Wednesday 4 October 2017

A 'no car' day

One of the big plus points about our chosen holiday venue was the availability of walks from the door. The tourist info at the Owl Barn also encouraged holiday-makers to consider leaving the car at home for the occasional day, and we were only too happy to oblige.

Our chosen route used lanes and tracks to head east into the small market town of Loddon. From here we planned to explore some of the Wherryman's Way, along the River Chet, before looping back through Loddon to Sisland.

Thanks to my OS map for holding steady during the photo.
As it was a hot day, we were travelling light, Our Lass with a DSLR camera and me with my bins. However, I did have the camera on my phone.

I love this pic

Y'know, it's funny, but by the time we ambled into Loddon, our talk had turned to the topic of Elevenses. It's uncanny, isn't it? What were the chances? We could remember a lovely little eatery from previous visits, but not where it was or what it was called. And so we traversed the main street, hoping to find that it was still in business. Indeed it was, hello Spoon Cake!

Following refreshments, we picked up the Wherryman's Way route and headed towards the River Chet. Before we reached the waterway, however, we discovered that the route was subject to some diversions due to emergency repair work. No matter, we decided to chance our arm (well, legs) and see how far we could go.

A suitably odo-tastic ditch on the flood plain
After little more than a kilometre, which happily did include Migrant Hawkers, Common and Ruddy Darters, we came up against a path closure and had to use the track for Chedgrave Common Farm to retrace our steps.

Fortunately, this meant that we could experience a wonderful hedgerow. As Orkney residents, we don't have much in the way of hedgerows to savour, so this was a nice surprise. The stand-out plants were the copious bushes of Ivy (Ivy? Bushes? Really?) which were just a-buzz with insects. In fact, I would go so far as to say that Ivy was a real holiday highlight, every clump was very much audibly alive. 

We didn't see many Ladybirds in Norfolk, but look at those pollen baskets on the bee.
After returning to Loddon (Oh, look, lunchtime!) and another visit to Spoon Cake, we revised our plans and headed south of the town, then circled round clockwise back to Sisland.

Another cracking hedgerow
As we walked along a field boundary by Loddon Hall, a distant movement caught our eyes. Way, way up ahead, we could see something running about and jumping in a puddle, if all the splashing we were witnessing was anything to go by. Through my bins, I identified the mystery animal as a Stoat, and we watched for ages, not daring to move, as it bounced and somersaulted around. After one last frantic bout of mad dashing, it disappeared into a crop of beet and we were able to creep up to the puddle to look for stoat signs.

The only tracks visible were these ones, photographed by Our Lass
On returning to Sisland, I spotted this post box in a wall, which would appear to date back to Victorian times.

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