Monday, 16 June 2014

Newts Near Newton

As industrial landscapes of bygone years go, Haytor Quarry has to be one of the most hauntingly beautiful. I rediscovered it during one of my solitary walks on the moor this week. It's usually  a haven of peace and tranquility unlike the famous brontosaurus shaped tor which also bears the name of the nearby village. You'd have to be a very early bird to get that big hunk of rock to yourself.

You can totally see why two couples  might choose it as a romantic place to spend time together on a sunny evening. The first sat onto a rock gazing into each others eyes. The second had brought a barbecue to cook a cosy meal for two.  But ha!  Their plans were thwarted. For this was my second visit in the same number of days  and  I'd brought Louis up there to share the space. Do you see the reason why? Those pools are teaming with wildlife that I wanted to show him.

Armed with collection bottles Lou got cracking.  Honestly the activities that I pick for him are so wholesome it's untrue.  Lots of tadpoles were caught.  We avoided touching the wild wacky shape changing leeches, just in case they stuck fast!  Each time a new creature was found its discovery was shared with people whose idea of an intimate evening couldn't have possibly have involved a small boy who was over excited about newts.

Here's one of the aforementioned amphibians on a very grubby hand.  Which is, I strongly believe is just the way it should be.  There's something sadly wrong with over clean kids.   Now newts are  not quite as plentiful as the taddies but there's enough of them up in the quarry lakes for youngsters to get a good chance of handling an extremely cute pond dweller.

I drew the line on bringing home newts as pets but  acquiesced when it came to the tadpoles. After all with all the predatory action that goes on in freshwater ponds their life chances of turning into a frog are probably similar as living with Louis with his non existent animal husbandry experience.  For entertainment they have swimming sessions with his Robofish toys.  It keeps them on their toes.  And Lou is being particularly attentive.  He's inspecting them regularly.  'Phew! this is hard work' he told me.  'It must be just like being a parent!'


  1. That's definitely the most beautiful industrial landscape I've seen. It beats my dark Satanic mills hands down - we don't tend to get courting couples at those, but there have been some ' ladies of the night'!

  2. What a beautiful spot! Loved scooping tadpoles and unearthing salamanders with my kid, too.

  3. Ladies of the night wouldn't get much custom up there. Hardly anyone discovers it! x