One thing I always like to do over the Christmas holiday period is get out and about in the fresh air. The over indulgence of Christmas always seems to me a little bit wasted once Christmas Day is over. This year, despite the wet and cold weather, I still managed to make it out with the family to Daneshill Nature Reserve a totally new attraction to me and somewhere I’d never been to before. We’d had the recommendation via the Kiddie Walks in Nottinghamshire book and having one child aged four and one aged two, the route looked perfect. I have to admit that Daneshill is the most northerly of the attractions in Nottinghamshire that I’ve visited so far, located north of Retford on the way to Bawtry. On accessing the reserve, we went over a level crossing which is popular for east coast trains and entered the car park which over-looked a small lake. At this stage, I wasn’t sure exactly how big the walk would be, even though the book had indicated about a mile. When we went through into the main site, there was a sign asking all dog owners to keep their dogs on a lead and use the exercise enclosure at the far end of the nature reserve. I particularly like this type of approach as boisterous uncontrolled dogs are a real bug bear of mine. Daneshill Nature ReserveHeading further to the lake, it’s worth noting that when we arrived at the end of December, there were no visitor facilities available at Daneshill (toilets or refreshments). We followed the route recommended in the book which was a very easy to follow way marked route around the lake. The lakes themselves are very attractive and the walk took a good hour to complete. There are several information points along the way, including one about a World War II factory that was erected at the back end of the site. The bridleways are perfect for pushchairs and my eldest had plenty of fun trying out her new scooter as we walked around the edge of the main lake. There’s plenty of birdlife on view too with swans coming right over to see us and quite a large number of geese taking off and landing on the lake giving it a likeness to some kind of bird airport. I’m pretty sure I saw a bird I’ve never seen before but as an inexperienced Twitcher and not being able to zoom in close enough on camera, I couldn't define it or record it. The train line got fairly close at times during the walk (several hundred yards away) but it is reasonably well fenced off and our children took very little interest. All in all, Daneshill is a Nature Reserve I’d strongly recommend and we definitely intend to go back. You need a little forward planning with refreshments and toilet stops but the setting and the birdlife are well worth it. The one mile walk at Daneshill is perfect for a morning or afternoon stroll and certainly helped blow the cobwebs away this Christmas.




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