Why not take a relaxing stroll and pop along to one of the many ponds or lakes in East Hampshire and spending some time feeding the ducks?
Mary Poppins famously sang, “Feed the birds!” It’s a great way to spend some time with your older friend or loved one while also enjoying the scenery and the wildlife. Our care professionals at Home Instead East Hampshire and Midhurst love taking clients to local ponds. And from Alton to Petersfield, Frensham to Bishops Waltham, there are plenty of lovely places to visit. Here are a few that we’d recommend.
It’s well worth visiting Frensham Little Pond, which can be found just over the easternmost border of East Hampshire, in Surrey. Part of the National Trust, the pond isn’t actually that little! It’s more like a small lake – although it was originally classed as a medieval bishops’ fish pond. It’s surrounded by heathland which boasts a wide variety of both rare and endangered wildlife.
If you want a break from strolling around the pond on the many smooth and fairly level paths (suitable for wheelchairs), why not nip into the café on the site for a light snack and a cuppa? Be sure to wrap up if it’s cool, as there’s only outdoor seating available. Dogs are allowed at the pond. The car park is free for National Trust members – otherwise, you’ll have to pay. However, it has accessible blue badge parking. There’s also a toilet on the site.
Kings Pond – which again is a fair size – is set in 11 acres but is close to the centre of Alton. The River Wey feeds the pond and flows through it. Indeed, the pond isn’t a natural habitat – it was probably formed in the late 18th century by William King, who is believed to have dammed the river to create a head of water to power his expanding paper mill operations. The paper mill continued working until the early 20th century.
King’s Pond has become a popular habitat for a wide range of bird life – from kingfishers, wrens and yellow wagtails through to swans, geese and herons. The area around the perimeter of the pond has a hard-surfaced footpath that makes it easily accessible for those with wheelchairs. There’s also a car park with a disabled parking space.
Heath Pond is an attractive area that’s occasionally visited by our live-in clients when they meet with our co-ordinator, Nicki, for a chat and an ice cream! It’s a 22-acre pond that lies within The Heath, a 69-acre site that’s close to the town of Petersfield. Again, a wide variety of wildfowl and other birds can be seen in and around the pond.
There’s a pleasant café overlooking the pond – aptly named the Plump Duck – where you and your ageing friend or loved one can relax and enjoy a hot or cold drink and a bite to eat (including ice creams, cakes and paninis). Just take some time to sit and watch the boats on the water or the children enjoying themselves in the adjacent play area. Toilets are available on the site. There’s also a good sized car park, just off the B2146.
If you’re in the area, why not pay a visit to Bishop’s Waltham North Pond? The whole pond was built by Bishop Henry de Blois 700 years ago but in the late 1960s, a new road was built that cut it in two. The North Pond is a Site of Importance for Nature Conservation (SINC). It’s on the edge of Bishop’s Waltham and there’s a car park and flat gravel paths around the pond.
The health of this pond owes a great deal to hard work by members of the local community. Since 2010, trees have been trimmed back, wildflower meadows created; the main channel cleared; and a lay-by, seats, picnic table and information boards installed. There was also a three-year project to remove about two metres of silt from the pond, providing a wetland area for birds, wildlife and fish. A new viewing area was also created in 2018.
Bordon Inclosure is a green space on the eastern edge of Bordon, managed by the Deadwater Valley Trust. This was set up in the 1980s to conserve important natural habitats in the area. Bordon Inclosure has been designated as a Suitable Alternative Natural Greenspace (SANG) – a natural environment with semi-natural habitats. A SANG must have a network of paths that provide walks for local people. The paths at the Inclosure are compacted but can be become muddy after heavy rainfall.
Dogs are allowed to be let off the lead in the Inclosure for much of the year. From the point of view of an older person, a SANG is important, as it must have a range of safe access points, including easy access from a car park. This can be found behind Café 1789, which has a toilet. The car park includes one disabled parking space.
Whether your ageing adult loves feeding the ducks or just enjoys a quiet walk in the East Hampshire countryside, we hope these examples might spur their interest in gentle outdoor activities. Being out and about in itself can be very therapeutic for an older person.
At Home Instead East Hampshire and Midhurst, we love taking clients out to enjoy a breath of fresh air – and they often feel revitalised afterwards. If you’d like to know more about our extensive range of home care services, please give us a buzz!