A Boxing Day stroll

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. uni16

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.

uni17 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.


30 thoughts on “A Boxing Day stroll

  1. She doesn’t have a clue, Gilly! Probably Algarve one last time this year 🙂 Goodness, you’re quick! No sooner are you out and back and the post’s up. It carried on bouncing here and I never did make it to Star Wars 😦 I’m on a promise for New Year’s Eve (not from Harrison Ford, I hasten to add 🙂 ) The Thornton’s and the Stollen are seriously depleted. But I found a blogger who’d been to Chatsworth and seen the Wind in the Willows exhibition. Ratty would have been quite at home in your post! 🙂
    We’re into that murky phase of the year that I really don’t enjoy much, but you’ve made the best of it with that lovely bridge shot and your fungi. Thank you very much for all your support, Gilly. You are a darlin’! 🙂

    1. I think I might be able to cope with Star Wars in Mr Ford’s company! I struggle my way through January, for me it’s the darkest month but it has to be endured if spring is to follow. If I can’t get out at weekends I’ll have to dream of summer days and sunshine x:-)x

  2. A delightful walk: I always enjoy rambling in your company (and that of Dido and Daisy of course!) Those prospects, orange leaves and tall trees – even an escapee eucalypt – are very inviting, and I too like a good fungi. The view of the water from the bridge is one of my favourites.

    (I know at least one potential uni student who would appreciate her surroundings. On a recent school trip to Japan, my granddaughter visited a university and gave a graphic description of its position on a hill looking down over the village in a very green valley. Unfortunately, it didn’t offer media studies.)

    1. There are quite a few eucalypts there Meg, I’ve always loved those trees. A granddaughter of yours is bound to be a wise woman, she would love the campus here, send her over 🙂

    1. We’ve had quite a bit of rain but no flooding thank goodness. I did drive through a flood in a lane yesterday, on the way to Plymouth. I really feel for those people up north, it must be horrendous. Happy 2016 Julia Gx

  3. I’m glad you got out on a walk, Gilly, even with dreary weather. Thanks for taking us along. The grounds of Exeter look serene and peaceful, although I imagine it’s not when school is in session. I love the fungi too. Enjoy your holidays!

      1. It was great to be home, Gilly, but we’re dealing with some major issues with my youngest son right now, so it’s been pretty stressful, to be honest. Happy New Year!! 🙂

  4. Looks a lovely stroll, even in dreary weather…. Now, I must just pick up on e one thing, where you commented that you love a good fungi….. Surely you either you love a good fungus, or love good fungi? Am I pedantic?

  5. I enjoy walking anytime, but after hectic festive family days a nice long mindful walk is just the ticket. Of course, wintertime means many bare trees, but the rich colours of the carpet of leaves on the ground somehow make it all worthwhile. 🙂 Love the fungi, too!

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