Early morning in Queen’s Park

Following the frequent bouts of torrential rain during last week’s storm whatever-it-was-called the weather here has been quite changeable. The mornings have started off sunny with blue skies promising nice days but by about 9am the clouds have appeared and lingered for most of the day, with the sun only returning in the late afternoons while I’ve been at work and unable to go anywhere. So when I woke to blue sky and sunshine yesterday I decided to forgo my usual leisurely Sunday morning and go out early for a walk round Queen’s Park on the edge of town, just a short drive from home and where I hadn’t been since April last year.
Being so early in the morning most of the areas near the park’s main entrance were still in shade so I went straight to where the park was more open – I could go back to those areas later on. Past the Sunken Garden and the Vantage Point Garden I came to the Promenade Terrace, a wide and pleasant walkway with statues set back in the shrubbery, benches at intervals and a viewpoint at one end; this was surrounded by a semi-circular wall which for some reason is known locally as the Pie Crust.

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The Pie Crust from down below
Down the hill from the terrace, and at the bottom end of the park, I came to the River Croal and a small fishing lake looking rather neglected with its surface covered in green weed. Spanning the river just there was a bridge which looked badly in need of a good coat of paint; the path at the far side split left and right with the left leading towards the town centre, however I went right and crossed back over the river via the much nicer restored and repainted Dobson Bridge.
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Up the hill from the bridge and set back off the path was a large collection of teddy bears at the base of a tree. If this was a personal memorial to someone it seemed to be a bit excessive but then I remembered – on Mother’s Day earlier this year a 7-year old little girl, innocently playing while out with her parents, had beenΒ stabbed in a random attack by an unknown woman, and in spite of all attempts to save her she died of her injuries; the teddy bears must be for her.
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Continuing past the tree I came to what must currently be the brightest part of the park, a long curving bed of red and yellow flowers near the wide stone steps leading back up to the Promenade Terrace. Near the bottom of the steps were a couple of benches and an ornamental fountain which would probably look nice if it was working but it wasn’t.
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Past the fountain was the large play area very much in the shade, then in the bottom corner of the park was the attractive stone built gatehouse with the not very attractive modern single storey cafe (which I didn’t take a photo of) situated behind it. Following a path up another hill I eventually came to the two duck ponds, and while there were a few ducks on the smaller pond most of the wildlife seemed to be congregated on the big one.
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From the big pond a path up yet another hill took me to the end of the Promenade Terrace and the steps back up to the Vantage Point Garden. An open and informal square with modern seating the garden was surrounded on three sides by low shrubs and flower borders but like several other areas of the park it seemed to be suffering from a fair amount of neglect. The fourth side was completely open and had extensive views across the rest of the park towards town although the sun was unfortunately in the wrong direction for a photo.
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Heading back towards the main entrance I found that most of the sunken garden was finally in the sunshine so I was able to get a few shots there though sadly the flower beds, which should have been a riot of colour, were completely bare. Past the sunken garden my eye was caught by a movement up ahead; a squirrel had scampered down from a tree and I watched it for several minutes while it rooted about in the grass then sat there nibbling on whatever it had found for its breakfast.
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Once the squirrel had gone back up its tree I continued round the edge of the park to the war memorial then with the last couple of shots taken I made my way back to the van which was parked just across the road from the entrance gates.
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It was only 9am when I got back home and as I made my breakfast I was glad I’d gone out when I did; clouds were beginning to gather and just like the last few days less than an hour later the sun had disappeared and the sky was grey. I didn’t mind too much though; I’d had a good walk with Poppie and got some nice photos so to misquote a popular saying – the early photographer catches the sun!

 

16 thoughts on “Early morning in Queen’s Park

  1. The park looks really nice, you must have had it all to yourself at that time of day. I remember about that poor little girl being stabbed there, nice to see the teddy memorial for her. It’s not surprising the flower beds are bare as the council workers probably haven’t been working due to the pandemic. Lovely photo of the squirrel, they’re usually too quick for me to snap a photo πŸ™‚

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  2. I think I probably was the only person there to start with but then I saw just one or two other dog walkers though they were way over in the distance – I often think the best time to go somewhere is very early on a Sunday morning, there’s never anyone around then πŸ™‚ I don’t know what happened to the woman who attacked the little girl, I know she was supposed to be in court in May but I haven’t read of any follow up. I took several photos of the squirrel, he was there for quite a few minutes before he went back up the tree πŸ™‚

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  3. Your park is really nice. I think a lot of water features were turned off this year so as not to attract people to linger in crowds and a lot of municipal workers have been reassigned jobs to keep services going, and of course volunteers too have not been working. But a super walk.

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    1. I’m wondering if the fountain ever works at all Cathy, I was there in April last year and it wasn’t running then either 😦 I had a lovely walk and it was nice that being very early it was so peaceful and quiet πŸ™‚

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      1. That seems a bit of an odd excuse which, to be honest, I’m not sure I believe. I think it’s probably more to do with council cut backs, however I’ll go there on a bank holiday next summer just to see if it’s running.

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  4. It was 7.30am when I went out – I’m not usually up at that time on a Sunday either unless I’m going somewhere, but it’s got to the time of year now when I need to grab any sunshine I can especially after the grey and rainy days we’ve had recently. The little girl being killed was such a sad and shocking thing to happen, even more so as it was Mother’s Day too – it makes me wonder what society is coming to when things like this happen 😦

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  5. What a lovely place for a walk, though I agree, we have to grab our chances while we can, the weather is so unpredictable at the moment. I remember seeing the news about the little girl being stabbed but I didn’t know where it had happened, that’s so sad.

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  6. My parents would sometimes take me to Queen’s Park when I was a kid and I always thought it was a boring place as apart from a rubbish playground tucked in the bottom corner there was nothing there – now as an adult I can appreciate the green open spaces and the wildlife on the ponds and in the trees πŸ™‚ It’s a lovely place for a dog walk and so peaceful early in the morning πŸ™‚

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  7. It was never really my favourite park when I was younger but it’s improved a lot over the years and is really nice now, it’s about 22 acres in total. It was nice that being so early in the morning it was so quiet too πŸ™‚

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  8. What a lovely park & it’s amazing what we thought of as children & how we think now. The squirrel is cute & how lucky to get some photos before it scampered off. Thanks for sharing, take care, stay safe & huggles.

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  9. The park once had a bandstand surrounded by water and flower beds, an ornamental fountain, a pavilion, large paddling pool and a museum. The bandstand and its lake, the pavilion and the fountain were all gone long before I was born, the paddling pool disappeared in the mid 50s and the museum was demolished in 1957 – maybe if those things had still been there when I was a child I would have found the park a lot more interesting than I did at the time. I do appreciate it as it is now though and it’s nice to have such a huge green open space right on the edge of town. I got several photos of the squirrel so I’m thinking of a ‘squirrel’ post for tomorrow πŸ™‚

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