Friday, 27 July 2012

Trip report Friday, 13th July: Batheaston Riverside Walk

Friday, 13th July: Batheaston Riverside Walk
(Leader: Dianne Nelson)

Friday 13th was lucky for the 8 Bath Nats members who turned out on a grey day, because for once it wasn’t raining and there was even a hint of sunshine at one point – a miracle in one of the wettest summers ever. We met at the Batheaston free car park from where a path runs along the river to the toll bridge. This path has been impassable for some time where it had crumbled into the river, but last year it was repaired and now makes a delightful riverbank walk. However, two weeks before, I’d heard that part of the path had slipped back into the river, so it was a relief to find that the council had been along and repaired it again. While waiting for people to arrive I watched around 40 Canada Geese on the opposite bank launch themselves one by one into the river and glide majestically off upstream while swallows wheeled and swooped overhead. The river was running high and fast and the flash of a kingfisher skimming over its turbulent brown water reminded us of the problems these birds are having trying to catch fish in such conditions. The walk was mainly one that exercised our botanical skills as we identified species such as Figwort, Nipplewort, Hedge Woundwort, and St. John ’s Wort, among many others and Steve demonstrated the difference between a Prickly Sow Thistle and a Smooth Sow Thistle. From the toll bridge we followed the road up to the George at Bathampton, then left along the lane that leads to a level crossing, across a field to Bathford and back to Batheaston. Along the lane we were treated to a rich assortment of hedgerow species, such as Cinquefoil, Mallow, Hemp Agrimony, Yarrow, Toadflax, Hoary Willowherb, Broadleaved Willowherb etc., and in better weather conditions we would have expected to see plenty of butterflies. As it was we just saw 5 Ringlets. Back at the car park we took our picnics into the lovely ‘secret garden’ for a sociable lunch, then headed home before the rain came down again. [DN]

Thank you to:  Di Nelson for a very enjoyable
 Batheaston Riverside Walk.

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