It looks as though for a little while longer, local walks are on the cards. Actually I don’t mind too much, we have been discovering more of our beautiful Ribble Valley by way of dusty walking books, barely ever glanced through before.
The following images are from a route found in a Walks Around Clitheroe publication by Terry Marsh ~ Walk 8 ~ Bolton-by-Bowland.
Bolton-by-Bowland itself is a charmingly pretty village boasting two village greens, a lovely looking pub with a pumpkin coach sign and an attractive church.
I think we will return to Bolton by Bowland , I suspect there is alot more to discover. 🥾🐑❤️
Unbeknown to me until recent times , the Gisburne Park estate in Gisburn is home to a herd of Sika Deer. The deer roam free and are wild, they are often spied in the local area. I had never seen one though…until now.
Sika deer were introduced into the UK from the Far East in 1860. And they were brought over to Gisburn from Ireland by Thomas Lister ‘ Lord Ribblesdale’ in the 19th century. The parks fallow deer herd had declined and it was hoped that the Sikas would make good sport. Lord Ribblesdale had a band of buckhounds used for hunting deer. All was looking good , but the imports were having none of it. They didn’t like hanging out in the open, and would make a dash into the trees if disturbed. Soon the Lord’s buckhounds were disbanded and the sika deer became feral. Their descendants roam the estate today.
Wandering round Gisburne Park early morning is a delight. Some areas are private but there are public footpaths through the grounds too. All was calm and peaceful and Hugo was able to have some off lead time. We saw several buzzards including one that landed in a tree just metres away and disturbed a long billed bird that flew out from the edge of the woodland into the fields.
Most exciting though was coming almost face to face with a stag, one of Lord Ribblesdales Sika Deer descendants! He stood his ground for quite a while, which gave me ample opportunity to take a couple of photos. As we quietly passed, he stamped his hoof and turned into the trees.
As Sika deer are an introduced species they are not protected wildlife. Their numbers are not encouraged, especially if in an area where there may also be native Red deer, which they sometimes breed with. As far as I’m aware, there are no red deer here so the sika are safe. 🙏
I am loving the weather at the moment. Cold and crisp, hard frost and no squelchy mud. Hugo coming home clean and no danger of him shaking dirt all over the house. Bliss!
During the week it’s mostly just Hugo and I on our walks as Wil works full time. I can fit the doogal in round my part time hours and we stick to local routes around the outskirts of Clitheroe. Happily It isn’t very far for us to find some fields and below is one of our usual hikes from home.
One of Clitheroe’s neighboring villages is Chatburn and from there it’s a pleasant walk into Downham, a picture postcard village used as filming locations in various TV programmes and also in the classic film ‘ Whistle Down The Wind’. Sunday was bitterly cold, so we chose this walk as there are two brew stops, if so desired..
Instead of carrying on to Downham we took a detour to Downham Mill, which is down a track on the right,off the road to Rimington. In the past like nearby Twiston Mill , it was a medieval water powered cornmill. Both mills are no longer mills, but do have ponds and millstones.
It is possible to walk past Downham Mill and over the fields to Twiston. Instead we took a footpath on the right before the mill, which lead us over some hilly fields to the village of Downham.
Up at St Leonard’s Church in the village there are nice views of Pendle Hill, still blending into the sky.
We walked back to Chatburn , passing this unusual breed of sheep again. Anyone know what they are?
January has been an enjoyable reading month. A couple of the books were birthday or Christmas gifts, two were inspired by other bloggers reads and one was bought on a whim, purely because of the cover. Though in fact all these book covers are asphetically pleasing in my eyes.
Bookshop Tours Of Britain ~ Louise Boland ( 2020). Whilst our bookshops are sadly closed at the moment, how about browsing through a book that takes the reader on 18 journeys around Britain and its many beautiful independent book stores. This handy guide allows you to plan which parts of the country to visit once lockdown is over, with its indie bookshops in mind. Lots of travel information too and litery snippets. I love this celebration of our indie stores, they really need our support at the moment. A little sad that two lovely book towns that I have visited, Wigtown in Dumfries & Galloway and Sedburgh in Cumbria , weren’t included though. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
The Wild Life Of The Fox ~ John Lewis – Stemple ( 2020). A slim volume not unlike Adele Brands ‘ The Hidden World Of The Fox’ , packed full of fascinating insights into the life of this mysterious wild creature, who’m we share our countryside and urban landscape with. The author, a prolific nature writer ,starts off by talking about a phone conversation that went on slightly too long, causing him to head out to lock up his chickens that little bit later than usual. Well you can imagine what had happened to the chickens. Yet we can’t help but have a love/hate relationship with the 🦊. And that is explored expertly here. ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Winter Holiday ~ Arthur Ransome ( 1931). I haven’t actually read any of the other Swallows & Amazon’s books. I assume they are all set in long warm summers. Winter Holiday though is absolutely perfect for this time of year. The frozen lake and surrounding snowy countryside lends itself perfectly to the children’s Arctic Expedition adventures. I love how the adults don’t bat an eyelid at the youngsters playing out from dawn until dusk and how everyone gets their skates on , igloos are built and ice yachts are commondeered. Delightful. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Before The Coffee Gets Cold ~ Toshikazu Kawaguchi (2015). If you could travel back in time to a crossroads moment in your life , would you want to, if you couldn’t change the outcome? In a quiet cafe in Japan , from a particular seat ,it is possible to do just that. As long as you drink your coffee before it gets cold that is. A moving and magical tale. And there is a sequel that I want to read too. ⭐⭐⭐⭐