A circular morning ‘ralk’

Brindley and I went off for our morning ‘ralk’. It’s a cross between a run and a walk. I made the word up because I got fed up with trying to tell myself I had been for a run, when in actual fact I had been for a run, punctuated by walking depending on fitness levels, views, people and what Brindley wants to sniff along the way…

The ralk we took this morning was from Pinkhill lock. It’s a lovely 5km (or thereabouts) stroll through some spectacular countryside.

If you want to take this route too then starting at Pinkhill lock, cross the top end and walk into a campsite. Cross the wier stream. At the gate, take the path that leads straight ahead (if you turn right you’ll do the walk in reverse).

We walked through a large reedy field of sheep. Through the next gate you’ll find an easy to follow path (I think the farmer must have killed the grass so its easy to follow?) Sheep on all sides…

(I took a snap of Daisy as we passed her on the other side of the river – she is in a rather spectacular wild river mooring at the moment!).

The dead grass path splits after a short while … you can continue straight on to follow the path of the Thames or for this walk you need to turn right onto another dead grass path which will lead directly to a gate and through the gate a rickety bridge over a small stream. 

Turn right after crossing the bridge (you’ll have no choice)… across a stile and directly left onto another dead grass path with another rickety bridge and stile to negotiate. Follow the path along the edge of a field.

Slip through the gap to the side of the gate and turn right (you’ll find yourself at a grassy crossroads at this point… I haven’t taken the paths that lead left, or straight over so I cant tell you where they lead). 

This path goes down a grassy track – with some prime examples of the sort of grass seed to be aware of at this time of year! You’ll come to a five bar gate and go through this (don’t feel tempted to go directly right here as the track leads off into nowhere – I tried it!) …

Next you’ll come to a wide open path full of rabbits which heads towards the farm buildings. Its well sign posted around the farm – the farmer has made a special route so that you don’t go into the farm yard. 

At a small road you need to turn left. Follow for a hundred yards or so then turn right onto a path marked by a sign.

Follow this path to a gate – no dead grass path here but you can see the gate the other side of the field that you need to head for). Bear right after going through this gate and follow the path back to the wier… and the lock

Watch out, watch out, there’s grass seed about!

At this time of the year, the grass has gone to seed and is dried up ready to attach itself to unsuspecting passers by. Dogs, in particular can be badly affected by this seed as it can go up their noses when they are sniffing the ground, or get stuck in eyes or ears. Be especially aware of the type of grass that has spikey fronds on it which allow it to attach itself very efficiently and is very hard to remove. Especially from eyes, ears and noses and paws.

The problem is well documented and you can find out more by searching for grass seeds and harm to dogs…

Blue Cross advice about grass seeds

Kennel Club advice about grass seeds

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  1. I was out with Ted the other day and he stuck his head in to grass for a delicious smell. On retrieval he was covered in ‘seed’ which I had to comb out there and then before it had a chance to mat in to his fur.
    Dogs! Who’d have ’em!

  2. Fiona Larcombe says:

    That brings back memories of our (late) dog Stottie, who was very susceptible to this problem. We once missed a seed that worked right into his paw. He had a general anaesthetic at a vet hospital and they STILL didn’t get it out. Eventually, another vet got it out manually. We were always very careful after that. Lovely pictures. Fx

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