poetry and prose about place

heathland and heather (day 57)

with 6 comments




7-57  December 12, 2013  30 minutes  3.0 km  (from Ponsongath to Kuggar)


Something different has appeared in the maps of the area where I am ‘travelling’.  Today’s virtual bike trip took me just south of a large ‘brown’ area of topography (seen in the aerial photo above).  To find out about this area, I turned my stationary cycle for a side trip in the direction of Gwenter, just to the north of my planned path.


The area I found is anything but brown (Street View images were done in July).  These are the Goonhilly Downs, a raised plateau of heathlands above serpentinite rock.  Besides being a Site of Special Scientific Interest and the home of many rare plants, the heathlands are the location of a large windfarm (I could just see the turbines in the distance) and the Goonhilly Satellite Earth Station (the largest in the world).


Goonhilly Downs

Goonhilly Downs … wind turbines and satellite dishes are just visible along the horizon (image from Street View)


From the road I could see expanses of grass, tufts of fern, and ericaceous shrubs.  Patches of purple reminded me of the Rhodora that blooms here in spring. From my reading about the Cornwall heathlands, I am certain this plant must be Cornish heath (Erica vagans), a species of heather common in Cornwall.  I have a small patch of heather growing in my own garden, so this plant has a spot in my heart.  I first learned about heathers in our history club in high school – we took a field trip to see the heathers growing abundantly in Point Pleasant Park in Halifax.  They grow there in a 3300 square meter patch, called the ‘Heather Patch’, south of the Cambridge Battery.  The heathers are not native but grow there as an escape – from the stuffing in the bedrolls of British soldiers in the 1700s!


December 17, 2013  'Goonhilly Down'   Jane Tims

December 17, 2013 ‘Goonhilly Down’ Jane Tims


Copyright 2013  Jane Tims

6 Responses

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  1. HEY! I was thinking just yesterday that I could use your assistance and here you are like an answer to my prayers, LOL.

    I was trying to do what you do, make virtual travel routes on google earth. I think I had the notion that I could make a path from the arial view, then fly to my start point in street view and have a playback almost video like tour.

    So what do you do, simple click yourself forward manually step by step? I think you “need” to make a tutorial if you haven’t already…. 😉

    And how do you know which routes will work well for this? Your trips seem so very organized and well researched, I’m more like “hey, I could pop round the Dartmoor area and have a look-see of the country lanes.”



    December 20, 2013 at 7:01 am

    • Hi Pia. Good to hear from you. I hardly do any research, except when something looks interesting. I just take my I-pad or laptop to my bike and click as I ‘drive’ along. Before I do my actual trip, I go to Google Earth and plot out a path to follow, but I sometimes don’t follow it exactly. Sometimes I get ‘lost’. I just click until my 30 minutes are up and I find I can cover about 3 km on the map. If you have a computer, I find Google Earth takes time to load up each image. I use an ‘app’ on my I-pad called MobiMaps which uses the Street View data but loads up as quickly as you can click. The only disadvantage, it doesn’t show you where you are now, only where you started from, so you have to keep looking at the map if you want to know where you are. Ask me as many questions as you like. By the way, I have received the grant to do a series of poems on ‘harvesting colour’ so I will be starting the project on February 1. Your posts will be a great help to me. Basically, I am going to find the plants, dye the wool, weave with the product and write a poem about the experience. I want to include some poems about weavers and dyers, so perhaps you’ll agree to be the subject of a poem? I hope you do try the virtual voyaging. I have found it a great motivator for my exercise but also I have seen places I will never see for real. In January, I am going to start a virtual tour of New Brunswick (where I live) so I can do more local watercolours. Have a great day and Seasons Greetings too! Jane


      jane tims

      December 20, 2013 at 9:07 am

      • That was my experience too, the Google Earth was sooo slow and wobbly. I don’t have an i-pad unfortunately, but perhaps the web view version of Street view is better? I’ll give it a try and simply explore, not make routes!

        Your new project sounds very interesting, I look forward to hearing about it and please tell me if I can be of assistance. How’s the other book coming along, is it hibernating or done?



        December 20, 2013 at 9:17 am

      • Hi. The book is in seventh draft which should be done by end of January. Too many projects, too little time. Jane


        jane tims

        December 20, 2013 at 9:38 am

      • Congratulations on the grant. It sounds like it should be a really fun and rewarding project.



        December 20, 2013 at 10:44 am

      • Hi Sheryl. Thanks! Jane


        jane tims

        December 22, 2013 at 8:42 am

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