Lunchtime mill stream meander

It’s been drizzling with rain pretty much all day, which makes 15 minutes of green a bit tricky. But, no excuses. At lunchtime, I donned my waterproof coat and headed out into Abingdon, through the Abbey Gardens and up the footpath that borders the old mill stream to Abingdon lock.

Abingdon millstream footpath
Mill stream footpath, Abingdon

Note: you can make this a longer circular walk by crossing the river Thames at Abingdon lock and heading back to the town along the main river bank  … but not today!

As you can see, there wasn’t a lot of ‘traffic’ along the footpath. It was wonderfully peaceful. I passed a couple of dog walkers (with very muddy dogs!), one runner, a fisherman (can you spot him under his green brolly in the photo below?).

Abingdon mill stream
A peaceful spot (for fishing): Abingdon mill stream

Plus the usual entourage of mallards. If you stop for more than 5 seconds at the side of the stream the ducks come a-paddling and a-quacking on the assumption that you are toting vast quantities of stale bread.

This brisk 20-minute walk ticked all sorts of green-therapy boxes: lungfuls of fresh air, entertaining grey squirrels in the canopy overhanging the stream (who needs Cirque du Soleil?!), an enjoyable and impromptu workout, and another chance to soak up that amazing autumnal colour palette.

Make sure you get your fix, while there are are still some leaves on the trees. Judging by the amount of leaf litter around, our autumnal days are numbered.

First tweet

So, we’re up and running on twitter, and – as my first tweet announces – my 15 minutes of green today was a stroll through Abingdon Abbey Gardens.

First, through the formal garden area of flower beds and herbaceous borders (polyanthus and pansies being the current planting scheme).

Abingdon Abbey Gardens

Then into a parkland area bordered by mature trees, including a magnificent European copper beech (Fagus sylvatica), resplendent in its autumn glory and a giant redwood that more than lived up to its name.

Copper beech

I carried on along the leaf-littered path, past the ornamental lake, where water voles are reputed to thrive. There were no water voles today (I’ll be sure to let you know if I ever see one!), but a rustling in the leaves above me revealed a grey squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) tucking into something tasty.

Grey squirrel

I finally came to the Mill Stream that borders Abbey Meadows, where mallards, moorhens and mute swans were making the most of a half-term bread-feeding frenzy.

Cygnet on the Mill Stream, Abingdon

By 4.30pm I was losing the light, signalling that it was time to return to my desk – refreshed, of course, by my 15+ minutes of green.