23 December 2017 James' Hill

Leucobryum glaucum
Despite the gloom and proximity of Christmas, 17 turned up for this 2.5 mile walk, taking in deciduous woodland, boggy clearings and a bit of local history along the way.

We headed SW on grassy paths, muddy and ill-defined at times with little of note at first. At last some fungi, mosses, lichens and elusive birds were spotted. Robin, Blackbird, Chaffinch, Blue Tit, Great Tit, Long-tailed Tit, Nuthatch, Mistle Thrush, Jay, Carrion Crow, Great Spotted Woodpecker, Woodpigeon and Stock Dove were all present. Leucobryum glaucum, formed green cushions on ground and logs. If knocked over, this moss can grow through its base and re-establish itself. Various fungi were identified including bright Green Elf Cup, pale and gelatinous Beech Jellydisc, Turkeytail, Oyster Mushroom, yellow and scaly Gymnopilus junonius, and King Alfred’s Cakes.

Our path descended to the Cut Walk, a straight track following the line of a road built in 1725 for the Duke of Bolton, Lord Warden of the Forest who lived in Burley Lodge, to make his journey to Swan Green more comfortable. A short diversion led to the beautifully arched, brick ‘Roman’ Bridge over Highland Water, also about 300 years old and thought to be on the site of a roman road.

We turned back and headed northeast along the Cut Walk until we reached the garden wall of Allum Green House. This small settlement has attractive dwellings where Vera Brittain, WW1 nurse, author, feminist, pacifist and mother of Shirley Williams, lived with her family for a while and where a stray bomb killed 4 Royal Army Ordnance Corps men in 1940. Here we turned north crossing areas of boggy, open ground back to the road near White Moor then east to James’ Hill. MW/SP

Photographs © Sandra Peel