Blow the wind southerly – please!

Share this article

When is this interminable east wind going to change? We are into May and I have yet to see an orange tip butterfly and the last two Friday night moth trapping sessions have drawn a complete blank – it has been so cold.

Even swallows are fewer in number, as they depend on the wind direction to help them migrate. I’m sure there must be a huge backlog of migrant species somewhere, just waiting for the wind to change.

On Sunday, I donned hat and gloves and set off into the teeth of the bitingly-cold easterly to explore two of the lovely wooded glens in the Newtown St Boswells area.

The best way to do this is park near the auction mart and walk along the main street until you come to the entrance to Sprouston Glen – doing it this way avoids a horrendous climb.

Before dropping into the glen, the path skirts some fields and here the display of flowers bordering the path is lovely. Particularly numerous were the swathes of goldilocks buttercup. This strange member of the buttercup family has very narrow leaves and yellow flowers which always look as if they have some petals missing. Primroses, dog violets, stitchwort and cuckoo flower were also in abundance.

Once down the many wooden steps, it is soon obvious that the predominant plant is the invasive alien few-flowered leek. Its nodding white flowers carpet the woodland floor, threatening to smother the native wild garlic.

Ivy grows everywhere, reaching up to the top of even the biggest trees and across the ground below.

Several male blackcaps were in full song at this point as well as chiffchaffs, blackbirds and robins.

Where the Sprouston burn discharges into the Tweed, the path veers right and follows the river for a short distance. Here the flowers included marsh marigold, butterbur and the first of the red campion.

On the river were mallard, goosander and some black-headed gulls hawking for insects, while a pair of pied wagtails chirruped along the water’s edge.

Soon the path is dissected by another large stream entering the river. Here I opted to turn right and head up Newtown Glen back towards the village. It would have been lovely ambling along the winding path through the blackthorn thickets, taking in the birdsong and wild flowers, but a swift pace was required just to keep the circulation moving.

This two-glens walk is best done on a more pleasant day when time can be allowed to take everything in and sit awhile on the many seats provided en route. One of these days!