Taking a stroll along the new path we first see a heron on the bank of Grunsagill Beck. In spring the bank is covered in wild flowers, primrose, violet, wild garlic, foxglove etc. a pair of brown hares run up the hillside to our left startling the lambs asleep in the evening sunshine. As we reach Flowery Fold Wood evidence of badgers is obvious where they have been foraging amongst the bluebells. Further along a patch of white, where the wood anemones are in full bloom. We can hear the woodpecker hammering on a hollow tree, the sound echoes across the valley. A hedgehog rolled into a prickly ball as he heard our footsteps. There are lots of empty hazel nut shells, dropped by the grey squirrels through the winter months. As we reach open fields again four Sika deer run for cover, easily clearing the fence they disappear into the thicker woodland, a lapwing runs along through the rushes to lead us away from her nest.
One of the children running ahead almost steps on a cock pheasant hiding behind some long grass, the colours in his feathers are brilliant as he takes off, narrowly missing our heads. We can hear the ducks as we approach the first of the ponds, but they hear us coming and all but a couple have taken cover in the reeds around the edge. You need to sit quietly for some time to catch a glimpse of the fluffy little ducklings.
Rejoining the public footpath the distinctive call of the curlew can be heard in the distance. The cattle, grazing the new spring growth raise their heads inquisitively as we pass. Soon we turn right, through the younger trees of the wildlife corridor, here young oak, ash, birch, alder and wild cherry have been planted, the cherry blossom looks and smells wonderful. We spot some oyster catchers and a clutch of newly hatched partridge. More ducks as we pass the second pond plus a water hen swimming quite bravely in our direction. The young hedgerows have an abundance of catkins hanging in the sunshine. The crab apple is now loosing its petals.
The meadow is a mass of yellow with the dandelions in full bloom, some baby rabbits no bigger than your hand are enjoying a tasty snack.
Now we are home again a pleasant evening for a drink on the patio whilst reflecting on our experience.
See our gallery page for some of the birds we have photographed at Lower Gill.
Bluebells carpeting the floor of Flowery Fold Ancient Woodland.
Ducks enjoying one of two Wildlife Ponds at Lower Gill.