At The Stumpy Oak Cross

Stumpy Oak Cross April 2009

This is Hawson Cross: a wayside marker for the old monastic route the ‘Monks Way’. Its stood side by side with that ‘Stumpy Oak’; one of only two on Dartmoor that are officially recognised as being, “historic oak trees”.

The tree is still alive but with a hollowed out trunk.

Stumpy Oak Cross 2 April 2009

Its easy to imagine the cross and the oak becoming as one – given enough entropy to mystically merge them together.

I happened upon this stumpy oak and cross ‘memorial’ just outside Scorriton.
It was being a mildly munificent Spring afternoon.
I could hear all the song birds twittering about. But I couldn’t get at them with the camera. Birds don’t want to be seen. Leave them be.

See the sheep instead. Like this pair of scruffs.

Scruffy sheep April 2019

Whoever’s sheared them didn’t do a very good job (probably shorn by that blind old bat in the Specsavers ad)

Walking on a bit further and what do I see? Yet more scruffiness.

Scruffy pony 1 April 2019

Poor chap couldn’t see what he was doing. Kept bumping into trees.

In need of some serious barbering these shaggy haired toy ponies.

Scruffy pony 4 April 2019

Even this tiny titch, spied through a little gap in the hedge.

Scruffy pony 5 April 2019

Could have done with a good shampoo and set.

Scruffy pony 7 April 2019

Woolly Mommeths

Woolliness 1 April 2019

A walk to Hembury Woods yesterday morning didn’t fetch up any feathers to film. So in the absence of good bird I resorted to default option B: photoing sheep.

A ton of wool on offer. You could make a couple of cardigans out of that ewes back and still have enough left over for a scarf and 6 pairs of socks.

The springtime lambs were bouncy with tea cosy cuddliness too.

Woolliness 2 April 2019

This lamb clocked me and gave me what looks like a little sheepish smile.

Woolliness 5 April 2019

Another lamb gave me a bit more of a sniffy look.

Woolliness 4 April 2019

In the meantime the wollly mommeths (their munching mothers) chomped relentlessly on.

Woolliness 7 April 2019

Chomp chomp chomp. Hardly picking their heads up to look around let alone be bothered by somebody as silly as me.

If they keep chomping at the rate they’re going these curly wooleths will be looking like this by Easter.


(underneath all that tonnage of wool is an Australian chap called Chris. Got himself into the news a few years ago for breaking the world record as the biggest, woolliest, heaviest, sheep ever sheared. Read about it here)

Words & Pics: Ian Nisbet

There was this tortoise crossing the road ….

Walking down Parkfield Rd towards Torquay coach station yesterday I nearly stepped on this.

Tortoise 2 March 2019

It was actually much nearer the kerb than pictured there (I’d moved it back a bit)

It had been about to cross the road.
Not a good idea.

I re-picked it up to ascertain if it was still alive.
It was.

Tortoise March 2019

As you can see very much still alive.

Where had it come from? Had it just woken up from its long winter hibernation? Was it an escapee? And was it really going to cross that road?

No it wasn’t. Because I wasn’t going to let it. The sweet little fella would have been crunched under the wheels of a car and totally splattered.
I carried it off to a small copse at the back of the street. Placed it down carefully in some scrubby vegetation. Blew it a kiss. Quietly waved it goodbye.

Hopefully its happily still up there munching through the greenery. Content to have been rescued from the concrete jungle below.

Sealing the Bay

Seal seen fishing in what might well be his patch (of sea) last Saturday.

Left to right, back and forth, right to left, across Babbacombe Bay he went all afternoon. As easy as you like.
Sealed to the sea he was, as one wedded entity.

What a perfect way to spend your Saturday afternoon.

Also, a little Common Scoter was bobbling about (with what appeared to be plenty of his own fish to fry)

(Or was it a Velvet Scoter?! Too far away to get a positive id)

Words & Vid: Ian Nisbet

Some extra bits from Avon Dam Walk

I didn’t see a lot of bird yesterday, but kept eyes open for whatever else might be around the next nook or cranny.

And there’s always something on offer, something you least expect to see.

Such as these diddy little brown bundles; peering at me through the gauze of their hairy fringes.

Highland Cow 3 New Years Day 2019

Turns out they were a small herd of Scottish Highland cattle relocated, for some no doubt very viable commercial reason, to the bubbly hills of Devon.

Like toy cows, but apparently hardy little buggers.

Perhaps these scruffy fringes help protect their eyes from all those pesky Scottish midges.

Highland Cow 2 New Years Day 2019

A mile from Habourneford you have to go through this dense Tree Tunnel

Tree Tunnel New Years Day 2019

I’ve often felt slightly spooked whenever I’ve walked through it.
And there always seem to be crows or other portentous black birds flapping furtively about deep inside, as if warning you off.

On the way back from the Dam I could have ended up in
South Bent

Fuckfastleigh New Years Day 2019

Or Fuckfastleigh.
I chose neither.

Despite aching feet, I contentedly tromped my 7 mile walk back

Especially as, when looking across the horizon, I saw this

Sunset over Brent Hill New Years Day 2019

The sun setting over Brent Hill.

Don’t know that I’d do this long walk to Avon Dam again in a hurry.
But just for yesterday, it was exactly what I needed.

Lambs giving me an earful

Whenever I look at sheep I see something daft going on.

Big eared lambs Dec 2018

With this lot (of long lambs) – its the ears.

Big eared lambs 3 Dec 2018

Sticky up and overly enlarged ears, looking purposely megaphonic.

Wide awake ears, immediately too alert to the merest disturbance, the slightest danger.

Big eared lambs 2 Dec 2018

And yet there is no danger. Just me quietly, unobtrusively, watching them.

Don’t worry you daft apeths – I won’t shoot you with my camera!.

Pics & Words: Ian Nisbet

Rat with crow pecked eyes

I interrupted a crow pecking a rats eyes out yesterday.

Dead rat 1 Nov 2018

Still in tact. Must have been caught and killed only moments ago.

Dead rat 11 Nov 2018

I lifted it up (on the end of my brolly) and positioned it ontop of a fence post

Dead rat 5 Nov 2018

It was quite neat looking, and for a rat, surprisingly clean and tidy.

It had dapper little white front feet and bigger back feet splayed out either side like fat hands.

Dead rat 7 Nov 2018

And sharp pointy ratty teeth.

Dead rat 8 Nov 2018

Measured from the top of its snout to the tip of its extraordinary long tail it was close to 2 feet in length.

Dead rat 10 Nov 2018

A large brown rat. Some might even say huge. But not unduly alarming. Well, it was dead. I don’t suppose you’d want it scuttling towards you just jumped out of a sewage drain.

The crow would be back in a minute. To rip open the guts.

Limping Lunching Sheep

Ashburton Sheep Nov

An hour before the dentist. What to do? Go and see some sheep.

Even though I was 300 feet away I attracted plenty of sheepish interest.

There were some rather silly sheep stood around (in my mind silly and sheep are synonomous)

This sheep appeared to have six legs.

Ashburton Sheep C Nov

Other sheep appeared to be having trouble with their legs.

Limping about on sore feet.

Ashburton Sheep Nov

Some sheep could barely stand up.

So they sunk down on bended knee.

Ashburton Sheep D Nov

To carry on tucking in to grass.

Even if limping, lunching must go on.