A walk and a rare creature

Rolling downland and fields of wheat….Great Ridge in June.

We had a really good walk today, down in south Wiltshire, along to Wylye valley and up onto Great Ridge.

We started in the beautiful but tiny village of Sherrington and walked along empty paths and trackways through high summer vegetation. Its sometime difficult to believe so much plant growth can occur in such a short space of time, and all the fields and hedgerows have a high summer feel to them.

We passed swathes of beautiful purple wild orchids growing at the side of the path and alongside fields high with green wheat and barley. A deer broke cover alongside us, and further on we watched a young fox pouncing on something in the long grass.

Not far from the Roman road we found the largest snails we have ever seen-lots of them. Once before I have seen these-they are Roman edible snails , Helix pomatia, brought to England as a food source by the Roman Legions all those hundreds of years ago. The snails are rare and I was delighted that my pictures at least show them. The coin is over an inch across and this snail was one of the smaller ones we saw. Curiously we also observed one apparently trying to bury itself in the soil. A bit of research showed one doing just that-it was laying eggs. They can live for 7 years-I guess that is why they can grow so large.

We stopped high on the ridge for a picnic lunch, enjoying the best sunshine we have had for a few days, before setting off to complete the walk. I can’t resist fields of poppies- we couldn’t get very close to this one, so I took a picture of a stray poppy near the path to add detail to the distant shot. The colours really sing.

In all, we covered about 10 glorious miles, and saw hardly a soul. What a beautiful part of the county.


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