Week 4 Summary
Here's a summary of the Dorset LNP Manager's third week of 30 Days Wild. Summaries of Week one, Week two and Week three are also available. Daily updates available on Twitter @mariaa_clarke.
On day twenty-two Jetta woke me up at 4.30am! The only plus point to this was the beautiful dawn chorus that greeted me as I realised that the walls of a shepherd hut are pretty thin... The birds were hidden in the trees when I looked outside but later in the day I saw a blackbird, three goldfinches, a couple of crows, a pigeon, and two sparrows.
Day twenty-three took us to the National Trust’s Croome Park in Worcestershire. The grounds were beautiful and Jetta and I had a peaceful walk through the flower meadows on the estate. There were lots of small heath butterflies or meadow browns and a couple of magpie moths. In the main gardens there was a bird hide where I saw goldfinches, chaffinches, great tits and jackdaws. There was also a crafty grey squirrel trying to get into the feeders, but not succeeding!
We travelled home on day twenty-four, stopping off at Sherborne Park Estate (where I saw a pied wagtail) and then Newark Park, both in Gloucestershire, on the way. At Newark Park we walked though the formal gardens to start with seeing a beautiful peacock on the wall. Jetta and I then went for a walk though the estate grounds. There were signs saying there were brimstone butterflies in the woodland but I didn’t find any, but we had a lovely walk through the woods.
Jetta and I went back to Thorncombe Woods on day twenty-five. We walked up to Hazel Coppice and the foxgloves were looking beautiful and there were lots of bumblebees feeding. Later in the day I made a needle-felted toadstool key ring – inspired by the needle-felting I’d seen at the Kingcombe Centre on day five.
On day twenty-six I went to Moors Valley Park with some friends and their children. It was great to see the kids helping to build a tower as part of the Stick Man Trail as well as having fun on the play equipment. They also had fun looking for pine cones and taking photos of the ferns. Towards the end of the day a yellow ladybird (22 spot I presume) landed on me which they found fascinating.
I spent a time looking at a friendly robin in my garden on day twenty-seven. It was nesting in my hedge and kept flying between the washing line and the fence and then getting food and going into the hedge. I was so busy watching it I almost forgot I had dinner in the oven – luckily I remembered just in time and caught it just before it burnt!
On day twenty-eight I had a look at my lawn which I’d not cut since the end of May. I was surprised to see so much growing – although not much grass! I found selfheal, white clover, dandelions, daisies, buttercups, ribwort plantain (I think) and Yorkshire fog. The bumblebees were enjoying the clover and selfheal, so I’ll be leaving some patches of them when I do mow the lawn in July!
On day 29 I had a look around my veg garden. Sadly (and really annoyingly) the rain had brought the slugs out in full force! They had eaten all my runner bean plants and were making a good job of wrecking the courgettes, potatoes, kale and purple sprouting. Not impressed. I’m still not a fan of slugs!
On the final day, and to make up for the slugs the previous day, I had a look to see what wildflowers were coming out in the meadow at Brooklands Nature Reserve, and see to what was different from day seven. There were a few beautiful pyramid orchids (including a pale pink one) and a marsh orchid. There was also birds foot trefoil and I think some yellow bedstraw. I also saw a six-spot burnet moth on some common knapweed (see top picture). The meadow was looking beautiful.
So it’s the end of my 30 days wild and June seems to have flown by. I’ve really enjoyed my time being wild and I’ve learnt so much. I’ve made more of an effort to explore some new places (many of which will now become part of my regular walks) and I’ve taken more notice of some of the places I often go to. I can really see how engaging with nature is good for my health and wellbeing. As well as being physically active on my walks, I was really paying attention and being in the present moment – two elements of mindfulness – so it’s been great for my mental wellbeing too.
So what now? I don’t think I’ll continue tweeting / blogging about what I’m up to, but I’m definitely aiming to try to do something ‘wild’ everyday and to explore some more of the fantastic places in Dorset – 30 days just wasn’t long enough! #staywild