Friday, 25 September 2015

A Bit of Natural History mixed with Roman History!

It was a sunny day and I decided I would like to head out and explore a section of the Hadrian's Wall Path. Since opening in 2002 it has become very popular and I haven't been to Vindolanda since I was a child. So off I went to explore some ancient history of World Heritage status and to see what flora and fauna I could find a long the way....

Heather in bloom
Ling Heather, Calluna vulgaris
Roxy on the way to our first Mile Castle
I set off along the wall from Once Brewed up a small climb to Steel Rigg, accompanied by my faithful labrador Roxy. We passed plenty of heather which has been stunning this year and there is a lot of patches of purple all over the hills. We continued along the wall and headed down to the famous sycamore tree that has been a Robin Hood film. I love the fact this lone tree stands strong in an otherwise fairly grazed landscape.

The lone Sycamore Tree on Hadrian's Wall
Along the way I met a group of walkers raising money for various charities and enjoying the sunny weather after yesterday's downpours.

I saw some beautiful patches of harebells and yarrow, still hanging on to their flowers. The harebells looked lovely against the grey stone of the wall.
Harebells and Yarrow
Onwards we marched and came to a small section of woodland, where we pondered for a while and I looked for signs of birds and mammals, whilst Roxy swam in the tarn. I found some great fungi and patches of wood sorrel.

Fungi and Wood Sorrel
After our little break Roxy and I sauntered along more sections of Hadrian's Wall until we finally arrived at Housesteads, where there are some amazing ruins of the Roman buildings that once stood there.

19th Century Well
And so next, I headed off the wall path and back through the fields and along some minor roads to see what I could find along the way....and I was treated to peacock butterflies and what I think were house martins or swifts flying all over above my head.

Peacock Butterfly
House Martins or Swifts - they were just too quick for me to identify!
As I continued along my way, I eventually turned a corner and saw some very large and eye catching ruins and then it dawned on me that it was actually Vindolanda. It is an amazing sight from afar. I saw a marker stone up on the hillside and decided to climb up to it to get a better birds eye view back down on Vindolanda. I tried to imagine myself as a Roman Soldier looking out over the landscape....

Roxy and the longstone
Vindolanda from above
Rosebay Willowherb with a bit of Vindolanda!

Dogs are not allowed on the Vindolanda site - which is fair enough, so Roxy and I walked up the minor road beside it - enjoying the countryside and the first signs of autumn - berries! I also noticed a pellet or was it some scat on a stone wall. I now really have an eye for noticing this stuff - which some may find a bit odd! I am still not sure what this came from as it contained a lot of fibrous material - I still need to do some research on this one.

Unidentified poop or pellet!
Mountain Ash

The final walk back along the road had lots of interesting things to see such as a sapling growing out of the base of a tree and a meadow like flurry of flowers just on the side of the road. It was just a different way to enjoy a walk - stroll and you really do see more........!!

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