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Changing Seasons at Lower Mill : Alex Gregory’s Latest Visit to the Estate

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It's always a pleasure to welcome Alex Gregory and his family and Lower Mill, they really know how to make the most of everything the Estate has to offer...

It all seems to have happened very suddenly, especially after the summer we’ve had. Those long, bright, hot days, that went on and on and on. Daily conversations about how long it was going to last, how no one can believe what an amazing Summer we’re having and the questions about when it’s all going to come to an end have now tailed off. I think that time has finally arrived, and in some ways I’m pleased. I love the fact that we have seasons. Seasons allow us to appreciate the good weather, to notice our surroundings and look forward and backwards at what was and what is yet to come. The change of season allows us to enjoy the beautiful country we live in and appreciate the incredible landscapes right outside our front doors.

There are not many better places to go to notice the change and appreciate the moving of the seasons than at Lower Mill estate and Silverlake. Our recent visit to Lower Mill was a perfect one. The change was very definitely in the air, whilst still holding onto a fragment of the Summer warmth. The leaves had started to turn, green mixed with yellows, oranges and the more hasty species already beginning to drop in the light breaths of wind that passed through. The Lakes stretched out in front of us looking glassy and cool, their temperature dropping by the second as the Summer warmth disappeared from the surface.

We spent a lot of time peering into the water from the pontoon on Mill Lake. The sun was shining bright and all five of us lay down looking deep into the clear depths to see what life lay below. I’m always amazed by the clarity of the water on the Estate and as we peered in we watched the fish flitting around beneath us. We spent the stunning Autumnal Saturday walking from Mill Lake, skirting Somerford Lagoon, watching the birds move back and forth on Farmhouse Lake whilst hidden behind branches and undergrowth, our own natural bird hide. It’s pretty difficult to keep our three youngsters, Jasper, Daisy & Jesse quiet for more than 10 seconds so the wildlife knows we’re coming from a fair way off! Despite this, the water surface was teeming with life for us to test our identification skills.

As we took a break in the meadow alongside the rugby pitch to have a snack and a drink Jasper proudly opened up his new birthday present penknife. A Swiss Army knife with scissors, a toothpick and a screwdriver amongst other features. I remember my first penknife and no doubt Jasper will remember this one, and the time he sat whittling us all walking sticks we had collected on the way. We were all on an adventure, we needed walking sticks to help us find our way home, so with gusto, our handles were carved, some turned into dodgy-looking spears but by the time we moved on we were all happy and not a drop of blood had been spilt!

For years now I’ve been trying to spot a Beaver. Flagham Fenn is my go-to place if I get the chance to decide on an exploring route. This visit was no different to the previous ones, however, not a Beaver in sight. Just one little glimpse one day would make my year! Instead of Beavers, we came across the most incredible collection of freshwater Crayfish shells, claws and remains. It was surely the work of an Otter family which brought us great excitement to think they had been standing in the shallows right where we were.

Back in the apartment for lunch, a much-needed coffee then we were off again, this time to the swimming pool. An impressive jump into the freezing outdoor pond from the kid’s mum Emily surprised us all and set the precedent. I was, without doubt, the biggest wimp taking forever to build up the courage to plunge into the beautifully cold outdoor water, but back into the heated outdoor pool was utter bliss after that! We can’t drag our kids out of the swimming pool. Like so many things we’ve done at Lower Mill, the memories we are lucky enough to create there will last for us as a family for the rest of our lives. It was the first place Jasper (now 9) could ride his bike without us by his side. It’s the place where all of our three children have really learnt to be confident in a swimming pool because of the unlimited time we’ve been able to spend with them in the water. We’ve learnt about and witnessed so much of the natural world while exploring the hundreds of acres on the site and we’ve seen, felt and appreciated the changing seasons. Memories are made when we spend time together and this was another memory making weekend for us in the Cotswolds.

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