Saturday, 12 January 2019

Somerset levels - January cycle

Continuing with cycle rides straight from home, I am finally getting to explore some of those long droves which criss cross the Somerset wetlands.  Whilst the narrow roads leading off the hills can take the form of hollow ways lined with ferns, down on the Moors, where the droves are flaked by rhnes which at this time of the year are full of water, they are higher than the surrounding areas.  I find the term Moor strange, as I had previously thought and experienced moors at high levels, not like these areas which are only a few meters above sea level.

Yesterday's ride of 12km, took me across the A39 Wells to Glastonbury Road, through Upper Coxley and onto Pill Moor.  In effect my cycle ride took me round Harter's Hill.  It is the first in the section of pictures below.  I am a complete novice regarding taking pictures my mobile hence fuzziness, exposure may be me or maybe I am just expecting too much from it!

There were many birds in the rhynes and fields.  On this ride there were rooks feeding in the grass, and an adult swan and two juveniles in one rhyne near Harter's Hill, which got me thinking of Wynne the widowed Swan at the Bishop's Palace in Wells, who managed to rear her cygnets single handed this year.  She has flown away, and we are all wondering whether the new swans will learn to ring the bell.  Standing out in the dull grey day were two little white egrets, a couple of herons, and what looked like a very big heron type bird, which took off in flight as soon as I came riding down the drove.  Looking up the site for birds on the levels, I see that there has been Cranes on the levels.  I will be sure to pack my binoculars for my next ride out on the levels!  

With all the stopping to admire the views, and enjoying checking on my map on the phone, the ride took longer than I had anticipated.  It was well worth it.


  1. Replies
    1. Back in the nineteenth century the Bishop's daughter taught the swans to ring a bell, it is quite a small one, and the swans tug at a rope to ring the bell, so that someone would come and feed them. This skill has been passed down through the generations. Now the link has been broken, unless of course, Wynne with a new mate, or one of her cygnets returns. We have been told a new but established pair are being introduced...I've put a link within the text now about this.