Bookham Commons is a network of footpaths and bridleways set in 450 acres of ancient oak woodland, grassland plains, ponds and wetlands.
Cared for by the National Trust, Bookham Commons is one of the most thoroughly studies areas in Europe – the London Natural History Society has surveyed wildlife there since 1941.
We took to the surfaced bridlepaths for this first visit rather than exploring the secluded pathways to the glades and streams. Although the latter looked beautiful and hugely tempting, the recent rainfall made it hard work with a buggy and a 3 year old.
POD was so enthralled by all the muddy puddles she didn’t even need her coat – she running almost from the off. It was a miracle she didn’t slip over although she did come close a couple of times!
Horses in a nearby field were a calming distraction. Despite being a distance away, she was apprehensive at first although she did warm to them. She then peered through a gate to have a look at a pony before returning to her puddles.
There’s a lot to see at Bookham Common including a wide range of plants which attract large numbers of insects, in turn providing a food source for the birds. You can see rare Hawfinches or during the Summer, the Willow Warbler and the Nightingale.
If you’re lucky you might spot the rare Purple Emperor or Silver-Washed Fritillary butterflies. Moorhen, Roe Deer, Sparrowhawk, Yellow Flag and Grey Herons also reside there.
The bird hide provided wonderful views across the ponds which were home to many ducks. POD attempted to be quiet but had to ask what the dried maggots she saw were and who they were for.
She loved playing Poohsticks with Daddy and there were many opportunities to do so. A few times she threw her stick in with such gusto it didn’t quite make it down the river bank but she got the hang of it soon enough.
In a nearby field a couple of donkeys came towards us to say hello. As with the horses, POD was wary of them at first but was soon chatting away to them asking what they were doing.
We also came across a few bird’s nests which was great as POD’s not seen any before.
The buggy wasn’t used at all so POD’s little legs did become weary after a time. A ride on Daddy’s shoulders proved highly entertaining especially when his head became a steering wheel. POD then pulled his ears when she wanted him to go left or right!
With so many wooded areas to explore at Bookham Commons, we’ll certainly be back. What a great discovery and a good one too given it features in the Doomsday Book.
We’re linking this post up with What’s The Story? the photography Linky that enables you to share the stories behind your photographs. The Linky for w/c 20th January 2014 is here.