22 August 2009


Having driven all the way to the Forest of Dean we decided to return via the wildfowl and wetlands center at Slimbridge. I've been to WWT Martin Mere more times than I can count, but had never visited any of their other sites before.

The day was very hot and I confess I didn't really pay enough attention to the birds - preferring to dash from one patch of shade to the next. Something that did stand out were these scultures of a family of kingfishers outside (and inside) the kingfisher hide...

Soudley Ponds

Upon moving to Devon in 2005 (having lived in the North of England my entire life until then) I made a list of places I wanted to explore. Most of them we visited in the first couple of years - Dartmoor, Exmoor, Dorset and we've made it across the south of England to Hampshire and even Sussex a couple of times. What we hadn't managed until this week was to visit the Forest of Dean. The Forest of Dean is in Gloucestershire, about 2 hours drive from Exeter, and is somewhere I remember very well from holidays during my childhood.

Despite there being no signpost to the carpark we managed to park at the south end of Soudley Ponds - a series of 4? large interconnected ponds.

We were lucky enough to see several fish

both hawker and darter dragonflies (though as usual only the darters settled for a photograph)

and a little lizard.

Now all I have to do is to make it over to Cornwall sometime. Cornwall still seems so far away, even when you live in Devon!

18 August 2009

The Lucombe Oak

Yesterday we visited Bicton Park, just a few miles from Exeter. Bicton is famous for its beautiful gardens and in particular for its arboretum. At Bicton there are several semi-evergreen Lucombe oaks (Quercus x hispanica 'Lucombeana'). These were discovered by William Lucombe, who ran a nursery in Exeter, when he found that one of his evergreen cork oaks (Quercus suber) had crossed with a deciduous Turkey oak (Q. cerris) in 1762. The Lucombe oak is unusual in that it keeps its leaves over winter.

12 August 2009

- ? -

2 August 2009

All in a row

These asian otters at the New Forest Otter, Owl and Wildlife Park were very comical waiting to be fed

This little guy was particularly keen to see where the keeper was