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Saturday, 4 February 2023

Down to the detail

There are wonderful views to be enjoyed at Bolton Abbey, and it's fascinating to see how differently things appear in various lighting and weather conditions. It was a clear, crisp, blue sky day with good sunlight but because of the steepness of the Strid Gorge, very little sun was able to penetrate to the valley bottom. It made for strong shadows and bright highlights, which are not really the best for photography but I always try to make the most of what is. 

Here are some of the details I noticed: above, the slender, brightly lit trunks of young birches, counterpointed by deep shadow. 

Dark, horizontal shadows across the leaf litter:

An ancient tree with tortuous roots that had effectively fused to a rock, giving rise to wonderful shapes, tones and textures:  

Some kind of pale-hued bracket fungus on a rotting log: 

Desiccated seed heads of a plant (below) which I think may be Common Hogweed (Heracleum sphondylium). The stems were a couple of metres tall. If it is Common Hogweed, the plants are edible, including the leaves, flowers and seeds, which provide a spice similar to cardamom. You have to be careful not to mistake it for the very poisonous Giant Hogweed - but that is so dangerous that I can be pretty sure it would not be found alongside a path at Bolton Abbey! 

A medley of moss, ivy and russet bark seemed pleasing to me: 

I was overjoyed to see catkins appearing - a promise of Spring. Not sure what the tree was... it might be an alder, as they are usually the first to flower, or possibly a hazel. 

I also saw, but didn't photograph, lots of birds: a grey heron, the ubiquitous mallard ducks, less common and very colourful mandarin ducks, lots of robins, chaffinches, tits of various kinds, blackbirds, wood pigeons, rooks and crows, a wren, a dipper and a kingfisher. I'm sure there were more but I don't hear their calls and I wasn't carrying binoculars. It was a very good nature walk though. 


  1. Wonderful detail photos! I was struck by the moss that seems to be overtaking the ivy. A very strange occurance, in my mind.

  2. You've come up with some good photos in spite of being restricted by the light. Looks to have been a lovely walk, with plenty of birds to see too.