Sunday, 28 June 2009

Lives in Dartmoor

I've been away this week, mostly camping in Dartmoor, so this post is a photo-walk across the moors and bogs, starting with some of the plants from the marshy ground (Cottongrass, Bog Pimpernel and Sundews):

Eran spotted some newts - here's one:
Impressively fibrous fructicose lichens grew from the oaks, something city-dwellers rarely get to see since these organisms are so sensitive to air pollution (I can only identify the one photographed as a kind of Usnea):

This particular oakwood grew on the bank of the Okement River:

Rocky boulders cover the ground, all wrapped in moss, and the trees grow quite low and slender. I think this may be because an oakwood loves light - they seem to reach some kind of agreement. The plants growing there are so different to under oaks around us in Oxfordshire; they look rather Alpine, such as this Stonecrop:

We walked to the head of the East Dart, inspired by Alice Oswald. After slinking past the Army (who were picking up shells from their artillery practice) and Eran's heroic tent-and-dinner-carrying labours the water was deliciously cooling. Right at the head it feels like a secret, the water's so silent it makes you back away, but further down it picks up pace and cuts out a stream, still stained with earth:
Oswald says this:

one step-width water
of linked stones
trills in the stones 
glides in the trills
eels in the glides
in each eel a fingerwidth of sea

Here's where we camped that night:
At night when the meadow pippets and skylarks rested it became very silent and blue.

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