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

Weekend Wanderings. πŸ₯Ύ

Well it’s been another weekend of walks and wanders. I can’t promise any different blog content really , Im not the crafty or cooking sort and I’ve really slowed down on my reading. Definitely looking forward to a change of scenery, whilst still appreciating how lucky I am to have so many local walks on my doorstep. The grass is always greener hey….

There are a couple of good walks groups on Facebook that I have been following over lockdown. Both have been quite informative and inspiring when it comes to planning where to go.

  • Lancashire Walks With Frank & Lee.
  • Ribble Valley Walking Forum.
Fairy Bridge over Swanside Beck.

One route I found via the forum was a circular walk that can either be started in Sawley or Chatburn. It takes in an old packhorse bridge and the ruins of Sawley Abbey. The Fairy Bridge was so cute. What a beauty. 😊

Hugo takes on the Fairy Bridge.
Pink primrose.
Fresh new garlic leaves.
Sawley Abbey.

A popular Clitheroe walk takes in Brungerley park with the Ribble Valley Sculpture Trail at its heart. Recently some of the art works have had a well needed spruce up and a local community group ‘ The Hawthorn Placers’ have been brightening the walk further with colourful painted slabs. ❀️

Brungerley Park.
Newly cleaned Otter sculpture.
An explosion of White Butterburs.
Kingfisher sculpture.

There are lots of painted slabs to find. Should keep the kids busy in the Easter Holidays. πŸ™‚

Colourful art depicting April Fools Day.
And Easter.

I have started tracking our walks on a free walking app called Relive. It makes handy little map videos of your hikes.

Relive App.

Hope you’ve had a good weekend. 😊

Hawthorns Scavenger Hunt ~ Signs Of Spring. 🌻🌼

Kate’s words for this week are ~

Signs of Spring/ Signs of Autumn.

Hopeful window display in a local travel agent.

I thought I would stick with the Spring prompt, even though the temperatures have taken a dip again. The season is awakening slowly. By this time last year I had noticed more wild flowers and blossom than I have so far in 2021.

However I have spied some Spring flowers on recent wanders. πŸ™‚

Celandine.

The Lesser Celandine is a cheery yellow flower with glossy heart shaped leaves. Celandines are mentioned in The Lion, The Witch & The Wardrobe and Wordsworth has written three poems about them.

Cherry Plum Blossom.

Flowering before all the other blossoms is the Cherry Plum which bares it’s fruit in August. I have confused this with Blackthorn in the past, but the flowers appear even earlier. So pretty.

Red flowering currant.

I notice this Red Flowering Currant every year but I haven’t been able to find out much about the shrub. I don’t recall it ever baring any currants either. The pink blooms are very vibrant.

Daffodils in bud.

The golden trumpets of the Daffodil herald the start of Spring. Daffodils are the national flower of Wales, the inspiration for Wordsworth’s most famous poem and are even the name of a Mark Ronson dance track.

Primrose.

Who doesn’t love the pretty Primrose , its name derives from the Latin primula vulgaris meaning First Rose. Primroses are meant to bring luck to keepers of chickens! A flower to plant around the hen hut.

Crocuses.

Crocuses in St Mary’s churchyard looking almost like a fairyring. A vibrant Spring flower associated with love, success and cheerfulness. ❀️

What signs of Spring have you noticed ?

I am linking up to Kate’s Blog today.

A Wander To Wiswell. 🌼

After studying our O S maps, ( Wil is better at this than me πŸ€—) we found another walk from home, using footpaths we were not previously aware of. For this dear lockdown 3, I am grateful…

We plotted a route to the village of Wiswell and back via Barrow village and Standen Hey community woodland. The weather on Sunday was clear and bright, spring was definitely detected. On our walk we heard woodpeckers drumming, curlews calling and saw buzzards soaring. I noticed a solitary tortoishell butterfly and spied sunny clumps of primroses and celandines.

Heading out of Clitheroe to cross the busy A59.
And on into fields in the shadow of Pendle.
Hugo was happy to find a brook.
Plank bridge.
A huge house, actually newly built.
And into Wiswell village.
Hugo at the watering hole.:)
Wiswell.

Wiswell is a small village that lies at the foot of Wiswell Moor. Pronounced Wizzel, the settlement is possibly named after Old Molly’s Well , which became known as Wise Woman’s Well or Wise Well. We didn’t see the well though. Anyhow we sat and enjoyed a flask of coffee in the village centre a while. A greenfinch merrily chirruped in a nearby Conifer.

Greenfinch. πŸ™‚
The Freemasons public house ~ definitely on our list for future pub walks.
Heading away from Wiswell to Barrow.
Early plum blossom?
Berkins Deli in Barrow.

We got a bit lost in Barrow trying to find footpaths that had been either blocked off or diverted because of new housing development. Eventually we found ourselves on the right track, crossing a train track..

Safely across.
An unsuccessful selfie with Hugo.
Onto a familiar path, the old Roman road and stone cross base.
Community woodland.
Primrose.
Celendines.
Catkins.
Crocuses.
Alpaca πŸ¦™ on the outskirts of Clitheroe.

This walk was a little over 8 miles , started off chilly and ended up quite warm.

Os Explorer Map West Pennine Moors 287.

Bolton- by- Bowland walk. πŸ₯Ύ

The Coach & Horses pub.

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.

Along the surfaced drive of Bolton Park.
Sheep in the parkland. Nearby Bolton Hall was  the ancestral  home of  Sir Ralph Pudsay ,who had 25 children. 😯
Not a captivating photo, but tumbling lapwings ducked and dived over this waterlogged field.
Footbridge over Skirden Beck.
Young bulls after Hague Farm.
Pendle Hill in the distance.
After Rodhill Gate Farm, an ancient highway ascends for some distance.
We are basically walking up a stream. πŸ˜†
A fallen tree provides the perfect rest stop.
Wil waiting for me as usual.
Still heading up the gully.
Wil waiting for me as usual. 😁
Just after this photo, Hugo disturbed a hare in the grass. Not that he tried to chase it. Hugo prefers smelly dead things. Yuck!
We did get lost a bit, then found our way eventually.

Priest Biggins Farm. A do er upper!
Grey Alder Catkins.
Tree Lichen.
I like this sign. There was also a deer statue in the farm yard. Sika Deer live in the area.
Approaching the hamlet of Holden.
Spring colour ~ Crocuses. πŸ™‚
Holden Beck.
We walk along the road a short while, heading back to Bolton by Bowland.
Glorious yellow Winter Aconites.
St Peter & St Paul church.
Stocks on the village green.
A Yew Tree Cottage, with a giant yew tree.
Map of our walk.

I think we will return to Bolton by Bowland , I suspect there is alot more to discover. πŸ₯ΎπŸ‘❀️

Seeking Out Sika Deer. 🦌

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.

Entrance lodges.
Fields of sheep.
Snowdrops.

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.

A bonnie bridge.
Riverside House.
Hello Hugo.

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.

Our Sika deer are probably originally descended from Japanese sika deer.
The word sika comes from the Japanese word Shika ~ meaning deer.
Peering through the Catkins.
Handsome chap.

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. πŸ™

Gisburne Park mansion, now a private hospital.
Ivy on a stone post.
Daffodils on an old cottage door.

Do you have any deer living locally?

Thanks for dropping by. 🦌

It’s Cold Outside.

Brrrrrr, it’s been so chilly recently, but also as I said in a previous post, perfect walking weather for dogs and shoes. No mud!

I hear the temperatures may be in double figures by Monday. Advantage being new growth willΒ  peep through what is at the moment cold hard earth.

For now some photos of a walk from home around the meadows and lanes of Waddington civil parish.

We find a footpath through fields, off this road signposted Bashall Eaves.

One of a flock of lapwings. Lovely to see. πŸ™‚

A beautiful old house called Bashall Hall.

Bashall Hall buildings and fallen tree.

Hide and sheep.

A cold looking Pendle.

Friendly flock.

Frozen brook.

Icicles. ❄️

Fairy Bridge.

Hazel Catkins.

We settle for a brew and sandwich on a mossy bridge.

Hugo sat nicely ( on ice!) because we are eating and he’s waiting for crumbs.

Heading to Waddington.

Snowdrops in a little wooded area by a stream.


Cold as ice..❄️

Fairy door.

The Lower Buck. An excellent stop off in usual times. They have roaring fires in there.

Once back home, time for a brew and thaw out. ❀️

Enjoy the rest of your weekend.

An Early Morning Clitheroe Route.

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.

Walking past Primrose Nature Reserve.

Teals can be seen over the reserve fence.

We avoid walking up a busy Whalley road by using a shortcut . πŸ™‚

And cross the road into fields.

Kemple End through the trees.

One of my favourite fields. I hope it never gets built on.

Hugo likes it here too.

Obligitary sheep pic. πŸ‘

Tree lined path leading to Four Lane Ends.

Ivy Cottage.

Which way now?

We pass Ivy Cottage with its Wheel bench.

And Opposite is the entrance to a private residence ~ Standen Hall.

Four Lane Ends.

At Standen Bridge I peer down into the brook and spot a Dipper. πŸ™‚

Reflections.

Now this is a new addition, a vandalised caravan. 😦

A nicer new addition. Somebody has hung a few bird feeders along the lane.

A short detour to take this photo of Pendle.

And back to Clitheroe through the fields.

I spy Clitheroe castle. 🏰

Somebody’s watching me.

Heading into town.

Let’s hope this dry cold weather continues πŸ™‚

Downham Walk. πŸ‘

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..

Christ Church, Chatburn. We started the walk from here.

There is a recentish opened enclosed roadside path to Downham. It makes the walk there so much safer.

It passes Greendale , open for takeways again as of the weekend.

Cute sheep. πŸ™‚

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.

Downham Mill.

Old Millstone.

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.

Hugo having a mad do.

Star on waymarker.

Jelly Ear Fungi.

Pendle Hill with snow covering blends into the white sky.

Downham brook.

The ice-cream shop on Hare Green.

Open for brews, cake, sandwiches….and ice-cream. Brrrrrrrrr!

Sheep doing lunch.

The toilets in the car park were actually open. Yay!

Downham dwellings.

Up at St Leonard’s Church in the village there are nice views of Pendle Hill, still blending into the sky.

Sun dial in the churchyard.

Cemetery snowdrops.

Pendle from the porch.

The Assheton Arms from the churchyard.

Hide and seek sheep.

We walked back to Chatburn , passing this unusual breed of sheep again. Anyone know what they are?

Thanks for dropping by..

January 2021 ~ Books I Read. πŸ“š ❄️

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. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

What books did you pick up in January? πŸ“š

Bird Count, Elfcups & Snowdrops.

The weekends activities included the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch. Hurrah! Something to do, and really quite ideal for lockdown. I must admit though I didn’t have the most exciting hour. My newly filled feeders seemed to be regarded with suspicion by the resident sparrows. Not one bird ventured from the foliage behind the garden shed. What was going on!

Nowt going on at the feeding station.
Female House Sparrow.

I counted 8 sparrows during the sixty minutes I sat glued to the window, camera at the ready. For all that time they mostly stayed hidden in the ivy. Then about five minutes before my hour was up I noticed a much bigger bird had landed in the greenery. It was mostly obscured but I noticed a long speckled tail through the leaves. It wasn’t a pigeon! Then suddenly it flew higher and all was revealed. A sparrowhawk! No wonder my little feathered visitors were staying away from the food. They didn’t intend to be food themselves.

Sorry to say I didn’t get a photo of my raptor visitor. Think I was in shock. 😲 But I have added Sparrowhawk to my birdcount results for the first time ever.

Meanwhile my sister and family were doing the birdcount at the same time as me. I usually join them but unfortunately not this year. πŸ˜” They had a really successful hour with Nuthatch, Long Tailed Tits, Pheasants, Kestrel and a Wren included in the final tally. πŸ™‚

Not all eyes are on the cake!
Long Tailed Tits galore.

After lunch Wil, Hugo and I headed out for a walk from Clitheroe , taking in the fields and River Ribble near Waddow Hall. Plenty of wildlife out this afternoon and an enjoyable 4 mile ramble from home and back.

Scarlet Elf cups.
Scarlet Elf cups.

I was delighted to find some Scarlet Elf Cups, such vibrant pops of colour in the winter landscape. They are also called Red Cups, Moss Cups and Fairies Baths. In folklore Wood Elves drink morning dew from them. Scarlet Elf Cups are most commonly found on mossy decaying branches on the woodland floor.

Robin.
Snowdrops.

I saw plenty of Snowdrops in people’s front gardens today , it was also nice to see some wild ones too. A real sign that Spring is on the way. ❀️

Finger post.
Brungerley Bridge.
Female Goosander.
Male Goosander.

I wouldn’t like to admit to having a favourite water bird ( I love to see them all) , but if you insist, I would probably say the Goosander . I always smile when I see these sawbilled ducks on the river, the female especially with her nut brown quiff . They are super adorable πŸ’–.

Smokey Polypore fungi…maybe.

Thanks for dropping by. Let me know if you have done the Birdwatch, seen Snowdrops or walked anywhere this weekend. πŸ₯ΎπŸ¦