Thursday, 4 October 2012

Hannington, Wayfarer's Way and North Oakley

Another rare window of sun between between the spells of rain. This time I decided to extend my exploration of Wayfarer's Way which officially starts at Inkpen beacon. Three years ago I reached as far as Hannington. I had planned to continue south over lower ground but my original circular route measured up at 17 miles, too long for a short October day with cloud scheduled to move over. Here is a map of my 11 mile route, with the Wayfarer's Way highlighted in brown.


View Hannington Circuit in a larger map

Inkpen Ridge

Oakley - Hannington
Hannington - Watership Down
Watership Down - Highclere
Highclere - East Woodhay
East Woodhay - Inkpen
Inkpen - Marten
Marten - Collingbourne Kingston
Collingbourne Kingston - Easton Royal
Easton Royal - Pewsey

I started at Hannington, alas very difficult to park here without causing an obstruction, and the lane to the village is single track. The village green has this fine 'embellishment' on it. Is it from an old building?

Hanington green

The path west across the fields to join Wayfarer's Way was delightful. Skylarks were singing and I saw a buzzard close at hand. The view opened up splendidly.

view

It's supposed to be Fungi time, but I saw only this specimen, and not quite in focus either. It's some form of Mycena I think. Around this stretch I saw some swallows still feeding on insects over the fields.

fungi,mycena

Wayfarer's Way goes through a hamlet called North Oakley, it had one or two nice houses.

North Oakley

I was unlikely to match the butterfly count I reached last week at Tidcombe. I did see a fair few, including Commas and Speckled Woods. My count of Red Admirals (Vanessa atalanta) reached ten, and as I didn't post a picture last time, this poor shot will have to do. They were all feeding on ivy.

Vanessa atalanta

The delayed summer can be seen by the state of the blackberries, many of which have yet to turn black.

black berries

The path through the fields gradually descended from the high downs. In this stretch the path went along a line of mature oak trees.

Wayfarer's Way

The year has been amazing for how long plants have been flowering with the cool, wet conditions in summer. The woods are still full of dog's mercury which has usually died down. Other flowers that I think of as late Spring are still flowering, such as this Green Alkanet (Pentaglottis sempervirens).

Green alkanet

A reminder of the proper season, were these sweet chestnuts, reasonably well protected from squirrels at this stage.

Sweet Chestnut

Next I came across a field that had been left fallow, and it was full of many chalk grassland plants. I hope this is Squinancywort, yes that is a real plant name.

Squinancywort

The walk took in a number of pieces of woodland. However there was little in way of autumn colour.

Woodland

Some of these paths are fairly ancient by the looks of the signs!

Footpath sign

Clematis was very abundant, and its developing seeds are just weird to look at.

clematis

Not too late in the year for buttercups either.

buttercup

Pheasants were all around too, so far this one has eluded the guns.

pheasant

By now it had clouded over, a little bit before when it was forecast so views were not as dramatic as they should have been.

view

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