Sunday, 19 January 2014

Taking advantage of a break in the weather

Hooray - no rain so it was off for a walk on the eastern edge of Bodmin Moor. Starting at Blackcoombe Farm near Henwood, we skirted Sharp Tor, followed the Withey Brook for a while and then ascended Langstone Downs to join the old mineral railway back to Bearah Tor, finishing by dropping back down to the car.  Tremendous views all the way around - skies, countryside and, as ever on the moors, archaeology of one form or another. Wet underfoot but a very enjoyable 4 miles or so. I'm getting rather fond of Bodmin Moor.
Quite a lot of this around on (dead?) branches of gorse. It's the jelly fungus Tremella mesenterica (Tremella means trembling - a reference to the wobbly-jelly-like structure of fungi within this group). It goes by a number of names yellow brain fungus, orange brain fungus, golden jelly fungus, yellow trembler and witches' butter. I like witches' butter best. Although the example shown is yellow, the colour variation goes from pale yellow through to a rather garish bright orange. Very distinctive and easily spotted at this time of year.

Not so much mud but lots of water. Puddles, pools and streams.
A tributary of the Withey Brook, eventually coming out of our tap at home.
A boundary stone dating from 1846. There are many of these on the moors and delineate the areas beyond which granite quarrying/extraction could not take place. An early form of landscape preservation?
The lettering on the boundary stone is 1846, RIL (Rillaton Manor lands) and 9 (one of around 15 of this particular style).
The sun setting in the west.
And a rainbow in the east.
A stretch of granite rail bearers on the track of the old mineral railway, dating from the mid 1850s. Originally gravity down some 10 miles and horse drawn all the way back up. Used to take granite off the moor and to bring essential supplies to the workings.
The largest and most famous - THE Cheesewring - is about 2 miles away but there are quite a few of these distinctive geological features in the area. These are on Bearah Tor, just above Bearah quarry, one of the very few still producing granite.

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