Maggie Bridges and Marion Venners led a walk round Mortimer on the damp grey morning of Wednesday 18 October. The walk started from the Fairground Field and headed southwards along a footpath behind the houses. Soft Shield-fern, Hart’s-tongue Fern and Male Fern were all found growing on the shady side of a deep ditch next to the path. The footpath then crossed arable farmland, with Field Pansy and Redshank in flower beside the path. The route continued along a quiet lane, with Black Bryony berries and Robin’s Pincushion in the hedgerow at the side. A flock of Chaffinches flew down into a neighbouring field. The next footpath led through a grassy field, following the West End Brook to its junction with the Foudry Brook. There were abundant sloes in the hedgerow here. The water level was very low in the brook. Betony was in flower on the bank next to the stream and Common Knapweed was flowering in the middle of the field. Two Goldcrests were spotted in a tree beside the path and a flock of Goldfinches were seen in a big Oak. There was a very big Field Maple beside the path and an Oak across the brook had a Beefsteak Fungus growing out of its trunk. The route led past the church, then circled back westwards towards Wheat’s Farm. A Speckled Wood butterfly was spotted sheltering down in the grass and Hedge Woundwort, Common Toadflax, Sharp-leaved Fluellen and Marsh Cudweed were added to the plant tally. A family of Pied Wagtails were perched on the fence between 2 horse paddocks. The footpath continued past a row of lime trees, then along a hedgerow with Field Rose still in flower. The path then led through a wood of Holly and Birch, with Common Earthballs and a troupe of greyish coloured fungi. It came out by the far corner of the Fairground Field, where orange, red and white Wax-caps and Yellow Club fungi were found and Devil’s-bit Scabious and Tormentil were in flower. The walk was followed by lunch at the Horse and Groom.
Pictures by Laurie Haseler