Uphilldowndale

Watching nature take its course, from the top of a hill in northern England


2 Comments

Storm and tempest.

The weather over the last 24 hours, can leave us in no doubt the Summer is over. High winds and torrential rain have roughed thing up a bit.

20180721_091002 (2).jpg

If the leaves can hang to the trees for a little longer I think we might be in for a particularly good display of Autumn colours, thanks to our long hot summer.

Advertisements


3 Comments

Away with the fairies

Onwards into south Wales, Joe is living and working in Cardiff , on his placement year, part of his university course. We brought a van load of ‘essentials’ and helped settle him into his new abode.  We took the opportunity to head on to our favourite spot on the Gower peninsular, Nicholaston camp site, as well as  the joys of underfloor heating in the shower block, it has easy access down on to the beach. The path takes you through ancient woodland, with many autumn delights

Fungi -1.jpg

Once through the woods, the path laces through the dunes,

Oxwich Bay.jpg

that have abundant flowers

Seaholly.jpg

so much for snails not liking sand and prickly things

snail and seaholly.jpg

I felt a little guilty that I hadn’t brought Spud the dog down to the beach with me, but the plan had been for a medative kind of meander, that was led by the eye, not the tennis ball; walking three Springer Spaniels must be a whole different ball game

Three Springers.jpg

There was much  beauty hiding in plain sight

plain sight.jpg

A reminder of the lunacy of British politics flashed up every now and then.

Brexit wrecks it_.jpg

The tide sorts the shells by size, the waters draining from Oxwich marsh,

sand and river.jpg

sweep them out to sea again.

Oxwich Bay_.jpg


3 Comments

Growing on Trees

 

There are some beautiful trees at Westbury Court Gardens,  this is star of the show

Westbury Court M'toe 3 uhdd-1A 300 year old oakWestbury Court  oak uhdd-1.jpgIt has some cohabitees, I don’t know what species of fungus is, the bees seemed quite interested in it, the beads of liquorice black, looks like the patina of Jacobean furniture, you normally see inside National Trust properties; whilst the tree is old, I don’t think the fungus is  Westbury Court  Fungi  3 uhdd-1.jpgThere were fungi that had a much fresher look,  this fabulous,  mustard yellow specimen for example, it looks smooth, not unlike like deer antler velvet (oh here I go off on a blogging tangent, who ever knew deer antler velvet was harvested for medicinal use! Not me until I just googled deer velvet to make sure I was using the correct term…)

Westbury Court  Fungi uhdd-1.jpgI think this was a species of ash tree,  I was more concerned in avoiding the bees nest we were warned that was lurking under the bark, or at least making sure Mr Uhdd, kept out of their way,  (they don’t get on very well) Westbury Court  Fungi  2 uhdd-1.jpgThere was a lovely cluster of the  semi parasitic plant mistletoe it doesn’t grow in ‘up north’ so I was interested to get a close look,  I don’t usaly get a look any closer that spotting its globe like form in the bare winter trees as we whizz down the M50Westbury Court M'toe 2 uhdd-1I think the host tree was a species of hawthorn,  I being botanically lax in this post aren’t I?Westbury Court  M'toe  4uhdd-1.jpgWhat I do know is what grows on trees, falls off, naturally. Falling conker


9 Comments

Flower of the Hour

Hibiscus

Hibiscus trionum, AKA the Flower-of-an Hour,

Westbury Court Gardens 7 uhdd-1.jpg

I can live with the ephemeral life of the flower, if it delivers such delightful seed heads ( @ £1.95 for a packet of seeds, I might have to have a crack at growing these).

Hibiscus 2

Spotted during a brief* visit to Westbury Court Garden which was a little gem of a place.

Westbury Court Gardens 5 uhdd-1

Laid out in 1696-1715 its a Dutch style water garden,

Westbury Court Gardens 3 uhdd-1

its first lucky break was to fall off the fashion radar at the time of Capability Brown’s Landscape School, when many such gardens were destroyed,

Westbury Court Gardens 9 uhdd-1.jpg

secondly was to be rescued by the National Trust in 1967, in a state of neglect and disrepair, and thirdly was the archive materials, that showed which plants were planted where, how many of each and how much they cost (more or less than £1.95 I wonder?)

Westbury Court Gardens 11 uhdd-1.jpg

A rather romantic vibe

Westbury Court Gardens 10 uhdd-1.jpg

Although I imagine the A48 was quieter then!

Westbury Court  A48 11 uhdd-1.jpg

*Flat tyre on the M5, delayed our journey, it’s not a nice place to be, on the hard shoulder, with traffic thundering past; glad when we were safely on our way again after the support of the RAC. When it comes to changing tyres on the motorway, leave it to the experts, it delayed us by an hour, which is nothing in the scheme of things. .

 

 


3 Comments

Best of Both Worlds

Here we are tipping into Autumn, and I’m not through with photos and adventure from May yet.

I’m going to wrap up our tour of Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, with my favourite photos of my favourite moments. That I was there, and saw such beauty, and had such a privileged glimpse into another world is almost dream like.

I’ll let the photos do most of the talking.

Dolphin UHDD 4

A whale watching trip, with Whale Watch West Cork

If I’d seen little more than a few fins I think I’d have been happy,

Dolphin UHDD 5

But we got so much more than that, we got

Dolphin UHDD 3

these views and the knowledge and experience of Nic Solcum  

Dolphin UHDD 6

The pod of dolphins short-beaked common dolphins  turned and tumbled in the wave from the bow, after a little while* Nic cut the engines and let them swim off, about their business. There was a little German girl on the boat, aged about five, she stood at the bow, and waved them goodbye. I’m pretty sure she will always remember the experience, I know I will.

*No idea how long, it was one of those experiences where time takes on a pace of its own.

 


3 Comments

Flowers of the Burren

The flora of the Burren, on Ireland’s West Coast, are beautiful, and world famous

Flowers Burren 14

Botanically, the Burren is one of the most fascinating regions in Western Europe with plants normally found in widely separate parts of the continent growing alongside each other. Thus mountains avens, a species usually found in sub-arctic and mountainous areas, can be found alongside such southern European species as bloody cranesbill and the dense-flowered orchid whose distribution is centred on the Mediterranean. In addition, plants ordinarily associated with acidic conditions such as heathers grow abundantly on the Burren limestone and plants typical of woodland flora commonly grown in open conditions.

There are many different habitats, meadows,

Wild flowers Burren_

deliciously cool hazel groves,

Wild flowers Burren 6 the open, and at first glance, barren, limestone pavements.

The Burren_

But it’s not just flowers of course. This little frog was beautifully camouflaged, I wanted him to hop under a shady leaf, surely his skin would burn on such a hot day?

Frog Burren

I could try naming all the flowers we saw, I’ve even got  a book to help,  Wild Plants of the Burren and th Aran Islands, by Charles Nelson, but it needs further study, I’m going to take a stab at this one, I think it O’Kelly’s spotted orchid

Flowers Burren 12

We saw an elderly couple, who looked like they might be botanists , dressed in full ‘Indiana Jones’ fatigues, with rucksack bulging, striding out along the track, having been droped off by a local taxi. It must a dream destination for them.

It’s a magical place. and one to which I’d happily retun.

Flowers Burren 10