Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Trains, big and small

Work and family commitments took me back to Bradford yesterday, with non-stop sunshine blessing the proceedings. Train travel between the city, Leeds and Halifax at the moment is a delight, a journey in more or less continuous corridors of green with trees and wildflowers still in their fresh early stages because of the late arrival of the seasons this year.

My complex itinerary included a walk from an uncle in Nab Wood to a cousin on the road between Manningham and Shipley and this, typically of West Riding cities and towns, involved leaving suburbia, plunging instantly into deep, thickly wooded countryside, and then just as rapidly returning to houses and road.

In this case, the surroundings of Northcliffe Wood were new to me; but not to Speckled Woods such as the one above which were flitting about in the dappled sunshine, while Meadow Browns, Green-veined Whites and Orange Tips enjoyed the full sunshine at the edge of the golf course and open stretches of field.

The second picture shows the backdrop to the first photo. The bluebells are still at their best in the shadier parts of the wood. And then as the track descended, I suddenly came across the complex layout of a miniature railway - most mysterious in the quiet (apart from birdsong) with absolutely no one else around. I exulted to my cousin about finding a secret train layout in the wood and got the gentle put-down: "Everyone knows about the railway. They have steam days and we used to go on it as kids."  But I didn't, and it added to my agreement with the slogan promoted by the city's brilliant tourism officer Maria Glott is days gone by: 'Bradford - A Surprising Place'.


Katie (Nature ID) said...

Wow, I'm amazed bluebells are still in fine bloom. Aren't they usually going in late April through early May? I've been paying attention to when they bloom over there, because visiting bluebell woods during peak color is on my bucket list. Since our annual holiday can't start until June, I figured we'd have to miss seeing them until after retirement. I'd also like to see a speckled wood in flight.

MartinWainwright said...

Hi Katie

Yes they're late this year, in common with pretty much everything else in the UK cos of the long, cold and damp winter we endured. It's lovely and sunny now, mind, and the forecast is for that to continue into next week. It's wonderful when this happens at this time of the year as the miserable (English...) weather does at least make everything lush and green and it looks superb in sunshine when the warm weather finally arrives as it has done.

If you get the chance of a holiday, it would be well worth checking out bluebell flowering times in more detail. When they are so late in Bradford, they will probably be later still further north - eg in Northumberland (where there are lovely bluebell woods along the Roman Wall) and Scotland.

The Speckled Wood is a lovely butterfly and its colouring provides perfect camouflage in the dappled light of woodland which it favours. I haven't seen any around our new home yet, but it's a species which has flourished in recent years, so here's hoping.

All warm wishes