In the flat, low-lying eastern part of England, where we live, much of the land is only just above sea level, and for many centuries the inhabitants have been working hard to avoid the appearance of large areas of water.
We have rivers, of course, and dykes and canals, and they are all kept carefully in order and they generally behave and do as they are told. There are village ponds, too.
But to see a body of water of any size here is a rarity, which is why I occasionally make the pilgrimage to Fen Drayton Lakes, about 12 miles from my house. Until around 30 years ago, it was a gravel quarry, but that’s been enough time for nature to re-adopt it and flourish around it. Yesterday was the hottest day of the year so far, and it was pleasant to walk in the shade along the tree-lined paths and catch occasional glimpses of expanses of cool liquid.
It’s tantalizing, too, because you can’t go in or on the water: it’s an RSPB reserve, and home to a vast number of birds, who were clearly having a good time. I foolishly only had an elderly iPhone with me, so just took a couple of more general snaps of the scenery.
There are certain areas where you do need to make sure your dog pays attention to the signs.
But it’s a lovely spot, and very different from Cambridge just down the road. There’s even a quick and efficient guided-bus service from the city — when we get buses back — for those without other means of transport.
Despite all this, surprisingly few people in the area seem to know about it. Don’t tell too many of them…