Sunday, 25 April 2010

An April walk around the lake at Moors Valley

A warm Saturday afternoon in April. We met our son and his family at Moors Valley Country Park, for a walk around the Lake.

In 1984, eighty two acres of Kings Farm, in the valley of the little Moors River that drains sandy heath and woodland, was purchased by East Dorset County Council. Several years later, it was opened to the public as a Country Park as a place for environmental education and somewhere that families could come to enjoy the children`s play areas, an adventure trail through the conifer woods, a lake and a small steam railway. Recently, a Tree Top Trail and an adventurous "Go Ape" activity among the pine trees, has been added.

Yesterday, we left the crowds behind and walked between the lake and the little river.

A family throws food to black headed gulls on the lake.

A fine sculpture of a dragonfly. The lake is a nature reserve where dragonflies and damsel flies breed and can be seen on summer days.

The lakeside grass was scattered with bullrush seed.

Bat boxes and nesting boxes for birds encourage wildlife to the riverside.

Below - A coot preening on the edge of the lake.

That feels better!

The Moors River winds along beside watermeadows.

Alder catkins and leaves breaking bud.

Early bluebells

Masses of celandines in flower at the base of a streamside oak tree.

Comfrey ......

and Honesty in flower.

Across the lake, families gathered to picnic and play. A few minutes of walking brought tranquility . Few people seemed to venture away from the crowds.

Sedge in damp water meadows beside the river.

A bridle path leading into woods and surrounding farmland.

Moss on an old bridge wall.

Coppiced goat willow.....

....and bright stems of dogwood at the water`s edge.

Low water levels in the lake reflect the low rainfall in this region during recent weeks.

Around the next corner, with its whistle blowing, came the little red engine of the Moors Valley Railway. A ride on the railway was a perfect way to end our walk, especially for our young Granddaughter. Tickets were bought at the miniature station, based on the stations of the days of steam, and we climbed aboard into small carriages, where passengers sit astride a narrow bench and ride in the open air past the signal box, through tunnels and over bridges.

The railway is run by steam enthusiasts , young and old, who have built and maintained the engines and carriages over many years. Their pleasure is infectious and it is impossible not to suspend reality and enjoy the sights, sounds and smells of a steam engine ride. Especially if you are old enough to remember steam train rides on the main line railways of Britain in the 1950s, as my husband and I both can!

At the end of our journey, the Railway Cat, aloof in her cardboard box, was there to watch us climb out of the little train and gather our things for the lakeside walk back to reality.


rachel said...

A lovely outing, thank you - and an especially nice ending. That station cat looks rather well-fed!

The Weaver of Grass said...

What a lovely permanent record of your lovely walk.

Aisling said...

Beautiful walk! I love the railway cat! :)

Dartford Warbler said...

Thank you. It was a lovely afternoon and yes, Rachel, that cat looked much too well fed (and very aloof)!