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Sunday, July 01, 2007

Historic and Picturesque Essex

It was chucking it down at 5am this morning and when I texted Dave at 6 it had stopped but as it was raining there we decided to postpone.

So I went to Essex Wildlife Trusts Hanningfield Reservoir. Water levels were high but I still managed to FINALLY see my first Common Sandpiper of the year and then a second!! Also 2 Red Crested Pochard.

No Ruddy Ducks, which was unusual since it was a stronghold. I later learnt that unfortunately they've been shot. Whereas the RSPB and the WWT support the cull EWT don't agree with the policy but unfortunately it's the law where you have an invasive non native species that threatens a globally endangered species like the White Headed Duck. I think EWT take the view that the Ruddies are not migrating from the UK to Spain in any numbers (Ruddies are fairly sedantry in the states I believe) and that if there were Ruddies in Spain they would ignore the White Heads anyway in preference for other Ruddies.

On David Dimbley's series the other week he visited Cressing Temple Barns and you know? I've never been and they are close to me. The site was built by the Knights Templar.

There are two Barns the Wheat and Barley Barns. The Wheat Barn was built from timbers felled between 1257 and 1290. The Barley Barn was built of 480 oak trees felled between 1205 and 1235.

Today the site is owned by Essex County Council and is rather well displayed.

The well house.

There is a walled garden restored to how it would have been in Tudor times.

Wheat Barn

Barley Barn

A Merlin being "hunted"

So on to Hedingfield Castle

The current owners house I guess. The grounds are quite attractive.

Some painted houses for Oceans.

In the area is one of only 5 round medieval Round Churches in the country. St John the Baptist is the youngest and was by the Knights Hospitallers in 1335. It was heavily victorianised but was said to be originally modelled on the church of the Holy Sephulcre in Jerusalem.


Emma said...

Looks like you had a great day. Now I am completely pissed off to see your photos with dryness and blue sky though. It's not properly stopped raining here for more than 15 or so minutes at a time for days. The river round the park I just took Emma is about to come up over onto the playing field, and we still have days and days more of this forecast. :(

oldcrow61 said...

Great photos Pete. Looks like a very interesting place to visit.

Mo said...

Great photos. I think it's a real shame about the Ruddy ducks. We used to get them at Kinnordy - a little loch in Angus but alas, they are no more. It makes you wonder sometimes about "conservationists". I have to side with the ruddy duck.

Dorothea said...

I especially love those barns, the forge and wheelwrights' shop. Amazing to think that no-one disturbed the place for 60 years, before bringing the contents to safekeeping in Cressing.

Inspirational. I'll have to put that on my 'to visit' list when I go to Cambridge. Thanks Pete.

Is it quite peaceful and quiet, or "tranquil" as the CPRE call it?

Pete said...

Hi Dorothea

well on the Sunday there was an exhibition in the barnes so it wasn't the best day to go. I'd imagine week days it would be quietish.