Putney – Guildford Bestiary

This weekend Mark and I set off to explore another 30-mile section of the Walk 2012 project, this time exploring various trails between Putney Bridge and Guildford. I am sure Mark will write in more detail about the route on his blog, but in the meantime I thought I’d share with you a selection of creatures (real, imaginery and metaphorical) that we spotted this weekend.

Horses – or evidence of horses; spotted near Putney Bridge, by Beverley Brook.

Laughing/Green woodpecker – this is my favourite bird as I absolutely love its giggly sound. Please forgive the detestably pixelated qualities of the digital zoom and the failure of the photograph to convey the woodpecker’s lovely, undulating flight path; it was very magical to see this bird on Richmond Common…

…where we also saw these fine Red Deer.

Much later on in the proceedings, Mark found a Feasel with its very own road-sign…

…and then we slept in a Holiday Inn, which was situated at the end of Felix Lane in Shepperton.

The next morning, striding out into the fresh sunshine and readying ourselves for a 16 mile or so tramp along the Thames and then the River Wey, we found a stern-looking Swan…

…and some sort of Goose-Yoga convention.

Beside the start of the Wey Navigations, I found a Bear with a map.

It is rumoured that a monkey accompanied us on our travels also…

…and we were greeted at lunchtime by a very friendly Badger, whose regal visage always occurs in the same place as good, Hall & Woodhouse Ales.

Joy of all joys, we spotted an enterprising Barn Owl out hunting early in the afternoon as we neared Guildford; Mark got a better picture of it than I did but you can just about make it out in this shot.

When we got home I found a lovely fox on Kate’s blog, and went in search of Liz’s post about the Barn Owl that I remembered. The title of Liz’s blog post is ‘Magical’ and that’s how it feels to see the real creatures we saw.

In my mind, even made-up-animals like feasels and bears become magical totems when you go on a journey; they make for good story-telling when you’re cold or your feet hurt, and they are a good reminder of all the living things that share the places where we go.

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