So this is where I grew up - these fields and me are old friends.
Now this walk was actually started from what would have normally been the end as Mr Mouse parents live at a different of the village.
It was a lovely spring morning, come join me and I hope you enjoy the walk.
John Ray (29 November 1627 - 17 January 1705) was an English Naturalist, sometimes referred to as the father of English natural history. He was born in a local village (Black Notley). The full John Ray walk is about 9 miles http://www.essex.gov.uk/Travel-Highways/Public-Rights-Way/Documents/John_Ray_Walk.pdf
"You ask what is the use of butterflies? I reply to adorn the world and delight the eyes of
men; to brighten the countryside like so many golden jewels. To contemplate their
exquisite beauty and variety is to experience the truest pleasure."
JOHN RAY (1627 –1705)
And *Bang* the sound of the shot gun - never been bothered about running into men carrying shot guns or the sound of them going off its just a part of living in the country (that and the healthy smell of muck spreading) I did put Ferd back on the lead for a while to make sure that we were clear of the shooter and that there were no more.
The area of Essex that I grew up in is mainly arable there are a few farms with livestock - my primary schools playing field backed onto a sheep farm so in the spring and summer we got to enjoy the lambs and sheep and one of my primary school friends Dad was a farmer - arable but he did also keep pigs and I have fond memories of going into the pig shed.
Now Essex along with the rest of East Anglia is good cereal growing land.
The village that I grew up lays on a clay pan - which means that the soil is good at retaining water but at the same time it can get water logged and also dry out to baked well erm clay. Clay soil needs to be carefully managed - which is why surrounding the fields you will find drainage ditches and signs of fields drains
At this time of year this is normally an area where water has formed a pond (Ferd was disappointed). The water situation this year is bad - the south is always a delicate balance but there simply has not been enough rain in the whole of the UK this year resulting in many water restrictions and the need for some companies to issue hose pipe bans (please respect these bans and the water shortages and do your bit to help conserve water).
We did find one field pond much to Ferds delight
Yes I did let Ferd have a little paddle
In a sheltered little spot there was still some frost.
We also have some little areas of ancient woodland around us - there is a public foot path running through a small part of this one but well I have been walking through these woods my whole life so there (plus now the farmers son has taken over he is less of a meanie - no more jumping out of tractors shouting at you).
And then on home (with a last look back at the woods)
Sadly I was unable to continue photographing the rest of the walk as I had to use my Magic Mouse powers and reunite a lovely Golden retriever with her Mummy (you can just see her in this photo).
We met them on the field leading up to the wood where we had just come from - we said 'hi' and let the dogs have a few moments of play before we both moved on in our opposite directions. Well as Ferd and I were on our way down the next field the Golden Retriever came running up behind - at first I thought oh shes got away from her Mum and decided that she wants to play with Ferd some more.
She had sat herself down in the field a little way ahead of us so I waited thinking her Mum would round the corner at any minute. No sign of Mum. I could then see that the Golden Retriever looked a little distressed so I called to her and said 'come on lets go find your Mummy'. I was worried that maybe she had fallen and hurt herself. Anyway the dog the followed and Ferd being Ferd though ohhh we played earlier. Now as soon as Ferd bounced up to her to play she cowered and yelped - at this point I was getting really worried. I called Ferd to me and talked calmly to the Golden Retriever saying that we were going to find her Mummy and bless her she came right up to me and started following closely behind.
We were in the sight of the woods now, then we saw her mum. She was fine but in a desperate state trying to find her dog and was so relieved that someone was there and had come looking (well any dog owner would do the same right?). Anyway it turned out that her dog had been attacked in the woods by two other dogs - she had been pinned down - luckily no bites just scarred. The lady was very shaken, being the owner of a dog who has suffered an attack I knew how she was feeling and I was not about to let her walk back home alone. One she needed someone to help calm her and two I didnt want her to be alone in case the other dogs and walker came along.
We had a lovely chat (being a village it was a short process to work out who my in-laws are, they are a bit more active in the village even though they had a period of abandoning the village for a while lol - where as my family have always been known as the village snobs so slightly less well known even though I have lived there most of my life - as in only properly moved away recently). By the time we had left the fields she was much calmer as was her dog and she carried on her way home as I popped into my Dads for a much needed cup of tea (only to discover that the dangerous dog is still next door so Ferd was hastily shut in the house).