8.2.08

Flood fields in February

Here in the Cotswolds we are spoilt for country walks. There are rambles we have tried and scorned, which are really perfectly pleasant - just not quite up to the golden standard we have come to expect from our patch of the world. Once in a while we find one which pings all the right bells. We will return, we say. And we do. This week we made a new discovery, only a quarter of an hour ride from home - and we had it mostly to ourselves. (Except for a couple of other walkers coming the other way, one of whom was wearing all the correct trekking gear for a winter hike in the Northern Fells, complete with walking sticks. He did seem to be taking the gentle, grassy footpaths a little too seriously).




The meandering Windrush was in full spate and almost bursting its banks; water was already lapping over the shallow banks and roaring through the floodgates.
But it looked peaceful enough from a distance.





Negotiating soggy, marshy fields and climbing up to higer, dry land, heading to the most gorgeous farm in splendid isolation and a vivid, but strangely attractive green barn...






...ahead of us, the original farmhouse and outbuildings, the old stonework in excellent condition, though it appeared to be boarded up.





Through the farm track and past yet more silent, deserted stone treasures. In a
crumbling porch, ferns sprouted opposite a dark, guano spattered nest entrance, the sad decay benefiting the resident Barn Owl.




A well cushioned tree enjoying spacious views across the estate -






- and back onto farmland, observing that the field ahead was incongruously orange for this part of the county; such rich ochres are normally to be found over on the Banbury side of Oxfordshire. The stonework of cottages also gradually metamorphasises from blonde to brunette, our country dwellings having been built from the very landscape in which they nestle. (Remember this field, it will reappear in a few seconds).





By now we were heading for the beautiful Sherbourne Estate, startling a distant herd of deer, who soon settled back to grazing when they realised we were safely on the far side of the field.




It was a fresh, spring-like day, and although wildlife was still hesitant in emerging, the birds were busying about, filling the air with happy carols. This manmade estate has been allowed to revert to its original state of flooding through managed drains and ditches. Wonderful for flora and fauna. But a little - muddy - in places. I took the opportunity, while stuck in a boggy patch, to shoot a little verbal tutorial on the history of the flood fields. This is really for my lovely blog- friend Lisa Oceandreamer, who was brave enough to put herself on the interweb, and who has requested a voice sample. (Apologies for my mongrel accent, picked up from everywhere).


video


And apologies for the sniffs - fresh air does that to me. Time to be heading heading home, via the other side, noticing - (are you paying attention at the back?) the orange field...




...the flood plain (right at the back, just visible on the righthand side) where we had our interesting little lecture...




...and the farm, modestly snuggled into the earth but given away by its sturdy green barn. (Nearly there, only a little further).



Time for one last draught of serentity...


We are somewhat sore with Winter unfitness. But the sap is rising and there will be out and aboutings in and around our lovely Cotswolds. I will spare you the lecture next time.

17 comments:

Lisa S. Oceandreamer said...

Ok, I have to tell you I did my wee rapid happy clap!!!!! I LOVED hearing your voice, that spectacular accent....YOU. I swear you have the perfect voice for a documentary voice over! AND I like hearing background info on the places you go. I hope you'll do more videos. It has always been my dream to visit the Cotswolds....one day I shall.
THANK YOU darling Gretel for this snippet!
XOXOXO
Lisa

Pearl said...

Oh my goodness how lovely your voice is on the video. Just made me feel like I had a little visit with you.
Even with mud your scenery there is beautiful.

Take care my friend.
Hugs,

Eric Orchard said...

How wonderful to live in a place that has such natural beauty and such history. It is very nice to hear your voice, that's what I'll hear when I read your blog now.

Libbys Blog said...

We live, I think in the most beautiful country in the world!

Ash said...

Oh I did enjoy this walk with you -the landscape quite different to round here where we have coniferous plantings every five minutes. Those farm buildings are glorious.

Jess said...

We went to the Cotswolds today for a walk!!! Upper Slaughter, absolutely gorgeous. I'm going to watch your video now...

Jess said...

Hi again Gretel! Just watched your little vid. Yes, Upper Slaughter was muddier than I thought it would be too. I didn't take wellies for any of us, but the mud was worth it!

Soozcat said...

Thank you for letting us see your part of the world--and better yet, to hear your voice. Very inviting!

Sue said...

What a lovely walk; so peaceful. Loved the mini-documentary! You have a mixed accent like me...a bit of a Heinz 57. Great to hear your real voice instead of the written one.

joanna said...

Ooh, that was a lovely meander through your locality, and even better for the commentary :) We'd love to come a-walking with you again soon.

Sewer of threads said...

What a stunning walk.
Take care,
Alison x

Vienna for Beginners said...

Thank you for sharing your beautiful walk! I wonder what would be the proper outfit for such a nature hike? Definitely no high-trekkie. ;-)
The orange field, I wonder if it is winter clover or some other crop meant to enrich the soil.

Cotswoldgent said...

Lovely walk PG; Try and come up to my neck of the woods. Chedworth Village and a walk by the Roman Villa, you'll love it round there.

Cotswoldgent said...

Forgot to say, are you going to see Jethro Tull in April at the New Theatre in Oxford?

UKBob said...

I see you managed to dodge the gamekeeper this time! If it were the northern hills more than likely the walking poles would have been sticking out the top of the rucksack. It amazes me how many people have the poles in their rucksack. Well it was a nice walk for sure so thanks for sharing. Did you ever walk any of the Cotswold Way? I did a few years ago now, it was quite an adventure. Bob.

Sofisan said...

Wow, beautiful walk. if I could I'd buy that old stone farmhouse. and spend my life lovingly restoring it. If I lived as close to it as you do I would probably be there already and just fixing small things. My fiancé would drtive out every day after work to get me or I would never come home...

PG said...

Hi Sofisan! I too would love to live there - but it actually is a working farm, despite parts of it looking a bit shabby - and to buy it would cost well over a million pounds in this area, with all the land it's got added on - a bit beyond my means, sadly! :)