2012: Friday Walks, Canopy Closure

First of June now, and shading from Spring into Summer. Today we went on our regular ‘Shining Shore’ walk, six weeks since we last did it, and the first time we remember walking it in June.

And we found luxuriant change has happened in these six weeks. Hedges are fuller and lanes are narrower, as everything reaches towards the peak of its growth. Everything, that is, except the early spring likes of the bluebells which have now died back from their flowers and produced their seed pods ready for next year.

Hawthorne hedge in full flower.

This particular hedge must be hundreds of years old. You roughly work it out by how many species are in a thirty yard section. If it’s ten, then your hedge may well be a thousand years old.

Pathways so full of growth now Sarah can touch both sides.

First glimpse of the Shining Shore, across a field of horses and wildflowers.

New growth on Christmas trees, getting ready for six month’s time.

Foxgloves in a hedgerow. Guidance paths for bees clearly visible.

Next we turn downhill into The Dungeon. This is a wooded ravine, formed 250 million years ago in the triassic age, the first age of the dinosaurs. The light dips sharply and I have to change the exposure on my camera from the sunny lanes we’ve walked along so far. Because here in the woody ravine we are approaching Canopy Closure. The time of the year when the trees will reach full leaf, and the highest leaves will form a dense canopy over the whole ravine.

Into The Dungeon. Approaching Canopy Closure.

What’s Sarah found? Evidence of dinosaurs?

No, a handful of shimmering stars. Evidence of children?

Here we stop for lunch, in the same place as we did six weeks ago. Then it was a sunny hillside with bluebells appearing around us. Now it’s a dappled glade filling up with ferns and grasses, plants that thrive in the shade, unlike the early Spring bluebells and snowdrops.

Lunch in a dappled glade.

Ferns and soft grasses fill the forest floor.

As the Canopy closes over.

Still in The Dungeon, Sarah looks into the cave. A fire-pit.

Out of The Dungeon, into the sunlight. The Elderflower is blooming, soon ready for Sarah to make Cordial.

Along the ancient lane of Heswall Fields. Often a place to be ankle deep in mud. But for now a grassy lane with a narrow, baked-dry path.

Into Heswall Fields. Buttercups, other wildflowers and grasses, all the way to the Shining Shore.

And next, we’re down on to the Shining Shore itself. Which gets me thinking about the ‘Queen’, this being her jubilee week-end and all that, here in Britain. As you’ll know if you’ve read my stuff for any amount of time, I despise the ‘royal’ family and all they stand for. I strongly object to being formally a ‘subject’ of someone who ‘rules over’ me. However gently it’s done, it’s done – and I would have done with it. And it’s not merely because we’re paying for that lot to all live off our backs you know? It’s the principal of the thing. If someone is in a position of power over my city or country I demand a choice in who they are. It’s called democracy and it matters deeply to me.

But anyway. Why have I gone into this particular ‘royal’ family rant now, I hear you wonder? Well because we’re about to walk onto a piece of their land. Yes, the Crown Estate owns much of Britain’s coastline and all of its sea beds. And we’re about to take some of their stuff, I’m delighted to tell you.

There is Samphire, growing wild, along the edge of the tide.

Sarah loves it. Goes well with fish, apparently. So harvests a bag for her and Gemma. Thanks Mrs Queen!

Then we walk on, along the Shining Shore…

Into the clear blue sky.

4 thoughts on “2012: Friday Walks, Canopy Closure

  1. Jan Baird

    Lovely images, as always. The vibrant colours of foxglove, green and the sky. And the Dungeon? Intriguing and magical as it ends at the shore. xx

  2. Ronnie Hughes Post author

    Yes Jan, a lovely dungeon. Not the damp, dark basement of a medieval castle with prisoners hanging up in chains. Or I’ve never noticed them anyway!

  3. Nancy's Point (@NancysPoint)

    Thanks for taking me along on this lovely walk with you. I especially appreciated the photo of the hedge. I love thinking about living things still thriving that have been around for that long. It’s very humbling. And I didn’t realize you had those thoughts about the royal family. Such a thing is rather an oddity this day and age isn’t it? Americans are so intrigued by the royal family. Sometimes I am as well. Your uncomfortableness with the whole concept is perfectly understandable.

    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      Hi Nancy, and thank you. Now you know how to tell how old a hedge is!

      And yes, I really don’t like being the ‘subject’ of people who ‘rule over’ me because they happen to get born into a particular family. I can understand the fascination with this bit of ancient history making it into the present day, and I know many people over here think it’s, at worst, harmless. I disagree with them, as you’ve gathered. And I’ve frankly found the fawning and servile ‘celebrations’ of the last few days sickening. (Brilliantly lampooned by your own Jon Stewart here http://www.digitalspy.co.uk/showbiz/news/a385410/jon-stewart-mocks-piers-morgan-cnns-diamond-jubilee-coverage-video.html).

      In fact, though it’s a special ‘Jubilee’ public holiday here today, I’ve refused to take it, and I’ve been working all day. They can’t tell me what to do!


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