Cotton Mill Dam



This afternoon, my Nana and I went for a little walk around Cotton Mill Dam in Holymoorside. It’s a small damn nestled between houses in the centre of the village, that until quite recently, I didn’t even know existed. It’s a peaceful area with lots of wildlife and I can’t wait to go back again in autumn when the trees are turning copper and the ground is covered with leaves.


We walked around the water’s edge and wandered briefly into the nearby field. We didn’t want to stay out too long because the weather was quickly turning and we weren’t well-equipped for rain! But it was lovely to be outside and I enjoyed feeling a fresh breeze on my cheeks, even if they did turn an unsightly shade of beetroot!


There were some sheep grazing in the field and we watched them for a little while. Aside from the odd gust of wind, the only thing we could really hear was the baaing from the sheep and the quacks from the ducks.


The ducks made us both smile. Not only were they unusually vocal, but they were also very uninterested in us. I was able to get really close to them, and even then they didn’t seem to care. They were too busy sleeping or preening their feathers.


As we continued around the dam, we noticed this little duck that appeared to be missing her tail feathers. It was very noticeable because she looked considerably smaller than the others. We assumed they had been plucked out by other ducks, but maybe she was always like this.

While we were stood watching, I noticed a heron swooping overhead. It landed straight across the water from us and lingered at the water’s edge, watching the fish. I can’t remember the last time I saw a heron and I was quite amazed by the size of it. When it was in flight, it looked huge! Unfortunately, I was unable to get a good photo.


A bit later on, a kingfisher flew right in front of us and up into the trees. We both stopped in our tracks, hoping it would reappear, but unfortunately it didn’t show up again. I’ve seen loads of photographs of kingfishers but I’ve never actually seen one. I was in awe of how beautiful and vibrant his feathers were. Again, I was unable to get a photograph, but I hope I will in the near future!7

At this point it started to rain so we made our way back home. It was so nice to see two birds that I haven’t seen before, but I was a bit disappointed that I was unable to get a photo!

I’m becoming increasingly aware of my own style of photography and I’m worried that it’s starting to get a bit predictable. Photographing flowers and insects is really enjoyable for me, but I need to change and develop in order to produce unique shots. I’m hoping to venture out again this week and hopefully find something new or a bit unusual to photograph!


I’d like to finish this blog post by sharing this photo and the story behind it. In the town where I work, the local primary school children started leaving painted rocks around the town. These were hand-painted rocks ranging from beloved Disney characters to heart warming quotes.

The idea is to leave your rock somewhere around town. When someone else finds it, they take a photo of it and share it to Facebook to explain where they found it. That person then needs to ‘hide’ it somewhere else and the cycle continues. It’s fun to see how far your rock can travel and it creates a lovely community spirit in the town. At one point last year, you could barely walk anywhere without finding a rock!

The trend seems to have moved to neighbouring towns because we found this one near the dam. It reads ‘Find me, re-hide me, take a photo of me.’ So I did, and we hid it somewhere new for someone else to find.

I really like things like this, I think it’s really sweet. If your town doesn’t do this, then maybe you should kick-start the trend and get painting some rocks!


Follow me on twitter @HollyRobiin or like my Facebook page ‘Holly Robiin Photography.’ You can also buy my photos in my online shop.



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