Tuesday, 21 April 2009

The Valley

Below are a couple of pictures of our valley. The first is of the area directly behind our bungalow. Up until a few years ago it was arable farmland but then the London Wildlife Trust discovered some pockets of valuable chalk downland which were awarded SSSI status (Site of Special Scientific Interest) and since then these fields have been uncultivated. This is a mixed blessing as it is great for the wildlife as there are so many wild flowers but it can also be bit of a nuisance for us as we have a constant battle with the migrating weed seeds taking root in our garden (the yellow bits are all dandelions and it gets worse!). The farmer did say he was going to put sheep on it which we would love and they would control the weeds but as yet it hasn't happened. The brown towards the back right is one of the SSSI areas. It has recently been cleared of scrub but it was done using heavy machinery so it will be interesting to see how it recovers compared to a similar area a bit further down the valley that was carefully cleared by hand.

This next picture and the picture behind the 'Downland views' heading shows the valley to the side of us. It is hard to believe we are so close to London and directly under the flight path of Biggin Hill Airport.

My family and I have lived here for many years and have seen many changes but one thing has thankfully been consistent and that is the amazing wildlife. Biggin Hill is now a large village or maybe even a small town and everyone associates it with the Battle of Britain and the annual air fair, so few seem to know about the secret and special world that surrounds them.

Thursday, 16 April 2009

First Post

I have been sitting at my computer for at least twenty minutes trying to think of a good first post for this blog. During this time I have been looking out of my living room window at the fields and woods that make up our area of chalk downland. Usually there is so much going on but it is pouring with rain so everything has taken cover. That was until our friendly male pheasant got fed up of sheltering under a bush in our garden and hopped up onto a frame in the vegetable garden. After sitting there for a minute or two he stretched up his neck and flapped his wings so hard that he lost his balance and fell off his perch. Strangely, Gemma, one of the guinea pigs, did a similar thing only yesterday. I was giving her a slice of apple but she snatched it from me so hard that she fell over backwards landing on a very surprised Ginger (the other guinea pig and son of Gemma). What always amuses me when animals do something silly like this is their very human like response of apparent embarrassment:-)