coquet nature lover

Monday, 23 January 2017

Winter walk in Coquetdale, Northumberland

Get your boots on with coquet nature lover 

  • Maybe it’s a sure sign of growing old, or maybe I’ve just been busy, but this last week I’ve been on ‘home terrain mode’ in the Coquet valley...

  • Maybe Northumberland isn’t on your bucket list but, if you are a country lover and happen to be passing through the north-east, head up to Coquetdale and you won’t be disappointed!

  • Maybe you won’t return but hopefully you will.  If not, at least you can say you’ve been... and you can cross it off your list! Just remember to pack a waterproof and your wellies – just in case!

When I go out into the countryside and see the sun and the green and everything flowering, I say to myself "Yes indeed, all that belongs to me!" 
Henri Rousseau

Enjoy the photos!

Winter sunrise looking towards Cragside

Simonside Hills with Rothbury buried in the low-lying mist

Overnight cooling of surface air can result in a nocturnal temperature inversion that dissipates as the air near the ground warms up. This phenomenon can often be seen at this time of year in the Coquet Valley and makes for an amazing photo. You have to be up early to get your photo though!


A few shots from the hedgerows...

female blackbird


bullfinch - male

bullfinch - female



and up in the trees...

nuthatch almost out of sight!

red squirrel

and on the riverbank...

red legged partridges

roe deer

rather sad looking grey heron

and in the Coquet...

Little grebes too can sometimes be spotted however they are quite shy and often lurk close to the margins of the water. Just when you are ready to take your photo, they tend to dive or disappear into the vegetation!
little grebe on the Coquet

Although the next photo was actually taken at Wallington, goosanders with their razor sharp beaks, are also a familiar sight on the Coquet. As you can see in the previous photo, the little grebe in the river's turbulent waters is not quite so well defined. Still, I decided to include it as it is quite atmospheric.



and grazing in the fields...

Chestnut beauty

Belted Galloway (known as a Beltie!)

Harriet the Herdwick

Teddy bear sheep (Hampshires is the breed)

'Rainbow bums'

You may wonder why they have such colourful rear ends? Well, to assist the farmers in their planning, the tup/male wears a harness in between his front legs with a chalk block. When it has mated, the ewe/female is coloured on rear. This way, they know who their 'top' tups are and also when the lambs will be due! 

and a few feisty first flowers that I photographed this weekend at Wallington - just a hop, skip and a jump away from Coquetdale...


Winter aconites - Helleborus niger Christmas rose
Anemone blue - Jasminum nudiflorum

Viburnum x bodnantense

and to finish this post, we reach for the Northumberland skies...
Shades of pink at sunset

Full moon over Coquetdale 12 January 2017

In this post, the photos of the deer, red squirrel and 'rainbow bums' were kindly contributed by local residents. I hope you all enjoyed the colourful sheep as much as I have! These three photos should not be shared without permission. Thank you for respecting this.


  1. Sheep reminded me of easter. Beautiful pics. Northumberland not on my bucket list but definitely on my 'to do'

    1. That's good to know. Hopefully will be posting some photos of Easter lambs and spring flowers soon. Always nice to receive comments - thanks xx

  2. What a great selection of photos, it's hard to pick my favourite! Excellent moon 🌕

    1. Glad you liked them - I was pleased with the moon shot too! It's been quite difficult getting clear photos with all the misty days lately xx

  3. Wonderful set of photos, love the sheep, and the Red squirrels. You get to see a great range of wildlife.
    Amanda x

    1. Glad you liked them. I must admit the I found the sheep quite amusing. No waxwings for me yet but still hopeful! xx