Suburban, residential and business park. Three phrases which you might not necessarily associate with either me or this blog but that’s exactly the kind of place which I’ve recently adopted as my new local patch. Never fear, the likes of Cefn Drum and Bryn-bach-Common will still be featuring regularly but thanks to an office relocation I now have the opportunity to get out at lunchtimes as well in habitat quite unlike that which I have ready access to at home. There’s woodland, rivers, ponds, marsh and, perhaps best of all, fresh air, the one thing that any office dweller really craves. So where is this place I hear you ask?
Nestled between the M4, Swansea Enterprise Park, Birchgrove and the River Tawe you’ll find Swansea Vale. One hundred and sixty acres of mixed-use land designed to bring posterity to the area but not at the complete exclusion of nature. Tree lined paths are the norm, ponds numerous and its crowning glory? The six hectares of land which make up Swansea Vale Local Nature Reserve, an oasis away from the hustle and bustle that surrounds it and one of the few remaining wetland habitats in Swansea. An extensive board walk takes you on a loop around the reserve boundary and even though still early days I’ve already seen a wealth of species with the promise of many more to come.
My best sighting so far? Probably a flash of blue as a Kingfisher shot off along one of the drainage channels or perhaps the Fox which I watched brazenly walking about in broad daylight. Then of course there’s the Bullfinch pair which are often to be found outside my office window and the Dipper which I’ve seen only a handful of times along the Tawe. Needless to say I have every intention of spending as many lunchtimes exploring this area as I can. The only challenge really is going to be making sure that lunch hour stays at just that. An hour.
Only this week I’ve spotted a lone female Goosander on one of the ponds, a colleague has seen Sparrowhawks and rumours of Otters persist. The Frogs also look to be getting down to business at long last and I can’t wait to see what the rest of this year brings.