A Walk Through the Ice Age

Well, I may have used a little artistic licence with this title.  However, we saw much more than we had bargained for on a winter’s day walk this week.

It all started with a pub lunch.  Often not a good idea as the cosiness of a pub and a full stomach are not always conducive to a walk in the cold air.  It can be difficult to get out early enough on a weekend morning so that a walk does not coincide with lunchtime.  At least this time we had full bellies.

frozen cattle trough


frozen cattle trough

Whilst in the pub we noticed that there were some unexpected snow flurries, but we were determined not to be put off by slightly arctic conditions. We set off down a lane over a stile, through a field, which must have once been part of a large estate as it contained several large Cedar of Lebanon trees.  In the corner of the field, not easily missed was this wonderful overflowing frozen trough of water. It had certainly been cold the previous night, but I hadn’t realised it had been that cold.  The water in the trough looked like it had been frozen for a while – a quite stunning ice sculpture.

entrance to badgers sett

The woodland we entered next held two surprises for us.  A frozen pond covered with completely smooth ice.  Well not for, as the long the urge to throw sticks and a few stones onto it was irresistible.  What looked like the hole to a badger’s sett was spotted by my son.  No sign of any recent activity by them though – they were well and truly underground.

ice on footsteps

stepping on ice

The ground on this part of the walk was completely frozen.  So it was with a crunch and a crackle that we passed over footprints and frozen puddles created when it had previously been muddy and wet.  I am not sure how that thin layer of ice which covers the top of the space made by previous footprints is formed.  What I and my son do know is that it is great fun stamping and jumping on them, knowing that they are going to crack.  You are not always quite certain how far your foot is going to fall to reach ground below.  A great game for little feet.

We walked round the side of a farmyard, up a farm track to a field, where we spotted what looked like a group of bulls, they certainly had horns.  Oh no, as our path lay right through the field.  It really was a case of we can’t go under it, we can’t go over it so we have to go through it.  We have had recent experience of walking through fields with bullocks in and they can get very frisky.  So it was a case of finding a large stick as a precautionary measure and walking quickly (no stopping) and purposely through the field.

rare breed cattle

On close inspection we decided that some of the’ bulls’ were pregnant.  So not bulls after all; they must be rare breed cattle.  However they still had horns!  My son came up with the best idea about them “I know mummy they are woolly mammoths”.  He was right they were certainly looked like their ancestors.  A thought that made us smile whilst we walked briskly to the edge of the field.

Here though there was another treat to make us smile.  For at the bottom of a steep coombe, right down in the dip the farmer had laid out straw for the cattle and we saw that a very tiny calf had been born – not much more than a couple of days old.   A very special sight.

You never know what you are going to encounter on a walk.  Next time it freezes we may return to see the cattle trough, but I think we may give the woolly mammoths a miss.

I am linking this post to Countrykids at Coombemill and the outdoorplayparty







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