Over the last couple of years I’ve spoken to a couple of people who had seen otters in the river Wharfe, I’ve never seen a wild otter so I’ve been meaning to walk that way ever since. There was also mention of a kingfisher in the same area, something else I’ve never seen. With my new getting fit regime I decided to catch a bus to the little nature reserve where they had been seen and walk back.
It’s only a very small nature reserve but I was quite impressed, there were good paths and most importantly lots of benches, perfect for sitting with a flask of coffee and enjoying the view…
I liked the way they had made the low fencing too, it’s like a rustic version of wattle fencing.
I can’t have been walking along by the river for more than five minutes when a duck by the far bank gave a warning quack and scurried across the water to the other side. I looked over to see what had startled it and spotted the otters! There were two of them swimming along, sometimes bobbing their heads up but easy to follow underwater by the wake behind them. I watched them for several minutes before they disappeared under a bush overhanging the water. It was quite exciting to see them, I just enjoyed the moment rather than trying to take a photo as I knew with my phone they wouldn’t have been clear at all.
I walked to the end of the reserve and then looped back past a pond with a rather dirty swan, he needs a good preen but he did stand in the classic swan pose for me!
After a coffee on the bench, hoping in vain that the otters would return, I walked along the road to a footpath which skirts round Burley in Wharfedale village, following my nose until I found the stepping stones…
…which I didn’t attempt to cross! There’s been a long running campaign to have a footbridge here which would make a great circular walk. A little further along is the weir which was built to serve what I have since discovered is called a goit, it’s a waterway about the width of a narrow canal, which provided water for the mills in the village.
After a short detour into the village for a sticky bun I returned to the riverside path heading home. I spent quite a few minutes here as there were dozens of swallows, skimming the river for insects. It was first time this year I’d seen swallows, they migrate to Africa for the winter so it’s always a special moment when you see they have returned. I tried to take a photo but you can just make out the occasional spot!
From here it was just a walk across the fields and the golf course to home. Altogether I walked about 6.5 miles and I knew it the next day! I still haven’t seen a kingfisher so I will just have to return another day.