Thursday 1 March 2012: Houghton Mill in the fog
My stomach settled overnight, so this morning Pete and I went for our 'Leap Day' walk, a round trip from Godmanchester to Houghton of approximately eight miles. The sun had just risen as we left home at 7am, but travelling down the A1(M) we hit fog, and this stayed with us for the whole of our walk.
Once we'd worked out how to leave Godmanchester, our selected route took us past water-filled gravel pits, backwaters and the main channel of the River Ouse and through grazing meadows. It was very atmospheric even though we couldn't actually see much!! I think we'd both like to return later in the season, when there's be more insects and flowers about.
Highlights of the walk were a large flock of grazing wigeon along the Cook's Stream, being surrounded by singing skylarks on Hemingford Meadow and spotting a small group of goldeneye showing courtship behaviour on one of the lakes in Lafarge's Godmanchester Nature Reserve.
Today's blip shows Houghton Mill, which is a wonderful spot in summer and even has a cafe, though this doesn't re-open until the 17th March. Apparently there's been a mill at Houghton since 974. In the Middle Ages, the mill and the village of Houghton were owned by the great Benedictine Abbey of Ramsey, 10 miles away. All the villagers worked for the abbey, growing crops and tending livestock. The present Houghton Mill was rebuilt after a fire in the mid 17th century and it now gives a good impression of the mill in its 19th century heyday.
Of course as soon as we got back to the car the sun came out, and has shone all afternoon, which gave me the chance to do a bit of gardening. Lots of bumble bees today - spring really is moving on!