All posts by shazza

My name is Shazza and I live in a small town in North west England with my boyfriend and our black lab Hugo and black cat Slinky. I work in a supermarket full time and in my spare time i enjoy reading,film,food( mostly eating it,I am a terrible cook!),taking photos,travel,camping,wildlife,spending time with my mates and hunting in car boots and charity shops for vintage teacups.This blog is hopefully going to be a collection of my fave things and musings on life,the universe and everything.Xx

Bluebells & Gorse flowers. πŸ’›πŸ’™

It was a beautiful sunny day on Saturday, perfect timing for a walk from Dufton in Cumbria’s Eden Valley. Nearby at Flakebridge Woods, the bluebells are a vast carpet of blue. Go see them before they disappear!

I have left the walks book we used at the caravan, so my walk description might not be totally accurate. I do have a photo of the route though, below.

Anyway ,we parked roadside in the pretty village of Dufton. There is a small carpark in the centre, but that was full. The village is popular with walkers hiking Dufton Pike, High Cup Nick and The Pennine Way. This walk though is mostly low level with lovely fell views.

We headed down into Dufton Ghyll. A rocky gorge woodland , managed by the woodland trust.
Leaving the Ghyll along a gorse covered path.
The gorse is looking beautiful at the moment.
Watching πŸ‘ Ewe.
There are a couple of conicle hills , I think this one is Dufton Pike.
More vibrant gorse giving out a gorgeous coconut aroma.
By the stream.
Looking back at Dufton Pike.
In Flakebridge Woods. My photos don’t do it justice, there are acres and acres of bluebells. πŸ’™
Bluebells and stitchwort.
Leaving the woods on a grassy lane.
Cuckoo Flowers , they are popular with the Orange Tip Butterfly.
More gorgeous gorse.
Cute miniature horses.
Dufton Pike looms ahead.
Back into Dufton Ghyll, where bluebells bloom too.
We emerge from the woodland into a field of Jacob 🐏 sheep.
Dufton village.
A much photographed view of the village. Water fountain on the green, The Stag Pub to the left and Dufton Pike in the background.
Dufton dwellings.
Love this gardener sculpture.
My ride home! Not really. 😍

This was a delightfully scenic walk, made more so by spring sunshine and spring flowers. Thanks for joining me!

* I have deleted a photo of moles hanging from a fence, a practice often seen in the countryside. The moles are considered

pests by farmers and the mole catcher displays them , he gets paid per mole. Sorry for any offence.


Manchester πŸ‘‘πŸŒΈ

It wasn’t planned to be out and about in Manchester on the day of the Kings Coronation. That’s how it happened though and actually the city was the quietest I had ever seen it.

We arrived early and Manchester was slow at waking up. A red, white and blue balloon arch had been placed outside the building below.

We headed for the Northern Quarter for wake me up Coffee and Croissants , found at a cute bakery called Just Between Friends on Tib Street. The almond croissants were delicious and the window thrown open to the city outside.

Just Between Friends.

The Northern Quarter is full of little independent shops, cafes and bars, it’s a great alternative to city centre shopping. You’ll spot various street art like the one below , box fresh and promoting a Mediterranean Lager.

After browsing a few shops we headed along Deansgate to the Castlefield area for a light lunch at Prets ( sorry, can’t resist a chain eating establishment sometimes!) , and drinks at a couple of bars.

Atlas Bar.
Peveril of the Peak Pub.

We loved The Peveril of the Peak on Bridgewater Street , one of Manchester’s most interesting looking old pubs. The green tiled exterior and the old fashioned interior with its snug rooms and bar bells ( sadly no longer in use) really add to this characterful venue. The prices were a bit of a shock though. Β£9.30 for a pint of ale and half a cider. Crikey!

A free of charge venture in Manchester can be found in Castlefield. The Castlefield Viaduct has long been an unused space, but recently this Victorian Viaduct has been transformed into an urban sky garden. I love what has been done here, all the separate garden areas are beautiful. An oasis of calm and serenity in the city. There are bookable tours of the viaduct in the mornings, you can now just turn up and explore yourself in the afternoons.

Before we boarded the train back home we frequented the Gas Lamp , a favourite sub terranian Manchester drinking den of ours.

What did you get up to on the Coronation weekend?

Gowbarrow Fell. ⛰️

Huffing and puffing up yet another hill! This is mine and Hugo’s 11th Wainwright Fell and Wils 12th. Gowbarrow Fell is a scenic hike that takes in tumbling waterfalls along Aira Beck and beautiful views ( on a clear day) of Ullswater. The route is taken care of by The National Trust, so expect it to be one of the more popular Wainwright walks. We arrived at the NT Aira Force Carpark mid morning on a Saturday, only to find it full to capacity. Luckily there are two other smaller National Trust car parks on the way to Dockray , we used the High Cascades parking area ( no charge for NT members) thus cutting out walking past Aira Force Waterfall, which we have visited several times in the past. I do recommend checking out the falls if you haven’t seen them, they feature on an older post of mine here.

It was a short walk from the carpark to the High Cascades Bridge over the gushing beck. Hugo was soon enjoying a dip in the cool clear water, it certainly looked inviting.

There are plenty of clear signposting along the route, so no danger of getting lost. Jumbled stone steps turned into a clear track that became more rugged again as we pressed ahead. I must admit I stopped several times on the steep ascent……to admire the views of course!

Apparently it was Dorothy Wordsworths admiration of the wild daffodils she saw on a walk with her brother up Gowbarrow, that inspired William to write his famous Daffodils poem. The first verse is below.

I wandered lonely as a cloud

That floats on high o’er vales and hills,

When all at once I saw a crowd,

A host, of golden daffodils;

Beside the lake, beneath the trees,

Fluttering and dancing in the breeze.

We hadn’t picked the clearest day to admire the panoramic mountain and lake views , but it did feel amazing to touch Gowbarrows trig point on Aira Crag. Plenty of folk were making their way up there too, so took a few photos for people and a nice Australian guy , with some elderly ( and very sprightly! ) relatives, returned the favour.

Gowbarrow is one of Wainwrights smaller fells. At 481m it didn’t really feel like it to me! But thats because no one will ever get me to admit to actually liking the ‘ uphill bit ‘ πŸ˜† of a hill walk. We retraced our steps back to the carpark , but if you want to make your hike a more adventurous one check out Michael’s Blog Here.

Wildflowers seen by Aira Beck included Wood Sorrel, Wood Anenome and Primrose.

A spot of lunch was needed. There’s a lovely National Trust Tea Room by Aira Force, but suspecting it might be very busy, we followed the road a short way to the small village of Dockray , where we found The Royal Hotel with its Scottish Coat of Arms. Rumer has it that Mary, πŸ‘‘ Queen Of Scots visited the inn in 1568. We enjoyed a sandwich in the beergarden and congratulated ourselves on another Wainwright Walk done.

Knipescar Common and River Lowther Walk ~ Bampton, Cumbria.

If your thinking of doing a gentle walk in Cumbrias Eden Valley, then this one’s for you.

The adjoining villages of Bampton and Bampton Grange are lovely and quiet with a real community feel. We parked near the bridge in a small roadside parking spot by the river. From here we crossed the bridge passing St Patrick’s Church on the right and took a footpath to the side of the former Crown and Mitre pub. Then we headed across Knipescar Common and walked back along the River Lowther.

Bridge across the River Lowther.
St Patrick’s Church, Bampton Grange.
Heading towards Knipescar Common.
A quiet road crosses Knipescar Common.
Knipescar covered in gorse.
Love this road sign topped with a πŸ‘‘ crown.
It did get a bit squelchy making our way down to the river.
River Lowther
Hugo investigates the bridge.
We cross. It’s a swingy suspension bridge.
River reflection.
The bridge reflected.
We head back to the villages via the Riverside path.

Bampton has a community shop and cafe.
And some old fashioned diesel pumps at the garage.
We settle for a pint outside the Mardale Inn. The pub was bought by the villagers as a community venture in 2022.
Here’s a famous phonebox! It appeared in the cult film Withnail and I.
There’s a visitor book inside. Most people have written quotes from the movie in the book. It’s a totally nuts film.
Being watched.

This was a pleasant 2.5 mile walk in a little known area of the Lake District. πŸ‘

Allen Banks & Staward Gorge, Northumberland.

With the largest area of ancient semi natural woodland in Northumberland, Allen Banks & Staward Gorge is managed by The National Trust. It’s a delightful place for a woodland wander along the banks of the River Allen, which rushes through the impressive rocky Staward Gorge.

The National Trust Car Park near Bardon Mill is Β£4 for the day or free to members. From there you can access various hiking trails deep into the wooded valley, whilst looking out for varied wildlife including deer, bats, dippers, otters and red squirrels.

The woodland originally belonged to nearby Ridley Hall before being gifted to The National Trust. During the Victorian era it was the Lady of the manor ‘Susan Davidson’ who developed the woodland walks and planted many of the trees and shrubs we see today. Apparently she was an enthusiastic animal lover and loved to take an assortment of dogs with her to church. And woe betide anyone who didn’t make a big fuss of her four-legged friends! Information about Susan can be found in the replica wooden summerhouse.

Wood Anenomies.

Allen Banks is apparently known for its impressive Wild Garlic display. We were a little early to see the ramson flowers on our visit during the Easter break, but did spy daffodils, wood anenome and toothwort. In Autumn various types of fungi can be found.

I loved the diversity of our walk which included steps cut into the rock, waterfalls, pools and bridges. The wooden summerhouse was a lovely viewing point too. We didn’t explore half the trails though, so plenty more to see for future visits. 😊

There are no refreshment options at Allen Banks & Staward Gorge, but the village of Bardon Mill is close by. We bought some lunch from the village shop and popped into the Pottery there, where I was tempted to buy ………a pot snail. 🐌

Flash the 🐌 snail.

Have you ever visited Allen Banks & Staward Gorge?

Afternoon Tea at Hindelinis, Gisburn, Lancashire.

Down the rabbit hole we go for an Afternoon Tea inspired by Alice In Wonderland. 🐰

Hindelinis Bar & Restaurant situated at The Ribblesdale Holiday Village on The Gisburne Park Estate is where The Mad Hatters Tea Party currently resides.

All through the Summer, The Mad Hatter’s Afternoon Tea is available here at Hindelinis. Fancy a seat by the cosy fireplace on a blustery day or when the sun shines, there’s a lovely dining area outside, the parks resident peacocks and sika deer are occasionally known to visit.

We were given a table in the comfortable conservatory. Sarah and I chose herbal teas which came served in attractive glassware, the other ladies ordered coffees.

The sumptuous savouries and delectable desserts were prettily presented on slate cake stands. A selection of finger sandwiches, sausage rolls and a smoked haddock arancini to start, whilst the vegetarian option included wild mushrooms on sourdough bread. The striped tea cup contained healthy salad leaves. Maybe to hand out to a passing White Rabbit. 😊

I’m sure the Mad Hatter himself would have approved of the tempting array of sweet treats. These included meringue mushrooms , Queen of Hearts jammy dodger, lusious lemon posset , chocolate brownie, macaroons and a Grenadine Drink Me potion.

There were of course the obligatory scones with clotted cream and jam. As you can imagine, as delicious as the afternoon tea was, doggy bags were definitely needed! The lovely staff provided us with take out boxes for our left over goodies.

Thanks to Sarah for contributing her photos.

Have you ever tried a themed Afternoon Tea?

β™ οΈπŸ°β™¦οΈπŸ°β˜•πŸ«–

Gisburn Forest πŸ₯Ύ 🌲 Lancashire.

The recent Easter School Holidays have given me lots of new post material, one lovely place I visited with a friend and her dog was Gisburn Forest , it’s Lancashire’s largest forest!

On a week day morning we had this beautiful woodland mostly to ourselves, except for the odd dog walker and mountain biker.

Gisburn Forest has numerous hiking and mountain bike trails. We parked at the Stocks Reservoir Car Park and set off on the well waymarked Orange Dale Head Ramble.

It felt very peaceful and otherworldly in the forest, many of the tree branches hung with wavy deep green moss, the trees seemed like gentle slumbering giants.

The Dalehead Ramble is about 3.5 miles long. All went well until we found our route somewhat obstructed…….

The website does now say there is a diversion. We struggled through! πŸ˜…

Part of the trail goes along the site of an old railway track beside a beck , where the dogs enjoyed a dip and drink.

After our hike we drove to the nearby village of Tosside , where we enjoyed a tasty lunch at The Old Vicarage Tea Rooms. This was a great refreshment stop ( there is also a cafe in the forest, not open on our visit) with covered areas outside, if you visit with a four legged friend.

Thanks to Sarah for some of the photographs.

Where do you like to go for a woodland walk? 🌲πŸ₯Ύ

Walk ~ The Fells above Melmerby, Cumbria.

The morning of our planned 11 mile walk from our van in Melmerby, the sun was shining brightly. Having done a walk into the fells together a couple of years ago, Wil thought it was high time we got back up there. I agreed in principle ( I love a view! ) but I knew I would spend most of the hike trailing behind my other half, nearly all of my views would be of a couple of small specs disappearing into the distance. πŸ˜‰

Book ‘ Walking In The North Pennines Cicerone Guide ‘ by Paddy Dillon. Walk 6. Explorer Map 0L31. 18 km ( 11 miles).

Daffodils on the Village Green in Melmerby.
Inquisitive Horses on the signposted road/ footpath to Gale Hall/ Melmerby Fell.
Crossing a stream and through forest.
The track turns pink as it heads uphill.
Out on the fells.
Old truck engine.
Limestone boulders.
Knapside Hill Cairn 685m.
Knapside Hill Cairn.
Crossing squelchy grass and heather moorland.
Walking towards Fiends Fell.
Friendly Frogs. πŸ˜ƒ
Fiends Fell Trig Point 634m.
A tall pillar cairn. At this point we could see signs of civilization at Hartside Top. Hurrah!
Hartside Top, once the site of one of the highest cafes in England. The A686 passes by and it’s a popular stop off for motorists and motorcycles. It was wonderful to see this little ice cream van from Alston parked up. πŸ’•
Ice Cream at Hartside Top.
Motorcyclists Bench at Hartside Top.
On the descent. This stoney track went on forever!
We crossed the A686 and carried on downhill along another stoney track.
Wintery tree.
A crossroads and familiar bridleway.
There is a very rustic glamping site on the bridleway between Hazel Rigg and Melmerby.
New charming sign for the glamping site.
We were up on those fells!
Back into Melmerby we pass this chap.
A well deserved pint at the pub.

This was quite a challenging walk for me with lots of uphill bits and a long slog back down from Hartside. The weather was on our side though and not a soul in sight for many a mile. With only tumbling lapwings and chattering meadow pippits for company, it’s certainly a great way of spending time with nature.

A Beautiful Morning Up Grindleton Fell.

I must confess I know very little about Grindleton Fell, but what a very lovely place to visit when the sun is shining. Hugo and I joined a friend and her dog on one of their regular walking routes around the fell, which has conifer tree plantations, heather moorland and far reaching views.

To get to Grindleton Fell my friend drove up Main Street in the village of Grindleton, the road eventually becomes narrower as it heads into fell country. There is roadside parking, we presently turned left up a farm lane and parked near some cottages, starting our walk from there.

There are fire tracks and lesser worn footpaths criss crossing Grindleton Fell, with plenty of opportunities to extend your hike over to Waddington Fell or Easington Fell. We found a small cairn from which we made out various distant hills and closer ones, Pendle Hill was one of course!

It was just so nice to actually feel a little warmth coming from the sunshine. There was a bit of a breeze , but we soon warmed up whilst yomping through the rushes . I actually took my jacket off outside for the first time this year. Spring has been slow coming!

On previous walks in the area my friend has encountered shy Sika Deer, sun basking Lizards and Green Hairstreak Butterflies. Today we spotted a hovering kestrel, 2 Red Legged Partridge and a couple of fast fluttering butterflies, not Hairstreaks, but lovely to see all the same.

We passed through a couple of impressive stone gateways on the fell, though I’m unsure if there was once a grand house here or are the stone pillars, simply what is left of the plantation walls? I have no idea.

This is a great hiking area, very quiet, can be boggy/muddy in places. I hope to return!

Thanks for dropping by. 🌸

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.