Not too warm, but with the sun shining, we mooched around the meadows by the river. A bush full of sweet juicy early blackberries reminds us that autumn is on the way. The fields are a soft palette of yellowing grasses, with highlights of yellow flowers, soft purples, the silvery blue willows in the distance. Butterflies everywhere, dancing around the purple thistle, grass hoppers rattle their legs at us in the bleached cream grasses. As we get nearer the river the ground dips and a patch of green long grass hints of water underneath, great brown dragonflies whizz around.
Before we had reached this hollow way, we had to pass an ugly concrete pillbox; they are scattered all over Britain, a reminder of a war once fought. Their ugliness is such that it catches the breath but history reminds you that once we were afraid of being overrun by the Germans..
The river has been cleaned over the last few days of the green sludge that covered its surface because of the hot weather. The water is black against a slick of green algae that still clings to the side of the banks. But there is a profusion of flowers, butterflies and the low flying brown dragon flies whizz past. Reedmace reaches to the sky, probably the lesser reedmace, though it looks pretty tall to me. A green patch of horsetail, probably the water variety in this instance, for it does'nt have the stripy dark stems of the more common one. Eyebright mingles with the fireweed flowers, tall yellow daisies jostle for a place with the creeping convulvus which is threatening to strangle a patch of flowers.
We come to the bridge after the mill, and the ponies cluster round the area immediately in front of the step. The foals have grown, though they will win no beauty contests, their sturdy legs and tails echo the stallion's genes. The little brown one comes up curious, thrusting her nose at us, she has burrs caught up in her mane which need cutting away. The animals are bunched together and the mares will flare at each other in a bad tempered way, yet they are good with us humans. Three children come down the steps and join us, and we warn them not to box the animals in, or go behind the mares and to talk gently to the ponies all the time but I have a feeling as we leave that the ponies are pretty good with children anyway, even though they must be half wild. We reckoned about a two to three mile walk with the Fox and Raven as the destination point and an elderflower fizz for me.
There is something extraodinarily beautiful about the colour of a field left to go wild, these fields would probably have been water meadows in time gone by, there is a certain silt like texture to the soil that is unusual.