Saturday, July 28, 2012

Aylesbeare Common

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Anyone who has been around this blog for long enough might remember this tree, photos of which I put up here back in 2009. The tree, being right on the skyline of Aylesbeare Common, was used as a marker for navigational purposes by the sailors of old and was known as The Lone Pine. It died a long time ago but remained standing for many years and was planned to be felled, then a note was found attached to it stating that the person who felled the tree would be cursed. The note was signed at the bottom by The White Witches of Aylesbeare. The tree fell of its own accord a few years ago, leaving this tall and lovely guardian stump, reminiscent of a solitary standing stone.

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Certain plant species become dominant each year, depending on what happens with the weather. This year we had about two or three months of continual rain and these particular cotton grasses have done very well and are scattered across the common as occasional white clouds.

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This photo shows some of how wet it is up here. The heath has become boglike in places and this amount of water coupled with the fact that much of the common is divided by an electric fence to contain cattle in a grazing experiment means that paths are blocked, so I have to turn around and back many times and I also get very wet feet. I stopped off here a few weeks ago and it was pouring with rain, but by then it had rained so much and so often that I got to the point where waiting for the rain to stop became pointless, and things had to be done whether it was raining or not.

Unfortunately I have become suspicious of the rain now and it isn't such a pleasant experience to be out in it as it used to be. I was working outside in the rain in the weeks after the Chenobyl disaster in 1986 and the government and the news were saying everything was ok and that there was nothing to worry about. I could see on the weather forecast which way the wind was blowing but what can you do about it? I pulled my hat further down over my face and turned the collar of my coat up.

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Many trees have just been taken from Higher Peak and this is my first glimpse of it since the felling. We'll go up there in a bit and see what the view is like. It hasn't been seen for about sixty years or more and I'll be interested to see if there are any alignments visible from there.

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Monday, July 23, 2012