The end of the summer holiday saw us, with the grandchildren, visiting the Knapp and Paper-mill reserve of the Worcestershire Wildlife Trust. Link The reserve lies in the Teme valley and the Malvern Hills area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.
After a picnic at the entrance to the site, where we were watched by a cheeky Robin, we set off to explore, our youngest granddaughter could remember visiting with her school, they do have an educational facility on site. You come first to the old orchard, where some of the trees were laden with apples, which I assume previously belonged to Knapp House…
You can venture down to the stream at several different places with a willow hide at one, placed specifically for viewing Kingfishers.
The Knapp weir was originally used to divert water to the watermill.
There are meadows…
…and steep wooded banks.
The hedgerows were bearing clusters of autumn fruit, which I am sure the bird life will appreciate later in the year.
The Elderberry has long been a favourite for making into wine. We made some many years ago, I have to record it was a nice but powerful drink.
The GuelderRose was looking spectacular, already developing its wonderful autumn leaf colour. The berries contain one seed which is distributed by the birds.
Wild Hops gracefully covered many of the hedgerows and trees. It is of course cultivated for the flavouring of beer. (There is an alcoholic theme developing here!) There are male and female hop plants, the female grows the flowers that we associate with beer brewing while the male has catkins. Worcestershire and Herefordshire was historically an important hop producing area along with Kent.
Also covering the trees and hedgerows was ‘Old Man’s Beard’, this is the country name given to the wild Clematis when it is covered with its whispery seed heads.
Standing on a small bridge over the steam the girls decided to play Pooh Sticks…
…The only problem was we could not tell which stick belonged to who, so they both claimed to have won!
The visit made a fitting end to the summer holidays, reminding us that autumn is on its way and like nature we should be filling the store cupboard. (Not least with wine to fight the winter chills!)