Out and About Today
The start of my daily walk through a misty, damp and chilly Wilden Marsh Nature Reserve this morning leaves me in no doubt that autumn has arrived. A stiff breeze whistles around my neck and ears. It seems colder than eight degrees centigrade. I slip on Thinsulate gloves for the first time since last winter. The north marsh track-way from the Lagoon Field gate to Hoo Brook corral has been frantically ripped apart by large, viciously clawed paws; a sign that the badgers have arrived back for the winter from their summer setts along the steep sides of the Lower Stour Valley.
Turning left out of the corral, I am making my way south through the bramble tangles of the Northern Corridor. The badgers had been along here, too; their digging less frantic, but still reasonably regular. Fighting my way through the thick vegetation of the North Pond and North Pastures, I turn right into the Tenant Farmer’s Field Corridor and through Middle Marsh. Foxes, badgers and muntjac deer have all been this way earlier this morning: their fresh paw imprints visible in the soft mud as I walk along.
Six herons take to the air and fly towards the heronry as soon as they see me approaching South Pool. Urgent honking of Canada geese on the pool alerts the moorhens; they are running and flapping for all they are worth across the water surface to the safety of the Flooded Wood. Mallards are next to leave the pool, flying swiftly and noisily across the river to the west-side. A fox appears briefly at the far side of the pool and quickly disappears when it sees me. So the fox might be responsible for the mass bird departure from the pool.
I have restricted the cattle’s movements to the South Riverside Pasture for the past couple of weeks. I open the gate to the South Entrance Section so that they can reduce the vegetation there before the volunteers workday next Sunday.
Moving on to the south marsh Wilden Lane gated entrance, I continue south and walk west past Wilden Pool on my way to the canal. Turning right onto the towpath, I head for Stourport-on-Severn’s canal basin, where I stop for an Americano coffee at the Windlass Cafe. Continuing south along the east bank of the River Severn, I turn left at the cider works, cross Hartlebury Common, pass Hilditch Pool and Charlton Mill, before striding onwards a few miles further north to and through Spennels Valley.
All in all, today was an enjoyable walk through the countryside surrounding Wilden Marsh Nature Reserve.
Below are a few of the photographs taken today: