Stepping into the shade

Nestled in the parish of Trinity is a football field used by Trinity FC, the Riley Field. Presumably it’s called the Riley field after Athelstan Riley, who became seigneur of Trinity Manor when he purchased the manor and it’s lands in 1909, perhaps gifting the land for the football pitch to the parish. However I don’t know, and to be very truthful, I’m not particularly interested in football. What I wanted to show you was a pretty little secret at the far end of the field.

20130804-231907.jpg The first thing you are stuck by, as you close the gate behind you, is the sound of gurgling water. If you look really closely you might see a glimmer of water deep in the luscious green undergrowth.

20130805-220212.jpg We took the path to the left, over a quaint little wooden bridge and across the short end of this secret little valley. We walked from sun, to shade, then sun again and watched the insects busy flittering about, and the butterflies dancing in patches of sunlight. You’ll have to take my word for it though, the action shots are just too blurred to use! I have a vague memory of coming to his valley with the Jersey bat group decades ago, and if the volume and variety of insects are anything to go by I think the bats will still be going strong.

20130805-221246.jpg This is such a pretty little valley. Although we’ve been having some exceptionally warm weather, even for Jersey, there is still lots of water here. You can hear it in the trickling of the stream nearby, the tell-tale splish splashing of water over rocks. You don’t often see it, but you are constantly aware of it nearby and, when required, perfectly placed stepping stones keep your feet dry.

20130805-222432.jpg Wooden pathways are set into the bottom end of the valley to allow you to cross without sinking into the marshy meadow. Note to self – remember to come back and see in the spring. I imagine the meadow will be awash with flowers then.

20130805-222957.jpg There is a lovely view from here down the length of the valley. There are no cattle here just now, but these small valleys are traditionally used for grazing tethered Jersey cows. It’s easy to see how much the strength of the sun has dried the meadow grasses and faded the vibrant greens to greys.

20130805-230342.jpg At the far end of the valley the woodland begins to open out into fields, and hidden high up in the trees we could see an owl box. A perfect penthouse for locally qualified residents of the feathered variety. I looked but couldn’t see any casts (regurgitated pellets of hair and bones of small mammals, un-digestible to an owl) but will come again one evening at dusk in hope of seeing an owl itself.

20130805-224434.jpg There are lots of trees around the edges of the valley, but one that caught our eye was an old stump of a tree, complete with an impression of ‘the scream’ at its base.

20130805-225946.jpg As we walked through the woodland I couldn’t help but think this could be the perfect place for bluebells to flourish. I could imagine them flanking these rustic steps. But of course it’s definitely the wrong season for bluebells so I will come back in the spring, with my fingers crossed. I have found small patches of bluebells in woodlands across the island, but not like the swathes and swathes of bluebells as we had in the country park I called home when I was growing up.

20130806-231258.jpgWe carried on along the bottom of the valley floor, our feet still dry on more thoughtfully placed duck boards.

20130806-232017.jpgI absolutely love walking through dappled sunlight under the tree canopy. Look how vibrant the colours are!

20130806-233649.jpg And, in just a few places, still there are foxgloves in bloom.

20130806-234239.jpgUntil we came full circle and back to the gate leading to the football pitch once more.

20130806-232304.jpg A delightful little walk which takes only about half an hour to complete.

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