walking the lanes

Alice Fox end of harvest

Suddenly the seasons have shifted. Although today is the start of the meteorological autumn it doesn’t always feel autumnal on the first of September. The last week has felt very autumnal with changes in the feel of the air and subtle shifts in foliage colours. There are fruits and seeds ripening and all sorts of interesting fungi appearing. Last week I was teaching down in Hertfordshire and staying in a village surrounded by arable fields. The harvest over, machinery was busy turning the earth ready for the next lot of crops. One day a golden blanket of stubble covered the gently rolling landscape and the next it had been turned in on itself, revealing rich chocolate brown earth.

Alice Fox walking the lanes fungus

Walking the lanes near where I was staying my hands became full of treasures, so much so that I used my umbrella to hold them! I don’t now very much about fungi and I wouldn’t normally do more than admire. But I do know a puff ball when I see one and I was delighted to find one that was fresh and firm: ideal for my tea.

Alice Fox walking the lanes collection

Back in Yorkshire a day later and we walk in local woods. Again there are beautiful perfect fungi, ripe berries to pop straight into the mouth as we walk and under one tree we find a scattering of oak galls, which I gathered for use in dyeing.

Alice Fox woods walk fungus

At home I drew the berries I’d found on the lanes and used their juice to add colour to my pages. The colours won’t stay true for very long but there is something ‘true’ about using the object you’ve drawn to make marks itself. A leaf that also caught my eye because of its purple hues sits alongside and seems to sum up the shift in the year.

Alice Fox berries and leaf sketchbook page

14 thoughts on “walking the lanes

  1. I live in Hertfordshire. I’m lucky enough to live in a town where I can walk through the house filled tree-lined streets to a local park that is edged with woodland that is bordered by farmland. I am really enjoying walking my dog and seeing nature at its best.

    • It’s good to appreciate what we have on our doorsteps. I enjoyed this little bit of Hertfordshire partly because it is relatively new to me, but I know I would find it fascinating too if it were more familiar.

  2. I think I am really lucky to live in the town I live in. And if I won the lottery I would still live here. When my dog Tippy and I go for a walk we have marvellous choices- man made lakes we can walk round, ancient woodlands we can yomp through, parks where we can play and train and tree lined streets what more could a person want. (Well a bit of sand and sea maybe but let’s not be greedy!! 😉 )

  3. I love how you’ve used the real objects in your sketchbook, if only to make marks. That does make it seem more real, doesn’t it. Enjoy your wonderful walks; I think this is the best time of the year for it!

  4. Wonderful images – thanks for sharing. We went on a autumn walk today and foraged walnuts, red currants and sloes. We also saw wild Roman camomile in a farmers field. I’ve yet to see gall oaks though – I’d really love to try dyeing with those!

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