Thursday, 30 April 2015

Turville and Skirmett

After a short power cut at home - they're upgrading the gas mains nearby, I had just about reset the PC and got up and running again when the power went again. So I decided rather than lose more work I would go for a walk instead! The aim was to try to find Herb Paris in Mousells Wood. The starting point was the quiet village of Turville, which I have been to twice before: Hambleden, Turville and Skirmett and Turville, Watlington and Ibstone but not in Spring. Here is map of the 7 mile walk:

I took the steep walk to the windmill that overlooks Turville.

Turville village

It struck me that I have visited both Turville and Deane in the last six months, not a lot of people can say that! On the path just in front of my nose was a butterfly. As there was a cold north-westerly breeze blowing it stayed put unlike the butterflies I saw last week. It is a Dingy Skipper, one that while not uncommon is quite rare to spot. The markings are quite attractive and not really 'dingy' at all. I saw very few butterflies elsewhere on the walk, too cold for them and there was a stiff breeze.

Dingy skipper,butterfly

I walked through some woodland and then went down into the next valley that has the hamlet of Fingest in it.

Fingest village

In the field were sheep with some very contended looking lambs. One almost looks like it is smiling, what a shame they have to grow up!

sheep and lambs

In the next woods I spotted something gold and shiny on a leaf. I think it might be the Plain Gold micro-moth (Micropterix Calthella).

Plain Gold micromoth,Micropterix Calthella

Then another field full of sheep, the majority with two lambs. The farmer had helpfully sprayed mother and offspring with numbers, presumably to help the lambs find their mothers? There were also swallows flying over the field, the first seen this year.

sheep and lamb

I reached Mousells Wood and started looking for Herb Paris. As it is a green plant with small flowers it is really hard to spot from a distance. I had no luck, and as I had a similarly unsuccessful trip last year perhaps it will always elude me. The woods were attractive though.

Mousells Wood

My path joined a section of the Chiltern Way and I followed it through Adam's Wood (managed by the Woodland Trust) and at this time of year full of bluebells.

Adams Wood,bluebells

Following the path down to the hamlet of Skirmett I came across this most curious notice on a gate. Something to do with the film The Men who stare at goats?

notice,do not stare

Skirmett is really just a few houses along the road to Turville, however it was every bit a rural idyll and yet only three miles from the M40.


Across the field I could see in the distance strange grey shapes. Getting closer they turned out to be a large herd of deer. I am assuming they are farmed, I saw a dozen or so wild deer in Mousells Wood


I took a footpath up into Great Wood, another climb (Google Earth tells me I did 1,376 feet in all) with many wild flowers : goldilocks buttercup, wood spurge, spurge laurel, woodruff, wood sorrel, wood anemone etc.. When I came down to another branch of the Chiltern Way I spotted a buttercup (probably a field buttercup) in bud. It was a struggle to focus so the hairs came out in sharp focus.

buttercup bud

Approaching Truville there were many arum lilies. It is often hard to find them at their best, they are often half-chewed, gone over or lop-sided so it was good to see this fine specimen.

arum lily

The church at Turville is famous as the setting for all the Vicar of Dibley church scenes. It receives a steady stream of visitors. The village has been used for Goodnight Mr Tom and quite a few other films. On this shot you can see the windmill that I passed on the first part of the walk.

turville church

Within Turville church are a number of pieces of old stained glass in the form of parts of heraldic shields. I think this motto ‘Quo Fata Vocant’ relates to the Earls of Leicester and there is a connection to Bysshe Shelley great-grandfather to the poet Percy Bysshe Shelley.

turville church,stained glass

Then back home with power restored and remaining stable - so far.