Friday, 17 October 2008

Footprints in the mud

There was a late visitor in the garden this afternoon. The warm sunshine encouraged this Dragonfly the sit and sunbathe.

Common Darters often hang on well into the Autumn, if it stays mild they can be seen through to November and exceptionally into December.

This looks to me to be a juvenile male Common Darter and the various species of Darters (Sympetrums) can be confusing. From this angle the yellow stripe down the legs, a good identifier, can be seen.

While I was watching the Darter this seed head of a Clematis took my eye. We're used to Old Man's Beard, a native Clematis, but some of the garden varieties produce equally attractive fruits and seed heads.

At this time of year there seems to be an explosion in the number of garden Spiders. I'm sure that it is just that as the leaves disappear ans dew arrives in the mornings their webs are more obvious, but at the moment they are very prominent.
This afternoon I started walking round the tetrad (2 km square on the O S Map) that I am surveying for the BTO Bird Atlas. (B.T.O. = British Trust for Ornithology). It requires one to be able to walk from one side of the square to the other on a couple of nearly parallel routes. This is usually possible using roads and footpaths ans sometimes with land owners permission to cross private land. So armed with my OS map I started along what I thought was a public right of way that runs from Station Road to Pond Lane, nest to the horse paddocks and the navigation beacon.
When I got to the end of the horse Fields the path vanished. I could seen the sign across the field on the roadside but no path to it.

When I go to the road, picking my way along the edge of the field, I confirmed that the sign did say there was a bridle way (not as I thought a foot path).

There on a post nest to the bridle path sigh was this little plastic notice from Kent County Council. It Read:

This Public Right of Way has been Diverted by Statutory Order. Please Follow Waymarkers.

The arrow on the notice pointed upwards, not too useful. There was not indication as to where this diversion might be and as far as I could see no good reason to divert. It's about time that the few feet that foot paths take up were protected from the plough. Farming is important, but it is also heavily subsidised by the very people inconvenienced when footpaths are closed or spoiled. In the parish of St Margaret's there are an ever increasing number of paths that are being reduced in width or blocked altogether and we shouldn't allow this happen without a protest. If you find an abuse of a right of way, where ever you are let your local authority know, and in St Margaret's, inform the Parish Council or flag it up on my blog.

1 comment:

Graham H said...

Hi Tony

Ploughed footpaths are frustrating but we must keep getting out there and using them. I always arm myself with an Ordnance survey explorer map to help find where I'm going, and also in case I'm challenged. Kent County Council are responsible for all PROW in the county, see: http://www.kent.gov.uk/environment/public-rights-of-way/