Yesterday in spite of the weather three of us met up for a walk around the Helipad and North’s Seat and in fact the rain held off the whole time, just! Starting at the roundel with the view not what it can be on a good day, Phil said that he could remember the wooden viewing platform that was once there which burnt down as did the Windmill in 1869. Walking round we came to the reservoir the site of the most recent fire. North’s Seat is so called because of the seat put on the site of the windmill by Marianne North best known for her botanical paintings of which there is a gallery at Kew Gardens. The seat was to commemorate her late father Frederick North MP.
Moving toward the Helipad (not sure when it got that name or where one would land a helicopter there now) we checked out the hedge that we planted last November and were pleased to see almost 100% survival of the whips. This hedge is pretty much on the line of the of the two fields on the 1839 tithe map, the one that the footpath across it being Down Field and the other was called Cricketing Field, however there is no evidence of cricket ever having played there. On a post at the Helipad entrance Sam spotted this Ichneumon, Rhyssa peruasoria, a parasite whose larvae feed on the larvae of the Horntail, a sawfly. It has drilled into the post in the photo and is ovipositing.
We also took in the two heather patches and pondered such mysteries as why plastic doorstops have been fitted to kissing gates and the history behind the British Anzani Iron Horse.
A number of Meadow Brown were in evidence along the walk and walking home I saw two raven fly off Brakey Bank field which was freshly topped, rare to see them that close and be able appreciate what a massive wingspan they have.