Cotgrave Country Park.
For the first day of the new year I think you need a bit of exercise so, today, I am taking you to this country park which is on the site of the old coal mines in a village south of Nottingham a few miles from where I used to live. We haven’t visited the park for a few years now and were amazed to see this new housing estate butting right up to the edge of the park! We wondered whether it might disappear in future years down the mineshafts or the residents be overtaken by methane gas …..let us hope not.
We stopped to ask a couple which was the best route and they directed us over the canal. We passed this pond called The Dog Pool but have no idea why. We crossed over the bridge and turned left and then right to see a meandering path.
To the right was a sign for a nature reserve but we left that for another day. Further along a path went off to the left which looked tempting so we followed it and it went up alongside a wood and climbed up towards some fields.
I wonder what is round the corner, it is so exciting when you discover a new walk!
At the top of the hill there were views towards Nottingham as well as Tollerton Airport (my uncle worked there in the war) and Ratcliffe on Soar power station. Two seats at the top for weary walkers and one looked out over the other side of the park.
Back down the hill and alongside another wood. There were trees covered in lichen so the air quality must be good. Here is a sea buckthorn with berries hanging on and vicious spikes.
The catkins on the hazels were in full bloom along with new leaves…..is spring on the way? The alnus also had fruits and catkins and the fir trees were a contrast of bare stems and lichen….nature’s christmas trees.
Fiery dogwoods were lighting up the hedgerows and all along here were animal tracks down from one wood across to another wood.
Round the next corner we found ourselves back by the canal, the Grantham canal. Had we turned left we would have walked alongside a field full of solar panels.
So far there hadn’t been much in the way of wildlife even though the nature reserve was now on our right. However I snapped the odd coot and moorhen and a lone magpie…….and I forgot to turn round several times and salute it as I believe you should do to avoid the “one for sorrow” superstition.
We spotted this lovely knarled tree trunk but further along, hanging from a branch was something we did NOT want to see. Why do people clear up dog mess and then hang it on a tree? …….grrrrr.
We found ourselves back at the bridge so crossed back over and turned left where we saw this stone on a post!
Straight on was a lake which we shall explore on our next visit but we walked up the hill signposted another nature reserve. This took us round and down to an exit which led to the new estate. OH was convinced we could walk through and back to the car park. People must park here as there was a load of litter.
We had a walk round but all roads were gated by the builders so we retraced our steps and ended back at the car park having walked 5 miles. It all looks a bit dull in the photos but I’m sure when the leaves have reappeared and the sun is shining it will take on a different aspect. We shall certainly go back and it is a good walk for damp days as the paths are all solid apart from a few puddles.
You can take your coats off now and open a bottle of something! Happy 2018.