If I haven’t managed to find anything derelict in the preceding week, it seems to be our “thing” now after church to go out looking for dereliction and today was no different.

We decided that as we had popped in to see some friends on the north side of the town, we would carry on that way and we ended up in a little Cotswold village called Southrop.  We stopped just outside the village and saw a bridge, part of which had obviously been renewed, but when Mr. HCB walked back along the road, he could see an old sluice gate, so we presume that this was part of a derelict sluice for a water meadow, many of which in England have been in use since the sixteenth century although I doubt this one was that old!

Thank goodness for the internet, because I found out that apparently, water meadow irrigation in the past did not aim to flood the ground but to keep it continuously damp - as a working water meadow has no standing water.  Irrigation in early spring kept frosts off the ground and so allowed grass to grow several weeks earlier than otherwise, and in dry summer weather irrigation kept the grass growing. It also allowed the ground to absorb any plant nutrients or silt carried by the river water, which fertilised the grassland, as well as providing rich habitats for wildlife such as water voles, waders and grass snakes.  

All very interesting and perfect for the Derelict Sunday challenge.  We had just got back into the car when we saw a heron on the nearby bridge, but sadly by the time I had got out again, it had flown off.

We had a lovely afternoon together, enjoying many sights, smells and sounds, then meandered back home, stopping on the way to take photographs of oil seed rape fields and anything else that took my fancy;  and thanks to the power of modern technology I was pleased to be able to share some of my photographs with a friend in Bangkok even as we drove home.

“Happiness quite unshared 
     can scarcely be called 
it has no taste.” 
Charlotte Brontë

P.S.  Thank you for all your kind comments, good wishes, stars and hearts yesterday - after an early night, I am feeling much better, thank you.

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