Sulham and Pangbourne AreaWalks in my local area just west of Reading. Autumn 2009
After seeing so many lovely fungi last week I thought I must dash out and see what I had missed in my local backyard - an opportunity to walk from home again and not use the car. As it turned out I needn't have worried, there was not much evidence of fungi to be seen around here - as yet. The ground was much drier and the beech woodlands seem to still believe it is summer. here is a map of the 11 mile walk:
I walked down through Sulham Woods down towards Moor Copse. On the way I saw a solitary Red Admiral butterfly feeding on ivy, on the same bush a hornet was hunting the bees and flies that were feeding on the nectar. Close to the Copse's fringes was a bird of prey perched just about in view, I think it was a kestrel.
Quite a few plants were still in flower in the BBOWT reserve including comfrey, corn mint and hedge woundwort.
Inside the most unusual feature of note is the semi-octagonal chancel, built 1220.
During restoration the original 12th century font was discovered and restored to its rightful place. It is a splendid one that I now need to add to my collection of local church fonts.
I then walked up to Bere Court Road through fields that were being ploughed, with Red Kites wheeling around overhead. Along the way there were many 'late' flowers including strawberries.
At Pangbourne I visited the church of St. James the Less, one of only 26 churches dedicated to this saint. The interior is rather disappointing compared to Tidmarsh - a bit too dark and gloomy. Standing in front of the church in the photograph is Church Cottage, where Kenneth Grahame, author of Wind in the Willows, lived for a while.
In the churchyard was a butterfly sunning itself. It was a Meadow Brown, which I would not normally take much notice of, as there are normally so many more exciting butterflies to choose from. However the last few walks I have seen rather few - on this occasion just one Red Admiral, two Speckled Woods and a couple of Cabbage Whites.
Also in the churchyard was a fine tree showing its shiny red bark. I think it's a Tibetan cherry.
I went down to the River Thames and there were a number of birds of its waters: great crested grebes, mallards, canada geese and these birds which looked like kittiwakes - but I think they are black-headed gulls in their winter plumage - without a black head!
The toll bridge over the river at Whitchurch has been rebuilt at great expense; unfortunately the expense is now being passed on to the bridge users. It now costs 60p a time to cross. You can see the church at Whitchurch in the background.
I retraced my steps to Pangbourne and took a snap of The George Hotel, which apart from the church is one of oldest buildings in Pangbourne and is reputed to be haunted. It stands on the lane down to the ferry and ford which were in use long before the bridge was built in 1792.
Walking back to Sulham Woods I at last found some fungi worth photographing. I think this is Golden Scalycap (Pholiota aurivella).
On the fringe of the woods I found an attractive late flowering plant : Nettle leaved bellflower.
So far no views, so I end with a view from Sulham Woods looking down to Sulham.