Thursday, 12 December 2013

Autumn Colour at Fen Drayton Lakes

On our way up to Birmingham for our Good Food Show weekend a few weeks back, we stopped off on the way to visit an RSPB reserve - it was a lovely cold crisp winter day and seemed just perfect for a walk.

RPSB Fen Drayton Lakes is a reclaimed gravel works next to the River Great Ouse in Cambridgeshire. Although not that far from us this was the first time we'd visited the reserve, which consists of a network of paths around water meadows and lakes.

As the name suggests, the reserve is in the heart of the Fens, meaning that the land is tremendously flat. The advantage of course is that the walking is easy - this would be ideal for someone with a child in a pushchair or for an adult with reduced mobility. The paths are well maintained and there is a variety or routes to be chosen from the short couple of mile loop we did, to a longer walk round the reserve boundaries. The flatness also means that the light is quite remarkable - just look at this glorious Weeping Willow glowing in the wintry sunshine...

More colour was visible from the profusion of berries, hips and haws on the trees and bushes too - this really has been a remarkable year for these!

Walking on a little further you get a stunning view out across one of the lakes - we were surprised by the number of Great Crested Grebe to be seen - although not an uncommon bird both MrEH and I were astonished at just how many were out there. Add to that all manner of other waterfowl, and there was definitely plenty to look at. We met a chap local to the reserve - a regular visitor who said that it was very quiet there that day - that he was surprised how few grebe there were in particular - so goodness knows how many there are usually!

The River Great Ouse provided more fantastic views as well - I can see that this would be lovely at any time of year too, although autumn colour is always going to be a winner, isn't it!

We turned back to the car then - as a fun weekend in Birmingham was calling us. We've already said we want to go back though - and to make a point of visiting some of our other "not too far away" RSPB Reserves, too!



Wendy said...

I love visiting the Fens in autumn/winter. The low sun in the big skies creates a very special light. And then there is the sunlight on all that water and the birds - I just wish I could visit more often!

Robyn said...

I'm a bit odd about really flat landscapes - I actually find them slightly claustrophobic - bizarre eh? Yet in the Hebrides, when you're often hemmed in by hills, I don't have that feeling at all! If you get across that way I'd heartily recommend Fen Drayton though - we'll certainly be going back.