When I stand at my bedroom window I look across a broad valley to a wooded ridge that runs as far as I can see in both directions.


From the first time I saw the view I knew that this was my home.  When we moved in, on a gloomy day in mid December, the valley was shrouded with mist and for three days we couldn’t see further than the garden hedge.

IMGP8379_edited-1To my great joy, when I began to explore I discovered that the woods were easily accessible with well used footpaths.  It was the beginning of a love affair.  As winter turned into spring I found snowdrops, then lesser celandine.  In March the first shy wood anemones became a carpet, followed in April by a scented haze of bluebells and patches of pungent wild garlic.

The whole area is rich in wildlife.  There are tawny owls, a pair of buzzards nest every year, and I always have the company of jackdaws.  Sometimes I even hear the cronk of a raven flying overhead.  Warm spring mornings are alive with birdsong.    Unsurprisingly, there are badgers and foxes, and I have come face to face with a roe deer a stone’s throw away.  Very occasionally I even find evidence that an otter has visited the boundary stream.

Perhaps the most elusive inhabitant of the woods is the dormouse.  I had always hoped they were there and, several years ago I was taught how to use survey tubes, P1160099and trained for a handling licence.  After 18 months of looking, when I had almost given up hope, I found a shred of evidence in one of the tubes.  On the strength of this I was given funding for nest boxes and two years later I held all the proof I needed in my hand.

As the months go by I will write about the comings and goings in the wood, the valley, my garden, and the other places, slightly further afield, that I have learnt to love since I moved from London to The West Country more than 20 years ago.


9 thoughts on “Home

  1. Love this post! I really like your style of writing, and am very jealous of your local patch (though I can’t complain about mine, it’s stunning round here!).

    And so happy for you that you found some dormice, they’re such fab creatures! I wrote a species profile on them a while back, where I explore the basic facts and the really interesting facts about them, if you fancy reading it: http://mshersby.wordpress.com/2013/11/29/the-dormouse/

    I’m currently working on a species profile on fallow deer, and then I’ll be swapping to Chesil Beach / Portland species once I’ve learnt a bit more about them!

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