Gareth and I just recently bought our very first home. Located in St Neots, it’s a little further afield than I am accustomed to and, whilst I feel excited to be moving, I am not without apprehension too. To make the transition a little easier Gareth and I have spent a couple of weekends exploring St Neots and the surrounding areas. Where we currently live I am spoiled by lush green country parks and woodland. I spend a great deal of time walking in these spaces, feeding the deer and spotting nature.
Naturally I am quite sad to wave goodbye to my favourite haunts however there is one major draw to our new location; The Lodge. Situated a town over, the Lodge is the RSPB headquarters. We are RSPB members and always enjoy exploring new reserves so we were very keen to check this one out. Last weekend we collected up my younger brother Ben and my mum and we did just that!
The Lodge covers 180 hectares of woodland, heath and grassland and features five miles of trails, manicured gardens, iron age banks and ditches. A quick google of the species that can be found there left me feeling excited; The Lodge is home to all sorts of flora and fauna including Muntjac deer, short-ear owls, Kingfishers and more.
When we arrived at four o’clock the sky was overcast and ominous, with big grey clouds looming ahead. The Lodge was strangely quiet, other visitors perhaps guessing at rain; as we walked along the trail we saw just a handful of people.
We walked through woodland for a while, pointing out unusual mushrooms to each other. The Lodge has lots of helpful signposts that identify the names of all the different mushrooms that sprout out from the ground or cling on to the sides of the trees. I was very excited to spot a perfect specimen of a Fly Algaric mushroom. Synonymous with fairy tales, the bright red cap and white spots of the Fly Algaric always excite me and bring about a sense of magic, even now as an adult.
Further on we came across a bird hide. Inside this dark yet strangely warm and comforting shed were rows of seats and a glass window over-looking a small pond and a handful of feeders. In here a woman cheerfully exclaimed that we had just missed a Spotted Woodpecker. None of us had binoculars though and with eyes like ours I doubt we’d have been keen enough to see anything at all. We did sit for a little while though and I managed to spot a hungry Blue Tit and a Goldfinch. As we left I made a mental note to come back again with binoculars and more time to just sit and watch.
Adjacent to the bird hide was a grassy meadow of sorts where peculiar parasol mushrooms were growing. In this meadow we also spotted a rabbit grazing by some bushes. As we passed it it bolted for cover but later on when we would pass it again it sat calmly as I inched closer and closer towards it to get the best shot on my camera.
We spent some time collecting up chestnuts that had fallen from the trees (although these appeared to be a little deflated) and walking through the Italian Gardens. These gardens are immaculately kept with lots of little benches and spots to sit and watch nature pass you by. In the centre was a pond with large fish that Ben tried to entice to the surface.
All in all we spent one peaceful hour exploring The Lodge, enjoying the quietness of it and the lovely Autumnal foliage. There was much to see and all of it very beautiful and intriguing. I can’t wait to go back and spend more time there at a more leisurely pace, exploring the bits we had to miss out due to a lack of time. I’m also looking forward to discovering the shop and cafe and seeing what it has to offer.