The Thames Head.

The Thames is one of the most iconic rivers in the world and the longest river entirely in England, the second longest in the UK. Its source is at Thames Head, near Kemble, in a meadow called Trewsbury Mead in the Cotswolds- marked by a headstone.

We made this the first stop in our whistle stop, two night tour of The Cotswolds in Gloucestershire.

We visited at a bit of an iconic moment for the river source. For the first time at least since 1976, apparently ,this source of the Thames has dried up.

Walking further long the Thames path we came to the Sapperton Canal Tunnel and one of five round houses on the Thames and Severn Canal- all former lengthsmen’s cottages built along the canal between Chalford and Lechdale and constructed in the 1790s when the canal was built.

Lengthsmen were responsible for lengths of towpath and, in the absence of a lock-keeper, for the locks. Other duties, included management of water levels, control of weirs, repair and maintenance of banks on their “length”, including cutting reeds and vegetation and treading puddle clay into sections of bank which were leaking or weak.

It was a lovely warm early autumnal afternoon. The hedges were full of berries, the trees bearing fruits nuts and leaves on the turn. A welcoming introduction to our first visit to The Cotswolds.

John Keats, ‘To Autumn’.

Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness,
Close bosom-friend of the maturing sun;
Conspiring with him how to load and bless
With fruit the vines that round the thatch-eves run;
To bend with apples the moss’d cottage-trees,
And fill all fruit with ripeness to the core;
To swell the gourd, and plump the hazel shells
With a sweet kernel; to set budding more,
And still more, later flowers for the bees,
Until they think warm days will never cease,
For summer has o’er-brimm’d their clammy cells …

A beautiful autumn walk in The Cotswolds.

It’s Tupping Week.

So this week marks the start of Tupping in the sheep farmers’ calendar, for 2020 specifically, tomorrow (Thursday 5th November).

Tupping

Ewes and rams mate in a process called tupping which takes places in the autumn time. Ewes are only in season once per year – so unlike other animals that become fertile multiple times a year, there is a short time period for them to fall pregnant.

As a child growing up, and still as an adult, it’s as much a part of autumn as Halloween and Bonfire Night. A rite of passage marking the rhythm of the seasons, the farming calendar. 

The Secret Garden.

Bateman’s Robin. Burwash East Sussex.

‘The robin flew from his swinging spray of ivy on to the top of the wall and he opened his beak and sang a loud, lovely trill, merely to show off. Nothing in the world is quite as adorably lovely as a robin when he shows off—and they are nearly always doing it.’

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. Chapter 8. “The Robin Who Showed the Way.

An autumn walk around Bateman’s gardens and this engaging robin reminded me of Frances Hodgson Burnett’s The Secret Garden. A childhood favourite book.

The Long Man of Wilmington.

The Long Man of Wilmington

The Long Man of Wilmington situated on the South Downs in Sussex.

Formerly thought to originate in the Iron Age or even the neolithic period, a 2003 archaeological investigation has shown that the figure may have been cut in the Early Modern era – the 16th or 17th century AD. The Long Man is one of two extant human hill figures in East Sussex; the other is the Litlington White Horse, also in East Sussex.

Another autumn walk for us on a bright Sunday on the Sunshine Coast.

Tree folklore.

Ents are a race of beings in J. R. R. Tolkien’s fantasy world Middle-earth who closely resemble trees. They are similar to the talking trees in folklore around the world. Their name is derived from the Old English word for giant.

en.m.wikipedia.org › wiki › Ent

I like to think that Sheffield Park Gardens in East Sussex has its own Ents.

Autumn walk and trees and toadstools. Magical season.

We blew the cobwebs away.

To get through a very wet and windy Friday in Eastbourne we did some baking. Felt like a rainy morning thing to do.

Then enough was enough and I needed to get outside. I live at the beginning of the South Downs Way, which starts in Eastbourne, East Sussex and finishes in Winchester, Hampshire.

We blew those cobwebs away on The Downs on this typical Autumn day in Sussex, me and my dog.

And took a few photos on the way.