Meandering in the Midlands
We have spent a blissful couple of weeks hanging around my childhood haunts this spring. My brother asked us to house sit for a few days while they headed off to France so that became our base. Our summer calendar is quickly filling up with house sits, I can’t see us spending much time in the van at all, never the less we shall be a-vagabonding up and down the country to them all.
With the late onset of spring this year, these weeks in the south midlands have been filled with baby birds, colourful flowers and lush green foliage. From the seemingly never-ending winter of bare trees and barren landscapes to come south to this verdant paradise has been heavenly to the soul.
Driving along country lanes frothing with the white blooms of the cow parsley and walking through woodlands carpeted with bluebells, their heady scent drifting on the breeze filled me with joy. We visited my childhood wood, at Earlswood, specifically to see if the bluebells were as I remembered them, they were better. It has been a long time since I have been in a wood that has felt so bursting with life, from fluttering butterflies to bird song, it seemed full of activity. This woodland, Clowes Wood, and it’s sister New Fallings Coppice across the railway, is a site of special scientific interest due to its abundant wildlife. I spent many a Sunday morning walking through these trees as a child , my dad would point out all the flowers and birds, developing my love of nature.
The wood is next to a group of three small lakes, reservoirs for the Birmingham to Stratford Canal. These lakes are popular for fishing and sailing. One lake is left as a nature reserve and is lovely to walk around. We sat for a while watching a pair of Great Crested Grebes on their nest, they had a couple of adorably stripy chicks that were nestled on the back of one of the birds. Their stripy little heads kept popping up above the folded-back wings.
> Click on a picture to open the gallery
The weather vastly improved towards the end of the second week, a fun afternoon was spent lazing in the gardens behind the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in Stratford upon Avon with my brother’s family. We lay out on the grass watching the rowing boats drift up and down the river while the children ran around, it didn’t take long for the adults to join in though!
We moved down to Shipston on Stour on Saturday, to stay with some friends. We met them at the Domestic Wildfowl Trust in Honeybourne and had a sunny morning wandering around the park. The kids got to handle a snake, some chicks and a hairless rat. I had a hold of that, it was very cute indeed with delightfully curly whiskers! Out in the park we were amused by the geese and a pair of fluffy alpaca. The kids shrieked their way round the go-kart track. The day was finished off sat in their garden sipping cider as the sun went down.