Shipley Country Park - Up and Down
w/e 05 February 2012
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490

With the possibility of snow in the forecast, we took advantage of the fine but cold weather to enjoy a walk of about two miles in length one afternoon in Shipley Country Park. I've called it "Up and Down" as the route starts at Osborne's Pond and climbs up to the old Hall site before returning back down to the starting place.

Osborne's Pond

We entered the park near Osborne's Pond and passed a photographer with some expensive looking equipment capturing the waterfowl but more about him later. The sun was shining brightly but this sheltered southern side of the pond in the lea of Shipley Hill was still partially covered with thin ice.
Fork In The Road

Following the lane up the gentle slope as far as Derby Lodge we then turned off to climb the hill up towards the site of the former Shipley Hall. Since our last visit to this part of the park, both the lane from Osborne's Pond and the Coach Road up to the Hall have been resurfaced and made walking much easier. I still have painful memories of the fall I suffered in the park in July 2007 when walking a similar route. At this fork in the road we went right but then kept left to follow the path above the wall and through the wood.
Shipley Wood

Two years ago we were in Shipley Wood photographing snowdrops as February turned to March but now almost a month earlier in the calendar, there was already a good display of the flowers.

Although not fully open parts of the woodland floor were littered with the snowdrops - perhaps an indication of the mild winter we have experienced so far.
Shipley Lane

After completing the circuit around the Hall site we returned to the lane to pass Derby Lodge again and return down Shipley Lane to Osborne's Pond.
Strategic Seats

We left the lane to continue our walk around the pond where strategically placed seats provide good viewing positions to watch the birds on the water but although it was quite pleasant walking it was not really warm enough to be sitting of the frost covered benches.
Feeding Point

At the far end of Osborne's Pond is a clear area right down to the water's edge and many birds gather here as it is where visitors to the park often stop to feed them.

And it is not only the water birds that gather here as evidenced by this relatively tame robin that sat and posed in a tree close by before flying to sit again on a tree stump where he again was quite content to sit while I clicked away.
Sentinel Trees

We completed the circuit of the pond by walking along the northern side where a line of trees stood like sentinels at the water's edge. The embankment on the left rises up to a former railway track that is now part of the Nutbrook Trail.

As we reached the end of the walk, we spotted the photographer again that we had seen earlier. He was still sitting among the debris in the overflow channel from the pond where we had first seen him training his long lens on the birds. It's amazing the lengths some people will go to to get that elusive shot and the amount of danger they put themselves in. I for one, wouldn't have clambered into the channel but that's why I still regard myself as a taker of snapshots who very occasionally gets a good picture rather than a "photographer" who spends hours in the quest for just one image. But then again, it takes all sorts!

To follow the route at please click here.

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