Brinscall Walk In Early Spring.

At the weekend we headed over to Brinscall near Chorley in Lancashire for another hike from Nick Burton’s ‘ Year Round Walks’ Book. We had chosen a route from the Autumn section. But actually Spring is the perfect time to enjoy the early blossom and flowers that can be seen on this walk. 🌼

We used roadside parking in Brinscall, though there is a carpark next to the Swimming Pool, which looks out over a small lake. Brinscall itself is a nice looking village with The Cricketers Arms Pub , The Cottage Tearooms and a Fish & Chip Shop. The first part of the walk took us through a pretty Nature Reserve on a disused railway line. We followed The Jubilee Path which commemorates the Queens Platinum Jubilee in 2022. Local children designed the cute waymarker signs.

Lots of beautiful early flowering white blossom. I think this is Cherry Plum. It smelt amazing.
Primroses seem to love railway banking.
Jubilee Path.
Fairy tree by the Railway bridge.
Withnell Nature Reserve has lots of different wildlife areas and attracts deer, fox, stoats, frogs, birds and butterflies.
Wil spotted these sweet Scarlet Elf Cups lurking in the mossy undergrowth.
Fungi growing up a tree.
One of the Jubilee Path signs.

After leaving The Jubilee Path we had a quick look at the V C Memorial located just before the Church.

James Miller lived with his parents in the village of Withnell and worked at a local paper mill. The First World War broke out and James enlisted in 1915, joining the 7th Battalion Kings Own Royal Lancaster Regiment. After seeing action at Lens and Loos in Autumn 1915, the young private found himself moved on to The Somme. In July 1916 Private Miller was ordered to deliver an important message under heavy shell and rifle fire …..and told to bring back a reply at all costs!

James Miller was shot almost immediately after leaving the trench, the bullet hit him in the back and moved through to his abdomen. After compressing the gaping hole in his front James bravely delivered the message and staggered back with the reply, where he immediately fell dead at the feet of his commanding officer. He was 26 years old.

VC Memorial to James Miller.
Illustration from

The route then took us along a farm track and down through a residential area, back to Brinscall Village. We then turned left along Dick Lane and headed towards the old Victorian Waterway called the Goit.

Sign at the farm track entrance.
Brew stop.
Dick Lane and an even cheekier cottage name. 😁
Dick Lane turns into a tree-lined avenue, leading to Brinscall Hall.

Just before Brinscall Hall we turned left and headed downhill and under the disused railway line.. The next part of the walk would take us through woodland alongside The Goit, this man-made stream connects local reservoirs. Unfortunately we completely lost track of our routes instructions here and missed our loop back. Though happily we did end up at a rather scenic spot!

Alongside the Goit.
Twisty trees.
Mini waterfall.
One of several stone bridges.
White Coppice!
Resting at White Coppice.

We had arrived at White Coppice! I had seen this tiny picturesque hamlet featured on other peoples blogs, though hadn’t even registered that we were within walking distance of it. The green above is actually a cricket pitch. What a scenic backdrop. 🏏

After a brew here , we decided to retrace our steps back to Brinscall. Hopefully we will be back to explore the area, maybe get up onto the moors or find some of the local reservoirs….🌹

Walk 15 Brinscall, Lancashire Year Round Walks Book, OS Explorer 287 West Pennine Moors, 5 miles.


Pendle & Clarion House Walk . 🏠

It’s another walk through ‘ Pendle Witch Country’ with a couple of stops full of history and hospitality.

Walk 14 from Lancashire Year round Walks by Nick Burton. OS Explorer Map OL41. 5 and a half miles.

We parked at the pay and display car park opposite The Pendle Heritage Centre in the village of Barrowford. From here the author has devised a circular route that joins The Pendle Way with its Witchy Waymarkers , taking explorers across rugged countryside to Roughlee where The Last Clarion House resides.

Pendle Hill seen from the car between Gisburn and Blacko . At 557m , Pendle is just short of being a mountain.
Daffodils at the pay & display car park in Barrowford. Spring has sprung!

For those of you who have never heard of Pendle Hill, it is probably the most famous natural landmark in Lancashire. Steeped in history and known for its wild rugged beauty, Pendle is included as a detached part of the Forest Of Bowland AONB. Rising above the green pastures of the Ribble Valley & Clitheroe to one side and the borough of Pendles industrial towns and scattered villages to the other, Pendle Hill dominates the landscape on most of my local walks. It is from where George Fox was inspired to rally people to join the Quakers after his vision at the summit, and it is from where the alleged Pendle Witches were marched in shackles to Lancaster for the infamous Pendle Witch Trials.

On the Pendle Way path by Pendle Water.
Passing Old Oak Cottage.
Distinctive White Gatepost at Water Meetings Farm.
Heading up hill through woodland.
And onto open hillside. Looking back toward Blacko Tower.
We cross a very muddy field.
Squelch Squelch !
A crossroads of paths. We go downhill from here.
Heading down to Pendle Water and the village of Roughlee.
And some substantial Stepping Stones.
Beware, Hugo crossing. We were impressed by his balancing act.
Which was better than mine….
We pass a fairy house in Roughlee.
And on the side of the road, a witch. Alice Nutter.

Alice Nutter was one of twelve people accused of Wtchcraft from the Pendle Area in the seventeenth century. The alleged witches were denied access to lawyers and hung together at Gallows Hill in Lancaster on 20th August 1612. Most probably innocent victims of the mass hysteria and superstition of the time, the Pendle Witches have never the less caught the imagination of visitors to Pendle over the years. Alice herself was a member of a wealthy landowning family in Roughlee. Her lifesize statue made from steel and brass can be seen walking in chains by the side of the road.

Roughlee has an impressive waterfall on Pendle Water.
Dam Head is one of several former mills in the village.
From Roughlee we walk up Jinny Lane in search of a special refreshment stop. In a nearby field , a herd of Highland Cows watch us languidly.
Eggs for Sale.
Time for a brew?
The Last Clarion House.

Open only on Sundays , Clarion House is the last of its kind left standing. Built in 1912 for mill workers and their families to escape into the fresh air on their one day off ,this cosy meeting place still welcomes walkers and cyclists who happen on this special place. The Clarion movement had caught on at the end of the 19th century, a socialist ideal for working class folk who wanted to get together with like minded people. Walking clubs, choirs and cycling clubs sprang up as well as club houses and refreshment rooms like this one. It was lovely inside with benches to sit on, vintage socialist paraphernalia decorating the walls and a welcoming roaring fire. And it’s all run and looked after by friendly volunteers. For a more detailed post about The Last Clarion House, check out Michael’s Blog Here.

Roaring Fire. πŸ”₯
2 mugs of coffee and a KitKat Β£2.
Dogs on leads are welcome.
Benches outside Clarion House.
Leaving Clarion House we head through a field full of Jacob Sheep and lambs.
A witchy house sign.
Not exactly a Witch? She peers over the wall at Noggarth Top Shop and Pendle View Gardens.
Pendle Hill from Noggarth.
A cute spindly πŸ‘ lamb.
Back on The Pendle Way.
We come across an abandoned farm.
And it’s abandoned burnt out farmhouse. Still beautiful and now the home of …….a barn owl, which flew silently out from the bedroom window. πŸ¦‰
The fields were sodden so we detoured the short walk back to Barrowford along Pasture Lane , passing the White Bear Inn.
Pendle Heritage Centre, Barrowford.

Back in Barrowford I take a quick look around the Pendle Heritage Centre which has a museum, tea room and walled garden. Situated by Pendle Water in a grade 1 1 listed manor house and farm buildings, the centre includes exhibitions about life here through the years and The Pendle Witches.

Museum gift shop window.
Inside the museum.
Manor house kitchen.
Mullioned windows.
Pendle Witches story.
Walled Garden.

Hope you enjoyed my muddy walk through Pendle Witch Country. 🧹

Bright Morning.

Around Standen Hall.

I make the most of a cold bright morning and head to the outskirts of town, looking for early Spring blossom. Skirting round the edges of Standen Hall , I spy plenty of gorgeous Cherry Plum in bud and bloom. My camera phone identifies it as Snow! The stately old building and it’s grounds are mostly hidden from view by high walls ( well, high to me! ) and the front entrance has a ‘ Private Keep Out ‘ sign. I walk up the drive as far as I dare, snapping pictures of cheeky squirrels.

In the surrounding countryside a sprawling new housing development is creeping ever closer to the Hall. I hear the echoing drumming of a woodpecker and see a buzzard soaring in the sky. Not another human in sight. I let Hugo run off lead in the fields. The sky is blue and the ground is dry underfoot. Today looks like Spring but it is deceptively cold.

Grey Squirrel.

Primrose Nature Reserve.

On the way home I walk through a local Nature Reserve. The old mill pond is busy with waterbirds including moorhens and a pair of goosanders. I look for the white goose who was brought here by well meaning folk to keep a solitary greylag female company. The two were a pair for a while , but one day I saw her flying off, honking furiously. She never returned.

White Goose by the Chinese Bridge.

Time to get home and make myself a brew. Soon Hugo is snoring away in his bed. β˜•β€οΈ

Stanhope ~ County Durham.

A hop, skip and a jump over the North Pennines AONB , County Durham is an area we haven’t really explored much, despite it being fairly close to our Caravan base in Cumbria. Recently we decided to head over the fells into the Durham Dales.

County Durham.

The first small town we came to was Stanhope in Weardale. Nestled alongside the River Wear , this attractive market town has riverside walks, a castle and a selection of small local independent shops that are both attractive and useful.

Stanhope Castle 🏰

I thought the Castle may be one that we could visit, but I think that is only possible if your stopping there. It comprises of several luxury holiday apartments, for those keen to stay in an almost royal residence. Apparently in the 13th Century Edward lll tried unsuccessfully to defeat the Scottish in Stanhope.

Instead we headed to the Riverside where you can walk along both sides of the Wear and cross over via a bridge or some submerged ( on this occasion ) stepping stones. Hugo had a paddle in the water , though he seems to be hiding in my photos.

River Wear.
Canoes on the River Wear.
Canoes on the River Wear.
Stanhope Stepping Stones.
River Wear.

We had parked at The Durham Dales Centre in the town, which is a useful tourist information spot with gift shops and a tea room. It has a nice little outdoor area too, with a giant Grasshopper in residence. 😊

Durham Dales Centre.
The Bug Corner Wildflower Meadow.
Giant Grasshopper.

Nextdoor to the Durham Dales Centre is St Thomas’s Church , where there stands a relic of the North Pennines more tropical past. A fossilized Tree trunk discovered in a nearby quarry is over 300 million years old!

War Memorial at St Thomas’s Church.
Fossil Tree.
Fossil Tree info plaque.

It was nice to wander along the main street in Stanhope, where you can really shop like a local. The only thing we bought though was a new shovel from the ironmongers!

Fruit & Veg on display.
The Bonny Moorhen Pub is named after an old folk ballad that tells the story of a revolution! Poorly paid local lead miners took to poaching the rich landowners grouse and moorhens. A bloody battle ensued between both sides outside this very inn. The skirmish was immortalised in a song.
I do spy tomatoes.
The Baker’s Loaf is home to the Weardale Tattie Cake. Unfortunately Sold Out on our visit.
Durham Dales Centre.

Back at The Durham Dales Centre I bought a walking guide for future visits and we settled in the cafe for a coffee, or in my case A Hot Chocolate.

Tea Room at the Durham Dales Centre.

Anyone have any recommendations for dog friendly places to visit in County Durham?

Sunday Lunch Walk To Mitton.

This tree has an all seeing eye!

I’m blogging a walk I’ve most probably blogged before, but sometimes don’t you notice things that you haven’t previously, like the tree above with its magnificent eye. 😊 The tree by the River Ribble in-between Clitheroe and Mitton has several eyes in fact. But one really does stand out!

Hugo and I met my Sister and Niece for a walk to Mitton ,where my sister had booked us Sunday lunch at the The Aspinall Arms, a favourite countryside pub of all of ours. It’s dog friendly , spacious , does great pub grub, and on a sunny day it’s riverside beer garden is deservedly popular. On this occasion we would be seated inside though, it’s still a bit nippy out there.

This cheerful robin chirped away as it posed for a photo, reminding us of the friendly robin from ‘ The Secret Garden’.

I met my sister and niece at the car park on Edisford Road in Clitheroe , we would then follow the Ribble Way to the pub. This is a pleasant stroll alongside the River Ribble and through some farmers fields.

The River Ribble.
Along The Ribble.

It didn’t take us as long as we thought it might to get to the Aspinall. In fact we were half an hour early. I’m glad we were booked in though as it soon got very busy. Lots of dog customers too, including 2 Basset Hounds and a Cocker Spaniel Pup.

We washed our boots, but only managed to wash one of Hugo’s paws. He’s not a fan of the Dog & Boot wash!
The Aspinall looking dressed for Spring.
Sunday Roast. Yummy!
Beautiful pot of primroses in Ukrainian colours.

Lunch was lovely and not to massive either, we were pleasantly full but not so much that we couldn’t bare the thought of walking back. I had decided on a different route that would eventually bring us out on the opposite side of the river.

We walked over the bridge and past Great Mitton Hall which is a private home, with some unusual guards.
And down past All Hallows Church , a place of worship since 1270.
Looking back at the road lined with Snowdrops.
We saw some black fungi called King Alfred’s Cakes. Also known as Cramp Balls!

We passed through several fields, most with Stiles. Hugo the Labrador, now aged eight and a half, has recently decided he doesn’t like stiles anymore. So between us we managed to hurl him over one, the others he ingeniously found gaps in fences to squeeze under. Dogs hey!

Lambing time has begun.
On the Bear Chair.

It was good to see the Bear Chair is still going strong. We originally discoverd it during lockdown walks.

Into the Woods.
Edisford Bridge.
The Ribble at Edisford Bridge.

A nice ending to our walk. But then…..

As I was heading home I got a phone call off my sister saying she had lost her purse and thought she may have dropped it somewhere. After checking at the pub we ended up retracing our steps , but with no luck. Somewhat disheartened ( and knackered! ) we all gave up the search. Happily though later that evening a nice couple got in touch, they had found the purse whilst out walking. Phew!

A Happy outcome after all.

Thanks for reading. 🌸

Snowdrops Galore.

I just had to share these photos from our walk on Saturday afternoon. We found ourselves in an enchanting snowdrop wonderland. And we had it almost to ourselves, apart from a couple of others with their dogs.

We were walking through a little woodland adjacent to NT Acorn Bank in Cumbrias Eden Valley. Although the house, gardens and watermill are closed until March, a public footpath meanders through the woods. Much of the ground was carpeted in one of our most delicately beautiful Spring flowers ‘ The Snowdrop’. Seen as a symbol of hope and purity, snowdrops were apparently named after pearl drop earrings, not flakes of snow.

It was really magical to wander amongst them. Have you seen any impressive Snowdrop displays this year?

Scotland Trip Plans.

Plans are afoot for a Scotland holiday later this year. So whereabouts are we going? Well, we are actually staying at three different places. It’s a bit of a Scotland Road Trip! I haven’t done a whole lot of research yet, so I thought I would get some ideas down here. If anyone can recommend any gems that are worth visiting in the destinations below, let me know in the comments.

Inverness & Around.

So we have two nights booked near the Capital City of the Highlands, Inverness. I know little about the city, though I hear there is a Castle 🏰 ( of course! ) and an amazing Book Shop ‘ Leakey’s ‘ that is housed in an old Gaelic Church.

Loch Ness. Picture by Edinburgh Tour Guides.

Inverness is from where the iconic tourist route the NC500 starts from. Although we are not following the NC500 , we will no doubt find ourselves stuck behind a queue of touring VW Camper vans at some point. Our trip is at the height of the tourist season, in August!

Leakey’s Bookshop in Inverness. Image from their Instagram.

Our accomodation isn’t actually in Inverness ,so maybe we won’t find ourselves there much at all. A quick shop for supplies and we may very well be drawn away to Loch Ness for some Monster Spotting or The Black Isle for some peninsula perusing. Any suggestions?

Rogie Falls is not far from our accomodation. Picture by Visit Scotland.

We will probably only have one full day here as the bulk of our holiday will be spent below….

Gairloch & Wester Ross.

My other half has always wanted to stop in a lighthouse ( Me too actually! ), so I am over the moon that he has booked us a week ……in a lighthouse! Rua Reidh Lighthouse near Gairloch in Wester Ross looks out over a Sea Loch, Loch Ewe. It’s pretty remote and by all accounts and from what I’ve seen online, down a long skinny track with high cliff drops. Oh my! The views and the wildlife here are meant to be amazing so definitely looking forward to this portion of our trip.

Rua Reidh Lighthouse. Image from website.

If we are inclined to move from our lighthouse base, we will possibly check out Loch Ewe and it’s millitary history. During World War 2 the area was used as a rendezvous point for ships in the Arctic Convoys to Russia. A museum and Wartime Trail tells the story of their dangerous journeys.

Loch Ewe Wartime Trail. Picture from website.

Our nearest civilisation ( with shops etc) is the village of Gairloch, which looks out over Loch Gairloch. In the Summer , marine life watching boat trips set off from the harbour. There are light sandy beaches in the area and a striking red sandy beach , Redpoint Beach.

Redpoint Beach. Image from The Beach Guide.

According to the National Trust For Scotlands Inverewe Gardens , the Highlands are home to the Big 5. Common Seals, Otters, Red Squirrels, Red Deer and Golden Eagle. Fingers crossed we get to see some of them. πŸ€—

Red Deer. Photo by The National Trust for Scotland.

Bo’ness & Falkirk.

After our stay on the west coast , we are heading back to the East Coast, our base for 2 nights is the coastal town of Borrowstounness or Bo’ness for short. Our motivation for staying here is the towns closeness to the phenomenal Kelpies monuments at nearby Falkirk. Inspired by industrial Heavy Horses and Mythical Sea Horses, ‘ The Kelpies ‘ are 100 ft tall !

The Kelpies. Image from the website.

Also at Falkirk The Falkirk Wheel looks like an incredible fΓͺte of engineering. As for Bo’ Ness , I haven’t done much research about the town. I know we are based quite near Edinburgh, so perhaps we will be enticed by Scotland’s historic Capital.

Blackness Castle. Picture via Visit Falkirk.

A Castle in the shape of a ship! Blackness Castle near Queensferry is a 15th Century Castle that is ship shaped and known as ‘ The Ship that never sailed. ‘ It just may be somewhere we can visit whilst in the area.

So there you have it. If anyone has any thoughts or recommendations please let me know in the comments.

Header Photo ~ Badachro Inn by Visit Wester Ross.

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2023. 🐦

It was the 44th year of the Big Garden Birdwatch at the weekend. It’s an hour long survey run by the RSPB, helping them to get an accurate idea of how our UK Birdlife is faring.

On Saturday I did the birdwatch from my kitchen, camera and pencil poised, ready to record my feathered visitors. I have had quite a variety of birds show up in my back yard recently, so was very pleased when a few arrived in the hour.

8 Sparrows.

2 Bluetits.

2 Jackdaw.

2 Long Tailed Tits.

1 Blackbird.

1 Wren.

A few of my visitors.

Both my total tally and varieties of birds are up on last year and in fact are up on the last few years too. Positive news for my corner of Lancashire. πŸ™‚

On Sunday I joined my Sister and Niece for their bird count, lemon drizzle cake baked for the occasion. Walt the cat didn’t fancy joining us this time, but plenty of birds did appear at the feeders. My sister lives in the countryside , so it was especially nice to see Nuthatch and a Pheasant put in an appearance. That pheasant looks well fed!

Some of my sister’s visitors.

Did you join in with the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch?

Lune Valley Stay With Walks In Glasson And Wray.

Recently we spent a night near Lancaster in the Lune Valley area of Lancashire. It’s a fairly little known area to us, so it was good to dig out a couple of walks books and discover some new places.

Walk 1 ~ Conder Green & Glasson Dock.

Map OS Explorer 296 Lancaster, Morecambe & Fleetwood. 3.5miles. Lancaster Year Round Walks by Nick Burton.

This walk actually starts from Conder Green in the book but we just had to be different, we parked at Glasson Dock, had lunch and set off.

Glasson at the mouth of the River Lune was once the busy port of nearby Lancaster. Today the village still thrives , taking in 150,000 tonnes of cargo yearly. There is a small marina, a couple of shops, pub and a cafe.

Glasson Marina.
The area is popular for cycling. The Bay Cycle Way is 81 miles long and connects Walney with Glasson Dock.
We loved The Quayside Cafe. It’s very dog friendly too.
Lunch at the Quayside.

The first part of the walk took us along beside the Lancaster Canal. The towpath was quite icey though, so it was hard going. I enjoyed spotting a heron amongst the reeds and flocks of geese in the surrounding fields.

Canal locks outside The Mill at Condor Green.
Grey Heron.
Lancaster Canal.

The next part of the walk involved tramping through some fields and crossing water. We saw lots of Hares bounding through the grass, a joy to watch.

After some road walking it was good to get back to the coastal scenery. The Stork Pub at Conder Green looks out over the reed beds. I especially enjoyed our hike for all the wildlife we saw, waterbirds in particular. Hopefully we can return in the Spring or Summer!

The Stork is a former Coaching Inn.
The River Conder.
The benches that look out over the water have this Sea Monster ? figure on them.
Glasson Dock.
A bonnie boat β›΅.

The weather was certainly chilly so after our walk it was time to drive inland to find our accomodation.

Our Stay.

Located in-between Lancaster and Kirkby Lonsdale, The Fenwick at Claughton is the ideal place to stay on a wintery weekend. With comfortable cosy bedrooms and warming log fires, the historic inn is a Steak and Seafood pub with an ever changing menu. It’s also very welcoming to your four – legged friends, so definitely a hit with us. πŸ™‚

The Fenwick Arms.
Eat and stay.

Walk 2 ~ Around Wray.

Map O S Explorer 0l41. 2 miles. Lancashire 40 Favourite Walks by Alastair Ross.

The pretty village of Wray was our second walk of the weekend. Situated on the edge of the Lune Valley, Wray is set around two rivers, the Hindburn and the Roeburn. Back in the sixties th e normally quiet waters of the Roeburn rose after heavy rain and swept away 13 houses. Luckily it stopped dry for us.

River Hindburn.
A stone cat or perhaps fox on the river bank.
Saw a few dippers in the river.

This walk is short and sweet, taking in Wrays surrounding countryside as well as Riverside paths through the village.

Doggy day.
Wrays primary school which was a gift from a Captain Pooley along with the sum of Β£200 forever.
Holy Trinity Church.
Hornby Castle in the distance.

We noticed a pub and a cafe In Wray, so refreshment stops are available if you visit. And the village holds an annual scarecrow festival in the Spring. A reason to return. πŸ™‚

Robin Hood’s Bay. 🐟

Back in October we stopped at Wils brother & sister in law’s static caravan on the Yorkshire Coast. We were a little inland, but within walking distance of the coastal path. One way to Whitby, the other to Robin Hood’s Bay.

Robin Hood’s Bay is a picturesque former fishing village with a history of smuggling. The twisting tumbling cobbled streets and alley-ways were the perfect escape route for pursued smugglers, the old fisherman’s cottages and inns cellars had ample hiding places ( and connecting underground tunnels) for stolen gin, tea , silks and lace.

It is often wondered why this Yorkshire seaside village is named after Nottingham’s very own Robin Hood. Some say the Man in Lincoln Green kept a fleet of getaway boats here and others that he was called upon to help rid the area of Viking marauders. Another legend is that Yorkshire’s Robin Hood was actually a forest sprite who resided in nearby woodland.

There are some eclectic independent shops and cafes in Robin Hood’s Bay. It was great to see that Muir Lea Stores ( Muir is Gaelic for Sea) and Tea, Toast & Post are still going strong, since my last visit in 2015.

I do love the beach on this stretch of coastline. If you know what your looking for ( unlike me 😜) it is possible to find fossils that are millions of years old. Another treasure to be found is a semi-precious Gem Stone called Jet. We did notice a few people on the sand looking for washed up pieces of the shiny black mineraloid. Unfortunately lots of coal deposit gets washed up here too , which looks very similar to Jet. To tell the difference , scratch a piece of your Jet on a pale sandstone. If it leaves a black mark your find is most probably coal. A gingery brown mark however, could be Jet. Needless to say, we didn’t find any. πŸ˜‚

It was lovely to just wander amongst the quaint cobbled alley-ways of the village, admiring the red tiled roof views. They looked so striking set against a rare blue October sky.

Walking along the cliffs here was a fantastic idea, though I was glad that there is a regular bus service too. We were able to have a drink outside a pub at the top of the village, and hop on a bus back.

Where do you recommend visiting on the Yorkshire Coast?

These are a few of my favourite things. πŸ₯°

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