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Leafy Lanes and Summer Meadows

Updated on August 6, 2015

Leafy lane

Leafy lanes are a joy to explore.Photograph by D.A.L.
Leafy lanes are a joy to explore.Photograph by D.A.L.

Notes from a Lancashire Countryman.

At this time of the year many delights await the nature lover as he{she} rambles through the countryside and experiences the full joy of exploration. There is a diverse assemblage of wild flora and fauna on which to feast the observant eye. The alchemy of soil, sun and water has provided a plethora of blooms which enhance our leafy lanes and summer meadows. The landscape in general takes on a ravishing beauty mixing colours only Mother Nature can perfect-a kaleidoscope of vibrant colour.

Along these secluded country lanes that I often frequent the ground is devoted to the well being of its flora. Steep banks clothes with hanging woods stand just above the hedgerow. I find the view ceaselessly appealing amid such natural beauty where a multiplicity of wild life flourishes. Peering out of the tangled thorns there are many anxious observers watching my every movement, the thrush on her nest, wary but bravely staying with her young, while the male, concealed in the foliage of the sycamore, clucks his anxiety as I pass by.

A blue tit disappears into a crevice in the dry stone wall, whose stones were placed by skilled and patient hands many long years ago. On top of the wall is a cushion of stonecrop with a peacock butterfly quenching its thirst on the nectar the flowers provide. In the lane with its mosaic of deep cover and dappled light fronds of ferns soften rocky banks at the foot of the wall. Where the sun can penetrate the canopy the tall majestic spires of foxglove respond by producing copious bells purplish pink on the exterior while the interior is dotted with beautiful markings to attract the bees. Bees are busy going about their industrious business visiting one flower then another, as midges dance in the shafts of sunlight on the bank. The plants tenanting this locality are impressive. These gentle summer lanes are like a magnet to me, the noise of urban life all but diminished replaced by nature's overtures that encroach upon the mind.

Foot paths and sightings

Footpaths are much reduced by rampant summer growth as hedgerows explode with colour. Photograph by D.A.L.
Footpaths are much reduced by rampant summer growth as hedgerows explode with colour. Photograph by D.A.L.
The yellowhammer frequents country lanes where they pass through arable land.
The yellowhammer frequents country lanes where they pass through arable land.

From the lane

From the lane I took a pathway up the slope towards my next destination the summer meadows I have walked since being a child. I am grateful that after all these years they still hold an appeal to me. Along the slope the hedges were high and bushy and the tall lush grass encroached towards the bottom of the hedge the pathway much reduced by the rampant summer growth.

Vetches clamoured over the grasses, their blue-purple flowers peeping out between the blades. Under this screen of herbage there will be much more life than is actually seen.

Top Bush vetch. Bottom .Spot the frog

Bush vetch sprawls over grasses. Photograph by D.A.L.
Bush vetch sprawls over grasses. Photograph by D.A.L.
Look carefully to see the frog concealed in the under growth. Much more life goes unseen among the herbage. Photograph by D.A.L.
Look carefully to see the frog concealed in the under growth. Much more life goes unseen among the herbage. Photograph by D.A.L.

A great harvest of wild flora

It was not long before I came upon the sunlit meadow I had come to see. It was spectacular with a great harvest of wild flowers. Blazing yellow buttercups competed with the red flowers of sorrel between them creating a golden glow. A white festal array of the moon daisy dotted themselves among the gold.

Near the horizon the sky,in places, was a pinkish grey colour interrupting the azure background and in the distance trees danced in the mirage. Overhead the soothing caw of a lone crow as he lazily conveyed himself towards the distant trees. Swallows were hawking over this golden locality ridding the air of its insect inhabitants before they had chance to visit the blooms. In a neighbouring field larks poured out there merry notes that cascade down over the tall green wheat. Somewhere in the distance the throaty call of the pheasant carried across the meadow.

Bees hummed around the nearby clover flowers. The first of the individual flowers, that form the flower head , of the white clover to open,are those that together form the bottom row. When they have been fertilised they droop and wither, and when the bee returns the following day they are hanging down around the stalk out of the bees way. Thus those on the next row are ready to receive it, and so it goes on until all the flowers are fertilised.

Clover. Bottom Orchid

White clover flowers are much visited b bees. Photograph courtesy of Alvesgasper.
White clover flowers are much visited b bees. Photograph courtesy of Alvesgasper.
The queen of grassland plants the orchid emerges. Photograph by D.A.L.
The queen of grassland plants the orchid emerges. Photograph by D.A.L.

By the gate

By the gate the new shoots of the rosebay willowherb are prominent and by the end of the month they will display blooms across the landscape that will spread like a pink fire. Orchids the queen of grassland flora were beginning to emerge and in a couple of sunny days will have attained the height of 30 cm ( one foot tall}. Other flowers appeared in delightful irregularity across the meadow including common mouse ear, self heal, and in shady places in the shelter of the wall yellow pimpernel displayed her yellow flowers.

You can not go far in the countryside before coming upon a rabbit. As I sat in quiet contemplation a young doe appeared at the edge of the meadow from within the security of the tall bracken When a rabbit is alarmed it will sit up on its haunches and pricks up its ears in order to gain more information. Within a second she was off as I watched her white scut {the white under tail] disappearing into the safety of the bracken. Burrows have more than one entrance. The front door is often easily found, but there are others will exist concealed in the herbage, for animals are endowed with considerable enterprise.

As I left this little piece of England's green and pleasant land I looked back for a final glance. As often occurs a quote came to mind, this one from Douglas Gordon 1937, " There is justification for safe guarding every thing that is irreplaceable"

Yellow pimpernel

The modest flowers of the yellow pimpernel brighten shady places. Photograph by D.A.L.
The modest flowers of the yellow pimpernel brighten shady places. Photograph by D.A.L.

Comments

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    • D.A.L. profile imageAUTHOR

      Dave 

      7 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Thank you for everyone who have left a comment on LEAFY LANES AND SUMMER MEADOWS, They are appreciated.

    • D.A.L. profile imageAUTHOR

      Dave 

      8 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      billyaustindillon, I must thank you once again for taking the time to read and for leaving your appreciated comments.

      VAMPGYRL420, Glad you enjoyed the walk your company was most welcome.

      Hi Carol, glad to share my strolls with you. I know how much you love nature and I appreciate your comments.

    • reddog1027 profile image

      reddog1027 

      8 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Thanks D.A.L. for another lovely walk in the English countryside. Since moving to Atlanta, I have not had the opportunity to take many nature walks. Your hubs help keep me connected to the nature that I love.

    • VAMPGYRL420 profile image

      Windy Grace Mason 

      8 years ago from Belle Haven, VA

      Another beautiful hub, D.A.L. :) I enjoyed our walk this beautiful morning :)

    • billyaustindillon profile image

      billyaustindillon 

      8 years ago

      Enjoyed your walk through the Lancashire countryside and experiences - you captured the joys of nature at this time of the year gracefully. Thanks for sharing.

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