… Into The Wild …

“So many people live within unhappy circumstances and yet will not take the initiative to change their situation because they are conditioned to a life of security, conformity, and conservatism, all of which may appear to give one peace of mind, but in reality nothing is more dangerous to the adventurous spirit within a man than a secure future.  The very basic core of a man’s living spirit is his passion for adventure.  The joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.”  - John Krakauer, Into the Wild.

The morning air was cool after a night of storms … perfect weather for our adventure. Our destination … the Watermead Country Park in unknown territory at the other end of the county.  An hours journey across the city and there it was … completely deserted.

In the background there was the constant noise and hum of the traffic speeding by … but here we were in an oasis of calm on the outskirts of the city … surrounded by acres of trees, wild flowers and lakes … dragonflies, bees and butterflies our only companions.

Isn’t it always the way that you never actually visit places that are right on your doorstep.

Today we were changing that.

DSC_0025

We started walking along a footpath and immediately came across a botanists dream … wild flowers in such abundance that I stopped counting the varieties after  a few minutes.  I was in paradise.  Pea vetch … Meadow Cranesbill … Devil’s Bit Scabious … Cornflower … Meadow Vetchling … Evening Primrose … Great Mullein … Ragwort ..  Knapweed … Teasel … Welted Thistle … Corn Marigold … Meadowsweet … Hedge Bindweed … Dock … Horseradish … the list goes on. 

DSC_0028

SDC11818DSC_0027

DSC_0029

DSC_0026

SDC11798

SDC11799

SDC11809

SDC11811

SDC11810

There were hides situated around small ponds … each one was visited in turn.  The first was the Sand Martin Hide.  A wall had been built for the Sand Martins to nest in … we watched in awe as the birds flew back and forth to feed their young … they flew at speed with perfect accuracy aiming at the holes where hungry little mouths opened to receive the insect delicacies.

SDC11801

If you look closely you can see three little chicks in one of the holes waiting to be fed.

DSC_0013

The next hide was in a woodland clearing where a squirrels antics kept us amused whilst various birds came down to eat the seed left out for them.  But we hadn’t reckoned for the next hide which was elevated and gave a panoramic view of a lagoon where Herons stood on one leg waiting to pounce on unsuspecting fish, gulls and wading birds aplenty … horses grazed the short grass at the side of the lagoon … totally unaware of our presence – in the distance you could see the haze over the city as the sun rose higher in the sky.

DSC_0021

DSC_0018

SDC11835

DSC_0032

SDC11825

Initially the park was used as farmland and then used for gravel extraction. In 1989 the park was developed from these disused gravel pits.    In 2005 it was designated by English Nature as a local Nature Reserve, this provides the site with further protection from potential development.

To have this gem on the outskirts of a big city is a huge bonus for city folk and country lovers alike – to think we have lived in this county for all these years and never thought to visit before.  You can be sure that this will be the first of many more visits.

SDC11830

SDC11826

SDC11837

We have no real wilderness around where we live … but going back to the wild for just a day nourishes the soul and feeds the heart … I am so glad we made the effort to get out of our comfort zone and see nature in the raw.

‘Til next time – stay cool!

Comments

  1. Looks a truly lovely place Elaine and yes, you are right, we rarely visit places on our own doorsteps but we should and appreciate them as others from elsewhere would.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree Anne - there are loads of places round here that I haven't visited for years and would be nice to see again.

      Delete
  2. I agree. that's why we've decided to stay home this summer: to see what's on our own doorstep. Lots of adventures can be had close to home.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Absolutely - we will definitely be doing a bit more exploring locally - it's surprising what you can find if you look hard enough.

      Delete
  3. Elaine picture 5 is wonderful and admits you to the prone photographers club very exclusive it is too, all the best, chuckling David

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I have to own up David - the husband took that picture with his new camera.

      Delete
  4. It's great to see wonderful places like this emerging from old industrial sites. Love the idea of the hides and the wildflowers are beautiful.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. When left to its own devices nature soon reverts back - with a little push in the right direction.

      Delete
  5. Oh WOW. What a most glorious place to visit and refresh your soul. I can image the smell of those flowers and grasses were amazing. Thanks for sharing.
    Anne xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was amazing Anne - I have never seen so many wildflowers in one place - it took your breath away.

      Delete
  6. I really enjoyed this post. Such beauty. It must be as close to heaven as a naturalist could get here on earth. Gravel pots here have been reclaimed as natural areas for fishing, walking, day dreaming, too. I hope you plan a return trip.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am hoping to go back in the autumn when I expect it will look totally different but just as beautiful

      Delete
  7. Yes, I also like the new header and that nature reserve looked wonderful. thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was a great place to spend a few hours wandering about taking in all the summer sights and sounds.

      Delete
  8. That's a great quote.
    I'm always curious about why people travel abroad when there is so very much here in our own backyards.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree - it also takes a great deal of time and effort and of course costs a lot more.

      Delete
  9. Places like that seem to be becoming rarer and rarer. I could spend DAYS there.

    ReplyDelete
  10. So beautiful this 'Wild' area, Can imagine you will go back soon. I can spend days between grasses and wild flowers together with Snarf.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wish we could have spent longer but the weather just got too hot to stay outdoors - so we found a pub and had a nice cold beer - perfect.

      Delete
  11. A most enjoyable post and wonderful photos. That's the sort of place that I enjoy visiting and going back to time and again through the seasons.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Flighty - we will definitely be going again to see what it looks like at different times of the year.

      Delete
  12. What an amazingly beautiful and hugely interesting place! A real "oasis". And how nice to see that for a change, Man has given Nature a bit of a helping hand.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A couple of decades on and you would never have known that it was an industrial site - remarkable.

      Delete
  13. Elaine,

    Paradise without a doubt.....so beautiful. You must have felt you had died and gone to heaven:)
    Isn't it wonderful when you discover a place, although manmade, looks so unspoilt. It looks so natural....love the heron image, just lovely.

    I have a feeling you may just visit again.......sometimes it is nice to take a walk on the wild side :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I did Cheryl - I have always been a wild flower enthusiast and I was going from one plant to another showing off my wildflower knowledge - I was like a child in a sweet shop.

      Delete
  14. Boy, you aren't kidding about the botanist's dream. And such lush growth, too. It'll be great to see photos at other seasons as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To see that many wildflowers in one place is something that will stay in my memory for a long time.

      Delete
  15. I couldn't agree more, nature does totally feed the soul. What a lovely place, so many critters and wild flowers, I loved it all, especially the little peeping chicks!!!xxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love to be in that sort of environment it just makes me feel happy to be at one with nature.

      Delete
  16. Golly friend!!!! What a gorgeous place to have a walk through!!!! And the native plants are outstanding!!! Now let me just say that your photos blew me away!!! Pure stunning!!! Happy week to you and thank you for passing on the goodness!! Nicole xo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We only explored a small part of this place but I have to say it blew me away too. Thanks Nicole.

      Delete
  17. Love the new blog design By the way!!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks - I'm always tinkering with the design, never satisfied!

      Delete
  18. Looks like a lovely, tranquil place and your photos are stunning especially the one of the heron:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The heron photo was taken from quite a distance away I'm surprised at how good it is myself :)

      Delete
  19. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Elaine - what beautiful pictures and because of all you shared it was like I was right there in the wild with you. It is always fun to see new places and have great experiences. Hope you are having a wonderful week.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad you enjoyed this post Debbie - the country park was certainly a great experience - we will definitely be returning to see what else we can discover. It is still very hot and humid here - I seem to spend most of my time watering the garden at the moment.

      Delete
  21. The word that comes to mind when I see your photos and read your words is sanctuary. What a moment of peace in a noisy stressful world.

    If I had something like that I too would love to visit.

    Jen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is a good word to describe it Jen.

      Delete
  22. What a beautiful place Elaine! I love seeing all the wildlife enjoying areas like this. Our house backs onto a nature reserve, but it's nothing like this one, I wish it was!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anywhere that is a haven for wildlife and nature is ok by me.

      Delete
  23. Summer was meant for excursions such as this. Wild flowers can be so amazingly beautiful! Your pictures in this post are wonderful Elaine!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Jennifer - it was a sight to behold.

      Delete
  24. Thank you for showing such beautiful wildlife. I would love to walk through a place like this, but it will have to drop in temperature first. I can't wait to go back out on my walks. Take care xx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am the same Chel. We left when it got too hot - it just takes it out of you.

      Delete
  25. Beautiful photos Elaine.... an oasis of calm.

    ReplyDelete
  26. That quote really hit home. It is so easy to slip into a rut of comfort. We have been lucky where we live. We are not from here so we spend much time acting like tourists, it's all new to us. But as you say, so easy to continually drive by a place, or say maybe another time we'll stop. Looks like you discovered a fantastic spot.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am sure there are a lot more places we have yet to discover near to home - all it takes is a little effort.

      Delete
  27. It looks like a very special place. And all those beautiful flowers ... perfection. Thank you for sharing this Elaine ... I needed that dose of tranquillity.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Annie - I'm just annoyed that we didn't discover it sooner.

      Delete
  28. It's always amazing to discover tucked away wild places and to remind ourselves they still exist. I love that it is so full of wildflowers and wildlife. We need more of this in our overly cultivated lives. :)

    ReplyDelete
  29. Gorgeous photos Elaine. We definitely need to stop and smell the roses more than we do. I'm really trying!

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

the rise of the apple and the fall of the oak ...

Down to Earth ...

the sweet calm sunshine of September ...