Posted on September 17, 2021
Wood Hill overlooks Charlton Down to the north, Charminster Down to the west, Charminster village to the south, and Charlton Higher Down to the east. On the north side of the hill closest to Charlton Down, small numbers of livestock such as cattle, sheep, and horses are grazed on the slopes.
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Posted on September 16, 2021
One of the two public footpaths from my village of Charlton Down to the next village of Charminster, that lies further south, passes over the top of Wood Hill. On the top of the hill is a group of trees called Wood Hill Clump. The path goes around the trees, and after navigating the stile (or ‘kissing gate’), you see a completely different kind of view across a field of ripe wheat towards Charminster, the developing town of Poundbury, and the hills beyond.
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Posted on August 18, 2021
The farmers are busy harvesting the fields in the dry spells between the rain. The noise of the combine harvesters, trucks and tractors can be heard most days recently while they gather in the crops. Yesterday I saw people hard at work gathering the barley in the early evening. It was dull but dry and the occasional shaft of low sun transformed the view.
Posted on August 10, 2021
Pictures from a walk in the rain around the village last week, showing how fast the maize is growing in some of the fields, with the corncobs developing well. Difficult to get good shots with the lens getting wet and having to dry it constantly, but the rain did ease off now and again, and I did enjoy myself even if I got soaked.
Posted on August 6, 2021
The barley is ripening in the fields and I think it will not be long before the farmers cut it. At least one field of the oilseed rape has already been harvested and that field has been ploughed ready for the next sowing. Our long recent spell of dry weather has turned to wet and windy, so that must be frustrating, as it could damage the standing barley with its heavy ears and delay the harvest. Some stands were already flattened at the end of July.
Posted on July 13, 2021
Pictures from a walk yesterday afternoon into the fields around Charlton Down, towards the River Cerne where it borders onto a large field on sloping ground where the farmer has planted a crop of Field Peas. I think that they are being grown for animal feed but at the same time will help fertilise the soil because legumes fix nitrogen from the air and store as a compound in the roots. I haven’t seen peas as a crop here before. This field had barley last year. I really like the way the skies seen so expansive over the fields, and the cloud formations were wonderful.
Posted on July 9, 2021
The barley is growing fast. The stalks and the grain are still green but the ‘whiskers’ have turned colour. Acres of soft golden haze cover the slopes. undulating like waves on the sea as the wind ripples through the crop. Clouds scudding-by create moving shadows to darken the fields, emphasising the vibrancy and golden glow when the sun reappears. It is such a pleasure to see all this – the wider panorama as well as the moving textures and nuances of hue on the smaller scale. We are privileged to be able to walk around the fields that surround Charlton Down and observe the changes to the farmed landscape from season to season.
Best appreciated full-size.
Posted on July 2, 2021
The views from the elevation of Higher Charlton Down are magnificent and span miles of countryside. You get there by crossing the main road on the upper part of the village and following the footpath signposted to Waterston Ridge. The English system of hedgerow boundaries gives the landscape the look of a great patchwork quilt with each parcel of land a different colour depending on what is growing at any particular time in the farming year. Individual trees, small clumps, copses and woods are spattered over the landscape, while the odd barn or building stands out like a modern monument in the panorama. The ancient monuments are more difficult to spot – sometimes only discernible when the light is just right and only then when you know where to look. Pictures taken on 5 May 2021.
Posted on June 30, 2021
We are lucky to have access to such a lovely little chalk river only a short walk from the village of Charlton Down. Like every habitat, it can change dramatically in its appearance through the seasons, with the water level rising and falling, and the banks increasingly shrouded with luxuriant vegetation as the weather warms up. This winter saw a big tidy up and cut back for river management reasons, but last year there was a spectacular abundance of white-headed umbelliferous plants including Water Dropwort mixed in with Comfrey. Last year in June the riverbank plants were well established but the Dropwort had not yet reached anything like its full height. This year everything is a bit behind because of the cold Spring and it will be a while for plants to re-establish after the cull. It is a very pleasant walk along the bank at any time, with expansive views of the surrounding slopes and fields. There was a field of poppies in the distance, and young barley close by (field peas are the crop this year) on this particular walk.