Village Life

It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Very early this morning we woke to this beautiful scene.

Our sleepy village, view from our window.

Heavy snow fell through the early hours, covering our village (and most of the UK) in a white blanket.

I don’t like snow. Yes it’s pretty to look at, but for me the novelty soon wears off.

Buried veg beds

The roofing to the walk-in chicken runs need attention, well, they need completely replacing to be fair and weight bearing snow really didn’t help matters, but we managed to clear most of it off the sheeting before it turns to ice and completely buckles the structures. This all took quite a bit of time today and our toes and fingers were really throbbing. The chickens were very suspicious of the snow and dull white sky, choosing to spend time inside the coops, sulking.

However, at least one member of the garden smallholding enjoyed it…..

Terrible photo of one very happy German Shepherd!

She loved every moment of the snow, she’s sprawled out on the sofa snoring now.

Uncategorized · Village Life

A Walk Before the Storm

dog walking in Browns Wood

We visited one of our favourite places to walk yesterday, a chance to give our dog a good run and sniffing adventure before the anticipated storm arrived to knock our socks off. It was also a great opportunity to take some photos of beautiful Browns Wood at this magical time of year.

browns wood in autumn

It was a perfect autumnal day and the woods offered plenty of beautiful subjects to photograph. Glowing Field Maple leaves caught my attention, the exotic colour highlighted further by sunlight streaming down onto the tree branches from above.

browns wood

Looking around at the ground I often find things of interest, like this forgotten tree stump covered in a thick coat of Ivy.

Ivy-covered tree stump

Dried teasel line a long path, separating the new section of woodland from the field beyond. Long grasses sway in the wind, wildflower seed heads rattle eerily, scattering seeds everywhere.

teasel backlit

long grasses

Deeper into the ancient woods, light struggled to filter through from above, creating dramatic light, colour and long shadows.

autumn maple leaves

browns wood in autumn

beech leaves in autumn

Exiting the ancient woods, dark and dramatic shadows greet the light from the fields beyond.

dog walking in browns wood

Browns Wood is a wonderful place to visit and we’re incredibly lucky to have this magical place on our doorstep. For more information about Browns Wood, take a look at this previous blog post

Heavy rain fell overnight and it appears our location escaped the damaging wind. Looking at news reports today, others were not so lucky with gusts of up to 105 mph, trees coming down, flooding and loss of power.

Village Life

A Visit to Browns Wood

It was Good Friday yesterday, the traditional day for planting ‘ones’ potatoes. Easter is earlier than usual this year and soil conditions are not right for planting out spuds at the moment, we decided to give the allotment a miss and made our way to Browns Wood instead. You can’t waste a rain-free bank holiday!

woodland walk

Although it wasn’t raining the weather is stuck on constant ‘freeze-your-bits-off mode’, we wrapped up warm and walked the short distance to Browns Wood entrance. We’re incredibly fortunate to have beautiful woodland such as this right on our doorstep.

Entrance to Browns Wood via Oakley village, Bedfordshire
Entrance to Browns Wood millennium site via Oakley village, Bedfordshire

Fallow land adjoining Browns Wood was used to mark the millennium with 26,000 trees planted and paid for by the Forestry Commission, set out with pathways and large open areas of grassland, the tree planting scheme extended the woodland site by 31 acres. This area is also known as Millennium Browns Wood. The main trees are Ash, Oak, and Field Maple with Beech and Hornbeam at the top of the hill. Excellent views over Bedfordshire can be seen from this area.

Views of bedfordshire farmland from Millennium Browns Wood
Views of Bedfordshire farmland from Browns Wood millennium site
Young trees planted to celebrate the Millennium, extending the already beautiful Browns Wood
Young trees planted to celebrate the millennium, extending the already beautiful Browns Wood
Millennium Browns Wood
 Browns Wood millennium site

There’s a public bridleway path via Oakley village entrance to Browns Wood, it’s also a great place to walk dogs.

Public Bridleway at Millennium Browns Wood, entrance via Oakley, Bedfordshire
Public bridleway at Browns Wood, entrance via Oakley, Bedfordshire
Teasel can be found at the site of Millennium Browns Wood. Teasels are visited by bees when in flower, and birds when seeding.

Teasel can be found everywhere at the millennium site of Browns Wood. Visited by bees and butterflies when in flower and birds when seeding.

Tree pruning in Browns Wood
Tree pruning in Browns Wood
Millenium Browns Wood on the hill. Can you see the trees of ancient Browns Wood in the distance?
Browns Wood millennium site on the hill. Can you see the trees of ancient Browns Wood in the distance?
Ghost leaves. Beech leaves hanging on from winter, rustling in the wind with a ghostly sound.
Ghost leaves. Beech leaves hanging on from winter, rustling in the wind creating a ghostly sound.

We continued on and made our way to the oldest part Browns Wood. This beautiful ancient woodland dates back to around 1750 and was planted by the Duke of Bedford. Full of mature trees and woodland plants, it’s an important area for many species of wildlife and a magical place to wander through.

Browns Wood information board
Browns Wood information board

The odd spell of sunshine managed to filter through the canopy of naked trees (wearing nothing but years of ivy), illuminating the woodland floor.

Woodland floor of Browns Wood
Woodland floor
Browns Wood
Browns Wood

Browns Wood

browns wood

Browns Wood
Browns Wood

Fallen trees blanketed in a rich woodland carpet, the perfect habitat for many species of wildlife.

moss covered fallen tree
Moss covered fallen tree

The forest floor glittered in shades of green. New shoots emerging to find the light, protected from the cruel weather by ancient woodland guards standing to attention.

Forest floor, Browns Wood Bedfordshire
Woodland floor, Browns Wood Bedfordshire

After an enjoyable walk we made our way back home, cold but recharged by being outdoors.

millennium browns wood hill

Look what a bit of fresh air does to me!

browns wood

Happy Easter everyone!

Village Life

Fit to Burst

I was and still am fit to burst with pride to see my little blog, a place where I share my passion for growing food, wildlife, living an organic way of life and looking after chickens, up there, featured on the Freshly Pressed page. Wow! Thank you to all my new followers, those who stopped by and liked my post and those who left a comment or two. I tried my best to keep up (I really did), I still can’t quite believe my stats page!

Speaking of being ‘fit to burst’ this is the bridge into our sleepy village. I took this photo one summer, tall reeds dominated the slow flowing river and all was calm:

I ventured down to the bridge yesterday. The water levels are dangerously high due to recent weather, more heavy rain forecast for tonight and I suspect the river will rise again, flooding the bridge at the top, just out of sight of the photo. The river has already burst its banks, swallowing up parts of the river walk near the church. The bridge will probably be closed by morning. Oh dear!