Thursday, June 9, 2011

Derwent Valley

I've posted quite a few items on this blog about plants or animals that we've come across in the valley of the river Derwent, on the Durham/Northumberland border - and today's Guardian Country Diary also comes from this delightful spot - so I thought I might post a few pictures of the location. The stretch of the valley that we often walk starts at Blanchland ....

... which is a great spot to photograph swallows, sand martins and house martins skimming over the shallow water.

Some hay meadows, with mature oaks,ashes and sycamores on their boundaries, lie in the valley bottom at the Blanchland end, with hawthorn hedges and ..... 

...drystone walls a little higher up the valley sides, currently sheltering some fine displays of wood crane'sbill and cow parsley and also home to some rather less common plants.

The older trees often have holes that are good nest sites for redstarts and the oldest trees are hosts to some interesting fungi.

Across the valley on the north and south sides the land quickly rises to open moorland but....

...the shelter of the valley bottom makes for very lush growth in summer.

As you head towards the Derwent reservoir, a couple of miles down the valley, the pastures become wetter and offer some ......

........very fine yellow and blue displays of buttercups and germander speedwell at this time of year.

If you make your way down to the river this is usually an excellent place to look for goosander, dippers, grey wagtails, sandpipers and - if you're lucky - a kingfisher.

Follow the river downstream from here and you pass through alder woodland most of the way until you each the reservoir. Here, and in the rough pastures away from the river, we've sometimes watched roe deer and often heard cuckoos.

In spring this stretch of woodland is full of bluebells but just now they're fading and giving way to summer flowers, like this bistort Persicaria bistorta.


  1. It is a stunning place. Thanks for allowing us to share it with you.

  2. What a beautiful walk you have taken us on!I wish I could really go there some day.

  3. It's a lovely spot Graeme - saw a red kite there a couple of weeks ago...

  4. I see something interesting every time I visit, lotusleaf...

  5. What a beautiful area you live in Phil with wildlife a-plenty.

  6. This part of the Derwent Valley is a bit off of the beaten track Toffeeapple, so it doesn't get visited as much as Teesdale and Weardale...