Day 238 Mile 238: Parkland Gem. This is my third time running the Tring Parkrun, and unlike so many of them it actually goes around a park! It is really quite hilly but utterly worth it. Alongside the cows which regularly cause consternation there is a plethora of wildlife, set in this little haven scarcely more than 30 miles out of central London. The park is renowned for butterflies such as orange tip, marbled white, common blue, ringlet and meadow brown, speckled wood, wall and peacock. The grassland in particular is home to rarer butterflies such as dingy and grizzled skipper, and the very rare purple
Due to a time of very little grazing on the site prior to Woodland Trust management , the lower slopes and valley bottoms have become very attractive to mice and voles, prompting the return of the barn owl. Kestrels have always found a ready food supply in the park, as does the red kite – a spectacular sight with its 2m wingspan; and in some winters they are joined in the hunt by long-eared owls.
Another regular winter visitor is the meadow pipit, some staying on into the spring to breed. In the woods, many different woodland species can be seen and heard, including all three British woodpeckers, nuthatch, chifffchaff, willow warbler and blackcap.
Areas of the park also contain specialist woodland flora, as well as veteran trees, lichens, fungi and deadwood. Woodland and mature avenues on the upper slopes sweep down the escarpment to the rolling downland of the park where beautiful copper beech and aging Scots pine catch the eye. The land that now makes up the park may always have been lined with trees to give protection from the sun and wind, and currently it’s fringed with an avenue of mature beech around 200 years old, and parts of the park are documented in a map dating from 1766.
Today it is really warm and the hot air is almost stationary in the grassy compressions of the downland making the shade of the trees a welcome respite when getting towards the top of the hill. It’s still massively good fun and today was the fastest I have ever managed to run this particularly challenging course, getting the time down to sub 30 mins for the 5km 🙂
I’m running a mile each day everyday for 2017. If you feel you can sponsor me please do, as all the money raised will go to the Cleft Lip & Palate Association (CLAPA) who provide services all across the UK to support people affected by it.
Distance: 5037.8 meters recorded
(1 mile = 1609.34 m.)
Thanks as ever for all the support!