Friday, 14 July 2017

Celebration Walk

It was Best Beloved's birthday, on Wednesday. Traditionally, we take the day off, and head for Exmoor. This year we made for Tarr Steps. It was a beautiful day, sunny and clear, but not quite as warm as of late. A perfect day for walking, in  fact.
We crossed the 'steps', which are large slabs of slate laid across huge rocks set in the river. Then we walked upstream for about a mile, crossed the bridge back across the river, and continued upstream for a while. Then we turned and followed the flow back downstream to the 'steps'. The main River, the Barle, is fed by lots of little streams and trickles. This sweet little bridge was one of many different designs and ages of bridge that we came across.

There were many types of insect about. B.B. picked up this beetle, a Dor Beetle, which was on it's back on the path. It's legs and underside were the most amazing iridescent blue.
Despite having a good identification book specifically on Fungi, we have been unable to identify this oddity. It was growing in grass, in full sun, is very fleshy, and the colours were really bright. The photo does not do the colours justice.

 Lunch was taken at the local Pub, sitting at a table under a huge Oak tree with an enormous girth, listening to the river and the endless birdsong. Bliss!
Onward to Horner Woods, for another walk, this one rather shorter. There were nothing like as many people walking here, so our spaniels were able to run about rather more, hurtling in and out of the river, thoroughly enjoying themselves.
Both of these walks are alongside the river, which flows along the bottom of steep wooded coombes, very typical of Exmoor. Cool, quiet and full of wildlife. In my opinion, and that of BB, the most beautiful place on earth.
The last photo is one I am very proud of. It is of a Silver Washed Fritillary, a butterfly which is not common at all. The specific habitat it needs is fulfilled by the two places we had just walked. We were lucky enough to see many, over twenty, during the course of the day. The Fritillaries are quite flighty, and tend to stay up in the canopy ( of mainly mature Oaks). I was thrilled when one settled on an Oak stump for just long enough for me to take a photo.
So, to the last call of the day - A cream tea, partaken of in the sunny, flowery garden just across the road from the Public Footpath at Horner. A lovely end to a peaceful day's walking.
( and home to watch the Tour de France on TV, naturally! )


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