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.
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 :
I don’t know why but paddles and Mersey come to mind? Strange brain I have! Sorry, Debs!
Serene in New Zealand this week, with Ellen and a few cows!
South of the Border, one last time (sob!), with Jackie :
To the beach with Amy, enjoying the beauty, as she always does :
Being ‘sinister’ with Anabel in Scotland? No, not really!
Liesbet doesn’t make the leap, so don’t worry! Maybe another time?
Feeling social this week? Please go along and say ‘hi’ to Joan :
Such a pretty sequence of images! Meet BiTi from Pret-a-Vivre online magazine :
And, as ever, along comes Drake to brighten the day :
Closely followed by Elisa and Dumbo- not the Disney favourite!
My friend Meg will love this next walk, so thank you, Susan, for making us both happy :
Richard is standing up for Cornish walks and beaches. Jude will be very happy with that :
And, in case you missed the link at the start of my post, here’s the lady herself :
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!