It was no good, the clouds would not lift today, so I either had to wallow at home with chocolate or go for some fresh but grey air. The fresh air won and the chocolate wasn’t going anywhere 😉 so a stroll in theTaddiforde Valley that runs along the university campus was the choice.
The campus is very quiet out of term and being Boxing Day the car parks were empty. We headed out from the lowest entrance, just off Prince of Wales road.
It’s a popular spot with local walkers, and in summer the odd student has been spotted relaxing on the grass.
Water is present throughout this short walk, the ponds through the valley were created in the 60’s and 70’s to look like natural watercourses, the ponds being fed from the Taddiforde Brook. There are several varieties of water bird, but they heard Dido and Daisy coming and made themselves scarce.
The Gunnera have given up for this year, but usually this late in the year they would have totally died back.
We walk past a small stand of Silver Birch.
The path meanders gently upwards, it’s a place for slowing down and being mindful.
Sometimes the water rushes down in narrow gaps and sometimes it stagnates. In spring this area will be alive with tadpoles, frogs, toads and newts. The area is managed well to provide habitats for wildlife.
The girls would like to know who lives there.
We’ll cross this little bridge in a moment,
and look back the way we came.
Keeping our eyes open for little treasures.
Grand eucalyptus with leaves draping and bark shedding in harmony. Do you see the tree fern in the background?
The path swoops around, with lots of places for inquisitive dogs to disappear.
The benches are a bit functional, but there are plenty and adequate for dog waiting!
It looks a bit murky, hope they didn’t jump in.
There’s some interesting growth.
I do like a good fungi.
I don’t know if this is a blue hydrangea losing it’s colour very slowly or a variety that I’ve never seen, but it was a subtle beauty.
We’re going back down towards the first pond now, the wind is gusting quite loudly in the trees, and judging by the bird activity, they’re battening down the hatches in preparation for a storm.
Exeter University is one of the top ten in the country, attracting students from all over the world.The campus and the valley is an arboretum and botanical garden, of some 300 acres, and described by the Independent as ‘sublime’. There are around 21,000 students in a city with a population of just 125,000, sometimes it feels as if they are taking over. They are certainly contributing to housing shortages, especially affordable ones, and an increase in multiple occupancy properties that are landlord owned. I hope the students appreciate their surroundings and I’d like to see more local people enjoying the grounds. It’s a place where the woods and countryside meets the city, and part of Exeter Green Circle.
I’m sharing my Boxing Day walk with Jo, last Monday she was walking the Algarve hills, I wonder where she’ll be this week.