The Leasowes is a Grade I listed historic landscape. The poet William Shenstone designed the park and nature reserve between 1743 and 1763. Leasowes has open grasslands, streams, lakes and woodland which is home to many different animal species. Since the 18th Century, the park has been managed with nature in mind and has a range of habitats for mammals, locally uncommon plant species, birds and invertebrates.
On the day, the weather wasn’t the best. It was a little dark, cloudy and there was the occasional rain shower, but the weather did give the park a spooky atmosphere, which is perfect for a writer, especially a horror writer. We didn’t, however, let the weather spoil our day, and once everyone arrived at the car park, we were excited to start on our adventure.
The park has three routes for walkers: green, blue and red. We wanted to go on a route that wasn’t too short but not too difficult to walk, so we took the blue route. Now the red route does allow you to see even more of the park, but it’s very steep, so it’s only suitable for a person who is physically fit – I would still be there now if I had tried the red route.
Our Map Keeper, Julian, was our guide, and as you can see, he again got us safely through the woods. At the start of the trail, we passed trees with beautiful pink flowers (I wish I knew the name of them), and eventually found our way to the Priory Pool, which is apparently supposed to be haunted by the lady in the lake – I think she fell down a disused mineshaft was never seen again (dramatic music). We didn’t see her ghost, but we did see two swans, male and female mallards, baby mallards (so cute), a coot and a goose (I think I saw one). I wanted to see the kingfisher, but I couldn’t spot it, even with my pink binoculars. Yes, I have pink binoculars.
Halfway through the route, we stopped for lunch, and I delighted my fellow members with my peanut butter and jam slices that I baked the day before, which they all liked. Once rested, fed and hydrated, we continued on our journey. We walked past unusual-looking trees that looked like they belonged in a fantasy world – one even looked like a magic portal to another land. We enjoyed the songs by the bird choir and were intrigued by the small benches that were decorated with lines of poetry. We passed streams and mini waterfalls, and I could imagine fairies frolicking in the water. It really felt like magic was alive here.
On nearing the end of our walk, we reached the second (well, it was for me) main attraction which was the waterfall. Even though it isn’t the biggest waterfall, with its stone bridge and surrounding greenery, it is a breathtaking sight. I had to take a closer look, so I along with some of the group carefully walked down the steps that allowed us to be in touching distance of the waterfall. I didn’t attempt to touch the water, however, because I didn’t fancy falling in. Instead, I took photos and recorded a video, but when the sound of the water made me want to pee, I thought it was best to move on – there are no toilets on site.
After the waterfall, we eventually made our way back to the car park. Typically, the sun decided to make an appearance. However, even without the sun, we had a lovely time. I never expected Leasowes Park to be so big or so magical. I wish I had known about this place when I was a child because I would have had so many adventures here, which could have inspired many stories. But there’s nothing stopping me from having those adventures now. Okay, people might find it weird to see an adult skipping around the woods, but hey, you only live once. I also now have another location to set my future stories in – I think it might be what I base the woods in my fictional village on.
Leasowes Park is a great place, which I plan to visit again. If you want to spend time away from the stresses of daily life and be surrounded by nature, then do visit Leasowes Park.
Have you been to Leasowes Park or any other park or nature reserve? If you have, then I would love to hear about it.
Keep writing, folks!