Thursday, 5 May 2011

Walking in Cheshire, including some entomology.

Dangerous things maps. They show footpaths that look intriguing but finding them on the ground can be challenging. This morning it was mooted that we should go for a walk so after perusing the O.S. for the area we set off, cross country following a footpath that was somewhat obscure,

this was one of the more obvious stiles, it's amazing how persistent the thorns are and below was a nice bed of stinging nettles.

Rumex obtusifolius, that's a dock to most of us, rubbed on the urticaria resulting from pushing my knee into the nettles and it actually offered relief, so it does work. Jill said it was just that I've got a hide like a rhino so it doesn't count.
The footpath then crossed a field planted with a cereal, no idea which but it did show how desperate we are for rain.

How long before there is talk of lock closures due to lack of water?

According to my Readers Digest field guide to butterflies and other insects of Britain (1984) this is a speckled wood, I was just amazed that it stayed still long enough for me to focus on it.
The path took us down into the valley of the Weaver at Brine Pits Farm,

a far different river from that which flows through Northwich.

I am truly chuffed with this photo, the first damsel fly we've seen this year, it's a male beautiful demoiselle, (Thank you Readers Digest).
While we are on the subject of insects,

I had no idea what these little fellows are, they were on stinging nettles and encased in a pouch of fine web.
But hooray for my trusty field guide, it just came up trumps again, they would seem to be small tortoiseshell caterpillars.
It didn't start out as a nature ramble, we just kept on falling over these things.
Back at Austins Bridge we were leaning on the field gate, quietly contemplating the countryside when we found that we had become an object of fascination for some local inhabitants,

so we stared back for a while but we cracked before they did, you just can't out stare a cow.
Actually it was a most pleasant walk through a bit of England we would never have seen had we not lived on the boat, circumambulating the waterways.
Nantwich tomorrow?

Watch this space.........

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