Familiar Paths


Old, familiar paths to walk…


Or maybe not.

When I lived in Collingham 20+ years ago, this was a path that I often wandered out along on my daily walk. Back then there was quarrying going on further along the lanes than I tended to walk, though I could hear the rumbling of machinery in the distance. There was an archaeological dig in a field beyond the hedge. They found the remains of a Roman villa, I believe. Now there is a lake, created after the sand and gravel extraction teams have passed through and left behind a big hole in their wake.

I remember walking these paths back in 2014, not long after the pits had filled with water in the flooding of the winter of 2013/14. Even though I knew the pit, and subsequent lake, was coming, it was still a bit of a shock to see. This transformation into a lake, though, was actually a little premature. There’s still some sand in the middle of the lake that has not yet been extracted. The quarriers have moved on for the time being, though they may return at some point. 

It is now called Ferry Lane Lake, and is rapidly becoming a great habitat for birds. Local birder, Notbirding, reports sightings of waders such as Ruff and Green Sandpiper on the muddy western shore, as well as Temmincks and Little Stints at times when the water levels were lower and the sand workings in the middle were accessible. The lake currently mainly attracts a wide range of wildfowl and wetland species, with Great Northern Diver, Scaup, Common Scoter and Smew often being seen. In the winter months large number of Wigeon and Tufted Duck can build up, occasionally with something rarer in their midst, along with Goldeneye and sometimes Goosander. The area even saw Nottinghamshire’s first Pied Wheatear in 2013. 

The landscape around the new lake is also great for wildlife. In winter a herd of swans can sometimes be found in the stretch of field to the west of the lake, close to the River Trent, depending on the crop that has been grown in it. A variety of farmland birds can also be found in the area, including Yellowhammer, Linnet, Skylark, Grey Partridge, and, occasionally, Tree Sparrow.

I spotted lots of wildflowers while out and about. Most were species that I’ve seen in the meadow and around our own village lanes. Two that I haven’t spotted there this year (though I’m sure I’ve spotted them in the meadow before) are Centaury:

and Endive:

Whilst I can, and do, happily accept all of the wonderfully positive things that the new lake will bring for the wildlife of the area, I do have to admit that I still find it strange to visit a landscape that was once so familiar, that is now so changed. 

This was for day 54 of 365 Days Wild.