I grew up on the border of Staines and Laleham in England, within walking distance of the Thames. I have very fond memories of many pleasant hours spent playing down by the riverside, in particular on Penton Hook Island, adjacent to Penton Hook Lock.
As you can see from the map, the river forms a deep loop and the island was created when the lock was built across the neck of the loop.
The lock allows boats to navigate the river with a drop of about 4 feet.
On the other side of the island, the water flows over a weir.
At first glance, the island itself hadn't changed a scrap since my friend Lorna and I used to play over there. There's a path that goes around the whole island, with smaller paths criss-crossing it. Lots of little beaches to play on and glades for sunbathing.
On closer inspection though, I realized that some changes have been made, and they are changes that, while I may not have appreciated them when I was younger, I can appreciate them now for the wildlife habitat they provide.
As we were reading about the wildlife that has been attracted to the area by the latest additions, we spotted a heron on the path ahead of us.
As we continued our walk, we must have disturbed him and he flew across and landed on the other side of the river, before posing for this photograph.
I'm afraid my knowledge of English wildflowers is limited to daisies, buttercups and dandelions, which were in abundance, as seen above.
But there were also a lot of things I couldn't put a name to, such as the purple flower above.
I'm pretty sure this one is a rose of some sort, possibly Rosa canina - Dog Rose.
On a later riverside walk, we saw swans and cygnets, geese and goslings (I'll share those photos another day), but on this day, this lovely swan was alone.
Words and photographs by Jayne Wilson, Green and Serene, Jayne's Country Garden.