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A walk in the park


We are very lucky to live a ten minute walk away from our local park. It is beautiful and after a few years in the doldrums has gradually been refurbished. How it will fare under the latest round of funding cuts remains to be seen, but there are some dedicated volunteers who are doing sterling work.

The park is oval, laid out with banks and hidden corners with paths twisting and turning so that it seems much larger than it really is. It takes many visits before all its secrets are revealed. I first got to know it when I was expecting my first, then used it for pram-pushing, swing-pushing and then family walks. Today, OH and I took our 22-month-old granddaughter there – for the first time on our own!

It was a beautiful day, sunny and mild, so I took a few photos. We spent our time in the children’s play area and then fed the ducks, so they only show a very small part of this lovely park. Perhaps I’ll photograph some of its other delights another time and do a Part 2 blog.

The lodge by one of the park entrances.

When I was a child I was fascinated by park and estate lodges. I still think they would be lovely places to live, though admittedly some of them are very small. They are invariably Victorian Gothic and, as a child, they always reminded me of the gingerbread house in “Hansel and Gretel”.

One of the intriguing little pathways to be found in the park.

They are usually an irresistible temptation to children. This one leads only to one of the greenhouses, which is off limits!

One of the many embankments which were constructed when the park was first established in the 19th century.

Many of them are higher than this one. They are a key element, giving the impression that the park is much larger than it really is, and provide exciting climbs for younger visitors.

There are many lovely trees in the park.

I love the shape of this one, but there are some interesting and exotic specimens in some of the other areas. No monkey puzzles though – apart from a few, small, formal beds, the planting is all very natural and, I must admit, very much to my taste.

Believe it or not, this glorious conservatory, recently refurbished, was once attached to a private house in the centre of town. I’m not sure when it was donated to the park, but it was certainly a long time ago. It used to house many of the plants used for civic occasions by the Parks Dept, but is now cared for by volunteers. I remember, years ago, enjoying walking around it and admiring all the beautiful flowering plants, as well as some very well established giant ferns and climbers.

The daffodils in the park are not all out yet. Most of these banks have many spring bulbs which spread year by year. There are many crocuses around – I must return over the next couple of weeks…

The lake is glorious! It was completely drained and relined a few years ago. For the next couple of years it was pretty murky, and there were a lot of complaints from people who didn’t understand that it would take time to settle but – as you can see – it is now fully recovered and, in fact, better than ever. There are ducks, geese, swans, moorhens, all very well nurtured!

Another picture of the lake.

And finally – the main reason for the walk in the park!

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You are indeed very lucky to have such a grand park nearby, I would be there all the time....I love the lake and I would imagine your granddaughter will grow to love it especially with the changing seasons, my goodness what a conservatory.... must have taken ages to put it back together, thanks Ohmelch already looking forward to blog 2.....

17 Mar, 2016


Thank you, Dd. I know how lucky I am. I think I shall definitely do another blog - there are so many lovely areas within the park.

18 Mar, 2016


that is a special place to visit with your granddaughter. Bet she loved it. I wish we had one as pretty close by. We do go off to Clumber Park occasionally but it takes a while to get there and is very big and a long long way around the lake. Do not think my old legs would walk it nowadays. Lovely blog thanks for sharing your lovely day Melchi. :O)

18 Mar, 2016


Thank you Barbara. We are very lucky to have such a lovely park here. I think we'll be spending quite a lot of time there in the next couple of years!

18 Mar, 2016


What a lovely place Mel , and the reason for goings gorgeous too.....whats she called?

AND how come you've glorious sunshine. Damp cold and miserable here ?

18 Mar, 2016


She's called Lenora, Pam, and she spends every Thursday here with us. She will be two at the end of April, and is developing so fast that she has more to say each time she arrives! We had such a lovely time in the park yesterday - and yes, the weather was great! We do have good weather here - our bit of coast sticks out and I think that's why. It's not quite as lovely today, though, so we were very lucky.

18 Mar, 2016


Smashing....what a great place(and a lovely blue sky.....could do with some of that here today!)
Are the public free to go in the conservatory or is it private?
It's a fantastic park.

18 Mar, 2016


The conservatory is free when it's open, but it never seems to be when I'm there! It's not quite as posh as it used to be, but the volunteers there sell plants. It used to be a more typical park conservatory, but it never seemed to be open then either! It's a really beautiful park, though.

18 Mar, 2016


We have a lovely 'Natural' park near to us too,Mel..and the volunteers do a fantastic job,don't they? Lenora will always remember the happy times she has there,and so much for them to see and learn,as well as having fun..Our Grandson loves going to ours ,and the 9 month old,will soon be enjoying it too..Glad you had a lovely day :o)

18 Mar, 2016


Thank you, Bloomer. There is another fairly large park a couple of miles away. It has some nice natural planting and a lot more formal planting, but I prefer the closer one. I am looking forward to lots of visits!

18 Mar, 2016


Its a beautiful lake - I guess your granddaughter will be looking forward to Thursdays! The glasshouse is spectacular - just asking for exotic planting, but times are not what they were...what a good thing there are volunteers willing to give up their time to care for things.

18 Mar, 2016


Thank you, Stera. Yes, times are very hard for public parks. The other park has lost all its workforce - there was a fernery and a centre that sold plants. The new adult gym installations are still maintained I guess, and the children's play area. After we lost three local branch libraries, one of the redundant park buildings has been acquired by a community group who are shortly opening a community library. I have great admiration for volunteers who are determined not to let local facilities die out.

19 Mar, 2016


I thought it might be easier to find volunteers for gardens than libraries, which need expertise and money to keep going for any length of time. But I guess being clean and indoors opens the field to a wider group of people. Let's hope your community group gets both! Its dreadful to see how many branch libraries are biting the dust these days. They used to have quite a high priority in the old days but not any more.

What on earth will happen to a park that has lost its entire workforce? It will just degenerate into a mess?

19 Mar, 2016


A very pretty park :)
I like those lodges too. There are a few near here.

19 Mar, 2016


I've no idea what will happen to the parks, Stera, but they have survived years of no investment in the past, so I just hope for the best. Interestingly, the park I have featured has recently received a big refurbishment. What happens next remains to be seen. I guess it's not a priority compared to a lot of other services. Sad, though...

Yes, Hywel, it is very pretty. When we get some more sunny weather - which doesn't appear to be forecast for a while! - I shall post some pictures of other features. It's an impressive place, I think!

19 Mar, 2016

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