One of the greatest pleasures to be had when riding a bicycle after some heavy rain – quite apart from the fact that it has indeed stopped raining – is the way the landscape is affected, however subtly, by the deluge.
One of my favourite parts of my current route to work in the morning is skirting round Lodge Lake. This man-made lake, between Great Holm and Loughton, is described by the Milton Keynes Parks Trust as “one of the city’s balancing lakes, designed to hold excess floodwater from the valley, until it can be slowly released into Loughton Brook.”
On one side of the lake is an overflow system which highlights very clearly the water level as it rises and falls the critical few centimetres that bring water up to the level of the overflow, or just cascading over it.
And just beyond Lodge Lake, towards Loughton, is a connected culvert of water leading the lake, and whose level is also easily affected by heavy rainfall. One section of this artificial ‘stream’ courses over a small ledge.
On dry days, the construction of the ledge is clear, as is the accumulation of litter which gets caught in it. After heavy rainfall, however, the stream runs straight over the ledge, in one smooth, unbroken flow.
It’s these subtle differences which can turn a monotonous daily grind into a refreshing and sometimes interesting tour.
Crucially, in as planned and occasional sterile a town as Milton Keynes, it is things like these dynamic ‘water features’ which change the most, day-to-day.
Today’s bonus sight must be the family of swans sat near the aforementioned ‘stream’: two vast adults, their size highlighted by them being sat on land and not water, and their two fluffy grey cygnets, huddled together for warmth.