Last year the cycle path through the Abbey Grounds and Barton Fields was much improved with rubber tarmac. The border of Barton Fields was seeded with wild flowers beside the cycle path.
After Barton Fields the cycle path becomes muddy and overgrown until you get to the tarmac cycle path beside Thrupp Lake.
Today the bright sunshine on Thrupp lake was dazzling.
There is a beach area on Thrupp Lake, popular with young families and water birds. A dozen juvenile swans were there today, with a similar number of geese and ducks.
A mound of crushed bricks and breeze blocks are all that remains of Sandles, the house with fabulous lake views. It was bought, along with the lake, by NPower when they planned this to become a site for putting the fly ash produced by the coal fire Power Station at Didcot. There was a determined campaign to stop them, run by the community group Save Radley Lakes. The lake is now looked after by The Earth Trust with the help of the Friends of Radley Lakes and the blessing of NPower who no longer burn coal at Didcot.
This is the view of Thrupp Lake from the top of the heap that was once Sandles.
For a short time in 2007 it was occupied by Greenpeace protestors – squatting until a court order allowed NPower bailiffs to throw them out. After that the bailiffs patrolled the lake in hi viz jackets and balaclavas and stopped further occupations until it was decided the lake could remain as a lake. The house was eventually torn down.
Last year the annual swan upping – census of swans – did not happen because of the pandemic. This week swan upping has resumed, and the colourful boats are rowing up the River Thames. They began today, Tuesday 20th July, from Eton Bridge, Berkshire and will finish at Moulsford on Thames, Oxfordshire on Thursday 22nd July.
They are not doing the full five days this year and will not visit Abingdon.
This group of four cygnets will escape being rounded up,
examined for injuries, weighed and ringed.
This morning, I climbed a mound with a view across wild flowers and grasses, fenland, and houses at the Abbey Fish Ponds. The sky was cloudy with small patches of blue. Later on in the day the clouds broke up and the sunshine got much brighter.
Where the grasses and meadow flowers grow are brown meadow butterflies. They flutter about. One comes one way, and meets another. They loop round each other, and then carry on.
Sometimes they land long enough for a picture.
There must be millions of flowers and insects at the Abbey Fish Ponds in July.
Birds are well hidden. They can be heard in the bushes but are difficult to see, apart from blackbirds
and wood pigeons.
Some Abbey Fish Ponds remain as ponds all through the summer.
Others get overgrown with tall reeds and sedges.
The Abbey Meadows Outdoor Pool will open for the season on July 12th and has been filled with water in readiness.
A male blackbird can be seen near the blue water. Swimming pool water is high in chlorine and is not good for him to drink. The chlorine does kill off bacteria and viruses.
Outside the pool area, in the splash pad area, the geese have been enjoying fresh grass this summer.
The splash pad will be opening on Monday 19th July. That is subject to government Covid-19 restrictions being lifted.
Geese droppings will need clearing and, as in previous summers, that should include attempts to keep the geese away.