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mallard duck

Golden Acre

Saturday 12th July 2003, West Yorkshire

mallard drakeThe boardwalk across the marshy area at Fish Pond Plantation is closed for repairs so we find our way into Golden Acre Park, Adel, north west of Leeds, via a few steps that go down from the busy A65 into a quiet corner of the park.

orchidI'm surpised to see orchids, I think they're northern marsh orchids, as there are no spots on the leaves, growing in a small patch of meadow by the path.

There's a wonderful atmosphere of quiet relaxation in Golden Acre on this hot, sunny afternoon. The café is doing a good trade, people are enjoying the walk around the lake, relaxing on shady benches or basking in the sun on the mown grass. There are colourful flower displays (some spectacular delphiniums) and a start has been made on restoring the miniature railway. Golden Acre started in the Victorian period as a park and today there's a nostalgic feel about the place: it's the way that you imagine summer's once were.

A mother sits by the stream reading to her young son. It's just the summer meadow setting that Alice's Adventures in Wonderland starts in but I guess she's probably reading him one of the Harry Potter stories, to judge by the size of the book.

This summer has turned out to be, so far, like the series of long Edwardian summers that the generation who lived through the First World War used to remember: long lazy days when you could sit out well into the evening. It seems that we do still get summers like that. Occasionally. next page

Richard Bell