Earlier in the year I demonstrated spinning at an event at Durham Wildlife Trust's Rainton Meadows. Busy all day, I didn't have a chance then to explore the place; so a return visit was well overdue.
This sculpture has some connection with the Great North Forest, and seems to have been designed by William Pym. It is in danger of being totally engulfed by the surrounding willow growth, which is flourishing in the marshy ground.
Beyond the sculpture, at the end of that path is a lake, complete with swan.
Much of the area is still getting established, with newish tree planting. There are several ponds or lakes, but there seems to be no public access to most of them. One bird-watching hide is unfinished, another appears to have been vandalised already - the seats are missing. Signs mark some of the surfaced paths as part of the Coalfield Way.
A large number of geese were circling overhead, honking loudly; one group detached itself and flew off northwards. There was a group of a dozen or so lapwings on one pond - the most I've seen together in one place for a while.
The area round Joe's Pond seems much more established, with older trees and scrub surrounding it and providing shelter. It seems popular with ducks and swans, who leave their feathers all over the place -
And they must be fed by some of the visitors, as a number of them rushed across and started squabbling.
No crumbs today, perhaps next time.