Thursday 29 September 2011

At Last a Summer

What a fabulous week we are having, after a rubbish summer, we have had guaranteed hot, sunny and cloudless days this week with more to come. It's like we have suddenly gone backwards into July, this really has been a topsy-turvy year. Every day this week it has simply been a case of enjoying it to the full, on the reserve in the mornings, followed by gardening, etc, and then after lunch out for long cycle rides around Minster and finally an hour or two sunbathing in the garden with a cold beer to finish - looking for birds has been put aside for just this week.
And yet, amazingly, I read a blog last night, by a guy who rarely misses a days birdwatching, in which he complained that this rare, hot sunny weather meant that there were few birds about for him to count and therefore he might not see as many as last month, now how sad is that!

Anyway, I have mentioned before how the road going out to Warden Point ends, due to cliff erosion, by suddenly going over the edge of the cliffs, which are very high. If you double click on this photo and enlarge it you will see the tarmac road suddenly end at the edge, although it is of course blocked off just behind where I took the photo.

It must be unique that just a couple of miles to the west a second road does exactly the same - Oak Lne in Minster. Unfortunately there there end of the road is all overgrown with bushes and so I couldn't get a similar photo but this next one, slightly to the left, illustrates the edge once again of the cliffs, looking out to sea.

Turning to the left and this is the view from the top of the cliffs at Oak Lane looking down onto Minster Leas and beach.
Oak Lane itself has always been a very quaint old lane, barely a car's width wide and we used to cycle up there from Sheerness as youngsters to enjoy the wildlife and the risks involved of making our way down the steep and boggy cliffs to the beach. Even nowadays people still have to be rescued by Coastguards through getting trapped in the boggy conditions there.
The cliffs here are very sandy with sheer frontage and throughout my youth and early teens were home each year to a large Sand Martin breeding colony, which fourty odd years ago suddenly died out and has never returned, despite it remaining suitable habitat.

Oak Lane is a turning off of the main road running from Minster to Eastchurch and directly opposite is another side road running southwards in the opposite direction and this one is called Elm Lane. This one too is a reminder of how beautiful Sheppey's lanes and countryside used to be and halfway along it is a place where the old Sheppey Light Railway used to cross on its way to Brambledown. But for me, the best part of Elm Lane is still thankfully, Tadwell Farm and its views across southern Sheppey to the mainland. It has been in the same family for many years and is still farmed with old-fashioned ideals in mind and is superb. Double click on it to enlarge and enjoy the view.

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