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Branton Lakes 360-degrees

Branton Lakes 360 degrees view!

I’ve just had an email from Cheltenham-based photographer David Hanks who has recently been staying at the River Breamish Caravan Club site.

He’s created a stunning 360-degrees aerial view of Branton Lakes Nature Reserve.

If you want to see the Branton Lakes and the immediate surrounding area like (I suspect) you’ve never seen before then take a look at David’s work here:

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Grey day walk: Branton Lakes

Grey day walk

Winter can be muggy, dark and grey. But it’s still great to get outside and enjoy our open spaces. We’re lucky in the Breamish Valley to have the Branton Lakes Nature Reserve accessible all year round. There’s a growing amount of evidence that just being out in nature improves our sense of well-being. And, for me, today was no exception – I thoroughly enjoyed my grey day walk…

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Winter brew

Winter brew at Branton Lakes

Yes, winter’s brewing! Well, the meteorological winter, anyway. It began on 1 December 2017 and it’ll end on 28 February 2018. Of course, if you have a preference for the astronomical seasons, then winter won’t begin until 21 December 2017 and won’t ends until 20 March 2018. Mmm…choices, choices!

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Branton Lakes Nature Reserve wildlife report 2016

Wildlife report 2016

Following the transfer of ownership of Branton Nature Conservation Area/Branton Ponds from Cemex to the Hedgeley Estate, it was felt important to collect as much data as possible on the state of the wildlife on the site.

Consequently, Alnwick Wildlife Group (AWG) took the lead in compiling data. Almost all the records have come directly from members of AWG or from visits organised by AWG members. In particular, Ian and Keith Davison visited the site on an almost daily basis and have contributed the majority of the bird records and the ‘other sightings’ records. In addition, Stewart Sexton and Alan Fairclough organised a moth trapping night, and Richard Poppleton organised all the botanical survey visits.

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Adders still basking

Adders still basking in Breamish Valley

In Mid-March there was a lot of excitement in Breamish Valley as well over a dozen adders were spotted basking on the gentle slopes underneath the hedgerows at Branton Nature Conservation Area.

Well, if you haven’t had an opportunity to see them yet they are, of course, still there. Obviously, it’s best to choose a sunny day and look along any south-facing slopes close to shady spots, as these are an ideal habitat for this cold-blooded reptile.

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Basking adders back!

Basking adders back at Branton

Last year, I reported seeing basking adders at Branton Conservation Area on 8 March 2015.

Well, this year, I personally saw my first adders on 12 March 2016. There had been earlier reports of sightings from a couple of weeks or so earlier but I never got the following photos until the 12th.

On my outing, again walking along the Branton Lakes perimeter close to the car park entrance, I saw seven adders. All were coiled and soaking up the low early-Spring sun (temperature was about 9°C). I actually met the County Recorder whilst I was out walking. He was similarly walking along the conservation area perimeter and reported having seen 14 adders along just a 200m stretch (between the Branton bridge and the conservation car park entrance).

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Late Summer butterflies

Late Summer butterflies in Breamish Valley

I’m glad I kept the buddleia (or ‘buddleja’ if you prefer) in my front garden in Powburn this year. When I bought it, it was sold to me as a ‘patio’ plant that wouldn’t grow above 1.5m. Well…that didn’t prove to be the case. It grew so tall and thick that I couldn’t even dig it out last Winter to replace it. I simply had to chop it to ground level and walk away. And, of course, it came back, didn’t it? Not quite so tall as before at the moment, though. Anyway, this meant that my ‘butterfly bush’ was ready to attract some late Summer butterflies (or are they really early Autumn butterflies? See Signs of Autumn).

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