The walk to the Woodland Trust's Punchbowl Reserve was one of relative ease. All down hill through the golden bracken covered slopes of the lower Blorenge and onward through sheep pasture interspersed with veteran beech trees to the Punchbowl lake itself.
We were not alone on our trek, it was a Sunday afternoon there was a family, a biker, a young couple and a father with two children and a dog - this is a popular destination. The well worn path was sandy in places and peppered with the chambers of the solitary bee heather colletes. An adjacent field complete with gorse and an upper drystone wall boundary was unsurprisingly home to a male stonechat.
The lake itself was turbidly green, its margins carpeted with New Zealand pygmyweed. In the water was soft hornwort and where there was exposed mud its cousin rigid hornwort could be found. A patch of soft rush attracted my attention. Contained therein were several long-winged conehead, a Roesel's bush cricket, field and meadow grasshoppers and ground and slender groundhoppers. Here too were common blue and blue tailed damselflies. There was little to see on the water but when the sun appeared and the temperature increased the surface became alive with busy small red-eyed damselfly, yet another site in the range expansion of this species.
The walk back was marked by frequent breath gathering stops and the overtaking by those walkers much younger and fitter than me. My accompanying son bemoaned the fact that I carried too much naturalist paraphernalia for my own good.