Weekend Wandering: To the Sunflowers!

Sunflowers greeting the sun

Chippenham is currently all a-buzz with news of the appearance of a huge field of sunflowers to the north of the town this week.  Come with me on the three or so mile stroll to see them in their full glory - the photo above is a mere teaser of what truly greets us at the end of our walk...

Heading along Maud Heath's Causeway

As you can see our countryside's having a bit of a blonde moment as the grasses which line many of our roads have now dried to show off their decorative seed heads. We're lucky on this walk as we're following Maud Heath's Causeway for much of the way. It means we have a nice safe path to walk along away from any passing traffic.

The tunnel under the mainline railway at Kellaways

We go under the railway and even here the path remains as...

The pedestrian tunnel under the railway

... we have our own pedestrian tunnel. The path predates the railway by centuries (15th vs 19th). Here we're looking back the way I've come so we can see the evening light through the tunnel.

Blonde grasses line the path and road

More blonde moments...

One of the few benches along the route

... a pause by a shadowy bench...

The clapper bridge

... over the ancient clapper bridge, then follow the path around the corner to...

View of the sunflowers from Kellaways Arches

... feast your eyes on the scene. Magnificent aren't they? The farmer is growing them for birdseed, plus they sell them in fistful bunches at the farm gate and also deliver them locally. 

We can't go into the field as it's private land, but we can cross the river and climb down into the next field as there's a public footpath.

View to St Giles' Church

Here it's also good to look across the field towards St Giles' Church. The 'wall' you can see to the left of the photo is actually the bridge which takes Maud Heath's Causeway across the floodplain of the River Avon. It's what we stood on to admire the sunflowers.

View across the River Avon to the sunflower field

Our riverside walk follows the sunflower field for around a third of a mile. We could walk back to Chippenham following this path across the fields, but I've saved that exploration for another day.

The new interpretation board over the road from Kellaways Arches

Instead we've returned to the bridge where I've spotted a new interpretation board which tells the story of Maud Heath's Causeway. I'm sure it wasn't there when I last walked over in April. I like it!

Happy flowers

Then it's time for a final look at those happy flowers before we head for home the way we came.

Comments

  1. Lovely post and pictures. What a wonderful sight. xx

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  2. Lovely story and felt as if I was walking along with you chatting away.
    I have grown 100 sunflowers here in my garden in Turkey.
    At present the heads are drying and am about to sow more because our weather means it is possible to do so.
    My sunflowers are for snacks during the winter for my husband because here they are like an addiction.
    Some that are small are for my chickens.
    Thankyou for the lovely photos

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    Replies
    1. Oh I'm so glad it felt that way Karen! I haven't grown as many as 100, but I used to grow 20 or so on my allotment, also for snacks for us but I also used to leave the seed heads for the birds.

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  3. Thanks for the walk and well done the farmer who is growing seeds for the birds as well as bouquets. I love sunflowers and was entranced by the ones we saw in France. Did I read something about the farmers being paid to grow sunflowers? Anyway I have my own sunflowers growing but not as showy as these. Texas sunflowers are smaller but the goldfinches love them just the same. And we have them in the house too.

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    Replies
    1. I saw your sunflowers Jenny and I'm delighted you popped up on here to tell me about them Jenny. I was pleased to see yours had pollen - I've read recently that quite a few of the newer varieties don't have pollen, which I think is a shame. I love it when there's a huge flower covered in bees!

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  4. Thanks so much for this wonderful walk (via photos and your prose).

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  5. How fabulous VP. I've seen fields of sunflowers in France and Germany but never close to home.

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    Replies
    1. I think they're going to become a more common sight Anna. The farmer has already said he's going to grow them on a much larger field across the road next year.

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