Looking at the Countryside Mottistone 5th November 2016

21 members met at Mottistone last Saturday for a guided walk led by David Harding.It was a beautiful crisp November day, with blue skies, sunshine and excellent visibility.

The walk started at the “sunken path”, a delightful shaded area with steep hedgebanks either side which were clothed with ferns including the “Male Fern”, (Dryopteris felix-mas), Broad Buckler Fern (Dryopteris dilatata) and “Hart’s Tongue Fern” (Phyllitis scolopendrium).

The fungi enthusiasts amongst us found some nice specimens of  Earthballs, probably  Scleroderma citrinum, growing on the hedgebank.Some”Spindles “, Euonymus europaeus bearing their very colourful pink capsules which open to reveal bright orange seeds were also spotted.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Scleroderma citrinum “Earthball” (photo:Dave Trevan)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Scleroderma citrinum “Earthball”( photo:Dave Trevan)

As we progressed up the sunken path, breaks in the vegetation revealed ever better views of the chalk cliffs at Freshwater, contrasting with a sparkling blue sea. At the top of the hill, we paused to admire the ever improving views.Some members spotted plants of Cotoneaster simonsii the “Himalayan Cotoneaster” naturalized in the hedgerows.

We continued to the Longstone,which dates from Neolithic times,one of the oldest monuments on the island, a 13ft high sandstone pillar with a second smaller stone at its base.David Biggs was able to give us a more detailed account of the history of the Longstone  and the long barrow or burial chamber.Wonderful country views could be seen at this vantage points, with trees resplendent in their various autumn colours.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The Longstone

We then walked past an interpretation panel and up  onto the downs. Spectacular views could then be seen in all directions

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Country views (photo Dave Trevan)

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Spectacular views from the downs (Photo:Dave Trevan)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Some of the group members (photo: Dave Trevan)

It was at this point we found our best specimens of the morning, a small troop of the “Parasol Fungus”, Macrolepiota procera,with their large caps  and dark scales, and stems which resemble snakeskin.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

“Parasol Fungus”( Macrolepiota procera) photo:Dave Trevan

David Biggs pointed out Tortrix caterpillars in Teasels(Dipsacus fullonum) and demonstrated by opening up a teasel seed head.

On the route back, we walked past some very fine and rugged wind pruned trees, including  Sycamore, Beech and Hawthorn.Gorse (Ulex europaeus)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The cliffs at Freshwater.(photo:Dave Trevan)

was also observed flowering.

 

Dave and Hazel Trevan

About the Author