Coundon Wedge is an area of farmland, criss-crossed by public footpaths, which runs between the suburbs of Allesley and Coundon on the north-western side of the city. Stiles and small 'kissing gates' make it very easy for people to get onto the Wedge, and ramble around. None of the fields is cultivated, but the farms keep a large number horses which have the run of the Wedge, and are great favourites with children. Molly is terrified of them. In her time at the NCDL kennels she never saw anything so large as a horse, and her first sight of one at close quarters sent her into a total panic. This stretch of real countryside gives us a rather longer walk - the walk from Allesley to Coundon and back takes just over an hour.
Spring and Summer 1997
The ducks on the duckpond have raised several broods this year. Early in the season one duck was followed by 17 ducklings, but sadly, day by day, her brood dwindled. By the time they were big enough to be out of danger from the predatory crows and magpies, only 6 were left. But since then there have been two or three more families of ducklings hatched, so the number of ducks on the pond is still increasing.
The water level has been very low this year in the small streams which flow around the Wedge. One went from a stream, to a series of disconnected puddles, to a dried up strip of pebbles in the space of three days in May.
To Molly's delight, a wet June refilled the streams and her favourite dewpond for a week or two, giving her a chance to splosh around in two inches of water sitting on top of six inches of thick mud, but the dry weather soon returned.
The dry spring does not seem to have affected the amazing variety of wild flowers on Coundon Wedge. In June there are colourful flowers, especially foxgloves, under every hedge, and every field is covered with buttercups and daisies. Even the thistles are beautiful. As the fields are not cultivated they have been spared the chemicals which have decimated the flowers in so much of the countryside.
Molly can run around safely in the fields of Coundon Wedge, and try to drag Don into her games with some good-natured horseplay. 'The Wedge' is a beautiful piece of real countryside within the boundaries of a busy city.
Winter on the Wedge
In the winter we usually walk in the woods, because the Wedge is very exposed, the cold winds blow across it, and the paths and gateways are very muddy. But on New Year's Day, we took Molly for a winter walk on the Wedge. Although it was dull and cold, it was good to see all the streams full of water again.
Molly was able to go paddling, but was a bit surprised to find one of the streams a lot deeper than it had been in summer. She jumped in, discovered she was almost out of her depth, and jumped out again very quickly.
Recent gales had torn a huge branch off a tree, and it had fallen into a stream. Someone had already begun sawing it up so that it could be removed.
The spring ducklings are all fully grown now, and the pond seems to have almost too many ducks for its size. But feeding the ducks is a favourite reason for family outings around here, so the ducks are all plump and well-fed, like this beautifully coloured drake.
Molly keeps warm by racing around the fields, chasing sticks or just running for the fun of it. As she is part lurcher she can run like a greyhound, and seems to have an unlimited supply of energy - unlike her owners.
Even in winter, when the trees are bare and the storm clouds are gathering, Coundon Wedge is a beautiful and peaceful place to be, and the city seems a long way away.
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