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Easter walks

April 17, 2017

Yesterday we set out on foot, past the Bishop’s Palace and up through Tor Wood,

along a track that was once a coaching-road


to King’s Castle Wood, a hill-top nature reserve with an Iron Age hill fort at the summit.

It was awash with flowers and unscrolling ferns.

We emerged from King’s Castle Wood into a beautiful field called Lyatt. This name may be Anglo-Saxon. The field is long and narrow, following the contour, with one strip of woodland to the north and another down a steep drop to the south, so that the lovely view toward North Wootton and Pilton is seen across the tops of the trees. Here we found orchids. Some had blotched leaves and some did not, but the flowers looked the same to me.

There is no boundary between the woodland and the field, and this I think is one of the things that make Lyatt so special. A few old trees that came down in recent storms had been dragged out of the wood and cut up. One had polypody ferns growing along a branch.

At the far end of the next field a cart-track becomes a lane down into the village of Dinder. The name is Celtic and probably means “hill with a fort”, according to the Oxford Dictionary of English Place-names.

As we passed the village hall (where we dance on Wednesday evenings) we saw a notice – Sunday Bar Open – so naturally we went in. We learned that there is an 11am service in the village church on the 3rd Sunday of the month, and that the village hall bar is open on the same day at 12 noon! People were very welcoming. A friend of a friend bought us drinks and I met two people who shared my interest in wild flowers. Eventually we walked on down to the pretty little mediaeval church, which is dedicated to St Michael and all Angels. There is a carving of a winged figure carrying a child while subduing a dragon. I wonder if it represents Bishop Jocelin (d 1242) killing the Worminster dragon, or perhaps it is St George. There is also a dragon on a rain-spout.

The north door has splendid hinges. Inside the church is a small sculpture which I imagine depicts St Michael.

We walked back to Wells via the village cricket field, a few more fields, a bridge over the River Sheppey and a well-maintained track across the Palace Fields, with views of Glastonbury Tor. Wells Cathedral and St Cuthbert’s Church.

This is one of the best approaches to Wells.

Today, Easter Monday, we took the bike to the Westhay end of Shapwick Heath nature Reserve and walked the couple of miles to the Railway Inn at the other end. And then back again, fortified with Abbot Ale and Wilkins Cider. We shared the track with runners and cyclists and birdwatchers and photographers. Bitterns were booming and we heard a cuckoo. This is a wild and lonely place even on a Bank Holiday with people about.

There is a white egret in the first photo above. I couldn’t see it but the camera could.


One Comment leave one →
  1. Jane permalink
    April 18, 2017 6:54 am

    Beautiful photos of beautiful places. Thank you, Ama.

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