Thursday, 14 June 2012

Better than going to the Gym!

Yesterday morning while my husband was at the gym, my daughter and son-in-law took me to Uley Barrow, or Hetty Pegler's Tump as it is known locally. The Barrow dates from Neolithic times and in the 17th century Hetty Pegler was the wife of the landowner on which it stands and the locals gave her name to it.

It is tucked away in the corner of a field only a short way from the road. No proper parking area, no signs or facilities and totally unspoilt. This old stone wall is now the bottom of a hedge beside the footpath leading to the Barrow.

It is many years since I have seen so many different wild flowers in one place - it was like a wild garden.

The larger of the yellow flowers above are rock roses growing on the mound itself. There were signs of cowslips here and back in April it must have been a beautiful sight as it was smothered with them.

This is the entrance to the mound - quite small and you have to crawl inside. There are two chambers, also quite small. I didn't go in and left that to the 'youngsters'.

That's a very handsome piece of stone over the entrance. We were so lucky with the weather - it was the perfect day for an outing like this.

Behind the mound we came to this lovely wood where there were signs that it had once been coppiced regularly but now it rather looks as if things are left to their own devices.

The lowest branch of this huge ash tree has almost snapped right off but continues to sprout with life.

This is the same broken branch snaking away into the distance.

We walked back the way we had come, beside the oilseed rape, no longer vivid yellow but totally green. I had never been so close to this plant before and was fascinated by all the tiny green pods which turn a biscuity colour, then very dark brown or black when they ripen later in the year.

Wild flowers everywhere we looked...........

..................... and wonderful lichens and moss on many of the branches. I took loads of photos but have thinned them down for this post.

We were quite high up and the views in all directions were lovely.

There was another treat in store as when we got back to the car out came the camping stove and kettle and there was tea and a muffin each which we enjoyed while listening to a skylark and watching gliders from the local flying club trying to find the thermals. Perhaps not perfect conditions for them as one or two seemed to descend quite soon after getting up there.

I made a list of just some of the plants I had seen: Scarlet Pimpernel, Forgetmenot, Vetch, Herb Robert, Sorrel, Cranesbill, Birdsfoot Trefoil, Medic, Field Poppy, Daisy, Rock Rose, White and Red Clovers, Hedge Woundwort, Buttercup, Plantain, Cowslip. When the mound was first made there was probably a settlement nearby and I like to think of all those plants and more besides, being highly valued as food and medicine.

After our snack we then went on to Cam Peak which is a very steep cone shaped hill, and climbed to the top. Again we were surrounded by panoramic views of the countryside and could see across the River Severn and to the Malvern Hills. Taking the gentler path was still quite an effort but very worthwhile. I was so impressed by the views I completely forgot to take any photos! As this is already quite a long post, maybe that is just as well.


Doohie said...

A lovely day out. MUCH better than going to the gym.

The Bug said...

Looks like a lovely time - just the kind of ramble I like (now that I can walk again - ha!).

Carol Q said...

lovely post and photos Heather - don't we have some gorgeous local countryside.

Gill said...

Hetty Pegler's tump is such a wonderful spot! Have you ever been into Uley and visited Prema? They have lovely exhibitions and do a great coffee!

Robin Mac said...

What wonderful photos, and what a fascinating name - Hetty Pegler's tump!Thanks for you comments on my blog - I think I have been very lucky, I hope you do just as well if you need a knee replacement, but I think that will be a few years away if you are still climbing those hills! Cheers

Julie said...

Thank you for sharing your wonderful day out, I had heard of Hetty Pegler's Tump but had never seen it. I love all the photos of the wildflowers and how amazing that the ash tree is still thriving. Nature is so resilient!

Dominic Rivron said...

Ah! So many things I like in this post - barrows, pointy hills, brewing up al fresco.

I'll have to go and find Uley Barrow next time I'm down that way.