"To see a world in a grain of sand,
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

From "Auguries of Innocence"

by William Blake

Monday, 20 March 2017

Kingsbury Water Park

Kingsbury Water Park, a 600 acre Country Park, comprising 15 lakes and pools plus streams, marshes, woodlands, meadows and the River Tame is part of the Tame Valleys Wetland Project. The Partnership consists of a number of organisations led by Warwickshire Wildlife Trust and the aim is to protect and improve the area creating a wetland living landscape which is rich in wildlife and accessible to people. The wetlands are located between Birmingham and Tamworth, cover 104 square kilometres and the River Tame, floodplain and canals form the core of the region. We do occasionally visit various reserves in the Wetlands such as Ladywalk and Whitacre Heath Nature Reserves, Shustoke Reservoir and RSPB Middleton Lakes but I've only ever been to Kingsbury Water Park once before over 30 years ago! To be honest we parked in the main car park and I think it must have been a bank holiday weekend because it was absolutely heaving with people - not my idea of fun at all! Yesterday we decided to finally make a return visit. The country park contains fishing lakes, a children's farm and playground, a sailing area and a miniature railway but there is a more "wildlife" type area with bird hides so this time we parked in Broomeycroft car park near the reserve part.

Rather controversially, from several people I know who visit the Water Park regularly, 100's of trees have been cut down. I think from memory the reason given for this was to improve visibility of the lakes - to me it looked a bit bleak and barren in places :(

You can just make out some pussy willow in the distance - sadly, couldn't find a tree near enough to get a close up of the catkins.

For some unknown reason instead of exploring the nature reserve part the rest of the family made a bee-line in the direction of the main car park! However, if they hadn't have done that I wouldn't have found a memorial bench mum had erected for my father (she and Dad used to visit Kingsbury all the time). These are the views from the bench.

It was a lovely walk although we did at one point get hopelessly lost but we walked past pools and then through woodland.

At one stage when I had lagged some way behind the others to take photos I could see the family waving at me to hurry up. It turned out they had seen a Peacock butterfly. Of course, by the time I reached them it had disappeared totally from sight so I am still awaiting my first butterfly sighting of the year.

Not quite sure who or what this is but I suspected we were getting closer to the more popular area of the country park and main car park.

Arriving at the main car park. I could kick myself now for not buying a map of the reserve for future use.

I saw a few wild flowers on the walk -

Lesser Celandine



Wild Arum leaves


White Dead-nettle


Bird species seen included - Magpie, Wood Pigeon, Carrion Crow, Long-tailed Tit, Wren, Robin, Goldcrest, Canada Goose, Mallard, Mute Swan, Coot, Tufted Duck, Grey Heron, Chaffinch and Black-headed Gull.

Rather than risk getting lost again! we walked back to the car via the main road crossing over the M42.

An inquisitive calf

A tea-room and time for

tea and cake (lemon curd).

We will return and next time visit the nature reserve part where we parked. I would also like to walk along the canal to RSPB Middleton Lakes.

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

Berkswell Churchyard and a local Rookery

D and I popped to the farm shop at Meriden last Sunday. It was a lovely day and we went along to the churchyard of St John the Baptist in Berkswell in search of Brimstones. There were no butterflies around but plenty of flowers.

St John's dates back back to the 12th century and was built on the site of an earlier Saxon church.

Primroses are starting to appear.

Lovely to see Lesser Celandine flowering.

The flowers are also known as "golden knobs" or "golden guineas".

"Before the hawthorn leaves unfold,
Or buttercups put forth their gold,
By every sunny footpath shine
The stars of Lesser Celandine"

Song of the Celandine Fairy by Cicely Mary Barker

We found lots of 18th to 20 century graffiti on one of the church walls.

An Ordnance Survey benchmark

Plants in Walls

Mosses and Lichens

The village stocks are around 200 years old. Unusually they have five holes and local stories suggest that they were designed to accommodate 3 regular local offenders one of whom had only one leg.

The ancient Bercul's Well which may have been used for baptism during Saxon times

Well House now a private residence but it was once the Rectory and home to Maud Watson (1864-1946) winner of the first Ladies' Lawn Tennis Championship at Wimbledon.

On the way home we stopped off in Meriden to watch the activities of birds at a rookery (there were at least 20 nests). (Photos taken by D with the Canon Bridge HS50)