2012: Friday Walks, Walking in Golden Autumn

Deep into autumn now, and we’ll be heading over to the Dee Estuary to see how the golden season is progressing. Today’s walk will turn out to be moderately long, maybe 12 km (between 7 and 8 miles), containing large parts of two walks we’ve done before upstream in the estuary.

So, as ever, we make our packed lunches, turn off our phones and go. There will be no work today. There never is on our Fridays.

We park at Ness Botanic Gardens, where the welcome sign gets changed each season.

Going down Denhall Lane towards the estuary we can see across to the power station in Wales.

Down the hill some leaves are turning golden…

And out in the estuary there’s a very high tide today. Over 9 metres, just after a new moon.

And the lane is full of autumn, ivy seed heads here.

And as we walk down the lane Sarah gathers leaves and berries from the hedgerows…

Delicately beautiful things…

To arrange into an autumn display…

Which she binds and leaves behind her – for serendipity.

Meanwhile, out on the marsh, there is a wonderful surprise.

Last time we were here, there was a digger out on the marsh opening up new channels. And now we see the result of the work that the RSPB (Royal Society for the Protection of Birds) has done. As part of a scheme to control mosquitos in the area they have created new bird habitats, mudflats and wading areas. So the birds will eat the larvae and mosquitoes, who knows? Sarah’s looking into it.

But here at the end of the lane we are stunned. A large area of new mudflats is crowded with thousands of Canada Geese.

And it’s a big day for the geese, new arrivals flying in every couple of minutes.

And, not wishing to anthropomorphise the birds, they do sound like they’re all chattering excitedly about their journeys from the far north and the new wintering place they’ve found.

Maybe they’re not though. Maybe they’re threatening the new arrivals trying to land on their bit of precious mud. Either way, it’s a wonderful sight – and sound. Captured here, by Sarah:

And further along, on Denhall Quay, Sarah can still see and hear them.

We have lunch here and Sarah then takes the now traditional photo of what must be the Wirral’s loveliest bench.

This time with me sitting on it. Contemplating perfection.

After lunch, we walk on. Past the Harp Inn, along to the New Quay (well, new in the 16th century), then turning inland across fields, along the Wirral Way and railway cuttings through Neston, and out the other side into ancient lanes.

We walk. ‘Two against nature’. As we call these shadow photos we keep taking. After the (not particularly) famous Steely Dan Album cover.

Along Cuckoo Lane

Dancing across stiles…

Along muddy pathways…

Crossing flooded fields on the stepping stones…

Back to the estuary, and into Ness Gardens.

Where an autumn display of golden, russet magnificence awaits us.

California Poppies, late for these, I’m told.

Red Sorbus.

Pink Sorbus.

Lovely berries and leaves. Even Sarah doesn’t know the species.

A Sugar Maple leaf.

Persian Ironwood, Parrotia persica (I remembered this all on my own, beams proudly).

Hands full of autumn.

And now we are into the evening. Into the gloaming. Everyone has gone. The buildings and the main gates are locked.

And we are alone in this autumn garden. Borrowing it like it belongs to us, for now.

And we are perfectly at peace. We sit.

And before making our way home, out of the secret side gate…

We find these tiny, fiery flowers. Anyone any idea what they are?

3 thoughts on “2012: Friday Walks, Walking in Golden Autumn

  1. cheethamlibmandy

    Beautiful ! From the other side of the world one forgets that there is such colour and vibrancy in a northern hemisphere autumn. The Canada geese were amazing and so good to think that for once the land has been made over to them. There is hope for us yet . I’m fascinated by the ancient lanes and pathways and the plants that inhabit them. The ancient people have gone but undoubtedly the plants have strong links to that past. Another treat from you Ronnie…thank you

    1. Ronnie Hughes Post author

      We love these ancient lanes that have never become roads. We like to include them in our walks and our runs whenever we can. And it does help us feel connected to the people who have walked them before us. We are all temporary compared to these lanes.

      Yes, and well done the RSPB and what they’ve done for the geese. There’s a place just north of us, Martin Mere, which has thousands of Canada Geese and Whooper Swans arriving each autumn. But they feed them twice a day, as a visitor attraction. Which I find vaguely embarrassing. Much better to help them gently like here, so they stay wild.


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