Wednesday, August 09, 2006
The Midsummer Grove
Right at the top of my grid square the map shows the kind of public footpath few would trouble to take (see here). It seems just to be a nondescript short cut across the top of a field from Whatlington Road to the A21.
There is a lay by where this path joins Whatlington Road and, on Midsummer's Day, I ascended the bank to discover that the path led in one direction out into the barley field, but had a short spur leading into a grove of trees in a circular basin, possibly a long-forgotten pond. In the centre there was a small elder tree in full bloom.
Finding a grove such as this on Midsummer Day had a pagan chime about it and it does show that following even the most obscure footpaths can reveal interesting places. A few days later I went there again with our son Charles and brought a piece of decaying birch log away with me to see if I can breed any insects from it. So far the only species to emerge is the fly Rhinophora lepida, a parasitoid of woodlice.
The top picture shows the view from the Midsummer Grove towards the south east.