12 Days of Christmas: Seven swans-a-swimming

Swans on the water at Harold Park. Picture: Charlotte Graham
Swans on the water at Harold Park. Picture: Charlotte Graham

Finding seven swans ‘a-swimming’ is harder than you might think. For one thing they are territorial.

Getting them to pose for a picture is something else entirely but we’re managed it, or rather photographer Charlotte Graham has.

She snapped this picture of the majestic birds just after sunrise at nearby Harold Park.

We present it to you today as the seventh offering in our ‘12 Days of Christmas’ series, which is loosely based on the song of the same name.

READ MORE: The YEP’s 12 Days of Christmas

Swans are a protected species under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981 but since Medieval times the monarch has technically owned all unmarked swans in open water.

Swans mate for life and are known to be highly intelligent, to the point they can recognise people who have been kind (or not) to them.

In 2001, a man had his leg broken by a swan he was trying to provoke. The birds can fly at speeds of up to 60mph but sadly often mistake motorways for waterways - landing on them can mean death or serious injury.

The park is named after Harold Gathorn Hardy who died in 1881 at the age of 32. Harold helped establish the family-run Low Moor Ironworks.

In 1899, a recreation ground was added to the park, while in the early 20th Century Low Moor Gala was held raising money for local hospitals. In 1931, Horsfall playing fields were added to the park.

Harold Park is open all day all year round. It has been given a Green Flag Award and the Platinum award from The Royal Horticultural Society Yorkshire in Bloom for open spaces.