I’ve travelled to a lot of Leicestershire nature reserves throughout the doom times. The people round here seem to stick reliably to the big ones; Bradgate park, the Outwoods, Beacon and Swithland. These are the four main ones, but there is another equally large and lesser known area called Ulverscroft. I drove there alone one day and found that it was quite like my vision of the Shire.
Meadows, ancient woods, winding streams like veins of clear blood. I walked through and stumbled upon an area with a couple of giant ponds, rotting fishing platforms at the side which the Hobbits would have loved. Ducklings following their mothers across the water, fish schools flashing silver under the summer sun, Moor hens hid behind the tree roots before embarking upon solo missions, tad poles dominating the water around shining lily pads.
It was here that I first saw the broad-bodied chaser, a dragon fly with a thick, wide abdomen like a pale blue broad sword. I pondered its strange thousand- million year honed motivations as it briefly paused on a rotten tree trunk like a logo, hovered, then wheeled through the air and buzzed away over to the water.
Next to the ponds was a towering priory wrecked from the past eight centuries, as I got closer I could hear mas squawking of crows coming from the top of the tower. A black terror chorus. Lord knows what significant event was going on up there.
Inside the building, in what would have been a hall where the medieval priors congregated was now a large unknown agricultural appliance, the floor a mixture of dirt and mud.