Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sandford Mill

A sunny day and a mooch round Sandford Mill, slightly misnamed as it is an engine house for moving the water round, and is now a museum. But it is at the end of a little lane and by the Chelmer river. Strolling towards the little bridge that goes over one of the leats here, a small very overgrown field catches the eye.
Climbing the fence, and one is immediately aware that an ecosystem has developed through neglect of the field. Firstly there is no grass but short plants, yarrow mostly underfoot, tall teasels are scattered everywhere. A great bushy hedge all round this field is slowly encroaching into the centre, blackberries are already ripening and ready for eating. Maybe this was an 'escape' pond for the water from Sandford Mill, the ground reminds one of a boggy pond gone dry.
Over the field into the untamed wilderness that is the green belt round Chelmsford and the river provide. Purple loosestrife, meadowsweet, beautiful willow trees planted by another pool, and, though I'm not sure of this either aspen or white willow planted along the river banks, giving a soft shimmer of grey as the wind picks up the leaves and shakes them gently. Victorian cottages over the bridge, nestling down a quiet lane, to the left over the fields a busy arterial road and a wind turbine slowly turning in a field. The wheat has turned golden, the year seems to be turning too quickly; a man and his dog walking the path through the fields stops to talk for a while, his cavalier spaniel yapping sharply in the grass for his master to move on.
Children come cycling down the lane, there bare limbs will soon be nettle stung if they take to the river path, a carrier bag of food on someone's bicycle.

A culvert, overgrown with a dense green cover of plants, butterflies flying in the cool shade

Purple loosestrife

the beautiful blue of the damsel fly

Small pond

Small overgrown field

teasels, maybe the mill had been a fulling mill at some time.

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