Winter Landscape

Like everybody else we are under a blanket of snow.  I thought we were getting off lightly until today!  I think you respect the forces of nature more when they are at their least generous and forgiving.  I take my hat off (or I would if my ears weren’t so cold) to our feisty garden birds, they know a thing or two about resilience.  It might be harsh but it is also very beautiful.  I’ve taken thousands of photos of the railway bridges but I’ve never been able to get the lens to convey the image I see in my mind so I was really pleased with this one.  I took this standing on the towpath, the railway track is just down the bank at the bottom of the valley. 

The narrow strip of land in between is very precious.  This tract of uncultivated post-industrial land provides a rich and diverse habitat for all manner of wildlife, unhindered by aggressive farming or development. Every decent wild life picture I have ever taken comes from this strip between canal and railway.  The conservation value of this land is in some ways greater than maintained wild life parks because they are not island habitats but form a network of habitat corridors across the country enabling free movement necessary for breeding.

Having said that, British Waterways (they still exist for the moment) have been busy felling diseased field maples along here.  We and some boaters who have been trapped by the frozen canal have taken the opportunity to stock up on the timber.  I don’t think we’ve had maple before, it is quite soft so will probably go up in a puff once dry, but it is free and more importantly it is here!  It will replace the stacks of timber we seem to be getting through during this cold spell. The willows are still clutching brown leaves and seem to be the last of the deciduous trees to let go, otherwise we are being treated to some beautiful silhoettes against darkening skies.



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