Jonathan's Mistletoe Diary

January 29, 2006

Wye Valley mistletoe

Filed under: Uncategorized — Jonathan Briggs @ 9:56 pm

To Redbrook, on the banks of the Wye, just south of Monmouth. One foot in England, the other in Welsh Wales.

Yes, its another winter walk, with the usual mistletoe flavour. Not the main purpose – that’s more to do with exercise, fresh air, and checking out the estate agents’ windows. We walk a circular route, on Offa’s Dyke Path from Redbrook to Monmouth, and back via the Wye Valley Walk. Last time I did the first part of this walk was 1979, as a spotty student building self-confidence before going off to University. I did about half the whole Dyke path then – 70-odd miles, before admitting my boots needed more walking-in first.

Looks just the same on the ascent up the Kymin, a hill between Redbrook and Monmouth. But the noises are different – a angry wasp sound gets louder as we ascend, soon to reveal itself as a Moto-X track, with loads of kiddies with expensive toys going round and round in pointless noisy circles in the mud. Hmm! Haven’t they got anything better to do?

We soon leave them behind though, and reach the Naval Temple on the Kymin, erected c 1810 to commemorate British victories over the French, Spanish and Dutch. Not v PC these days – but gripping stuff!

Lots of names and dates of battles, mostly in the 1790s. These battles are largely forgotten now – but judging by this monument you’d think we had nothing better to do back then.

(We did do better things of course – the Ind Rev was then in full swing, and the canals were all getting their Acts of Parliament).

Some good mistletoe on the way up… on field boundary hawthorns and whitebeams etc… Looking very yellow in the winter light.

Then down to Monmouth, quick comfort stop in town, checking out estate agents, and watching the police break up a minor street brawl – then off down the river…

There’s mistletoe here too. No surprise there – as the Wye and Usk are corridors of mistletoe colonies right into the mountains…

But the plants are few and far between. Here’s Caroline demonstrating how difficult it is to photograph when it’s at the top of a tall tree…

The river has a few surprises – these two old railway viaducts recall the industrial days of the Wye Valley – when there were mills of all sorts on the tributary streams, and the rivers ran red with the rust colour from the local ironworks (hence “Redbrook”). One is, obviously, defunct, the other is in use as a footpath.

Lots of wildlife on the Wye – swans, ducks, moorhen, heron etc etc. And such a change from our usual canals – this is proper moving water – and lots of it.

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