Lidgate - Ousden circular walk

Our first walk in February was on a gloriously sunny day after a bitterly cold few days including snow and sleet showers and hard frosts.

Sunday 3 Feruary 2019
Weather: -1˚C, still and clear, in the sun it feels warm
Starting from the Bailey Pond at Lidgate and circling anti-clockwise to Ousden church, then back via Lidgate church.
4.5 miles

Pond? what pond?! It's been drained and dredged, the fish and other water-life will soon be returned and I'm sure it will look beautiful again. (click on the photos to enlarge them) We headed down the village street passing a blue plaque on a wall marking the birthplace of the poet John de Lydgate, not a household name now but back in the days between Chaucer and Shakespeare he was a poet of great renown. We turned left up a lane which rises steeply as it leaves the village cottages and gardens behind, soon we were in fields above the village.

In this area we often spot herds of Fallow Deer, but this was unlikely in the middle of the day ... …


Walking and inspiration Last year I was asked by author Lia Leendertz to illustrate the 2019 edition of her book The Almanac - a seasonal guide. I was both excited and daunted but had no time for either as work started almost at once and I spent May and June working on 50 linocuts. The publisher requested that both Lia and I kept the project under wraps ... no sharing of 'work in progress' on social meadia, which was frustrating as I wanted this blog to be a record of work in my studio as well as walks and the countryside that inspires me. So this year I'll do a monthly post about each of the chapters in The Almanac, with the sketches and linocuts and the countryside that I had in mind as I worked, starting with January ...

(click on the photos to enlarge them)

The two weeks I had to produce the 12 month-chapter opening illustrations were probably the hottest last year and there was no chance to do lots of new sketching from life, so I reached into my memory of wa…

Cavenham Heath and the River Lark

A wander at Cavenham Heath and alongside the River Lark (4 miles) Tuesday 1 January 2019
Weather: mild, 8˚C, north-westerly breeze, mostly cloudy
Parked on the track from Tuddenham village green.
(please click on the photos to enlarge them)

Our first walk in 2019 was a wander at Cavenham Heath and along the River Lark, we were hoping to spot some interesting birds or even an otter (though chance of that at around midday was slim).

Cavenham Heath is accessed via a track from Tuddenham village green, we parked at the point where the woodland ends and the open access heath begins ... the track is very very bumpy!
The heathland is open access at this time of year but closed when the Stone Curlews are breeding in the summer. We walked along the main track which is part of the Icknield Way, one of the ancient routes of Britain.

Sheep were grazing the heathland, they are part of the management of the area to retain the delicate balance to rare plants and wildlife.

Gorse in flower in front …