Under An Essex Sky.

Bright birds with honesty to sing, Bluebells and primroses that spill cascades of colour on the spring. 
From Clouds by John Drinkwater, poet and dramatist, born in Leytonstone, Essex, England on June 1, 1882.

On Friday, we headed out of the village and followed the footpaths that took us to the gravel pits and Watery Lane. Our plan was to do a spot of pathfinding. I had noticed when we were exploring the old Woodhouse Farm a sign that showed a public footpath beyond the airfield.

In all the years my friend Ana and I have been walking the footpaths around our village we had never explored this far over. I knew the old airfield was huge, but it wasn’t until I had seen an overview of it on an old map (dated 1964ish) my husband had that I could see just where the footpaths were.

We left the bluebell wood at Watery Lane and continued walking along Cut Hedge Lane (I just love the name of this road). As we rounded the corner in front of us we saw a Roe deer grazing peaceful in the early morning sunshine. Roe deer were once our smallest native deer and were widespread in Britain during the Middle Ages. Gradually the Roe deer disappeared across much of Britain, only to survive in a few odd places. No one was sure why it was dying out. About a hundred years ago, it was reintroduced into parts of England.

The Roe deer is a shy creature and keeps to cover during daytime. The best time of the day to see it is at dawn or dusk. We saw about seven deers in total, a buck (male) with a group of does (females)

We followed the road until we found the next public footpath sign. This led us around a lovely little cottage (Deek’s Cottage) and onto a track that said it headed towards the airfield. The sun was warmer than we expected, so I was glad that I only had a thin jumper on under my jacket and hadn’t wore my woolly hat or gloves as I had on previous mornings.

1 slide) Felix Hall Clock Tower: 2) back the way we came 3) Old building on the Airfield 4) inside one of the farm buildings 5) Woodhouse Farm house 6) detail on old door

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