years may not be such a bad idea.. or at least like you say, giving an option for it.

4 Jun, 2011


Woops, I may have gone on a bit of a rant there!

4 Jun, 2011


Lovely walk, Jennyfer, and lovely photos. I liked the idea of you burying acorns, and they grew into mini oaks before your parents noticed!! It's fun to grow trees from seeds, pips etc. - try an avocado stone . . .

5 Jun, 2011


jen i love faries and have pics of them all around my cottage , i love ur poem as well .................. and really enjoyed the walk with you

5 Jun, 2011


Yeah, I wander how much "research" they do! Sound like 'you're paying us a fortune but we don't give a damn" to me, nice....Lecturers weren't shackled with email adresses yet in my time though :-)

6 Jun, 2011


Hehe, do you think they curse the day it was invented? ;) I'm just glad I wasn't born a few years later!! Some of the lecturers are really good though, and I'm just hoping a couple of the not so good ones were just foisted on us because we're first years... :P I've done a couple of archaeology modules though, and the difference in standard is amazing! Maybe its because the arch classes are much smaller, but the teaching and attention is on a much higher level.

Thanks Cristina :) Have you ever read/seen the flower fairies? They're really lovely.

6 Jun, 2011


Yeah, I hated the big classes (unless I wanted to catch on my sleep!). Especially the ones with stairs, you can be so far from the lecturers.
Wish I had the flower fairy books when I was a kid, look brilliant :-)

8 Jun, 2011


they are still around im sure ~ charity shops, probably amazon etc.

10 Jun, 2011

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