Lynchcombe Steps

Autumn Leaves - Lynchcombe, Somerset, UK. ID 826_2809

Autumn Leaves – Lynchcombe, Somerset, UK. ID 826_2809

Autumn at the Lynchcombe nature reserve on the southern slopes of the Mendip Hills.  With leaves turning gold, deep shadows, morning mists, and brightly coloured fungi in the fields – autumn is a perfect time to get out for a walk in the countryside.

November

High up on the Mendip Hills waiting for the sun to rise.  The stars are still looking down on a thin layer of mist covering the Somerset Levels.  In the local villages the home lights are being turned on.

Mendip Night - Lynchcombe, Somerset, UK. ID JB1_8525

Mendip Night – Lynchcombe, Somerset, UK. ID JB1_8525

Dawn

Earlier in the year the dawn sun was hidden behind a ridge of hills, now it can just be seen raising over the distant horizon.

Sunrise - Lynchcombe, Somerset, UK. ID JB1_4277

Sunrise – Lynchcombe, Somerset, UK. ID JB1_4277

Soon the sun casts its golden light across the Deerleap field reaching the old sycamores at the top of Lynchcombe.

Lynchcombe Sycamores - From Deerleap, Mendip Hills, Somerset, UK. ID JB1_8674H

Lynchcombe Sycamores – From Deerleap, Mendip Hills, Somerset, UK. ID JB1_8674H

The start of another cold, crisp but clear autumn day.

Lynchcombe Sycamores - Mendip Hills, Somerset, UK. ID JB1_8623H

Lynchcombe Sycamores – Mendip Hills, Somerset, UK. ID JB1_8623H

Cattle graze the neighbouring fields as long shadows reach down into the wooded combe below.

Lynchcombe Morning - Mendip Hills, Somerset, UK. ID JB1_8992

Lynchcombe Morning – Mendip Hills, Somerset, UK. ID JB1_8992

The Views

Along the southern ridge of the Mendips there are stunning views across the Somerset Levels towards the iconic Glastonbury Tor.

Glastonbury Tor - From Lynchcombe, Mendip Hills, Somerset, UK. ID JB1_8538

Glastonbury Tor – From Lynchcombe, Mendip Hills, Somerset, UK. ID JB1_8538

Sheep

Sheep graze the fields, this keeps the grass short allowing flowering plants to flourish next spring and summer.

Sheep - Lynchcombe, Mendip Hills, Somerset, UK. ID JB1_9087

Sheep – Lynchcombe, Mendip Hills, Somerset, UK. ID JB1_9087

There is usually at least one sheep watching you!

Lynchcombe – Mendip Hills, Somerset, UK. ID JB1_4666

Running down the centre of the reserve is the combe.  When I was growing I was lead to believe a combe was a steep-sided wooded valley.  The internet defines it as:

Combe: a short valley or hollow on a hillside or coastline, especially in southern England .. or, a dry valley in a limestone or chalk escarpment.

Well: it is a short valley; it is on a hillside in southern England; it sits on limestone; and apart from some water below the Ramspit swallet after heavy rain it is usually dry.  So whatever definition you choose it is a combe.  Now we just need to agree on the number of oh’s.

Sheep - Lynchcombe, Mendip Hills, Somerset, UK. ID JB1_9154

Sheep – Lynchcombe, Mendip Hills, Somerset, UK. ID JB1_9154

Autumn Leaves

What everyone wants during autumn are golden leaves.  The reserve has lots of hazel, a few oaks and still some ash trees.

Autumn Leaves - Lynchcombe, Somerset, UK. ID 826_2751

Autumn Leaves – Lynchcombe, Somerset, UK. ID 826_2751

Hazel catkins.

Autumn Leaves - Lynchcombe, Somerset, UK. ID 826_2891

Autumn Leaves – Lynchcombe, Somerset, UK. ID 826_2891

Leaf litter covers the sides of the combe.

Lynchcombe - Mendip Hills, Somerset, UK. ID JB1_4822

Lynchcombe – Mendip Hills, Somerset, UK. ID JB1_4822

A post from a gate long since gone looks like an ancient standing stone.

Lynchcombe - Mendip Hills, Somerset, UK.. ID IMG_0443

Lynchcombe – Mendip Hills, Somerset, UK.. ID IMG_0443

Fungi

There are some huge fairy rings on the reserve.

Fairy Ring - Lynchcombe, Mendip Hills, Somerset, UK.ID JB1_9102

Fairy Ring – Lynchcombe, Mendip Hills, Somerset, UK.ID JB1_9102

The reserve is a great place for seek out wax cap fungi. They grow on ancient grassland, as that disappears many wax cap species becoming rare.  So I’m very pleased to see lots of them growing on Lynchcombe.

They come in a range of bright colours.  The white ones are probably the most common on the reserve – or at least the easiest to spot.

Snowy Waxcap (Cuphophyllus virgineus) - Lynchcombe, Somerset, UK. ID IMG_0596

Snowy Waxcap (Cuphophyllus virgineus) – Lynchcombe, Somerset, UK. ID IMG_0596

I recently discovered that an iphone is perfect for getting down low and taking close-up pictures of small toadstools.

Scarlet Hood (Hydrocybe coccinea) - Lynchcombe, Somerset, UK. ID JBB_4815

Scarlet Hood (Hydrocybe coccinea) – Lynchcombe, Somerset, UK. ID JBB_4815

I know very little about fungi, so I hope that these have been identified correctly.

Golden Waxcap (Hygrocybe chlorophana) - Lynchcombe, Somerset, UK. ID JB3_3721

Golden Waxcap (Hygrocybe chlorophana) – Lynchcombe, Somerset, UK. ID JB3_3721

Where scrub has been recently cleared the ground is covered in bright green moss.  Though the moss are hundreds of small black toadstools.  I have no idea what they are but the look great.

Fungi - Lynchcombe, Somerset, UK. ID JB1_2801

Fungi – Lynchcombe, Somerset, UK. ID JB1_2801

Fungi - Lynchcombe, Somerset, UK. ID JB1_2777

Fungi – Lynchcombe, Somerset, UK. ID JB1_2777

Evening

The long shadows now run across the fields in the opposite direction.

Glastonbury Tor - From Cooks Fields, Mendip Hills, Somerset, UK. ID JB1_8752

Glastonbury Tor – From Cooks Fields, Mendip Hills, Somerset, UK. ID JB1_8752

Towards the top of the reserve, the land has been shaped into medieval strip lynchets.

Lynchet: a ridge or ledge formed along the downhill side of a plot by ploughing in ancient times

These fields were part of the farm site on the neighbouring Deerleap land.  This landscape is protected as a Scheduled Monument.  The sheep stop it being overgrown with scrub.

Lynchcombe - Mendip Hills, Somerset, UK.. ID JB1_8770

Lynchcombe – Mendip Hills, Somerset, UK.. ID JB1_8770

The view of Glastonbury Tor keeps changing.

Glastonbury Tor - From Cooks Fields, Mendip Hills, Somerset, UK. ID JB1_8752

Glastonbury Tor – From Cooks Fields, Mendip Hills, Somerset, UK. ID JB1_8752

And Finally…

At this time of year the sun sets down the length of the central combe.

Time to get you smart phone out and check on the direction of the setting sun.

Sunseeker App - Lynchcombe, Mendip Hills, Somerset, UK. ID screen 1

Sunseeker App – Lynchcombe, Mendip Hills, Somerset, UK. ID screen 1

Another beautiful sunset over Somerset.

Sunset down the combe - Lynchcombe, Mendip Hills, Somerset, UK. ID JB1_8824

Sunset down the combe – Lynchcombe, Mendip Hills, Somerset, UK. ID JB1_8824

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.