Saturday, 21 March 2009

Last Free Lakeside Walk

The Trentham Gardens Lakeside Walk in Stoke is now being fenced off. For years we have been able to walk freely along the lakeside and take lunch or coffee in the Lakeside Cafe. Fences are going up to exclude the general public from this popular local walk. The lakeside is still accessible, but you must now pay to enter the Italian Gardens to gain access.
There are many interesting featurs of this walk, including a large Heron colony on the islands. When the boat is running, you can get an excellent view of the herons for a ferry fare. Today I settled for some distant pictures taken from the north bank of the lake.
These are grey herons, Ardea cinerea, which are the largest of the European herons. They are solitary hunters, fishing at the waters edge on rivers lakes and marshland. They are also seen occasionally at the coastal margins of the sea around Britain.
The adult entrance fee for the Italian Gardens is £5:00 in the Winter, increasing to £7:oo in the Summer. The local fear is that this treat will be increased in price now that there is more to offer in the Italian Gardens. It seems to me that there will be a significant loss of passing trade in the gardens now that access to the lakeside costs money.

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