The First Primrose
Hello and welcome to our new Blog. I'm Tina and with my partner James we are the hosts at the Gîtes du Pont. The start of a new year and the first signs of spring feel like a good time to start and you can follow the changing seasons with us.
The first primrose of spring has been spotted in our chemin. The chemin is a sunken pathway connecting fields and farms. We know that as the days are getting noticeably longer that the banks or talus will soon become swathed with yellow primroses, celandine and early purple orchids. We discovered this primrose on our daily dog walk along the chemins round our fields. In summer the chemin is shaded by a canopy of foliage which is a relief on hot days, especially for the dogs. However, the benefit of the bare trees on a winter walk is you can clearly see and hear the many birds.
For an idea of the sounds of the chemin click here to hear todays snippet of chaffinches and a rather territorial robin.
The dogs love their walks around the chemin as every morning brings new smells from the animals that crossed the path during the night as well as the cattle that are moved from field to field along these paths.
As you can see from the relative size of our lovely models, Bonzo, Eddie and James the banks or 'talus' in French can be very tall on the chemin side. They are the traditional way of enclosing the fields known as the bocage. They stop erosion, keep animals in fields and the many ash trees growing there provide firewood. The bocage in Normandy is also synonymous with the fierce fighting that took place summer 1944.
The chemin is also home to many animals and although we don’t see them in the day time there are clear trails across the paths and up the banks after their night time wanderings. You can see one of the ‘ladders’ made by the wildlife in the photo below.
We regularly see deer in the fields in the daytime but we know that there are a healthy number of badgers, foxes and deer from the photos we have captured on our wildlife trail cam at night.
The chemins round the Gites du Pont are one of the many places for walks, cycle rides or runs. They are part of a region-wide group of marked pathways. Luckily James has trained as a official waymaker under supervision of the Féderation Française de la Randonnée Pédestre and he maintains the signage on a local walk. So he can talk you through the signs and how to read them.
If you prefer some longer walks you can try one of the 36 signposted paths in the countryside and by the sea downloadable at :Hiking | Coutances Tourisme : Organisez vos vacances dans la Manche (tourisme-coutances.com)
Our circular walk ends alongside the river Sienne with a valley view that raises the spirits even in cold weather.
A final photo
I will leave you with a photo from last year of the primroses in their prime and the promise of what's to come.