Welcome to the Discovering Places Blog

Uncovering the hidden heritage gems across the UK!

31 October 2011

Water your Butt campaign

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Water ButtWater Butt

Water is a precious resource and the Wildfowl & Wetlands Trust are running a fun and cheeky awareness campaign with a serious message.

Do you own a water butt or are you thinking of purchasing one? They are calling on you to use your water butts to wash the car, water the plants or even top up your pond. They are also highlighting the benefits that less reliance on mains water has on the environment and your pockets!

Read more about Water your Butt campaign»

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Reeds in the sun at Stodmarsh Nature ReserveReeds in the sun at Stodmarsh Nature Reserve

Rushing reeds whistling in the wind alongside shimmering ponds and lakes – welcome to Stodmarsh National Nature Reserve, possibly the wildest corner of Kent. Stodmarsh NNR is famous for its reedbeds, marshes, lagoons and wet woodland that make it perfect habitat for a wide range of wildlife especially water birds. Around this time of year the water is starting to fill up with all the winter migrants, flown in to escape harsher weather further north. The ‘peewit’ calls of Lapwings fill the air, especially when a resident Marsh Harriers, or the winter visiting Hen Harriers, circle overhead on the hunt for a meaty meal. You won’t hear the booming call of our resident rarity – the Bittern – till spring, but if you’re really lucky you might spot one skulking in amongst the reeds. You can tell the seasons by the reeds; once a lush green in summer, they are now starting to turn a gorgeous golden shade that looks particularly beautiful when they glow by the water in the sunset.

Read more about Walking alongside one of the wildest corners of Kent»

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River Itchen, WinchesterRiver Itchen, Winchester

Work takes me to a conference in Winchester, (the former capital city of England). The conference strikes home quickly a sense provincial attitudes and exclusivity, which alienate me. So, I skive off for the afternoon and take a walk along the twinkling River Itchen through the water meadows just on the outskirts of the city. With the College walls in view, I find a bench and stop. The water moves swiftly through the low beds, the freedom to lose oneself in the peace of nature envelopes me and I no longer carry the frustrations of the morning at conference.

Read more about A walk along the twinkling River Itchen, Winchester»

25 October 2011

A walk along the River Nene

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River Nene, PeterboroughRiver Nene, Peterborough

Pronounced as the ‘neen’ in Peterborough and the ‘nenn’ in the Fens, the River Nene is the 10th longest river in England, covering 17 miles across Northamptonshire to the Norfolk coast, forming the border between Cambridgeshire and Norfolk. Used by canal boats even today and a major force for industry in the region in the time before the Railways, the Nene provides a beautiful and tranquil walking and cycle route through the Peterborough Unitary Authority area. Beginning at Nene Valley Railway and through Ferry Meadows country park walking along the river is peaceful except for the steam trains whistle and birdsong.

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Regent's Canal, London

From mapping historic puddles to touring London docks, the last week on the blog has been full of watery surprises and unusual discoveries. There is more to come this week, as we set out to discover the UK’s waterways on foot and share our bankside views.

Read more about Call to Action: Walking Alongside Water»

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Shapwick HeathShapwick Heath

Situated at the foot of Glastonbury Tor within the ancient landscape of The Avalon Marshes lies SHAPWICK HEATH. This major wetland reserve covers over 500 hectares of the Somerset Levels and is one of the most diverse nature reserves in the South West. A visit at almost any time of year will be rewarded with incredible wildlife experiences. From early February until June the huge reedbed areas echo with the sounds of Bitterns booming and as summer approaches, an ever increasing chorus from the migrant warblers that nest on the reserve.. By May flocks of Hobbies can be seen hunting dragonflies – sometimes more than 40 of these magnificent birds can be seen in the air at once.

Read more about Shapwick Heath National Nature Reserve - Somerset»

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Old Teasel - Historic puddles and ghostly ponds image (400x300)

We live in the red circle on the map. We haven’t got a street or a house yet because it’s 1881 and this was all fields in the Parish of Horfield, then in Gloucestershire. Now we’re in the City and County of Bristol, but our favourite puddle is on the map, and also here today.

Read more about Historic puddles and ghostly ponds»

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Docklands Community Boat, Open House Day by Leo NeilsonDocklands Community Boat, Open House Day by Leo Neilson

Despite several concerted efforts by RDA’s, successive local Governments and private developers, the Royal Docks have laid largely dormant since they shut to commercial traffic in the 1980’s. The Royal Docks have long since been a buy word for regeneration failure and planning contradictions. Despite being a stone’s throw from the capitals financial centre and the construction of London City Airport and the Excel trading centre, much of the areas brown field sites have remained undeveloped. There has been some residential development at one end of the docks but the legacy of the areas industrial past still looms over the new developments in the form of often unpleasant smells emanating from the Becton water treatment and John Knight Animal Rendering Plants.

So what may you ask is worth blogging about in the Docks! Well, everything and it’s kind of hard to know where to begin and that is where the Docklands Community Boat comes in………

Read more about East London’s Docks begin to share their secrets»

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Chew Valley Lake through a hideChew Valley Lake through a hide

Carrying on with our watery theme, this week we’re uncovering rivers, lakes, ponds and puddles that have featured in your adventures.

I grew up just outside the Mendips in Somerset and lived right next to Chew Valley Lake for 18 years of my life before moving to the big smoke to follow my dreams. Whenever, I go back though (my parents still live there) I have a massive desire to visit my old stomping ground and take in those spectacular views across the lake.

Read more about Call to Action: Rivers, Lakes, Ponds & Puddles - where do you like to splash?»

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