This spot by the river is now a favourite place to sit and watch the ducks. But do you know the names of all our feathered visitors here?

Coots are almost entirely black apart from their white beaks and white ‘shield’ between the eyes. They build their nests – rather messily – on the water in spring.

Closely related to Coots are Moorhens. These birds are mainly black with yellow and red beaks and green legs.

While we all recognise ducks, do you know how to tell males from females? Mallards are some of the easiest to tell apart. Males have bright green heads, while females are a more muted brown.

Did you know that Ratty in the Wind in the Willows is actually a water vole? Water voles are a rare protected species, discovered locally in 2020, they are often found in burrows in damp places alongside rivers. Water voles have brown fur, a blunt, rounded nose, small ears, and a furry tail – they also like to sit and eat in the same place every day.

Finally, have you ever wondered why the carpark behind you in known as Cornwalls Meadow? It was, of course, originally a meadow. Owned by a local family, the Cornwalls, for many years. The Cornwalls were butchers, and had a shop where Prego’s is now. They used the meadow for grazing animals.

Photograph credits, all from Wiki Commons: Coot by by Dr. Raju Kasambe – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0 Moorhen’s fighting By Chiswick Chap – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, Mallard Duck by Rror – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0 all via Wikimedia Commons.