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