Bradlaugh Fields

Named after Charles Bradlaugh, MP for Northampton towards the end of the Nineteenth Century, founder of the National Secular Society and famous for refusing to take the oath to enter the House of Commons, eventually succeeding in gaining recognition for his atheist position, Bradlaugh Fields are a local nature reserve, made out of a former golf course.

The dogment and I went there today looking for autumn colour.DSC_0056_NEF_shotwell.resized

I think these are field maple leaves.

It’s said to be our only native maple – sycamore is usually believed to have been introduced. The Romans are often blamed, though it’s not clear why they would introduce a tree that has little use as timber, produces no nuts, and has leaves that degenerate into a slimy mess that stops the trains.

The leaves are neat, much smaller than sycamore, and rounded. The trees I’ve seen before have been quite small, but they grow tall along the line of an old hedge in Bradlaugh Fields.DSC_0058_NEF_shotwell.resized

The path they shade – dank and sticky at this time of year – runs down beside a rugby ground to the more open parts of the Fields.

There is relatively little good autumn colour this year, but there are still plenty of leaves on the trees, so perhaps, late as it is, there will be a bit more colour in a few days.

DSC_0065_NEF_shotwell.resizedI like these three silver birch trees, one bare, one green, and one golden.

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