This upstream stretch of the river, which is a chalk stream, is called the West Beck. It is narrower and deep, its waters transparent, its banks lower and clothed in vegetation and willows. A kingfisher flies off from near the bridge over the river. Pools and ditches sandwich the river. Some of the pools where fish were reared are now fringed by reeds, and short after our arrival a Marsh Harried flew off. The squeals or Water Rails could be heard from the reeds.
We walk south towards Corpslanding on the east bank of the river, the path covered on long wet grass (note to self: must bring wellies next time). We alert three Roe Deer, which were resting and feeding on the bank, and they slowly move away behind some trees. We turn round to walk upstream from there. We flush a Kingfisher twice more. The stage finishes when we hit a non entry barrier by the weir opposite Copper Hall. The north side of the reserve is accessed more easily through Wansford and Snakeholm pastures, which will be the next river stage.
Information panel by the car park.
Reed beds by the river, looking SW.
The River Hull or West Beck from the bridge, looking downstream.
A family of Mute Swans, with five young of the year.
The meandering river looking upstream.
Skerne Wetlands. YWT website here.