Plenty of parking available on the road by the entrance to the nature reserve - so first stop is often at the hide to see what birds are about on the feeders. Last time I was there, as well as this inquisitive Robin, there were Reed Buntings, Blue and Great Tits, Dunnocks, Chaffinches, a Greater Spotted Wodpecker and some adorable little Long Tailed Tits too.
These catkins caught my eye - the stillness of the day meant they were all hanging in perfectly straight lines - what a great sign of spring! The stillness of the day also meant that the reflections of the trees in the canal were striking...
So, onwards, and a little further along, just as you approach the outskirts of Ware, there is a bridge over the canal from the footpath on one side back to the actual towpath. Usually I walk there along one side and back along the other - the towpath itself is nice but is also terribly popular with cyclists - hardly any of whom seem to have bells - and also joggers and, worse, the power walking gangs of yummy-mummies - terrifying in their designer workout gear and immaculate makeup! What a lot of interesting stuff they miss though as they power along, looking only at each other and not enjoying the view - I'll stick to my slower pace please!
Just before you get to the town itself - what fun - a cafe on a narrowboat! "Table Service" it offers, for your "1970's style coffee - made with 100% milk!" - thankfully it seems that a perfectly ordinary cup of tea is also available. One of these weeks when a treat is in store I'll have to stop here and make use of it I think, maybe with a cheeky slice of cake, too!
So finally to the small town of Ware - famous for its malting industry. There is still a maltings not far away - French & Jupps - and this statue pays tribute to that history. Ware also has some mighty fine charity shops, which if I'm honest, is of more interest to me than the maltings! It's perfectly possibly to while away half a morning wandering from one to the next in search of interesting bargains! One seems to get some interesting clothes and homewares, while another gets some great fabric scraps - I got some bits from there recently for a project I plan to have a go at soon.
Finally, all charity shopped out and bags in hand, it's time to wander back along the towpath towards the car. On this particular walk I stopped to watch the boat below come through the lock - there is something fascinating about a lock, don't you think? The sheer simplicity of the process...very clever indeed. This lucky lady looked to be thoroughly enjoying relocating her home anyway!