My handful of visits this winter to Doxey Marsh Nature Reserve on the outskirts of Stafford city centre have been less successful than usual.
Work on construction of a new access road to the city has made pedestrain access to the reserve a little more awkward. The monomonous thump of a pile driver boom out all across the site.
But worst has been the effects of this persistently wet winter. The entire site has become swampy, footpaths included. The view is one of desolation, though the background noise is of road building, mainline railway and busy motorway.