Discovering the North West: Brabyns Park, Marple Bridge

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When visiting a friend in Marple Bridge this week I was taken to a local park so their dog could have a run around and so my monkey could go on some swings. However what I discovered was that the ‘local park’ was actually a stunning hidden beauty spot with enchanted looking woods and the beautiful River Goyt running around it. The woods had that lovely serene, calm feel about them and there were picnic tables nestled amongst the trees. Clearly Brabyns Park is a firm favourite amongst the local dog walking crowd and there were lots of soggy, happy dogs jumping into the river and generally having the best doggy fun ever.

I’d never even heard of Brabyns Park or the River Goyt before this week, but I’d thoroughly recommend a trip to the whole general area of Marple Bridge as it’s just very picturesque with stunning peaceful walks to do. And despite the fact it was so busy it didn’t feel crowded; everyone was very friendly and it was a great family day out. There’s a play-park near the bottom entrance to the park on Brabyns Brow.

Creative Gardening at Smithills Open Farm

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Peace, Calm and Loneliness on Uist

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I’ve spent so long living in cities that I found the silence to be almost deafening when I first arrived on Uist. I usually surround myself with noise as it seems to keep me company almost and stops me from feeling lonely when I spend long periods of time by myself. However, after a while I eventually discovered the inner peace that comes with sitting outside in complete silence; for the first time in a few years I took comfort in my own thoughts and was able to feel calm instead of feeling over crowded in my own head. For me this photo sums up that discovery of peace within the loneliness as I gazed out at the sky surrounded only by total silence.

Visual Anthrozoology at Monkey Forest, Trentham

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I recently had the pleasure of introducing my own little monkey to the macaques of Monkey Forest, Trentham, Stoke-on-Trent. She was both excited and a bit nervous as the macaques wander free in a big forest and it was our responsibility to steer clear of them and their habitat for once; a fabulous and no doubt valuable experience for her to see animals in a slightly more natural setting!

I was also pleased as it gave me the opportunity to try and get some decent animal photos; I had to find a way through the difficulties of taking a picture of a constantly moving animal whilst in a relatively large crowd of adults and children! I loved the way I managed to see some incredibly intimate experiences between the macaques such as a cuddle between a family with a newborn and the sharing of food between a mother and a baby – it felt as though I was viewing ‘Family in the Public Eye’ in an almost sociological sense. Some of the older male monkeys were just fantastically blasé about it all and sat very close to the path staring off in what looked to be a wistful manner…. although I will concede my tendency to anthropomorphise here!

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