Find solace among the trees in this formal country park
BLACK PARK IS a wellestablished country park of some 550 acres at the western extremity of the Colne Valley Park, that runs from Rickmansworth to Uxbridge. It is named after the Corsican Pine, an abundant conifer grown in plantations that has distinctive black bark. Indeed, much of the site is covered in a wide range of trees, including many grand old oaks and Scots Pines alongside stands of younger deciduous trees. There are several open areas where heather, Gorse and Broom flourish, and it is here that you have a chance of seeing a wintering Dartford Warbler, particularly around the Five Points Crossroads in the north-east vector, which is close to Pinewood film studios. The park lake is a popular focal point for visitors and wildlife alike, and it is also a particularly worth a visit to see flocks of Ring-necked Parakeets. Carefully check through birds feeding on top of conifers as Crossbill and Firecrest regularly occur, while I have seen Hawfinches here in the past. Introduced Red Kites are now a given in this part of the Home Counties. The park also holds good numbers of roosting birds and an evening visit could yield flocks of Starlings, thrushes, corvids, parakeets and Woodpigeons, all taking advantage of the dense evergreen foliage. Black Park is popular with the general public and has many outdoor activities, including a Go Ape adventure playground, so it really is best to go as early or late in the day as possible for the best chance of seeing birds during the walk. Many of the pathways are surfaced and suitable for the disabled, while well-behaved dogs are also welcome in the park.