Jo’s Monday walk : Wildfowl Waddle and Glide


Bearing in mind how energetic we were last Monday, I thought that something a little more sedate might suit today.  Hardwick Hall Country Park in Sedgefield, County Durham, is just the place for a gentle stroll.  But that’s not the whole story.  You are probably familiar with my challenging friend, Jude.  Chided to nurture my photographic skills in capturing wildlife, and NOT cheat with inanimate objects, what else could I do?

Clutching the dregs of a box of cornflakes, off I went.  The helpmate had to come too, of course, to obligingly scatter the cornflakes as I poised for action.  And action there was, aplenty!  It seems that swans are extremely efficient hoovers when it comes to cornflakes.


We used to come to this park when my son was small.  Many battles were fought in the crumbling old fort- some of them just to get him out of there, and home again.  Nobody much seems to clamber in it these days.  Just the odd duck.  A bit of a waste, really.

A park for all seasons, I’ve brought you here a time or two before.  Remember the duck decoy?  And there are quirky sculptures, too.  But fundamental to it all is the lake.  Canada Geese may pretend ownership, but the swans glide imperiously by, cocking a snooty beak.




There are several smaller ponds, beloved of the coots playing hide and seek among straggling roots, and the soft shimmering reeds.  The Temple of Minerva hints at mystery through the trees.  Just one of the interesting sculptural aspects to this park.



Crossing over the Serpentine Bridge, the path leads to fens and a boardwalk.  A new little bird hide has been installed, and our feathered friends are delighted to preen a little while they feast on nuts.  We are equally delighted to quietly spectate.



I’m so used to seeing the folly of a Gothic Ruin that it no longer seems strange to me.  Designed in the Palladian style, by architect James Paine, the gardens are an unusual example of 18th century landscape design.  The cafe, however, is a stylish new build.  That doesn’t prevent it from doing a very creditable old fashioned Victoria Sponge and Bakewell Tart.  I did a good impersonation of those swans as I hoovered up my sizeable portion. Crumbs don’t make much of a photo, do they?

Hoping for a tiny morsel, a robin loitered nearby, teasingly out of camera range.  So, I had to settle for a couple of very cute ducks.


You might have noticed that Jude has been breaking her own rules lately.  Who better?  Pop over and join in her Garden Challenge. You have until the end of March to post some Wildlife.  Meantime let’s put the kettle on.  Time to settle in for a good read.

walking logo

Huge thanks to all my contributors for joining me again this week.  I love having your company, whether you’re a walker or not. Please feel free to send me a walk.  The details are on my Jo’s Monday walk page or click on the logo above.


Lots of happy and willing sharers again this week.  Let’s get Smidge to start us off :

A weekend in the Clyde Valley : New Lanark and the Elphinstone Hotel 

I don’t know why but paddles and Mersey come to mind?  Strange brain I have!  Sorry, Debs!

Across the Forth without a Ferry

Serene in New Zealand this week, with Ellen and a few cows!

Going for a Walk : Motutapu Walkway

South of the Border, one last time (sob!), with Jackie :

Bucerias, Mexico

To the beach with Amy, enjoying the beauty, as she always does :

Monday Walk : Rockport Beach, Texas

Being ‘sinister’ with Anabel in Scotland?  No, not really!

Irvine and the Scottish Maritime Museum

Liesbet doesn’t make the leap, so don’t worry!  Maybe another time?

A Walk in Lover’s Leap State Park, CT

Feeling social this week?  Please go along and say ‘hi’ to Joan :

Having a Social Hike with absolutely Blissful Views

Such a pretty sequence of images!  Meet BiTi from Pret-a-Vivre online magazine :

Our first walk together in 2016

And, as ever, along comes Drake to brighten the day :

Pics up last Summer

Closely followed by Elisa and Dumbo- not the Disney favourite!

Walking the Brooklyn Bridge

My friend Meg will love this next walk, so thank you, Susan, for making us both happy :

Rock Walk 

Richard is standing up for Cornish walks and beaches.  Jude will be very happy with that :

Best walks with a view : Trevone to St. Merryn 

And, in case you missed the link at the start of my post, here’s the lady herself :

Garden Portrait : Knightshayes Court

That’s it for another week.  I hope to have a post for you on Easter Monday but I haven’t quite decided where yet.  My daughter and husband are arriving on Thursday evening, so I’m busy and excited.  I hope the weather allows you to get out and about, but if not there’s always chocolate. Have a wonderful time!



  1. Wow, a shot on an angle … great stuff, jo!!!! My favorite birds … the swans. You take some fantastic images, Jo … White ducks. Haven’t seen any for years. We have plenty of ducks, but in the ears I lived here I only saw 4 ducklings. Very strange .. maybe Landskrona ducks are gay!!! *laughing

    1. Oh no! Not gay ducks 🙂 🙂 Whenever I take a funny angle shot I think of you Vivi. Most of mine don’t come off but I liked this one. Thanks for spending so much time with me today. I haven’t got past Gdansk because I’m too busy replying to comments everywhere. 🙂 🙂 Hugs!

      1. Jo, don’t worry catching up with me … you have so much comments on all posts to answer. Take you time, Girlfriend. With the camera on an angle you get a lot more into the shot. At least you’re trying *smile – good on you.

  2. Cornflakes did the trick Jo! Whatever works (without harming the birds of course) I think, I’ve been known to bribe a bird or two for a photo 🙂 You have such lovely places for walking with ponds, stone bridges and gothic arches – delightful. I would have loved a fort to play in as a child, my Dad would have preferred it to us heading bush with his tools to make cubbyhouses among the trees. Have a wonderful time with your family Jo 🙂

    1. Wonderful, Miriam! I was just wondering when I was over at yours last so I’ll really enjoy a walk with you :). I’m crazy busy with reorganising (cleaning the muck out!) before Lisa arrives tomorrow. The 6′ 5″ son will have to sleep on a futon- bit tricky 🙂 Will pop over soon.

    1. The rest of my walking group have learnt to ignore me. They know I’ll catch up sooner or later. I do mostly keep them out of sight 🙂 🙂 Happy Easter to you, Draco!

    1. Hi Bella! (if I can call you that? 🙂 ) Of course, you’re more than welcome to join in. There really aren’t any ‘qualifications’- I just enjoy company 🙂 I’ll pop over right now.

    1. Thanks, Rosemay! 🙂 We’ve had a couple of proper Spring days and now it’s sliding back into the grey 😦 Not a good forecast for Easter, but we’ll wait and see. I’ll be kept busy entertaining anyway. What have you planned?

      1. The photos certainly look like it’s getting a bit warmer Jo but sounds like the Easter forecast isn’t that great. At least when the sun comes out it is starting to get a bit more warmth in it at this time of year! We have had a humid week and storms are predicted for Easter but the long dry summer is on its way out – the season seems to change over beginning of April here. We’re seeing family and friends over Easter – first year we’ve been in Perth at Easter time for a long while usually in Europe but with Easter being a bit earlier than usual and not leaving until after granddaughter # 2’s 1st birthday we’ll be over slightly later this time. Have a wonderful Easter and enjoy all your entertaining! 😃

    2. It’ll make a nice change for you to be home for Easter. I was just thinking this morning that I would like to be in the Algarve next Easter. It’s a more special time in Catholic countries. But we had Shrove Tuesday and the parades so not complaining. Have a lovely one, Rosemay! 🙂 🙂

    1. Hi Lee Ann! 🙂 Monday mornings are often a quiet, nice time to walk. Everyone back to work/school 🙂 Cuba St. in New Zealand sounds an interesting mix. Be right with you.

      1. I’m shattered, hon! The brain won’t even think about what to post next! Been reorganising the bedrooms/study to accommodate the young uns this weekend. All in a good cause 🙂 Happy Easter to you!

      2. For the first time in over 6 years (since before we started travelling) Jack’s 3 boys + family are going to gather at our place for lunch on Easter Saturday. Just for 1 day. Just the Sydney son is staying for 3 days and the boys haven’t all been together for a long time, should be fun. Hope your Easter goes well.

  3. Aw, thank you Jo for your watery wildlife. I love the white ducks with the yellow beaks – so Jemima Puddleduck, so are they Aylesbury ducks?. And those hoovering swans, perhaps they’d like to pop over here and do some hoovering? Your park looks a bit like Painshill with the lake and the follies. Nice for a wander. Me? I’m just looking for a bench to sit on 😉

    1. Sorry, Jude! Need the hoovering swans here. Those long necks are great for reaching into corners. Trying to turn the son’s bedroom into a refined space for a lady. Not enough cupboards for all the guitars/pedals/gear. Hint- don’t look under the bed 🙂
      I think there was a bench or two, if my memory serves me right. Those are just Sedgefield ducks to me. Nowhere near Aylesbury!

      1. Don’t talk to me about guitars – still have another five to transport to Cornwall. OH not happy to put them in the removal van 😦

  4. Hello, Jo. Fantastic pictures. It’s a delight to my eyes. The composition, the light and the reflections are perfect. I wanted to be there with you.
    Enjoy the days ahead with family. Very special Easter with your daughter and husband. Xx

      1. You’re welcome, Jo. Yes, we enjoyed our dats there, despite of the weather change, which brought some showers from time to time. We took it easy as we’ve been there before, and made remember to meet up with an old friend of mine, and to follow his tips on good places to eat outside the touristic track.
        We walked up and down to make photos and didn’t miss the sunset at cais do sodré.

      2. Precisely. It was all for the best! The inky but was the return flight, delayed endlessly due to the French traffic controllers going on a strike. We got home via England, around 2am today. 😩

  5. Snidrips? was this a few weeks ago, surely there’s none left now? What a beautiful place and hardly a soul to be seen, where is everyone, don’t they a nice stroll in spring up north? The fort is wonderful and so is the bridge perfectly framed through the arch of the folly. Does your son have happy memories of the fort when he was a little boy?

    1. This is the walk I took with my group last Monday, Gilly, and yes, there are still snowdrops about. Maybe they last longer in the cool, poor souls 🙂 I’m very selective about where I point my camera. I don’t mind an odd person or two- if they behave 🙂 🙂 That lets Michael out! Mondays do tend to be a quietish day out and about. It was lovely and sunny this morning and we passed a group of walkers going in the other direction on our coastal walk. Not sure about James- I think he might.

    1. If you can get past chilly temperatures and grey skies, it’s grand 🙂 We had a blue sky morning and I thought I’d gone to heaven 🙂 Thanks for your company.

      1. I grew up ( 22 years) there so I know all about the grey skies and chilly temps.
        Unfortunately, one tends to get mugged down Memory Lane when viewing such lovely photos from the comfort of an arm chair – and a warm one to boot! 🙂

  6. That was a most lovely and peaceful walk Jo. I didn’t see anything we might climb or clamber over. I love that you brought your assistant along. I think perhaps we should make a list of the tasks they have been assigned over the years. 🙂
    Beautiful captures of the swans and our geese too. I see a few pairs of geese have arrived by the river so soon there will be the wee ones. She squeals with delight.
    Oh and I know I am being verbose but I must say the photo from the low angle looking at the water and the bridge is brilliant! Oh yes we could rappel off of that I bet.

    1. I got a wet bum taking that shot! No, I wasn’t paddling. I squatted down to take the shot and upended in among the damp leaves. 🙂 No adventure, say you? What about my fort? I love a touch of verbosity, Sue. Let’s go play on the slides! (no- I didn’t show them in the shots. A bit like my cake 🙂 )

      1. I am chuckling with you at the wet bottom. Oh yes I am often found laying in the dirt to get the right angle. Sometimes best to just lay down rather than fall I say. Ok off to the slides I’ll trust you.

  7. I’m always torn between the serenity of a walk without others nearby, and the sadness in an under-used public space. I imagine it fills up in the summer and I’m glad you got your photos in this nice quietness. Beautiful bridges!

    1. I was actually walking with a group, Susan, and waited till they were out of shot before I took my photos. There were quite a few people about (especially in the cafe 🙂 ) but I do tend to avoid them if I can. 🙂

  8. Another totally wonderful walk, with words and wildlife as extras. I love that little humped stone bridge, the clever framing, the view across the lake to the faintish shape of the building, the white whatever-flowers, and always the birds. Makes me want to leave my bedroom and see what charms I can find in Warsaw!

    1. Snowdrops? You must have some in Warsaw, Meg. Are you still laid up with flu and not wanting to pass it on? 😦 Thank you for being such a wonderfully appreciative audience. 🙂

  9. Now I have walked this walk 3 times – have to say I feel like the son of yours did – no, I wouldn’t leave… 😀

    Amazing area, excellent captured too… 🙂

    1. Hiya Drake! Sorry I’m a little late getting here. 🙂 I was walking at the coast again this morning, then spent the afternoon clearing out that son’s bedroom so my daughter will have somewhere to sleep at the weekend. Monumental task 😦 😦 At least 3 guitars! 🙂 Thanks for your company and the walk.

      1. The redhaired princess in the cellar from your excellent photo, loved this photo of yours.?

        This walk of week you shared – I have just taken the 4th turn – so inspiring… 🙂

    1. Thanks, sweetheart! Sorry I’m just getting here- it’s been a busy day 🙂 Walking this morning then trying to declutter James’ bedroom so his sister will have somewhere to sleep this weekend. 🙂

  10. I like how you framed your lovely views with arches and other architectural details. It’s always fun to take a peek and see what beauty lies just around a corner. Sooo pretty, all of it. My favorite was the arched bridge with the delicate white flowers along the bottoms. Not Lily of the Valley, but something similar? And thanks for the mention, Jo. Have a beautiful day!

    1. Got to make an effort to appease now and again, don’t you, Ad? 🙂 Thank you very much. Nobody does it better than you! Happy Easter to you 🙂 Got a plan?

    1. Thanks so much, Jill 🙂 This was my last Monday’s walk with my walking group. I had to keep waiting for them to get out of shot. 🙂 Plenty of room for all!

  11. Lovely – and surely enough wildlife for Jude to be more than satisfied. Thanks, as always, for the mention. No walk from me today as I’m blogging about something else, but we had a lovely sunny stroll yesterday so will get that ready for next week.

  12. What a beautiful place to walk through. Your photos are lovely, Jo. How do the swans react when the food is all gone? Where Mr ET comes from there is a large lake, home to many black swans. They can be quite aggressive when the food runs out.

    1. Can’t say I’ve ever seen wardens feeding them, Carol, but I think they must get daily rations. It’s a very well frequented park so there’s seldom a lack of willing feeders, but the bird population is huge there these days. I have to say, if one turns it’s beady eye on me critically I beat it, quick 🙂

  13. Little Paradise with gracious swans! Charming and peaceful place, I wish I could bring there my video camera and have my chat…Have a beautiful week, Jo! You are absolutely stunning as usually!

    1. I had vague thoughts of using this for the Weekly Photo Challenge, Becky, and tying it in with a swan dance- or do I mean a swan song? 🙂 Never mind- enjoy your week!

  14. It looks a great place for a stroll, Jo….and fancy you not taking a ‘Selfie with crumbs’ just to prove that cake was to be had!!

  15. Such beautiful photos, Jo and what a lovely (easier!) walk. 😀 Swans and geese galore – do the latter tend to attack in formation? I’ve had very scary experiences with geese…love the bird feeding, snowdrops and photos framed by the stonework. How sad no one sees to play on the fort anymore, it looks ideal. Wishing your a relaxing Monday.

    1. The geese in this park are so used to visitors, Annika. We pretty much get ignored unless we’re rustling a packet. 🙂 The swans can get a bit feisty though. That fort is just not sophisticated enough for today’s kids. 😦 Thanks, sweetheart. Have a happy week!

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