About Me

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Bristol , United Kingdom
I'm co-director of the Leaping Word Poetry Consultancy, which provides advice for poets on writing, editing and publishing, as well as qualified counselling support for those exploring personal issues in their work - https://theleapingword.com. My fifth poetry collection, Learning Finity, is now available from Indigo Dreams or directly from me.

Thursday 30 June 2011

Gorgeous Goats

Off out with Dru today, across the Downs to Sea Walls. There are new arrivals in the gorge - six Kashmir goats from Great Orme in North Wales, brought in to manage scrub in Walcombe Slade and help restore wildflower grassland.  But first we scouted around the Downs in search of bee orchids. Apparently it's not a good year for them. We saw some bladder campion, though, and some magnificent seed heads.  

At Sea Walls we scrambled down the very steep sides of the gorge to a rocky outcrop high above the muddy River Avon. Luckily, a fence has been installed to pen the goats in the gully, presumably until they become hefted, and this eased our precipitous slither.

It was low tide, and we could see the sun glancing off the mud banks that lurked a couple of hundred feet below us.

Dru had already visited the goats every day since their arrival earlier in the week, but this was my first glimpse. We saw two, then three, and finally all six sunbathing, eating and generally lazing about in the sun.  

I was moderately pleased with my photos until I saw Dru's. I'm going to claim she achieves this because her camera is the dog's bollocks, but actually it's because she is knowledgeable, has a good, quick eye and doesn't walk around with her mind in China.

Eventually we scrabbled all the way down to the Portway, and without falling to our deaths.  

And there were still more glories to behold, like a pair of buzzards and a peregrine (so Dru tells me).  And these fugitive red hot pokers, looking better au naturel than ever they do in suburban gardens.

I also loved the scribble made by insects mining tracks under the bark of a dead tree.  Nature's fine art!  They could almost be the fossilised remains of prehistoric insects.  Or an Art Nouveau illustration by Aubrey Beetlesbee.  So very beguiling. 

And back up top, another dead tree, this one with a chiff-chaff at the top, chiff-chaffing the remains of the afternoon away.  Lovely.


  1. what nice pics! -I wonder if the 'body' of the prehistoric insects is where the eggs were laid, and the 'legs' are where the grubs munched their ways along until they stopped, pupated and buzzed off?

  2. Sounds more than plausible. Whatever they did, they did it most artfully.

  3. love the goats! they look quite at home too. What a great idea to bring them up to manage the scrub! Great pics too Deb, tho I've not seen Dru's yet! (just kidding, tho seriously, I am off to Dru's blog to check it out!) :)