Soggy Wootton Heath

Fairly early this morning, before the warming sun had completed the thaw of the overnight frost, we took a drive out in the forest, stopping for a photoshoot on Wootton Heath.

Frost on grass 1Frost on grass 2

Spiky icing pricked up the grass;

Ice, frost, and mud

Ice, perhaps indicating footprints, still lay in the churned up mud pools;


and sunlight glittered on the unfrozen temporary lakes.

Wootton Heath 1

Wootton Heath 2

The monochrome effects are the result of shooting into the sun, the direct rays of which gave a glow to the shrubs and trees, and revealed the green sward beneath the pools.

Tree, pool, and frosty field

Trees, mud, and pools 1

These shots show pools just behind the lichen-laden trees. Further back, beyond the dogwood, lies a frosted field, seen in the first.

Ponies 1

The muddy soil is churned up by ponies, such as these two, apparently asleep. They must be asleep, otherwise they would be chomping grass.


Hello! The one on the right has woken, and, attracted by the prospect of Jackie in the Modus possibly being daft enough to feed it, walked over to the car and waited patiently.

Ponies 2Ponies 3

I, on the other hand, crossed the road and focussed on other grazers seeking out the drier parts of the soggy terrain.

Ponies 4

Soon, a clattering turning to a thud beside me announced the arrival of the hopeful horse which had crossed to see if the grass was greener on the other side. The clatter was made by hooves on the tarmac, and the thud, from the heavy weight landing on the turf, fortunately not on my feet. Is that frost on the top of the tail of its new companion?

This evening we dined on Jackie’s sublime chili con carne, wild rice and green peas. The Cook finished the sauvignon blanc, whilst I drank Chateau Le Tertre Graves de Vayres 2014.

50 responses to “Soggy Wootton Heath”

  1. Learn something new every day (from Google):

    “Horses can get a lot of sleep while standing up, but they lie down when they require REM sleep. Typically, the amount of REM sleep they require is very small, so they don’t need to lie down often. However, many horses lie down just because they feel comfortable or want to do so.”

    And now I want to learn how to sleep standing up. 🙂

  2. The question you asked reminds me of a famous Chinese poem; the poet wondered if the moonlight on the ground is frost. Love those icy ‘footprints’. You must get out early more often 🙂 For me, I would still be hibernating – wake me in spring.

    By the way, do you take boarders? Full board, of course. I want to eat your dinner.

  3. The lichen cover trees are striking. I like the different colors in the first picture with the frosted meadow in the background; the second picture is otherworldly looking because of the colors.

  4. Beautiful scenery and well captured, cold misty or soggy nature still shows her beauty, I like the grazing horses, beautiful to see through rising mists of a morning, and your Lichen trees tell a story on their own.
    Great post.

  5. Special shots in this series Derrick – always amazing to see the countryside up close and personal. The horses were wonderful to see, enjoying their meals and totally undisturbed by humans. A little muddy out there ~

  6. Hi Derrick
    love following your daily blog
    however i might have missed your post regarding the birthday of Sister Catherine Boyle
    the reason i ask is that i am related through the mclarens of ayrshire
    Andrew Laing is my second cousin and he was saying this in a email he had sent me—-Strange thing was that it really was a McLaren family common link but due to so many females there were no McLaren surnames there!!———- however he didn’t have any photos of the event,,and i was wondering if you had any
    thank you in advance
    alexander mclaren

  7. Wooten Heath is a name that sounds poetic to me, in itself. These photos show me I am right. What a gorgeous spot and you captured a splendid time of day: crispy cold morning. Did either you or Jackie cave in, and feed one of the ponies? Do others feed them?

    • Visitors do, but it is not recommended. They can get rather persistent; some carry ticks; and it stopped them fending for themselves. This winter, of course, has been so mild that they are extremely well fed on grass. Thanks, Crystal

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