Sunday was foul. A rainy morning slowly dried up leaving our relatively high valley still in the clouds. The only way to get out of the damp was to head downwards, so we set off for a walk along a section of the Tarka Trail which we had yet to visit. Parking the car at the northernmost point of the trail near Braunton, we caught a bus to Barnstaple and picked up the trail in the town centre.
Soon we were past the town, and the trail was very easy walking, with the river on one side and pleasant countryside on the other.
We had been expecting to see a few birds along the way, and we weren’t disappointed, with a few gulls, a couple of little egrets, oystercatchers, curlew, common sandpipers, shelduck, redshank, black-tailed godwits, cormorants, little grebes, linnets, and a buzzard.
What we hadn’t been expecting was the huge variety of flowers that we found. Some were common, and easily recognised, and some were a bit more unusual or new to us. In total, we counted 43 species! Luckily for you, I didn’t take photos of all of them, but just a few.
In places the origins of the trail as a railway line were evident.
There were banks of buddleias in flower, scenting the air, but as it was so dull, we saw few butterflies.
We did spot this chap hiding on an embankment
We kept finding more new flowers.
I was also very pleased to find a selection of nice fungi – the first of the new season. These were all boletes, which have pores underneath instead of gills. The tasty and well-known Cep is a bolete. These were new to me, and I am still not sure of their names, but I think this one is the Scarletina Bolete
And this one might be the Lurid Bolete.
At a convenient point on the path, there was a lovely new cafe overlooking the river, so we felt it necessary to support their endeavours by stopping for a snack. Refreshed, we continued on past the Marine base at Chivenor, where the guards with guns made me a little wary of taking photos!
Once past the base the trail passed through some pleasant countryside, and showed us a few more flowers, before returning us to our car.
St John’s Wort
I hope you enjoyed the photos, and please feel free to correct me if any of the flowers are wrong – I am still learning!