Chew Valley Lake, Somerset Redshank, mud-wort, cudweed and crowfoot – their names are peasant-simple – rise from the mud like miniature Grendels
The lake in late summer is brimming with life. Swallows and martins sweep through rafts of duck, coot and gulls, sometimes dipping to sip flies from the surface. The shoreline is lush with plants and wet with drizzle. We push through shoulder-high bushes of water mint and spires of gypsywort and golden dock.
This is the seasonal outburst of the inundation community, the plants that spring up on the mud of the lake edge. The vegetation may have a grand title but the plants themselves have earthy, Old English names, mud-savoury and peasant-simple.