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wood pigeons

Blackberry and Apple

Monday 24th September 2001, South Yorkshire

River DearneFIRST WE'RE SOAKED by a heavy shower as we walk from Bretton Country Park via the motorway roundabout to pick up the path alongside the River Dearne to Darton. The next challenge on this autumnal obstacle course is a freshly ploughed field where even the narrow public footpath along its edge has been transformed into sticky clay furrows by an over-enthusiastic ploughman.

Grassy parkland on a reclaimed colliery spoil heap makes a welcome change. We scrape our clay-caked boots.

Hedgerow Harvest

applesblackberryAlong the way I've been sampling the Blackberries which look so tempting as they glisten, freshly washed, after the heavy shower.

I try an Apple from a tree growing on a roadside verge. It's so much sweeter and crisper than the supermarket variety. The beadlike Elderberries aren't nearly as sweet.

Wych elm Two once common, now rare, sights as we walk back along the roadside past Birthwaite Hall; first in the hedgerow an elm - it appears to be a Wych Elm - which seems to have escaped the Dutch Elm Disease which decimated the local elms twenty or thirty years ago then a brown hareBrown Hare running up the slope behind the cover of a recently planted hedge. next page

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

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