All has been activity in the fields around here this last week with the harvesting. Suddenly the landscape is transformed. I love to see the fields full of wheat, barley and beans but I also really like seeing stubble fields - they remind me of long summer days riding across them when I was younger! The views open up again and expanses seem accessible. When it comes to ploughing though there is a tinge of sadness with autumn coming.
There are still many birds to see - flocks of skylarks and our resident green woodpecker as well as swallows and buzzards.
Nearby in Sudbury there are the water meadows, some of the most ancient continuously grazed land in England. They are managed by the Sudbury Common Lands Charity and have a network of footpaths across them, making them a great place for walking, although they are also a farmed area. They lie in the floodplain, with the River Stour running through the middle, so at certain points of the year they are covered with water. In the summer cattle graze there - they have a ceremonial letting on of the cattle in May and then they are taken off the meadows usually in late October.
As well as the cattle, the water meadows are a great place for wild life - kingfishers, little egrets, barn owls, buzzards, swans, moorhens and an array of dragon flies and damsel flies and other insects. The landscape has wetland plants, marsh orchids, rushes and sedges.
The Mill Hotel in Sudbury is a lovely place to stop off for a coffee or a drink and sit and admire the views.
Further afield, but still not far Bury St Edmunds and Cambridge also have lovely water meadows and of course in Cambridge the backs are there too and there is no better way to see them than by punt - you can hire your own or go on a punt tour, where someone does the hard work for you!