Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Blackberries, as far as the eye could see!

Blackberries. In fact berries of every kind. That sums up the river walk for September! It was a really busy month but we squoze our precious walk in right at the very last moment.

We've managed to do this walk up the By Brook valley from Ford in North Wiltshire, every month this year apart from June when hay fever got the better of me and I fell out of love with long walks in the countryside. Why have we done it every month?

a) Because it really is a beautiful walk and we never fail to come back home feeling restored after it 

b) Because I like to get the kids out of the house, away from screens, breathing fresh air (and hopefully instilling in them a sense of wonder at the natural world)

and 

c) Out of curiosity - I'm not an expert naturalist by any means but it's been fascinating to witness the changes in one valley as the year has turned. 

On top of all that I'm sure you don't need reminding that walking is such great exercise (but I'll remind you anyway!) and it doesn't cost a penny. 


We were on a purposeful morning walk this month, with a time limit, so we couldn't stop to pick any of these juicy blackberries but this has to be one of the best bramble patches in the whole of Wiltshire!  



And there were many, many sloes. I've never really seen the point of making gin, a perfectly acceptable drink in itself, taste like cough medicine, but there were rich pickings here for people who do like to add sloes to gin and who can maybe get their sloe gin to be more quaffable than mine ever has! 


The kids couldn't resist popping a sloe in their mouths to see whether they are still as bitter as they remember and still hold that unique property of dessicating the inside of your mouth almost instantaneously. I didn't take part in this experiment but am reliably informed that yes, they still do!


Still on the berry front, there were oodles of rosy haws. I found a recipe for Hawthorn jelly here . It doesn't involve wasting good gin, so I could be tempted to try this out.

There were plenty of other signs of Autumn. This is what Son's 'lying on the ground' style of photography looks like in September.



This is what the same style looked like back in April...



The Chinese Lanterns which were green in August, are now in their prime:


There's an orangey tinge to the trees, but still some way to go before a full show of autumn colours. I've never thought about it before but I suppose trees in a sheltered valley must hang on to their green leaves a little longer.




The beech trees maybe resisting autumn's pull but the teasels are looking good! I love them.



And finally our comparison shot of the view up the Bybrook Valley. Changing imperceptibly...


View up the Bybrook Valley, 28 September 2013


View up the Bybrook Valley, 11 August 2013.



This is what the Bybrook Valley
looked like for the first four months of the year.

12 comments:

  1. Great to see how the landscape is changing throughout the year, and the abundance of wild fruit is brilliant. Its nice to see the rosehips round here are nearly ready for picking as well. Thanks for sharing. :o)

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    1. It's been a bountiful year here, but sadly the second year of not many damsons on our tree. I don't know why.

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  2. Oh, it's so beautiful. I love all the Autumny goodness. Somewhere I have a recipe for a hoisin sauce made from haws of all things! Are you going back to pick blackberries?

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    1. Hawsin sauce sounds very exotic. I'm going to try a last ditch assault on the blackberries this weekend but it may be too late...

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  3. I love the lying on the ground photo :) We have lots of blackberries here in Australia but they are a terrible week and have usually been sprayed with weed-killer, meaning it's not good for eating.

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    1. What ashame that you don't get to go blackberry picking.

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  4. Mmmmm blackberries! I just love them. This has been a good year for them and they mostly seem to be big and plump and juicy. Last year the few I found were tiny and mainly seed with no juice - not so nice. Our current favourite pudding is a bowl of juicy blackberries with a dollop of Greek yoghurt and a sprinkle of honey nut cornflakes. Yum!

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    1. Our gas oven has been broken for a few weeks so no crumbles or pies here but we too have been enjoying stewed apple and blackberries with greek yogurt and granola as an easy crumble substitute.

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  5. What beautiful photos - I especially love the ground shots of the mushrooms. We have a few favourite walks that we do throughout the year and it is interesting to see how the landscape, plants and wildlife change with the seasons. We picked some teasels last year (I didn't know until just now that's what they were called - thanks) and they made a lovely display in a vase for months!

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  6. Our blackberries are long gone and there weren't many this year at that. So your photos make me long for some. When you said that you wanted to get your kids away from screens, it makes me thikg about my kids punishments when they were younger. It was usually no screens for a week. That pretty much covered everything. However, they didn't miss a beat. The books and board games would come out. I often wondered if it was enough of a deterrent, but it seemed to work.

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    1. Well so much for me limiting screen time...my son's about to be given a school ipad to use at home for the rest of term for educational stuff, so I'll have even more of a battle on my hands!

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