Tuesday, 5 October 2010

My World Tuesday - Wildmoor Heath

It may sound like something from Wuthering Heights but Wildmoor Heath rarely looks threatening and thunderous. An area of mixed woodland, heath and bog, it is a Site of Special Scientific Interest, one of three SSSIs within walking distance of our house. The Nature Reserve covers 99 hectares (just over 244½ acres) We took the dogs there yesterday, the first time we’ve visited for about a year. Between March and September rare birds breed on the lowland heath and dog walkers are asked to keep their dogs on leads or away from possible nesting sites.
We started and finished our walk through areas of tall, old sweet chestnut trees. 
The ground was littered with the prickly husks of chestnuts, some with two to four nuts still inside, others empty. It's a good idea to wear a hat at this time of year as the nuts regularly fall from the trees!
Many areas of the forest are grazed by Highland cattle and ponies and are fenced and accessed by kissing gates, stiles or weighted swinging gates. At the end of this ride there is a padlocked gate to allow access to forest maintenance vehicles. A pedestrian weighted gate is adjacent to it. This worried Gus, so he scrambled through a hole in the fence. By the time we had completed our walk he had become accustomed to following us through these strange devices. 
The next part of the forest was dominated by silver birches. Jenna and Gus didn't mind where they were so long as they could play. Frodo was at my side as usual, but enjoying all the sniffs.

First Jenna had the kong . . .
. . . then Gus carried it.
Shortly afterwards we went through another gate into a boggy area. A notice informed us that livestock were grazing in this part but though we saw signs that they had been there we didn't see any of them. On the right there is evidence of the fire last year that destroyed much of the habitat of Silver-studded Blue butterflies. It was believed that the butterflies would not have survived but a few males and females were observed and thus fears were allayed.
There’s a great deal of water . . .
 . . . which Gus and Jenna thoroughly appreciated. Frodo went in for a cooling paddle too.
The water table is very high – in places it is higher than the board walk but contained within a bog system . . .
. . . and draining into ditches.
Passing through yet another gate we walked alongside a fenced-off body of water, full of interest for botanists and entomologists. It gives way to heath and heather where roe deer are safe from questing dogs, although the deer easily leap the low fences and can be seen anywhere in this part of Berkshire.To the other side were puddles and ponds, all of which had to be splashed in by the dogs.
Simple benches are placed at various places, some overlooking valleys, others positioned to allow people to watch the world go by.
Boards are laid down at strategic points where the ground becomes very soggy. Wires are criss-crossed over the boards to give grip.
Out into more open countryside again we were struck once more by the colours. There are many shades of green and the bracken is mostly brown now. 
The leaves are beginning to change as they lose their chlorophyll and allow the reds and yellows to show.
The heather that was so vibrant just a short while ago has lost most of its colour. With the young Scots pine saplings and the tall bracken it is a wonderful place for Labradors to practise their retrieving skills . . .
 . . . and everywhere the spiders set their larders. 
Thanks go to the My World team for organising and hosting this meme. To see more corners of this wonderful world please click here.
I'm also linking to Watery Wednesday as this is quite a 'wet' post! Thank you to 2sweetnsaxy

17 comments:

  1. Beautiful looking place. Love the photos, the dogs look as if they're having a great time.

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  2. Oh, I enjoyed this walk so much! And yes, I'll remember to put my hat on next time.

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  3. What a marvellous hike with the dogs - full of fun, water and lovely scenery. Who could ask for more? My dog loves his Kong too.

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  4. This looks like a marvelous place for a hike. Thanks for taking us along with you.
    Thanks, too, for visiting my site.

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  5. What a lovely place ! I love walking in the woods and smell the trees, the air is so special !
    Your dogs seem to be very active, lol !

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  6. I agree with the others, what a great place to walk and thanks for taking us along. Love the dogs and their Kong and your photos are terrific!! Definitely the next best thing to being there! How fun! Hope your week is off to a great start, Janice!

    Sylvia

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  7. Yes, Janice, Wildmoor Heath does sound grey and lowering, doesn't it? But it is actually beautiful and friendly, with benches and that ingenious system of wires to keep the boards from becoming skating rinks. (I've slipped on wet boards many a time.)

    I love the pictures of your dogs romping together. Our Lindy enjoys walks and romps with my husband (and me, sometimes, when my feet are okay) but she doesn't like her Kong toy. More on that later when I post Lindy's birthday pictures for the letter L on ABC Wednesday.
    -- Kay, Alberta

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  8. Wildmoor Heath does sound a little scary, but the photos show it to be a most lovely and hospitable place. The dogs seem to be having a wonderful time.

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  9. Great ph0tos.,love y0ur d0gs playing in the water-a very sweet one! the stronger and the flexible

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  10. This heathland looks such a wonderful place to wander and enjoy the variety of natural scenes! Beautiful series of photos!

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  11. What a great adventure...for the fur babies AND for us visitors!! Beautiful countryside.

    Here is my Watery LINK. Hope you can find time to visit with me today.

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  12. What a lovely spot for a walk with the dogs - our chestnut trees were killed years ago from a blight. They are working on bringing them back in a blight resistant strain. Hope we can once again see these lovely trees in our woods.

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  13. a wonderful selection of photos, Judith (Precious Moments)

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  14. What a wonderful place to take the dogs...or do the dogs actually take you? I'm so jealous that you live so close ton important bird breeding area!

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  15. Thanks for the lovely walk. your photos of the place are just beautiful and I love the dogs.

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  16. Love the photos of your dogs!
    Thanks for visiting my blog.

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  17. Thanks for taking us on such a lovely walk. Not at all what I imagined a heath would look like, but all the more fascinating for that.


    PS I'm glad the dogs enjoyed it, too.

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