February is not my favourite month, but this year it has been and gone in a flash. Though often called “february fill dyke” there have been more sunny days than usual so early in the year and very little rain in this part of the country. March, however, in traditional fashion, has “come in like a lion” with high winds. It remains to be seen if it “goes out like a lamb”.
Is it the year of the snowdrop? St. Mary’s Church, in Lowdham, held its annual snowdrop day recently. On a beautiful day many visitors enjoyed walking round the well-kept churchyard before going into the church where soup and a roll, tea, coffee, and cakes were available to purchase. There are many walks, of different lengths, in and around Lowdham and these were described, together with snippets of history about the places passed on the walks, in leaflets which could be picked up in the church.
Cresswell Crags, known for having the largest collection of prehistoric cave paintings in this country, has recently discovered an equally large and important collection of “witch marks”. The explanation of these is open to dispute, but will certainly add interest to a visit to the Crags.
Along with many farmerss we took part in the recent Farmland Bird Count. It is a little disappointing that the species and number of birds spotted during the thirty minutes allotted for the count, in no way represents the number of species present on the farm. It is particularly exciting to see red kites here and buzzards are no longer a novelty. The brown hare ,increasingly rare in many places, is also to be seen in the fields and crossing the garden. When you see two hares apparently boxing they are, in reality, vying for supremacy in their search for a mate. Though hares are capable of breeding throughout the year this activity is mainly seen in the spring, hence the saying “mad as a March hare”.
The unusually mild weather has meant that crops sown in the autumn are growing fast. Grass, too, has grown and horses which are usaully stabled at night, have been able to spend more hours out without damaging heavy land. It is certainly a most untypical start to the year.