Jan and Laurie Haseler led a circular walk in pleasant sunshine at Streatley Warren on Wednesday 18th February. The walk started out westwards along the Ridgeway from the end of Rectory Road. A flock of Fieldfares flew up from the trees at the side of the track. A gap in the hedge tempted the group out onto the adjacent sunny field margin. A flock of Lapwings could be seen below in the valley bottom. A pair of Bullfinches slipped along the hedge line and further along, there was a solitary Juniper bush in the hedge. One of the objectives of the walk was to inspect the open access land at Streatley Warren, where access is only permitted between November and February. Dick Greenaway’s recent interesting talk to the Society on ‘The history of woodlands in Southern England’ had included an aerial photograph of Streatley Warren, showing the outlines of an Iron Age field system which also continued north into Unhill Wood. The two modern-day grassy fields had a series of clearly-visible banks and terraces, showing evidence of earlier farming activity. A Hare raced up across the first field, crossed the boundary fence and disappeared from sight.
The walk continued along tracks towards Westridge Green. A White Dead-nettle plant was in flower at the base of a hedge, a Red Kite was watched as it flew low and landed on the ground and the call of a distant Raven was heard. At the big arable field next to Westridge Copse, a second Hare ran up to the middle of the field, then settled down and became very difficult to spot. The north-facing slope of Westridge Copse was still frosty. The footpath led back to Rectory Road, where Snowdrops and a single Stinking Hellebore plant were seen and a Mistle Thrush sang from the trees above the road. Lunch was then enjoyed at the Four Points at Aldworth.
Pictures by Rob Stallard, Ian Esland and Laurie Haseler