After ‘finding’ a local walk in the spring, one that is just two minutes from my front door but took 15 years to uncover, I haven’t done it for the past few months. At the weekend, when I had a spare hour, I had a quiet wander around the route. The walk goes out through some typical Cheshire dairy cow pastures; large fields of grass surrounded by high hawthorn hedges. Halfway around, the route drops down into a wooded valley with a small brook at its bottom; this is a local open space known as Joey The Swan.
There’s nothing particularly special about the walk but it’s just nice to have a bit of countryside on my doorstep. I didn’t think it would be particularly good for wildlife either but I’ve managed to record 37 species of bird over the course of half a dozen or so walks as well as rabbits and signs of badgers, there are foxes out there too, as well as a few cows!
Later that afternoon, I went on one of my more frequent walking routes – around Wybunbury Moss National Nature Reserve. A 45 minute walk, this starts in the village church yard and then out along the backs of the houses on the main street before heading down into the bowl in which the Moss sits. There’s a footpath all the way around the outside nature reserve as well as a permissive path that goes through the woodland immediately next to the Moss itself (the Moss is out of bounds to the public).
The view as I wandered around the path was full of autumn with the trees reaching their most colourful before the leaves all drop. There were also the sounds and smells of the season as the leaves that had already fallen rustled beneath my feet and the aroma of cider seemed to last long after I left behind the windfalls below a solitary apple tree.
As I wandered around, I added one more bird species to the list of 63 I had already got for the walk – there was the unmistakable sound of a water rail coming from just inside the trees on the edge of the Moss. Well, it was either a water rail or a squealing piglet but I know which is more likely.