by Katie Isham.
Short days of January call for a short walk. Time is tight and we must make the most of our precious daylight hours when we’re not constrained by work or that seasonal existential dread exacerbated by the current state of the world that keeps us holed up on the sofa.
Take a little walk around a big pond; it’s sure to lift the spirits and push us through to the longer days.
The name of this pond is a stroke of genius and gifts a soothing simplicity to life-addled brains. Big Pond gives reflection. Big Pond gives space. Big Pond is good.
Squeezed between Rownhams and Lordshill, lies this hidden pool also known as Fernyhurst Lake. Reach it from the footpaths spreading from the cul-de-sacs of the residential roads to sneak alongside this suburban oasis. It’s particularly fun to find the pond from the Cromarty Road footpath as the trees hide the view until the last minute when they unveil the still water across the grass.
Wherever you arrive, make sure to complete a full circuit around the edge. Some of the walkways are wide paved routes, some are narrower footpaths and some are leaf-mulch strewn bogs so stay alert! But at all points around the site, there are chances to spot wildlife. Remember to take your duck-friendly snacks to appease the local residents. There are also rumours of deer venturing from their forest dwelling so keep your eyes peeled.
This site has a special kind of magic to it. My first trip here was over thirty years ago when I visited family living nearby. We fed the ducks and the dog dragged us to favourable scents around the edge. Many years later, I tried to find the pond (pre-Google maps) and failed, thus cementing the idea that it was a secluded place, only accessed by locals. I always recalled it to be a secret destination, a private bolthole where you envied the residents for living so close to a slice of beauty and nature a stone’s throw from their homes.
Nowadays, my general opinion is unmoved although I now also envy the sprawling bungalows and manicured lawns as middle age beckons. Another joy to this walk is the opportunity to nose at others’ lives and more importantly, others’ gardens.
Take the opportunity to extend the walk if the mood suits and go off road to stomp through the overgrown bushes or across the verge on Cromarty Road to Big Pond’s smaller neighbour. A little way along you’ll find Cromarty Pond (or Little Pond as I like to call it). It’s less maintained and has a lot more overhanging foliage, but there are still neighbourhood ducks to greet. And that’s the most important thing in any waterside wander.
Make the most of the short days with a little walk to give you some big feelings. Grab a few minutes to see the pond over the morning mist; go for a spin around during your lunch break; take the dog to discover some tasty new aromas; have a chat with the ducks to set the world to rights; hold onto the last few moments of light as you orbit the pond before the moon lays its claim. However you visit, you’ll be glad you did. Big Pond for a little walk brings immeasurable joy.
Cost: Free access and free to enjoy the pond.
Accessibility: Paved routes around Big Pond with some woodland paths to join it and to reach the smaller pond. Wellies advisable. Access the pond oasis on from the suburban streets via Bakers Drove or Rownhams Road North. Parking available on adjacent roads or walk an extra fifteen minutes to reach it from the public transport hub of Lordshill centre.
Facilities: There is parking, a pond and some ducks. Don’t expect anything more in depth, facility-wise. A short walk away through the housing labyrinth will bring you to Lordshill centre for shops, library, Bingo, toilets and a supermarket.
Could you help to support In Common, for as little as £1 a month? Please help make us sustainable with a monthly donation. Visit: patreon.com/incommonsoton