On Saturday we decided to visit Middleton Lakes a fairly new RSPB nature reserve near Tamworth. I'd been told about it in the summer when we stopped to chat to a young lady who was manning an RSPB stand in the farmyard at Shugborough. Then, just a few weeks ago, I saw photos of the reserve on Susy's blog Rustic Vintage Country. The reserve has been constructed in the 400 acres around an old gravel quarry in between the River Tame and the Birmingham and Fazeley Canal. There is a large car park at the site but first we stopped just a little way up the drive at Middleton Hall to have a look around and take a few photos.
The Hall looked wonderful and the grounds, walled garden and lake are open to the public on certain days between Easter and September. The Hall, run by a charitable trust, seems to be open to group visits only at the moment. A reason to return again in the Spring to take another look as I love walled gardens.
Opposite the hall were the former stables which were being refurbished.
Behind the building above was a courtyard of small craft shops and a cafe where we would return later for lunch.
We set off down to Middleton Lakes where on our walk up to the reserve we crossed the boardwalk at Heron Corner.
We crossed over the canal at Fisher's Mill bridge and headed towards the Wetland Trail.
It was so quiet and peaceful just ourselves and the waterbirds.
The trail is about 3km long, that means nothing to me but I expect it is around a couple of miles if you add the approach to it from the car park.
There were many swans on the lakes. Especially on the small islands at the top end. We also saw and heard them flying in with the gentle 'thrum,thrum' of their wings so different to the loud, aggressive honking of geese.
We also saw coots, grebes and cormorants.
It was difficult to take many clear photos in the bright sunlight which was there even though it looks quite overcast in some of these photos.
On the opposite side of the trail the water of the River Tame was moving very quickly and it seemed high along the banks.
The paths close by were very wet as if at some point the water had flooded over.
We thoroughly enjoyed our walk and intend to go back again, perhaps in spring and do the other walks on offer. The meadow trail and the woodland trail which, on Saturday, was closed off for maintenance.
We followed the path back over the canal to the car park and made our way back to the courtyard at Middleton Hall for a lovely lunch of hot soup served with the largest roll I've ever seen! I couldn't eat all mine. Then it was back toward Tamworth and our next destination, the castle, of which more in my next post.