In between my posts about what I got up to in the Lake District
, I thought I’d briefly fill you in on the time I went to Virginia Water in Surrey. Mum was looking for a place to go during the week to make sure my brother actually got some fresh air and I remembered Kiran mentioning Virginia Water as it was close by to Royal Holloway, the university she’ll be attending come September.
We had lunch in the Wheatsheaf Hotel before setting off to walk the lake. First let me say I don’t think I have ever seen so many puppies in one place at one time. It was like everyone in Surrey had decided August 2013 would be a perfect time to get a puppy and Virginia Water was the perfect place to walk it.
On Virginia Water’s land is a Roman ruin, built with bricks from Leptis Magna in what is now Libya. It was rather strange to stumble across towering columns and crumbling statues in what is otherwise a stereotypically English landscape.
The signs about the ruins suggested that originally they had been in much better condition until visitors had climbed on them and even pulled columns down. Touching, I can understand but I can’t wrap my head around what would possess a person to pull down and destroy a structure over 2000 years old.
That aside, Virginia Water seems to be a safe haven for not only dogs but all manner of animals. I saw countless numbers of bees (and got some pretty nice shots of them, as you can see), swans, coots, moorhens, ducks and the waterfowl below which I had to look up; a great crested grebe. I’m pretty sure that if we ventured into the woods surrounding the lake, we’d discover foxes, badgers, rabbits and possibly even some deer.
The grounds are deceptively large and we walked for a lot longer than we expected (which was good considering we all had burgers the size of our faces). We passed the posh Guards Polo Club and several horse boxes before our walk took us through into a heather garden.
Some old dears we’d passed on the walk told us repeatedly that we couldn’t miss the heather garden. They were lost but decidedly more concerned that our lives would lack the richness the heather garden offered if we didn’t go. By the time we reached the garden (just a garden, no life changing experience), I was flagging. Having eaten half a cow earlier and decided to take every lens I own with me on this walk, my shoulders ached and I was sluggish. But then I saw my prize just under a coniferous shrub. A pheasant.
…At least I think it’s a pheasant. All male pheasants I’ve seen look like the one above but have a big red splodge around their eyes. Either way, it’s a beautiful bird to match the beauty of Virginia Water. Take a trip out there if you get the chance!