We needed some outdoor time today so took a walk to Sevenoaks Wildlife Reserve. The reserve is located on the site of an old gravel quarry, leased from Tarmac which has been developed for nature conservation. There are 2 main routes you can choose around the reserve, the walk around the West Lake and the route around the East Lake, as well as a short nature trail aimed at younger children where you can spot the animal signposts.
We chose to walk around the East Lake which is the longer of the 2 walks, taking about an hour at an easy pace. The walk goes directly around the lake, over a small bridge and past a large field which is usually full of sheep, returning past a number of hides where you can get a closer look at the birds on the various islands. The later part of the walk includes a lot of useful information about the old quarry and highlights where the machinery and railway tracks were located. Many of the areas still look quite empty due the extensive use of the land in the past but they are home to a number of algae and lichens. There are several smaller lakes and bogs along the route which are fenced off due to the important orchids and other plants that grow there.
At the end of the walk, you come across several bird hides where you can see the birds a little closer. We were disadvantaged today, firstly because we let the door bang on the way in, promptly scaring away all wildlife but also because we forgot our binoculars, a must for the wildlife reserve if you want to identify the birds you come across. There are also a few benches before you head back to the visitor centre where we usually sit to eat our packed lunch before we walk back home.
In the past we have seen herons and kingfishers but today the most interesting sightings were a curious robin, a great crested grebe, a pair of Egyptian geese and a common sand Piper. We were interested to see that the final hide by the visitor centre has a colony of bees living inside the walls, although we unfortunately didn’t see any bees today due to the overcast weather. We always enjoy the wildlife reserve, although it is better on brighter day, we always see something new every time we visit.