A Cotswold Year - Charting the seasons in the South Cotswolds

Saturday 29 December 2012

Wintery Sunset

After a dull day the sky started to clear with some beautiful colours as the sun set.

Monday 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas

 Nasty wet muddy weather today so glad to get ready for Christmas by the fire.
Merry Christmas to all our followers!

Saturday 22 December 2012

2000 year old tree cut down

The 2000 year old lime tree at Westonbirt Arboretum has only survived to this age by coppicing. Every 20 years or so it is cut down to ground level to encourage new growth which looks like a thicket of trees but is in fact one tree.Hopefully this will continue for many more cycles.

Friday 21 December 2012

Winter Solstice

Now we have reached the Winter Solstice the daylight hours will start to increase.Today was the shortest day and the sun was low in the sky but we did at least have sunshine as the rays shone through the trees.

Wednesday 19 December 2012

Urban Views

We are not very good at Christmas shopping so yesterday found us climbing Cabot's Tower in Bristol to admire the view across the city to the distant Cotswold Hills.

Sunday 16 December 2012

Long Tailed Tits

 Long tailed tits tend to stay in family groups through the winter months and gather together on our bird feeders.
We counted ten of these delightful little birds this morning.

Friday 14 December 2012

Birds stand on the ice

Yesterday we visited Slimbridge WWT and enjoyed the quiet and frosty conditions. Here you see the Shelducks standing on the ice. The highlight of our day was seeing the elusive Bittern skulking around the reed island. Later it flew from one reed bed to another.

Thursday 13 December 2012

Valley Fog

 Fog in the vale struggled to clear all day yesterday,but it started to break up just before sunset giving some ghostly views.

Wednesday 12 December 2012

Frost and fog

Wintry scenes as freezing fog has coated the vegetation in ice giving lovely monochromatic views when the fog clears. Not good for driving but beautiful to see.

Sunday 9 December 2012

Winter Trees

Winter allows you to appreciate the simple shape of trees without the clutter of leaves as shown in this view from Cam Long Down,

Wednesday 5 December 2012

Sunny Views

Lovely sunshine today and the view over Downham Hill towards Stinchcombe Hill looks particularly good. Bare trees ,golden bracken and green fields givea tidy look to the countryside in winter.

Friday 30 November 2012


Winter has a long way to go but already the hazel is showing signs of spring as the catkins are starting to form.

Wednesday 28 November 2012

Winter Sunset

The winter sun often seems to break through just as it sets in this season of short days and cloudy rainy days.So at least we get some lovely skies at sunset.

Sunday 25 November 2012

Bewick Swan

The arrival of Bewick Swans at Slimbridge from their Siberian breeding grounds is always a sign that winter is here, and numbers are starting to build up.

Friday 23 November 2012

Sunny Views

Sunshine at last this morning and there are fine views from the hills.
The Oak Trees are still holding on to their last few leaves but it is mostly bare trees now with the sunlight penetrating into the woods.

Wednesday 21 November 2012

Rain and more rain

We are back in the Cotswolds after a break in a more hilly country.
The trees have lost most of their leaves now and rain has saturated the ground so that 24 hours of heavy  rain has caused much flooding closing some roads like the one in the pictures.

Saturday 3 November 2012

Last of the autumn colours

Many leaves are already on the woodland floor but there is plenty of autumn colour left.
There is snow visible on the Welsh Hills across the vale this morning so Winter is coming.
We are having a short break from blogging but check back later in the month.

Tuesday 30 October 2012


It some ways  it is sad to see the leaves fall in autumn but now we can appreciate the shapes of the trunks and branches like these lovely old coppiced beech in  Coaley Wood.

Saturday 27 October 2012

Autumn drilling.

The farmers were busy catching up after the wet weather where we were walking near Andoversford today.  The sunshine and cool wind was helping to dry up the fields.  This farmer was using some fairly new technology - a direct drilling machine whereby in one pass the ground is worked and seeds are drilled straight into the ground.  This avoids the need to plough, wait and then work the ground before planting seeds. Expensive to buy but there are considerable savings on time as well as the cost of diesel.

Thursday 25 October 2012


Not much rain in the past few days and a little wind today have dried out the ground enough for some farmers to get on with ploughing the fields for next years crops. As usual there  were plenty of gulls following to feed on worms and insects exposed by the ploughs.

Monday 22 October 2012

Woodland in Autumn

Leaves have nearly all turned brown now and many have already fallen in a very rapid onset of autumn.

Sunday 21 October 2012

Mist and Sunshine

Lovely Autumn weather yesterday with a misty morning slowly clearing until autumn colours were enhanced by a beautiful sunset.

Thursday 18 October 2012

Autumn Colours

Autumn foliage is making the woodlands look spectacular.We made a visit to Westonbirt Arboretum today where the acers are looking at their best but the native Beech trees  near our home have yet to turn and are still green.

Sunday 14 October 2012

First frost of Autumn

Fog fills the Vale as the first frost of the season whitens the fields this morning.

Autumn Sun

Autumn colours were accentuated by a lovely sunset
and stormy clouds yesterday.

Thursday 11 October 2012

Spider's web in the mist

Foggy October mornings make spider's webs stand out dramatically as the mist condenses on the normally near invisible silken strands.
This cannot be good for catching insects but makes a beautiful sight.

Tuesday 9 October 2012


 Thistles are looking rather sad at this time of year but the heads will be useful to seed eating birds like the Goldfinch during the next few months.
The plants have survived here on Coaley Peak's unimproved Limestone grassland as the prickles have protected them from being eaten by the cows.
Thistles were apparently thought by the Romans to have properties which could return hair to bald heads we don't know if this involved rubbing them on and certainly aren't going to try it.

Wednesday 3 October 2012

Harvest home

Deer and birds glean the remains of this year's harvest from the stubble making the most of the glut of food before the winter sets in.

Saturday 29 September 2012

Cuckoo Pint

The Cuckoo Pint flower now has now shed its  distinctive green hood seen earlier in the year to reveal the poisonous red berries which can be fatal if eaten by a child.

Thursday 27 September 2012

Rain & Mud

 With a dry start for September we almost forgot about the wet summer but rain is back with a vengeance  causing muddy paths and flooded fields in the Berkeley Vale.

Tuesday 25 September 2012

Storms and Rainbows

Now the equinox has passed and nights are longer than days the weather is distinctly cooler and 50mm of rain fell over the last two days.
When the sun does break through we can observe some beautiful rainbows across the vale as it shines through the showers.

Thursday 20 September 2012

Autumn walk through the sheep

 Lovely sunny autumn weather for a walk in the Cotswolds with the cooler temperatures keeping the air clear.
The sheep which were once the source of wealth and industry in the area looking fit and tidy with plenty of grass left to eat.

Wednesday 12 September 2012

Straw Jenga

Where the harvest has been gathered piles of straw bales are waiting collection like huge games of Jenga!

Monday 10 September 2012

Morris Men

There is something very English and eccentric about a group of men prancing about in the summer sunshine with bells round their legs waving handkerchiefs  banging sticks and drinking the odd pint of beer. Here Gloucestershire Morris Men hold their last performance of the season at Gloucester Docks on a lovely sunny September Sunday morning.

Sunday 9 September 2012

Misty Mornings

Despite the weather being warmer than the summer autumn is with us with misty mornings fields cleared of crops and shortening days.

Friday 7 September 2012


Now September is here the hedges are red with haws ,the fruit of the hawthorn. This provides an abundance of food for the birds especially the winter  migrant fieldfare and redwing.
The fruits are very dry but can be used to make jelly.

Thursday 6 September 2012

Mint Moth

As its name suggests the larvae of the tiny mint moth or pyrausta aurata feed on mint and marjoram. The moth flies by day from May to September but with only 18mm wingspan is easy to miss.

Monday 3 September 2012

Waverley Paddle Steamer

 The Cotswold area is not normally thought of as being by the sea but the Severn is tidal up to Glooucester and ships navigate up to Sharpness Docks so it is occasionally possible to embark on a sea voyage down the estuary.
P.S, Waverley is the last sea going paddle steamer in the world and we took advantage of the opportunity of a trip down the Bristol Channel to Ilfracombe.
We were fortunate to have a wonderful sunny day and observed porpoises,gannets, fulmars and an arctic skua on our voyage and enjoyed the different perspective of the estuary from the water.

Thursday 30 August 2012


The Elderberries are turning purple showing us that they will soon be fully ripened. The Elder bushes which grow abundantly in the Cotswold hedgerows are a useful food crop for birds in the autumn.  In years gone by humans too used them to make a syrup rich in Vitamin C which could be stored to fight winter colds and other illness. If you are planning to make some be sure to use plenty of sugar as the berries are very sharp in our experience.