After our lunch out today, as it was such a beautiful spring day, my hubby took Mum and me on a drive up onto Dartmoor. We drove around, doing what my hubby called “Proper Sploring”! This meant that when he saw an interesting little lane turning off, he would have to go down it, just to see where it led. He is nosier than a cat, and even nosier perhaps than those of us who take part in the weekly WOYWW blog hop when we satisfy our curiosity as to what’s on each other’s work desks.
From high up on the moors, we could look down towards the wooded valleys, and in one spot we saw what we originally thought was purpley-blue plastic laid out – we said, “That can’t possibly be bluebells!” But it was. We drove down to have a look.
We stopped a few times in a wooded lane, so that Mum and I could get out and have a wander, and I got my camera out. I’m afraid some of the photos are slightly out of focus but it was hard to tell at the time because the screen on my camera isn’t that big, and the sun was extremely bright. Further up, we came upon the masses of bluebells we’d seen from above.
Here are the photos I took.
I believe our American cousins call these beautiful flowers “Blue Bonnets” which I think is charming!
Clover (a bit out of focus, I’m afraid):
Gorse – this grows in the woods adjoining the moors, and profusely on the moor itself. Very prickly, and the flowers smell of coconut.
Stitchworts – again a little out of focus:
Wall pennyworts. I love this little plant, with its delightfully round, rubbery leaves that “creak” when you move them, and the humble little green spike of a flower. Until he met me, my hubby had never heard of them, and had never noticed them, despite being brought up in the country! They are so insignificant, but so valiant, growing out of dry walls.
Don’t our British wild flowers have delightful names? They probably go far back into the mists of time.
Now for some non-flowering plants. Ferns unfurling:
Lichen. Don’t you just love that texture?
Gnarled old oak tree:
And now some of Dartmoor’s famous dry stone walls. Many of these have been there for centuries, and they are as solid as the moor itself. Dry stone walling is an ancient craft, and while the old walls sometimes may look a bit haphazard, they are carefully planned, with the largest granite stones at the bottom (how did they even lift some of these?) and they are probably the earliest cavity walls, with a double wall being built, and the centre being filled with smaller stones, and then topped with more stones.
They get a wonderfully weathered look over the years, and in shady places, moss and lichen grow there, as well as my wall pennyworts, and sometimes little birds will nest between the stones.
Sorry, I can’t resist it – got to quote my favourite Pam Ayers poem:
I am a dry stone waller,
All day I dry stone wall.
Of all appalling callings,
Dry stone walling’s worst of all.
She may be right. Inmates of Dartmoor Prison were forced to build them, and some of the best ones are found in the vicinity of Princetown! Beats sewing mailbags, perhaps, at least in the summer.
Just before turning back for home, we drove down a tiny lane which led to some pretty thatched cottages, and found this:
I count my blessings every day, one of which is the privilege of living in such a beautiful corner of England, with all this on the doorstep, and also having a hubby who so enjoys “sploring”!
Hope you enjoyed sharing our little trip into the beautiful Devon countryside. It is certainly at its very best at this time of the year.