Thursday, 4 February 2016
In and Around the Lake
The variety of Southampton Common never ceases to amaze me. This week I took a path I had never taken before, and it took me into the area around the so-called Ornamental Lake, a rather drab stretch of water, much visited by young mothers with toddlers in prams, and squabbled over by seagulls, moorhens, and overfed ducks.
The quality of the woodland and open spaces there is subtly different – more birches, more broom, more bracken – and everywhere there were golden-brown heaps of last year's leaves and bracken lying over some treacherously soft mud, with the loops of bramble trip-wires beginning to spring up already. In summer these thickets must be impassable and unvisited by all but the most determined humans, ideally equipped with a machete. Which may account for the many deer-tracks heading down towards the waterside.