This week: on a free wal­let with lots of places to visit

Val­man Deb­bie

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - GREEN SPACES - Deb­bie Val­man Ground­work South

THERE is a wealth of wildlife out there in the Colne Val­ley and it is well worth ex­plor­ing at any time of the year.

Find­ing the best places to drop in on a drag­on­fly or count fox holes isn’t al­ways easy, es­pe­cially as some Na­ture Re­serves are hid­den lit­tle gems, but the Herts and Mid­dle­sex Wildlife Trust, with fund­ing from the City Bridge Trust, has help­fully pro­duce a free wal­let of vis­i­tor cards with sug­ges­tions of places to visit.

Each place has its own card with de­tails of how to get there and plenty of prac­ti­cal in­for­ma­tion for your com­fort but also about what you might spot on a visit to the site.

There are nine sug­gested trips, some of which can be joined to­gether to make a fuller day out.

Old Park Wood in Hare­field is a small, quiet wood­land which boasts a very ‘loud’ dis­play of blue­bells in the spring and a wealth of drag­on­flies and dam­sel­flies in the sum­mer.

Den­ham Coun­try Park is renowned for its king­fish­ers and herons but you might also spot a kestrel hunt­ing over Mis­bourne Meadow and if you are pre­pared to get your feet wet, then a pad­dle with a net in the Mis­bourne River might turn up some bull head fish or a cray­fish.

Den­ham Lock Wood and its neigh­bour, Frays Farm Meadow, will re­veal fra­grant swathes of mead­owsweet and pink great wil­lowherb in the sum­mer but keep look­ing and you might find signs of the in­creas­ingly rare wa­ter vole.

Don’t con­fine your ex­plor­ing to the day­time hours, ei­ther. Armed with a torch and some company you might want to take a sum­mer evening walk over to Stock­ers Lake where the bats swoop across the wa­ter scoop­ing up the mos­qui­toes for their tea or wan­der around Frays Farm Meadow and see the glow-worms.

Win­ter is also a good time for spot­ting the win­ter wild­fowl mi­grants on the lakes such as shov­eler and gold­eneye that spend the win­ter here in the 70 lakes of the Colne Val­ley.

You many also be lucky enough to spot the flocks of siskins feed­ing in the alder trees at Den­ham Lock Wood.

There is another ‘spot­ters’ leaflet avail­able – also pro­duced by the Herts and Middx Wildlife trust, which has il­lus­tra­tions of the what you might see in the wood­lands, wet­lands or grass­lands so that you can tick off your sight­ings. Great for keep­ing the chil­dren in­ter­ested.

You can col­lect a copy of th­ese free leaflets from the Colne Val­ley Park Vis­i­tor cen­tre in Den­ham or down­load them from www. col­neval­ley­park.org.uk/things-do then click on ‘wildlife, con­ser­va­tion and en­vi­ron­men­tal’ .

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