Mud and Tundry Pond

Dogmersfield Park Estate walk to Tundry Pond

Everyone talks about January being the bleakest of months, and for the most part it is pretty grey and dreary. So when the sun emerges and the sky turns blue … get out there! Last Sunday, the wind dropped and the sun shone over Hampshire, so we laced up our walking boots and set off – with friends – along a (very)…

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Cycling through the conifers

Moon rising over Exmoor

Our final outing in Exmoor (2nd January) saw us back inland late afternoon and on the bikes, this time starting from Timberscombe, a small village in Somerset on the river Avill. And the first leg? You guessed it … uphill! It was a ‘steady’ southbound ascent, and although I ended up in the lowest gears again, this time I didn’t…

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Exmoor tour

Valley of the Rocks

Happy New Year! Yes, 2015 has arrived, and the weather in Exmoor has changed. Grey clouds have replaced blue skies, a drizzly rain persists and the still calmness of recent days has been replaced with a howling wind. Over the past few days, we have cycled to Dunkery Beacon, walked to Selworthy Beacon and explored the Exe Valley. So, today…

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The Exe Valley

Beech tree boundary, near Exford

Exford is almost the geographical centre of Exmoor, and it is from this attractive village that we started our new year’s eve walk. At the far end of the village car park is the first of three kissing gates. Now, kissing gates are so called because the gate merely ‘kisses’ (brushes) the enclosure on either side, rather than needing to be…

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Selworthy beacon

Selworthy Beacon

Dunkery Beacon one day, Selworthy Beacon the next. 30th December 2014 dawned clear and bright over Exmoor, so we figured we might as well head high again, only this time on foot. We walked from Porlock down to the bottom of quiet leafy Bossington Lane, where Bossington Hill loomed ahead of us. From Bossington car park we crossed over a…

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Dunkery beacon

Cycle to Dunkery Beacon

“A beacon a day keeps a heart attack at bay,” according to my husband. So, for our first cycle ride in Exmoor (29th December 2014), we didn’t just pick any old hill to tackle (and there are plenty of them around here). No, we decided to head for the highest point in Exmoor, indeed Somerset – Dunkery Beacon. Although I…

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Exmoor exploits

The green fields of Exmoor

After lots of Christmas travelling, spending time with loved ones, and of course way too much food, we’ve finally paused for breath in Exmoor – the little patch of England my heart calls ‘home’. Don’t get me wrong, I love Hampshire, and I have travelled to some amazing places around the globe, but there is something about these deep valleys, undulating…

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Green aromatherapy

Herb bed

Given the mild weather at the moment (for December!), the tidying and mulching continues. This weekend’s attention to the herb bed had added benefits, as the uplifting scents that wafted from my small patch of overgrown culinary herbs were nothing short of sensational. After 15 minutes of chopping and digging I had created a unique energizing fragrance of rosemary, sage and mint, with…

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Wet weather jobs

wet weather gardening ideas

Wet weather is part and parcel of gardening in the UK. Unfortunately, that means that on more days than we would like the soil turns to mud, the lawn becomes a bog and gardening in the strictest sense of the word becomes pretty near impossible. But that’s no excuse for sitting indoors moaning about the weather. There are plenty of 15-minute…

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Herbaceous tidy up

15 minutes of tidying and mulching every day and I’ve knocked my herbaceous borders into shape.  Well, I’m certainly further along with the tidy up than I was this time last year.   The general idea is to leave some woody stems above tender herbaceous perennials to protect the new crowns from frost and provide a habitat for insects, but most of mine had become…

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Here comes Winter

Today marks the start of meteorological winter, and there’s certainly a chill in the air. In fact, the Met Office has forecast widespread frost and fog across the UK this week, even snow (in Scotland!). To be fair, we have had ‘above average’ autumnal temperatures for a while now, and my garden appears to be a tad confused. For example,…

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Lofty pruning

Tree topping, Abbey Meadows, November 2014

  Walking along the Thames path in Abingdon, heading from Abingdon bridge towards Abingdon lock,  you can’t help but notice the striking lines of lofty poplars in Abbey Meadows park. But this week, some of them were going topless! The distinct sound of a chain saw, a shout and a crash, and the tree surgeons’ work in progress became apparent. All trees need…

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