So, for Day 26 I headed to Moorlands Nature Reserve outside York.
This has long been one of my favourite places. When I was a kid we used to come here. In fact it’s the first place I ever saw a badger, a whole family, with one cub getting within 5 metres of us. A wonderful moment that stayed with me.
We would often come in late Spring so my Grandmother could enjoy the spectacular rhodedendrons.
Despite the presence of these exotic flowering shrubs, introduced primarily in the 19th Century, the small woodland is part of something older; the forest of Galtres. This was a royal woodland established in the 12th Century.
We were actually there quite late for the floral display, it’s better in May, so more commonly we saw petals scattered across a woodland floor, surrounding the twisting stems of the bushes.
It wasn’t great in terms of visible wildlife. While we heard blackbirds, chiffchaff, blackcap, willow tit, great spotted woodpecker and nuthatch, they grey drizzly weather really seemed to have everything hidden away.
On the plus side, a hedgehog did appear out of the undergrowth just as we entered the reserve, but it disappeared away before I could take a picture.
A lot of work is going on to make the reserve very family-friendly, lots of clearing of overgrown spaces and the introduction of carvings and sculptures.
I’m never entirely sure how I feel about this sort of thing. A large part of my wants a wild reserve, as it was when I was young. But I know my young niece loves it, and I know that wild and overgrown isn’t great for nature. Ultimately that’s the real point. This reserve is focusing on being free, on being used by families and groups of kids. I can hardly spend much of my blog saying how necessary it is to engage kids, then get upset because something from my childhood isn’t quite how I remember it! So well done Yorkshire Wildlife Trust.