Redgrave and Lopham Fen

Thursday, October 18, 2018

For some reason last week C mentioned that we should visit Diss at some point for a browse. Back in the old days we used to visit the town several times a year but since we moved away I can barely recollect any trips there at all. Maybe once? Anyway, after an early start we decided on Saturday to take a trip there in the sunshine and arrived before 9:30am. Parking seemed simple enough although we didn't recognise the car park, though £1 for two hours felt particularly reasonable.
The town itself held a couple of familiar shops but many were either new or unrecognisable. A lovely couple of hours were spent sauntering along the high street and having a good browse. There were about six charity shops, so I made a couple of buys, but mainly lovely bespoke independent shops, eateries and boutiques. The overriding feel of the town was buoyant but then the sunshine does bring out the best in everything. Diss mere looked exactly the same and I still wonder why it isn't made possible to walk the whole way round.
On the return journey, not far from Diss C stopped off at Redgrave and Lopham fen for a walk. We used to come here a bit too. The fen was larger than I remembered and the helpful map indicated a few walking routes. My initial instinct was to take the longest walk but then time was going to work better for the 3.5k route to be home around lunchtime. The Great Fen Trail it was, with white markers.
To my delight I found a few hop flowers, then more, then more until they seemed to be everywhere! They were over their best but intrigue took hold of me and I picked one to examine. Knowing they are used in brewing I thought I would recognise the scent and took a sniff. Wow! Not what I was expecting. They smell like garlic and a savoury kick like marmite. Very strong. In my mind they would have smelled like malt, not garlic. However, C explained to me that they are used for the bitterness and that still threw me because surely that aroma must infuse also? A furrowed brow indeed.
The flowers themselves were a surprise. They look like cones so to my mind they would be hard and knobbly but the petals are dry and papery making them fragile and like a beautiful dry seed head. Now I know what the leaves look like I've  better chance o identifying them elsewhere even when they're not in flower. 

Always bring your walking boots. You never know when you might stop off somewhere to explore.
The autumn scene in such heat and hot winds was interesting.

The trees with white sided leaves. I must learn what these are. They look so interesting all year round.
it was soon into our walk that it became apparent why we hadn't frequented the fen much in the past: cows. Fortunately they seemed to be living elsewhere, though I kept an eagle eye out for any evidence of recent activity: Prints, poo and moos. We got away with it.
More from the fen soon.
Take care,

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