Teesdale woods and Saltholme


Teesdale Woods


Over the weekend I took a short walk along the river Tees, pausing, to enjoy the autumn sunlight that danced through the leaves of the sycamore and oaks, creating speckles of gold that moved with the wind along the forest floor. I walked to the old wynch bridge just below Low Force and noticed the popular viewing point devoid of people, yet another sure sign that summer has passed.

From this starting point you’re almost spoilt for choice, with some great walks on either side of the river, the most popular being that along the Pennine Way to High Force, England’s biggest waterfall.

However, on this day I was pushed for time, I wanted to take a few photographs and drive the 90-minute journey down to the RSPB’s nature reserve at Saltholme. I’d heard a marsh harrier was using the reserve as an autumn convenience store!

Arriving late in the afternoon, I watched lapwings, curlews and greylag geese all busy on the reserve. Chances of spotting the marsh harrier were very slim, but I sat it out, (until they almost threw me out!) until finally having my reward. Very late in the afternoon I spotted hi

m flying low to the ground near the reed beds. He landed upon an earth mound, too far to get a decent picture, but I watched him through my binoculars until he finally noticed another food parcel and was off out of view. Alas no picture of the marsh harrier, but a painting of the woods,… flora being much easier to capture than fauna.

Today, working from home in the office I’m watching hailstones, mini marbles of ice bouncing off the window and drowning out the voice on the radio. With luck I might sneak Friday afternoon away from the office and see if I can spot the marsh harrier again.


4 Replies to “Teesdale woods and Saltholme”

  1. The trees feel old and sturdy, and so lushly verdant. I’m used to seeing our old twisted oaks speckling rolling hills of dry yellow grass. I do love the feel and detail in your pen and paint creations! Amazing. Glad you saw the harrier. They are beautiful birds! Next time bring a mouse and it might pay you a visit 😉

  2. So peaceful, it sounds like, and you have done well illustrating that, Keith. Like the spot of light on the path. Of course, I always like enlarging your work and staring at all the ink marks you use. Hope you can grab a photo of the harrier!!

    1. Thank you Leslie, since one of your earlier posts, whenever the opportunity arises to through a footpath into the landscape I do so! The light through the trees was lovely that day, without sounding a little corny it was one of nature’s own mini theatrical shows.

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