Blacktop Rain

…and other secret joys

Explorations: University Park Campus

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View if the Trent Building and the lake

View if the Trent Building and the lake

I recently moved to Nottingham with my boyfriend and although I love our little second floor flat I’ve definitely been missing my garden back home and my weekly jogs round Alexandra Park. It just goes to show what a difference even a little patch of green can make. Also having shops right on our doorstep means I’ve been getting considerably less exercise, so yesterday I was determined to find a nice green space and go for a long walk. We settled on the University of Nottingham’s University Park Campus, which has a large boating lake and grounds that are open to the public.

It was a gorgeous day yesterday, sunny and clear skies, but with a chill in the air. The nights are getting a lot colder now and it’s starting to show on the trees and the pavements, which are slippery with wet leaves. As we set out to the campus I could feel the sun and the walking starting to have a positive effect.

Once we reached the campus we walked over to the Trent Building, which formed the heart of the campus when it first opened in 1881.

The Trent Building

The Trent Building

After passing through the Trent Building we took a path to our right down to the boating lake. Unfortunately the boats are not out at this time of year, but I’m looking forward to warmer weather when we can take a boat out on the lake. There were a lot of other people out enjoying the day, children feeding the ducks, families strolling, and lone people sat on benches enjoying the view. We took the path around the lake clockwise until it opened out on to a wider gravelled area, with steps leading down to the lake. We sat there for a while enjoying the view of the Trent Building and the gently rippling water.

View of the Trent Building across the lake

View of the Trent Building across the lake

As we were sat on the steps this Coot swam over from the other side of the lake to see us, probably hoping for bread.

Coot

Coot

After sitting for a while we carried on and crossed the lake at its middle, where the two shores are connected by bridges to a central island. On the central island we came across this goose-like bird, which I think is probably an Egyptian Goose. They are resident year round in the East of England. Its strange to think that I live on such a small island and yet 60 miles from Manchester I came across a species of goose that I’ve never seen before.

Egyptian Goose

Egyptian Goose

We then started heading anti-clockwise. The map promised us cliffs and caves to our right, which is not as preposterous as it sounds because Nottingham is actually build on sandstone and their are various caves and tunnels that have been dug in to the sandstone all over the city. However, we didn’t manage to find any caves or cliffs, so we carried on to the stepping stones, which cross over the westerly end of the lake and pass a small cove. It was much quieter and more secluded than the rest of the lake and looked like the sort of place people would claim fairies live.

The stepping stones

The stepping stones

A fairy cove?

A fairy cove?

Although we hadn’t completely circumnavigated the lake we decided to head home at that point because it was getting towards lunch time and I was starting to feel the effects of all that fresh air and exercise. As we were heading out of the campus we passed this impressive looking fungus. Any mycologists out there know what it might be?

Impressive fungus

Impressive fungus

So, it was good to get out the flat and enjoy the sunshine and a bit of space and greenery. And it was good to get moving. I certainly enjoyed my cup of tea when I got home all the more for it. It was also nice to discover a new place for the first time, but I’m sure it’ll become a place we go to often and I’m almost looking forward to that familiarity more.

For help with identifying birds I used to RSPB Bird identifier, its not great when you try to be too specific, but I usually got there in the end.

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Author: Naomi Racz

I am a nature writer, with a particular interest in urban nature. I also write about social media and work in communications with an NGO.

2 thoughts on “Explorations: University Park Campus

  1. Found your blog when I searched for anyone else who had spotted an egyptian goose on the lake where you visited. I went there with my son last week 27th Oct. Like you I had to check the type of goose as I’d never seen this sort before

    • That’s great you found my blog then! They are really amazing looking birds with beautiful colours in their feathers. It was certainly a pleasant surprised when I spotted it. Although apparently they are on the official pest list, as the name suggests they’re not native to Britain!

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