The International Steam Pages

March Winds, April Showers and May Flowers... 2012

For convenience I have now grouped lifestyle illustrated features by topic:

This page is just one of several describing aspects of our '2012 new life', for earlier and later pages use the West Gloucestershire link above.

"March Winds and April Showers bring forth May Flowers." Generalisations about the British weather are dangerous, and 2012 was no exception. Returning from Penang in early March, we were greeted by what was effectively a heat wave. April's showers were of the continuous variety but eventually the promised the May flowers were indeed.

As recorded elsewhere, there is nothing like a visit to a garden centre to prod Yuehong into action and this page compares identical Spring walks made some 6 weeks apart - separated by what seemed like almost continuous rain. 

Hobb's Quarry is a local SSSI (Site of Special Scientific Interest) and Nature Reserve; a good footpath leads off near the crest of the hill opposite the Baptist Church in Little London. There are views down to Longope and across to the Forest of Dean to the West. In March the wood anemones were splendid and just a few bluebells were poking their heads up:

The actual quarry was cut into the ridge of the hill, the limestone layers are clearly visible and apparently rich in fossils.

The long abandoned quarry produced limestone of no direct use, a nearby kiln remains which is periodically cleared by volunteers.

Just above the quarry, there is a lane down to Dursley Cross (on the A40), in March the nights were still cold enough for the horse to need a coat, behind is May Hill and the eponymous village is on the right.

At the same time, the small pond at the bottom of the village was surrounded by bare trees:

By late May, there were leaves on the trees and several bore spectacular blossom:

Joining the Gloucestershire Way, which has descended from the top of the hill, we crossed the valley to the woods above Huntley. At this stage Yuehong had no real idea of what was in store in a few weeks time but the bluebells have already grabbed their position in the light ahead of the growth on the trees:

Fast forward 6 weeks and the transformation is absolutely amazing:

At the time of our first visit, the school was on holiday so we could admire the church from the playground without incurring the wrath of the 'child protectors'. The Magnolia tree next to it was just starting its flowering ahead of the leaves:

While Stagecoach may not be my or the world's favourite bus company, we would not be able to do this or several other walks in this area without their regular #24 service which, at the time of writing (June 2012), appears to have got over its previous reliability problems which saw services running late and cancelled owing to breakdowns. I ride free with my 'Freedom Pass' for over 60s and Yuehong buys a return ticket to the further point. In this case we get off at the top of the hill at Little London and return from the bus stop by the A4136 turn-off from the A40 in Huntley.

And how about 'Flaming June'? Best not ask, at the time of writing, it seems as if Britain's two year drought may finally have broken.

This map (from Google Maps) shows the route taken:

Rob and Yuehong Dickinson