Things To Do In Norfolk: St Mary’s Church Ruins, East Somerton.

St Marys

Some think of it as the witch’s finger while others know it as her wooden leg.

Whatever you believe (or don’t believe) about the oak tree growing within St Mary’s Church in East Somerton, there is no doubt the ruins are the perfect setting for all sorts of tales.

I’d heard of the crumbling church in the woods before but I was reminded of it recently by a story in one of the newspapers I used to write for. This time it captured my imagination and I knew I needed to visit.

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Not that easy to spot from the road, even going really slowly.

Dating from the 15th century, it is thought the grade II perpendicular-style church was in use up until the last part of the 17th century, although latterly as a private chapel for the inhabitants of nearby Burnley Hall.

Only the roofless nave and tower remain but it’s easy to imagine how impressive it once was. Nature is very much reclaiming it now, in a rather beautiful way, with the oak tree at its heart.

According to one, rather gruesome, version, a witch with a wooden leg was caught near the church and buried alive underneath the nave. From her leg, the mighty tree grew, destroying the church as retribution for her death.

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It’s said if you walk around the tree times, her spirit is released. I wish I hadn’t told Mark that because, not one to believe in “such rubbish”, he just had to give it a go. Rather him than me.

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There are other spooky tales attributed to the site, and it’s clear from graffiti carved into the stone that many people have come across it over the years, but as I wandered about I felt nothing but peace.

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Remains of the bell tower.

Surrounded by lush new spring growth, and with the sounds of gentle bird song (and the odd jackdaw) I’d go as far to say I felt serene. I certainly wasn’t in any hurry to leave.

Top tip: We were parked almost next to it and, despite its size, still didn’t spot it. Rather helpfully, there is a sign at the end of the road pointing you in the right direction.

* I’ve added this post to the wonderful #MySundayPhoto linky. Please click on the camera below to find out what other people have captured this week.

Photalife

My Sunday Photo – April 23, 2017.

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I’m going to admit this straight away, even though it’s a tad embarrassing; I had no idea we had lizards in this country.

When we spotted this beauty I thought it was a really big newt but, thanks to the friendly wildlife photographers at Strumpshaw Fen, I now know this is a common lizard – apparently the UK’s most widespread reptile.

This one was quite happy basking in the sunshine. What a beauty!

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Please click on the camera below to see what other people have been snapping this week for My Sunday Photo.

Photalife

My Sunday (Ok, Saturday) Photo – April 15th, 2017.

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Peacock.

Our third year of butterfly hunting has got off to a great start, with several new ones ticked off our list already.

Sadly, though, in general it seems these are worrying times for UK butterflies, which suffered their fourth worst year on record in 2016.

According to the charity Butterfly Conservation: “A mild winter followed by a cold spring contributed to conditions that saw both rare and widespread species struggle despite many parts of the UK enjoying a warm and dry summer.”

Some 40 of the 57 species studied recorded a decline compared with 2015.

Professor Tom Brereton, head of monitoring at Butterfly Conservation, said: “The results show that butterflies are failing to cope with our changing climate and how we manage the environment. As butterflies are regarded as good indicators of environmental health this is hugely concerning for both wildlife and people.”

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Red admiral.
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Speckled wood in our garden.
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Green veined white (I think).

We’ve visited some new places (Foxley Wood and Strumpshaw Fen) which has helped to up our personal butterfly count but it’s upsetting to imagine what will happen in the future. How many butterflies will Freya be able to spot when she’s an adult?

While it might seem like we as individuals can’t do much to help, we can, including planting to help encourage butterflies and moths. Even if you only have a balcony, like us, you can plant a pot for pollinators.

I’ve joined Darren’s brilliant #MySundayPhoto linky again this week (it’s opened early because of Easter Sunday). Please do check out what other people have posted, it’s always such an eclectic mix.

Photalife