Nottingham University - Highfields Park
w/e 21 May 2006
All this week's pictures were taken with a Kodak DX6490

Highfields Park

Some tantalising glimpses of brightly coloured rhododendrons as we drove along University Boulevard at Nottingham one evening were enough to persuade us to return the following day to capture these images. The park is overlooked by the Trent Building (top left) which was the original home of the University when it moved to the site in 1928. Some of the rhododendrons were in full flower at the side of the lake (bottom left) while others (right) still had to open to their full glory.
Ornamental Colours

The area was purchased in the early 1920s by Sir Jesse Boot who later became Lord Trent. It was developed first as the East Midlands University and later included a public park which became Highfields for 'public enjoyment and to provide a dramatic visual setting for the University'. The lake was enlarged and an ornamental park created that still survives more or less unchanged today with an abundance of colourful plants.

Lakeside WalkThe intention was to photograph the rhododendrons but there is so much more to be seen in the park that we were somewhat distracted. A heron untroubled by human presence stood statue-like on a fence surrounding an overflow outlet from the lake whilst just a few feet away a coot sat on a nest with two youngsters under her wings. A little further away a cluster of ducklings nestled with the daisies on the grassy bank of the lake with their parents nearby keeping a watchful eye. We decided to follow the 1.25 mile 'Lakeside Walk' which joins Highfields Park with the University Park and circumnavigate the lake.
The Lake

The circular walk was impossible for many years for a variety of reasons but recent landscaping has made it accessible passing through woodland areas, grassy glades and formal parkland. A partnership between the City Council and the University enabled the Lakeside Walk to be formally opened by The Lord Mayor of Nottingham on January 20 2002. Wildlife abounds all around the lake. As well as the birds mentioned above, there were also a pair of swans awaiting the arrival of their new family in the nest at one end of the lake - we even saw a water rat near here but it scuttled away as soon as I pointed the camera at it!

The squirrels were a lot more cooperative though. I wouldn't say they were tame but they were not perturbed by our presence. At one point there were four or five of them flitting about around my feet. although they look the same, those pictured above are three different animals.

The path on the northern side of the lake is more undulating than its southern counterpart and passes beneath some sandstone cliffs. These cliffs contain caves but it is not known whether they are natural or manmade. The path also crosses the formal stone terrace in front of the Trent Building where once again at this time of year, the beautiful colours of those rhododendrons that we came to see can once again be enjoyed.

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