Up in the village of Charlton Down everything has been looking very dry and dead with this prolonged hot and sunny August. The trees have been dropping leaves as if it were autumn already. Extensive areas of lawn and grass have been mowed down to the bare earth because contractors seem to have been obliged to mow every two weeks despite having nothing to cut. The arable fields surrounding us are bare and yellow with stubble after the harvesting. So it was wonderful to make my way down to the valley below the village last week and discover the River Cerne is still running with enough clear water to provide for an absolute abundance of luxuriant in-stream aquatic plants as well as prolific bankside vegetation. There are even more plant species there this year than I have ever noticed before, although insect life was hardly in evidence.
These pictures (first in series) were taken on a rather dull day but the colours still sang out and highlighted the stark contrast between the well-watered riverside plant communities and the dry pastures and arable fields either side.