Sunday, 19 May 2013

Bucklebury and Chapel Row

Bucklebury: St Mary's church

This walk started as a simple Sunday morning stroll, but ended up as a wild-flower session. I headed east from Bucklebury, passing the church on my left. It is an interesting building, with a Norman doorway and elements from many periods thereafter. The route soon left the road and followed the Pang valley across fields, with a view towards the reasonably named High Copse to the north west.

At the end of the fields you briefly join a road and then enter the delightful small wood known as Bushells Green. Here I saw a wonderful pink bluebell. I thought at first it must be a rare mutant, which perhaps it was as I saw no others. However, it may simply have been a Spanish bluebell.

Emerging from the wood, the path led across fields of buttercups towards Jennett's Hill. I thought it was time to record a Greater Stitchwort, which I had been seeing in profusion.

And on leaving Jennett's Hill and entering more woodland, I encountered a fine specimen of Bugle, with radiant purple-blue flowers.

After exiting the wood, a section of road and then a woodland path brought me to Buckleberry Common and the long oak drive that leads to Chapel Row and the Blade Bone pub. Along here I spotted a truly superb rhododendron, with a delicate pink and ochre wash to some of the petals.

The last time I walked this way (from Chapel Row to Bucklebury, by a different route) I took a photo of the pub. Today I focused on these lovely thatched cottages opposite.

The route on from Chapel Row involves a wide track which follows power lines for a mile or so. I saw a few white butterflies, and was then captivated by this bright yellow-orange moth. There were in fact two of them and they let me a merry dance as I tried unsuccessfully to get a good picture before they moved again.

The very helpful UK Moths site enabled me to identify it as the Speckled Yellow (Pseudopanthera macularia).

As well as the Primroses, Wild Garlic, Celandine, Speedwells and others which I did not photograph, I also saw Wild Strawberry ...

... Garlic Mustard (Jack-by-the-Hedge), a widespread weed whose flowers are quite inconspicuous, dwarfed by the large leaves, but actually quite impressive on a closer look ...

... and this startling Wood Forget-me-not.

Conditions: Cloudy at first, but later quite hot.

Distance: 6 miles.

Map: Explorer 159 (Reading, Wokingham and Pangbourne.)

From: Rambling for Pleasure: Kennet Valley and Watership Down (East Berks Ramblers). It's a while since I followed one of these routes and their core characteristics came back strongly to me: wonderfully clear directions and route maps, but in consequence a need to frequently refer to them.

Rating: three stars. I enjoyed - evidently - practising my wild flower photography using my newish macro lens.

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