David North, Head of People and Wildlife
I’ve fallen in love with a new place and the blame lies with a kingfisher. Home Meadow is part of the Mannington Hall estate and is a place I have occasionally visited in the past as it’s just a couple of miles from where I live.
|Home Meadow, photo by David North|
|Kingfisher, photo by David North|
These visits have changed my feelings about this place. Though I have seen the kingfisher on several more occasions all have been fleeting and distant views but these more regular visits, and my time spent quietly waiting for kingfishers, have given me many timeless moments, and opened my eyes and my heart to this place’s extraordinary beauty. Never mind a kingfisher but have you ever watched a heron having a wash and brush up. Another extraordinary 20 minute wildlife show never to be forgotten.
The walk to the hide is along a boardwalk which circles through a very wet meadow. Home Meadow is after all the main player at around 10 acres not the much smaller pond. Though I have walked here before several times over recent years either my eyes have been shut, or perhaps it was not in at this time of year when late summer mistily and mysteriously drifts into early autumn.
|Rose-bay willowherb, photo by David North|
|Devil's bit scabious, photo by David North|
Home Meadow became a County Wildlife Site in 1991 and the Walpoles created the pond in 1986 adding the boardwalk and hide in 1993. I salute them, and all the other owners and managers of County Wildlife Sites, who play such an important role in preserving and protecting these special places. Special for wildlife of course, but many are also special places for people; full of wonders, of quiet, of beauty and of extraordinary joy.
|A bad hair day for this heron? Photo by David North|
I hope you too have special encounters with wildlife that deepen into a life-time’s love of place. We are fortunate in Norfolk still to have so many places worth falling in love with, worth caring about, worth sometimes fighting for. In return they, like all good relationships, bring great joy, and if you are lucky and explore with an open hear then you may be rewarded when they touch you with their wildness and bring their mystery and magic to your life.
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