The Edge of the Wold

By gladders

Stippled clouds over hummocky lawn, New Forest

A difficult choice of what to blip for today. There was a magnificent sunset with Turneresque colouring to the sky which we saw from Hurst beach. There was a cricket match at the Balmer Lawn Hotel near Brockenhurst with New Forest Ponies grazing in the outfield amongst the fielders. I went for a walk in the morning in Denny Wood and found an ancient oak tree that I had not seen before.

In the end I opted for this picture taken close to the Balmer Lawn because of the bizarre conjunction of the hummocky grassland and the stippled clouds in the sky. I went for a walk through this part of the Forest while Caroline read her book by the Lymington River.

I first saw this hummocky grassland in the Forest about twenty years ago. At first I thought they were ant hills of the yellow meadow ant (Lasius flavus), but they are not. The thinking is that they are relict hummocks from a time, perhaps post-War, when the New Forest lawns were much less heavily grazed, and this area with its high water table was dominated by tussocks of purple moor grass (Molinia caerulea). Soil and organic matter gathered around the tussocks, and over the years with increasingly higher grazing levels the moor grass tussocks have been nibbled down leaving these free-standing fossilised hummocks. Perhaps only an ecologist would find that interesting, but visually they are a striking feature of this and some other parts of the Forest.

As for the sky, the stippled cloud was very strange. The last couple of days we have noticed another strange phenomemon in the sky. There has been a coloured mark to one side of the sun when it has been low in the late afternoon. Today it was to the left of the sun and was a short, thick golden line. I tried to photograph it but failed. What was it, perhaps an effect of light reflected off a satellite?

This morning we spent more time clearing Dad's garden and carting waste material to the tip. There are now 4 less garden ornaments than there were at the beginning of the week, a better than average achievement for one of my visits.

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