Tuesday, 7 July 2015

A boggy slog of a walk and @SussexWildlife EC survey appeal #defendnature

It took us a couple of days to recover from our thirteen mile walk and
Owl pellet? 
Dave was still feeling a bit odd (Insert your own snide comment here!) when we set out on a 'gentle' 9 miler yesterday. We parked on the wide verge by the River Breamish near Ingram and our obligatory steep uphill was, for once, not our very first steps from the car. Instead we had narrow rural road until the track off was evocatively signposted to Threestoneburn House. I love the place names around here although we are yet to find a more suitably named village for ourselves than the fabulous 'Tuttington' in Yorkshire. Our walk was a lollipop shape with a straight(ish) out and back route and a loop once up the hill. As it turned out, following footpaths and bridleways on this part of the moor was perfectly simple when we were near farms, roads and other buildings. There are signposts and badges aplenty. However, once signposted out onto the moor there is absobloodylutely nothing to indicate direction! I guess wooden posts wouldn't last long in such wet conditions and would be frequently rotting through and falling down? In any case, I was proud of Dave's expert orienteering job in keeping us more or less where we thought we ought to be for the whole five hours.

The first photo up top right shows what we believe is a regurgitated owl
Those hills are tougher than they look 
pellet, full of the tiny bones of some small animal or bird that had become lunch. We are not sure whether other birds of prey regurgitate in the same way so it might not actually be evidence of an owl. Dave is going to ask Gemma who knows all about this nature stuff! Much of our walk was across boggy ground - lots of jumping from tussock to tussock and high-stepping through long reedy grass. It's certainly tiring but fantastic for thigh muscles - someone ought to invent an exercise class! We were both glad of our boots and managed to almost completely keep our socks dry.

I have no idea where this stone circle was in relation to our map, but it
Me in the stone circle 
was about three to four hours into the walk. It may be marked on the Ordnance Survey map as 'Village Settlement' but we couldn't see anything else nearby to indicate village remains so we might not have been at that point after all. The circle consists of nine stones with a tenth in the centre. From here we headed back downish towards the car and home. Other than skylarks and swallows which are as common as muck around here, we just saw sheep with lambs and cows with calves. We were pleased to see our campsite again and I have included this photo below of the end of what I think used to be the farm stable block because I really like the architecture.

At Low Hedgeley campsite 
For those of us who love being in the great outdoors, there is an
important European Commission survey being carried out right now. I heard about it though Sussex Wildlife who said:

"Across Europe, including here in the UK, vital laws protect our most precious wildlife and wild places. It's not just wildlife that depend on them - we do too, for cleaner rivers, vital habitat for pollinating insects and natural places we can enjoy and spend time in. Without these laws our world would be a poorer place.
Right now the European Commission (EC) is reviewing these laws - the 'Nature Directives' - and asking people to give their opinion on them. So it's vital that as many of us as possible say that we feel strongly about this and don't want to see these laws weakened."

The European Commission is asking for the opinion of people across Europe through an online consultation so we all have the opportunity to make our voices heard. Please click through to The Wildlife Trusts' website to read more about the consultation. They even have a prefilled version of the questionnaire!

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