Several people in our village have asked recently if we’ve ‘done the quarry walk’? They never go on to say whether it’s a good or bad walk so we’ve thought no more of it. Why would we walk round a quarry? There’s daily drilling and hammering and the occasional air raid-type siren signalling the commencement of blasting – extremely loud and disruptive which sets the dog to a frenzy of nervous barking. Not my wild cup of tea. But we do love the chance to get outdoors….
So two weekends ago, on a glorious sunny but freezing day with patchy snow still on the ground, it was with some trepidation that I agreed to explore the place. They don’t blast at weekends so at least it would be a quiet adventure..
On the Doorstep
It’s a 2 mile round trip walk with the lake just a 10 minute (adult) walk from our front door; 20 minutes with Wild Daughter, initially on a scavenging rampage and then, uncharacteristically stroppy and cold half way up a hill.
I’ve since written some tips on how to keep children going when they’ve had enough on a walk, in my post ways to make walking with kids wonderful.
We persevered to the top and were completely taken by surprise at what we found. It was like discovering a new land because we’d had no idea it was there – through overgrown reeds it appeared from nowhere.
A Flooded Quarry Lake
This was not the working quarry we hear blasting every day, it’s an older, disused quarry pit, flooded with rainwater and a wildlife paradise. Wow! No wonder nobody mentions how special it is, I guess they all want to keep it secret!
Crazy Fidget swam in the truly icy water, though not for long!
Secret Wildlife Sanctuary
It’s amazing we’ve not explored the place before. At this time of year the water was perfectly clear with a pair of swans in residence and a small flock of probably pochards and tufted ducks, though they were too far away to properly identify. It’s a stunning location, the more so because it’s tucked away at the back of beyond.
Skimming Stones & Painted Pebbles
The silken lake surface was perfect to practice skimming stones.
Caroline managed her very first skimmer and then went on to master the art of skimming with ice chunks! To commemorate this milestone I painted her a stone collected from the bank.
Nature was in abundance, with stunning gorse in bloom, the first snowdrops of the year, contoured freeze patterns of cat-ice on puddles and a sun-bleached water snail shell tucked amongst pebbles on the beach.
And as always, Number 1 Wildling ended up in a tree!
Wild Kids rock!
UPDATE Sept 2017 – apparently the lake is sadly due to be drained to make way for a recycling centre so make sure you visit soon!
More outdoor inspiration
For more things to do near water read Kids of the Wild’s Rivers and Lakes section
Wild wishes for fun and exploration on your own doorstep, who knows what you might find! Let me know in the comments.