Water, Water, Water!

Today I visited John and Rosie Palmer’s land on the banks of the River Stour near Corfe Mullen. What a great day for a walk along the river.

River Stour at Corfe Mullen, Dorset

The sun shone and although it was chilly it wasn’t one of those northerly winds that go straight through you. In fact at times it was quite warm!

The river looked gorgeous. John told me that it has risen by at least 7 feet in the last few days, and in parts it was starting to encroach on the meadows. The power of the water as it swirled past me was hypnotic. I could have watched it all day.

We walked along the river bank. I didn’t find any otter spraint, but did unfortunately find mink droppings. Mink have spread into most of our waterways, pushing our native mammals out. However, I’m pretty sure I will find otter spraint when the water recedes a bit. All the signs are good! We did see swans, egrets, herons a flock of starlings and some lovely fungi (as usual I have no idea what it is, but love the glossy look of it).

Fungi at Bear Mead

John and Rosie also showed me their wonderful wood pasture. These people really have a vision for the future. The little “Major” oak trees stand about 4-5ft high (many even smaller), but what a sight they will be in years to come. A little piece of Sherwood Forest in the heart of Dorset.

When the water has receded a bit I hope to go back for another look. Thank you John and Rosie for letting me share your little piece of paradise for a few hours!



6 thoughts on “Water, Water, Water!

  1. Sounds as if you had a glorious and interesting day.
    Were they ever proper water meadows, Jane? Water meadows are areas of low-lying grassland which were regularly `drowned’ – artificially irrigated – at certain times of the year, to stimulate the early growth of grass in the spring. It looks as if they might be. I’m sure John and Rosie would know.

  2. Yes they were water meadows. When the river floods John told me you can see where the original ditches were. There was also a roman fort and a water mill (hence John’s work this year trying to open up the old mill stream). When I was growing up in Salisbury, Wilts. we lived right next to some water meadows that were still being farmed using the traditional old methods. The farm had a full time water bailiff who opened and closed the sluices. I wish now that I had spoken to this old bloke about what he was doing, as this must be a dying (if not dead) art now. Do you have water meadows?

  3. How fascinating, I’d loved to have seen them and talked to the old guy too. I read that the best examples of old water meadows are in Wilts.
    No, unfortunately I haven’t, well I don’t think so. The land I rent down by the river is full of interesting geological features – oxbow lakes and the like, but I don’t think anything looks man-made. There are some lovely ones near by, outside a village called Sheepwash.

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