Today the rain has returned to Wiltshire, but we are feeling invigorated, so decide to visit an old haunt for a wild, wet and muddy walk after school….
…. as it turned out our walk wasn’t that wet or muddy after all, because soon after heading off the sun came out and the humidity increased and everything started drying up quickly. Certainly no complaints though.
We headed off across fields that are being grown for hay and the footpath is a thin, worn line between walls of high grass. Hazel goes bounding off, leaping through the grass with flapping ears, lolling tongue and a thrashing tail and Georgia does her best to follow suit. The walk might not be wet and muddy any more, but it’s definitely still wild!
The path leads to a kissing gate which leads straight onto to Cicely’s Bridge, an old brick bridge which goes across the dried out course of an old canal feeder stream. The bridge is named after a character in the book ‘Round About a Great Estate’ written by Richard Jefferies (1848 – 1887).
Richard Jefferies was a local nature writer, noted for his depiction of rural life in Wiltshire, works on the natural history, and novels. He lived most of his childhood and some of his married life at Coate Farm near to Coate Water Country Park, our local park, and he spent much of his time taking solitary wanderings about the countryside here, particularly Liddington Castle and the Burderop Estate. We think it’s great that even today, despite development, we can still follow in his footsteps and see many of the countryside scenes he describes in his books.
We followed the path alongside the old stream bed, which is now also part of the Sustrans National Cycle Network. The hedge is much as it was back in Jefferies time and is mostly Hazel and Dogwood, through which Dog rose grows vigorously, but beautifully.
Many of the old Oak trees seen along the way are also contemporary with Jefferies and we gave one or two an affectionate hug as we passed by.
As we returned across the fields we were caught up in the swooping and sweeping flight of the Swallows, came across numerous slugs, and involuntarily collected a fair quantity of grass seed.
We left feeling inspired to seek out more of Richard Jefferies nature ramble walks and quietly thanked him for leaving such a great legacy.
Happy wild memories revisited and re-made 🙂 🙂 🙂