December 26th – A ride up to the Chase on a windy but beautiful day. Starting late, I had to be back early too, so it was a bit of a race with a good companion who’s considering buying a bike and borrowed a steed for the occasion.
Near Cuckoo Bank, we saw a herd of deer in a roadside copse – I assume they’d moved off Chasewater which was very busy, to avoid the dogs and crowds of folk enjoying a Boxing Day walk.
In the low sun, the dear looked beautiful, and there were at least ten or more loafing in the scrub. I didn’t take these photos, my companion did, but they’re too good not to use.
A lovely ride.
May 8th – Coming along the canal past Grange Farm in Walsall Wood (just between Black Cock Bridge and Clayhanger Bridge) I noticed the small group of deer in the coppice belt between the towpath and fields. Sheltering from the rain, they hung around and although skittish, allowed me to take photos.
One of the deer (not pictured) appeared to have a nasty sore on her snout, which was sad. They appeared to be healthy otherwise, though.
March 15th – To compound a bad ride, I had to go up to Walsall Wood, and my beer magnet was at full power. Excellent, you might think. Fourteen reds in a loose group, on the field margin along the canal that borders Grange Farm, Walsall Wood. Largest group I’d seen for a while, and there were some impressive specimens.
Just one snag: there was a thin scrub-copse and barbed wire fence stopping me getting through the trees to get good photos. Immensely frustrating.
May 10th – Fishpond Wood just off the Chester Road at Stonnall is often locally referred to as Bluebell Wood, for obvious reasons. Last year the display of very delicate, native bluebells was quite poor due to the late spring, but this year they are excellent. This is a lovely quiet spot just off a main road, but when in bloom, the bluebells render it magical, even on a poor day like this.
April 10th – Low sun dapples the small, poolside copse on the Aldershawe Estate at Claypit Lane. This evening was more like late summer than early spring. It’s impossible not to love this countryside.