Tuesday, 9 June 2015

College Lake Wildlife Reserve

While camping at the weekend we stumbled across College Lake Wildlife Reserve. Located just outside Tring in Buckinghamshire it was such a fabulous discovery, an oasis of calm on the surface but teeming with activity and wildlife.

Operated by the Wildlife Trust, the lake is a former chalk quarry pit, now an outstanding centre for wetland birds, insects and wild flowers.

College Lake Wildlife Reserve Lake, Tring

We strolled around the idyllic lake, stopping at the numerous bird hides along the way.  There are various different marked walks depending on the time you have available and year-round there's always something to see.

Bird hide College Lake Wildlife Reserve

Bird hide College Lake Wildlife Reserve

Bird spotter's noticeboard College Lake Wildlife Reserve

The noticeboards tell you some of the birds you might be lucky enough to spot - a chiffchaff, a skylark, peregrine, lapwing and cuckoos had all been seen recently.  We didn't have binoculars with us so bird spotting was a little difficult, but given that Ruby's Year 2 topic has been 'mini beasts' we decided to concentrate on looking out for them.  We weren't disappointed.

The lakeside is blessed with an abundance of beautiful metallic dragonflies and damselflies flitting about.  There are bees busy collecting pollen from the rare chalkland wild flowers, and it's a butterfly spotters dream.

Damselfly College Lake Wildlife Reserve

Bee College Lake Wildlife Reserve

Speckled Wood Brown Butterfly College Lake Wildlife Reserve

Adonis Blue Butterfly College Lake Wildlife Reserve

There were plenty of staff and volunteers around to advise us what to look out for and help identify creatures we'd seen and the local regular visitors were more than happy to stop and chat, showing us their captures on their cameras.

Ox Eye Daisy College Lake Wildlife Reserve

Bee Orchid College Lake Wildlife Reserve

The centre is free to visit (although they do welcome donations) and it costs £3 to park.  They ask you not to take scooters or bikes on site and no dogs because of the delicate wildlife.  It's a perfect place for a weekend stroll and if you check ahead there's often organised family activities or exhibitions on in the visitor centre.

It was the perfect place to instill a love of wildlife into children, and rekindle ours too.

Dog Rose Heart Shaped Petal College Lake Wildlife Reserve


You can have a pitstop in the cafe which served hot and cold drinks, ice creams and snacks although the sandwiches weren't much to write home about - I think we'd take a picnic next time!

Have you visited a Wildlife Trust site before?

Linking up with Animal Tales.

22 comments:

  1. A wonderful place to spot some wildlife. I don't think I've been a Wildlife Trust site before. I've been to similar habitats in the care of other organisations though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I need to check out some more Erica!

      Delete
  2. Wow, what a wonderful little place this looks, those photos are fabulous x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was such a great find, so pleased we discovered it. x

      Delete
  3. This looks like a lovely place to visit, your photos are brilliant! Especially love the dragonfly. x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ah thank you Sonia. I think it's a damselfly - although I'm no expert!

      Delete
  4. What a magical place. Love the dragonfly photo. I love that that a former quarry pit can become something so beautiful

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's wonderful to see what was previously an industrial site I guess turned into something so beautiful.

      Delete
  5. Been following your blog a little while through bloglovin, was delighted to see this post pop up as I work at college lake! I'll pass your post on to the team, but thanks for the beautiful pics and lovely write up!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh hi Catherine! Thanks so much for commenting. How lucky are you to work there? What a gem of a place. Please do show the team (although maybe not the person who makes the sandwiches - oops. Perhaps you could get them to get some decent decaf coffee in too!) x

      Delete
  6. Great to see something like a quarry pit being turned into something quite beautiful. Fabulous photos, especially the dragonfly.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Wow what an amazing place to visit - your photos are stunning as well.

    ReplyDelete
  8. This looks like a stunning place to visit - we visit ours all the time and saw some sand lizards basking in the sun

    ReplyDelete
  9. I love the Bee Orchid and the dragonfly. So colourful.

    ReplyDelete
  10. such a lovely find, i could sit in a bird hide for hours. how lovely that they have an update to date board with all the sightings, the mini beast spottings sounds fun

    ReplyDelete
  11. This looks like a lovely place for a family trip. Your photos are great. My favourite is the one of the heart-shaped petal.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Love the damselfly picture, a favourite creature of mine how they zip around. Places like this are so great for a walk and I love the notice boards telling you what you can see, really good for guests to understand more.

    ReplyDelete
  13. I can't belive I have never heard of this, considering I lived in Herts for 15 odd years! It looks wonderful, you got some great pictures. Mich x

    ReplyDelete
  14. Wonderful photos :) A shame about the no dogs rule though.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Mini-beasts what a great term topic. Looks a great place for finding them. Can't beat nature can you.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I love wildlife reserves like this and used to be involved in management of similar areas many years ago. Great minibeast pictures too ... and that bee orchid is fabulous.

    Many thanks for adding some of our smaller creatures to #AnimalTales - it's lovely to have you link up.

    ReplyDelete
  17. It looks an amazing place I love that daisy photo too- I have a real fondness for them but your photos are amazing captures for #AnimalTales

    ReplyDelete