Popped over to Finch Foundry yesterday to see how Ben and the team got on over Easter (well!). Also took a few pictures – Finch in the spring is always very picturesque.
Went to Coleton Fishacre yesterday for the first time. What a gem of a property. Every year Lydford Gorge (one of the properties I am responsible for) and Coleton Fishacre compete for which place gives the public most enjoyment in the National Trust’s visitor survey. Both places score very highly and both come within the top 5 nationally – I have often wondered what it was that made Coleton Fishacre so special – now I know.
A lovely house in a beautiful location and not a all pretentious with a simply fabulous Arts and Crafts’ garden. If you haven’t been I really recommend a visit – it is very close to Brixham and the another NT property – Greenway.
I took loads of photographs – you can see the best ones in my photo album here.
When I had my walk around the Upper Plym I saw quite a few Northern Wheatears. They are one of the first migrants back to this country with the first ones arriving in mid March.
Lovely illustration of a wheatear by Carry Ackroyd from the book ‘Tweet of the Day’
Wheatear is a polite derivation of the original name of the bird – used to be called the white arse! The picture above shows how appropriate the old name is. Anyone who has ever seen a wheatear will normally see the white patch before focusing on the grey back.
A ‘digital acquantance’ I know, Alistair Cope has just completed a cycle with his son and a few chums from Bristol to Exmouth on penny farthings to raise funds for the charity Headway.
I went down to Exmouth to see them in – the weather was terrible and I managed to miss them cycle in but did catch up with them finally in the Bumblebee Cafe. Here are a few pictures.
An epic effort in pretty poor weather – you can donate to Headway via Alistair’s giving page here.
A few days ago I photographed a caterpillar near to my home in Exton. I then spent the next few days looking for my moth caterpillar book which I seemed to have misplaced during the move over here from Exeter last year. Eventually success and along with a little help from Andy Foster at the NT we have narrowed the caterpillar down to an oak eggar.
If you want to identify caterpillars then this is the book – it has all macro moths and butterflies caterpillar illustrated – 850 species in total
Three weeks ago I posted some photographs of the newly born lambs at Parke in Bovey Tracey. I was up on the high moor yesterday in the Plym Valley on the Trust’s land and here the lambs are only just being born – a reflection of the higher altitude and harsher climate. As well as birthing later Dartmoor sheep only have one lamb and these are born on the moor. ‘Lowland’ sheep are often born in a barn and often have two lambs.
On the day after I photographed lambs at Parke I also photographed the Dartmoor sheep being put up onto the Moor.
Sheep have been farmed on Dartmoor for at least a thousand years if not much longer. Today the breed of sheep which dominates the Moor is the Dartmoor Scotch Blackface. The older endemic breeds of the Dartmoor Greyface and the Dartmoor Whiteface have now become much less common. See here for more history about Dartmoor sheep.
Here are a few photographs of some Dartmoor Scotch Blackface sheep and lambs.
You can’t quite see it but there is a lamb in the bottom right of the picture stuck in the gulley – it was damp and cold so I went and pulled it out – it immediately ran back to its mother hopefully having learnt a lesson
And then the lamb spotted me – looks indignant!
Not all Blackface sheep have black faces …
Over the coming months I will try and photograph some Dartmoor White and Greyfaces too.