Fabulous Fungi in Millwood

Mother Nature seems to throw everything she has left in her power into the final weeks of Autumn. A last fanfare before settling down for Winter. The woods are hushed now; our footsteps muffled in the deep, damp piles of leaves carpeting the ground.

Before the last page of Autumn is turned and we are confronted with Winter's bare cold face, we are treated to a final burst of colour as dozens of fungi take centre stage.


There was so much green algae in the pond it looked as if the Moorhen was swimming in pea soup!
I'm really going to miss the beautiful colours of Autumn. Roll on Spring!

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Levens Park and River Kent

Located directly across the road from historic Levens Hall, the Park is part of a former medieval deer enclosure, its natural beauty contrasting with the formal layout of the gardens surrounding the Hall. The Hall and formal gardens are open to the public; opening times and other information can be found here... 
We entered the Park by the footpath on the north side of the bridge, where steps lead down to the riverside. The Park was landscaped by French gardener Guillaume Beaumont, who planted many specimen trees.
Across the River Kent can be seen the remains of a disused pump house with a sluice gate nearby. Black Fallow Deer roam freely amongst the trees.
Following the course of the river, the path eventually reaches a boundary wall. Stepping over this we crossed a meadow, exiting into a farm lane.

After carefully crossing a busy stretch of the A591, we accessed a footpath which presented us with some lovely open views and a glimpse of Sizergh Castle, as we crossed the fields towards Heaves Farm.
Ascending the hilly field opposite Heaves Farm, we were greeted by the unusual sight of hundreds of grassy mounds as far as the eye could see. Apparently these are Yellow Meadow Anthills, the ants living underground and the mounds providing ventilation for the nests.
A stone wall encircles a grove of trees at the top of the hill and a very conveniently placed stone bench provided exactly the right place to sit and enjoy a flask of coffee.

Suitably refreshed we made our way down the hill towards Sizergh.
The path emerged behind the Strickland Arms, a traditional English pub with a good selection of food and drink, should you require refreshment at this point! Our route now took us past the entrance to Sizergh Castle, which is on our "places to visit" list. On this occasion we continued walking, this time passing underneath the A591 and walking alongside the River Kent once again, as we head back to Levens Park.

Re-entering the park we walked along the "Mile of Oaks" planted by Beaumont. Originally the Hall would have been approached by carriage along this route.

Care has been taken to maintain this avenue of oaks by replacing trees that have died, planting new ones inside the stumps of the rotten ones.

A herd of rare-breed Bagot goats, originally brought to England by the Crusaders, wander through the park.
 More beautiful trees line the path leading back to the bridge where we started our walk.

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