Having lived and worked in Burley it is close to my heart and today I took myself for a walk through some old haunts.
Heading along Cotts Lane the ponies were enjoying the sun on the golf course much to the annoyance of some keen golfers, but the ponies happily snoozed unfazed. This unmade and potholed track hasn't changed from the days of bumping along this road when working on the wagon rides. Lined with oaks and holly it is a popular shelter for the ponies amongst the trees on hot sunny days.
Leaving the track behind I took a short trip along the lane where blackthorn blossomed before heading along the old road to Clay Hill. High banks and gorse line the old concrete road to the pond where excitable dogs frolic and cool.
The heath of Clayhill has always felt wild and ancient to me, the gorse flower dominated my view as I made my way towards the small woodland beside the road where some amazing examples of ancient maiden oaks stand that reach out with their long limbs and pull you near to share their stories.
Stepping out onto Bisterne Lane, it was a steady meander pass the exclusive properties and small holdings with gardens and buildings you cannot help but admire. Lane turns to lawn weaving the gorse towards Mill lawn brook.
Following the twists and the curves of the babbling brook egrets strudded along the bank and woodlarks called in their descending flight above. Ponies grazed and rolled in the distance and a Dartford warbler caught my eye on a nearby gorse. I proceeded to Burley lawn while watching my step through the damp ground which was attacting brimstone butterflies. Passing the lesser known footpaths fallow bucks rested in the safety of the open field where I have watched them for many years through all seasons and spotted the well used badger tracks that many generations of the setts have walked.
Nearing the end of my walk the totem pole landmark still makes me smile as I stepped through the wise old beech trees towards the church and village for a well deserved coffee and a rest while looking out for the red deer at Burley Manor Park.
You can join me for this walk in May when the hedges will be a buzz with life and the canopies will be green 🌳