Monday, 2 May 2016

Idle Valley - a very literal wetland

What cost nothing today? A visit to Idle Valley Nature reserve
How? It's free for everyone

A blustery and wet day in Nottinghamshire but we can't stay in all weekend. This was my second visit to Idle Valley, and I still haven't done it on a nice day. I should make an effort, pack a picnic and do that.

Idle Valley is a former gravel

extraction site that has been reclaimed and turned into a wildfowl reserve
with grasslands and other nature nurture things. A walk around the lake takes around an hour and there's a good value cafe by the car park with large windows that look over the lake. A long, winding willow arch leads from the main area to the lakeside walk.

The lake itself has small islands, a haven for birds seeking sanctuary. Today it was covered with black-headed gulls interspersed with geese (greylag and Canadian) fighting the winds and rain. Mallards and other ducks, coots, moorhens and swans also rode the mini waves and sparrows, blackbirds, crows, grey and yellow wagtails and others dart across the paths. Nothing too unusual or spectacular but these were seen without binoculars and with boys running around making a noise. A chalkboard near the entrance gives all recent sightings and there are more unusual varieties to be seen.

Why can't dog owners bag poo? It's such a lazy, selfish act to have watched your dog pop that out and then decide it's acceptable to walk away and leave kids to walk in  it. Sigh.

Also near the car park is a lovely little wooded area with sculptures, willow tunnels, a musical bridge and information on wild things for younger children.

A pot of tea and large cookie to restore ourselves, a look around the small gift shop and a look through the binoculars left aimed at the lake and off we go. A lovely hour, worth a small donation (not obligatory) for the car park. In summer there are more events and craft fairs. Pack a picnic and make a day of it.

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