This afternoon we donned our waterproofs and walking boots, packed a lunch and flask of coffee and headed to the centre of the UK !
The pretty village of Dunsop Bridge in the Trough Of Bowland is the nearest village to National Grid reference SD63770 56550 Hanging Stones. Apparently this area has been determined to be the exact centre of the country.
From the village car park ( £1.40 charge for four hours) we walked past the green and took the tarmacked track to the left of Puddleducks Tea Rooms and Post Office. From here we followed the lane through a couple of farm cottages and up through the valley as far as the water pumping station and back.
Hugo really enjoyed dipping in and out of the brook and chasing sticks. 🙂
Meanwhile the weather was a mixture of sunshine and hale stones, plus it was blowing a bit of a hooley.
I think the weather conditions frightened off most of the wildlife. I saw a few ducks and the odd pheasant. Lots of purple catkins on the alder trees gave the countryside a lilac hue.
I think the scenery in the Trough is every bit as beautiful as in the Yorkshire Dales or the Lake District.
We didn’t venture further than this water tower but I’m sure we will return one day soon and follow the lane up into the fells.
We turned back and headed for Dunsop Bridge. This walk covered five miles in total.
It was lovely to see bunches of wild snowdrops growing by the stream and dotted round the village. Hopefully Spring is on its way..
Pendle Sculpture Trail in Aitken Wood near Barley is a great little walk that is brimming with eye catching sculptures. I’ve blogged about this trail before here , and it’s now somewhere we love to bring Hugo. Over time some of the sculptures have naturally eroded but a few more have recently been added too. We visited on a foggy Monday morning, driving through the village of Downham and over a misty Pendle Hill.
There is ample parking in the car park in Barley ( £1 charge) which has a cafe & information centre. No maps featuring the new art installations were available on our visit ,but hopefully this will be remedied soon. To access the Sculpture Trail we made our way through the village , passing the Pendle Inn on our left and then Barley Garage, before following the signs up past two reservoirs and on to Aitken Wood.
The original Sculptures are very much inspired by the tale of the Pendle Witches. In the 1600s nine local women and one man were accused of witchcraft and tried and hung in Lancaster, as part of the Lancashire Witch trials. Of course they were no doubt innocent victims of the superstitious times they lived in. Other sculptures are inspired by the natural world and there are yet more, with a hint of the supernatural about them.
The fog really adds to the atmosphere of the walk don’t you think? At one point I heard some bizarre sounds, that Wil and Hugo seemed completely oblivious to. Some very strange clickings & chattering’s from deep in the woods. Maybe I was letting the surroundings get to me, but I didn’t investigate further. Wil said I had probably heard a toad. Hmmmmm!
I was definitely starting to believe I was in a Grimm’s Fairy tale by this point. More and more supernatural beings were emerging from the fog.
Also dotted around the woods are several ceramic plaques, one for each of the accused witches.
As we were leaving Aitken Wood I heard a lot of activity in some conifer trees. Looking up, I saw a flock of crossbills , my first ever. A magic moment indeed.
Are there any interesting sculpture trails near you?
I wasn’t sure that I would post about this walk we did last weekend from Ramsbottom and up through Holcombe onto the Moors, as it was such a foggy day that we saw no views to speak of. But there again it was quite atmospheric ambling through the mist searching for the Peel Monument, a tower erected in memoriam to a famed son of nearby Bury, the conservative MP and twice prime minister ‘ Sir Robert Peel’.
We had originally planned to do this circular moorland walk but due to the fog we only got as far as the tower, which was literally obscured by the murky gloom. After following a few confused looking walkers up the hill, we turned round and took a wall side path to the right and after a few minutes the tower loomed above us, emerging from the mist like a great grey ghost. On a clearer day I bet the surrounding views are impressive. The monument is sometimes open to the public and has a viewing platform, from which to admire the surrounding Lancashire and Manchester countryside.
In the end we only managed to walk 4 miles because visibility was so poor. However this is a great reason to return and try again. 🙂
Wow, its the end of another year and happily its been an enjoyable one. 🙂 Its always nice to do a round-up post and I originally found this idea on Bev’s Blog, way back when. Next year I will have been occupying this little space in the blogger sphere for seven years. How did that happen! I still feel a constant compulsion to share my life with you all ~ so here’s my 2018 in photos……..
In January I started a walking challenge. Inspired by fellow blogger Christine, I signed up for the #walk1000miles challenge and joined this helpful facebook page for ideas and motivation. The idea is to walk 1000 miles in twelve months. I was pretty confident I could do it, but how fast? Also in January Wil and I spent A Long Weekend In The Lake District. , where we walked round Derwent Water and made snow angels in the snow. 🙂
February was abundant with snowdrops this year, so I dragged Wil on a Snowdrop Walk near Morecambe and we also saw lots on an amble round Skipton Woods.
We spent the most freezing cold night away in Haworth in March. I have never felt so chilly!
By April Spring had arrived at last! I was still donning my walking boots more than my party shoes. We explored the Tolkien Trail in nearby Middle earth country and discovered this countries very own Ayers Rock on the Lancashire/Yorkshire border.
The wonderful weather continued in June. We had another camping weekend at Bolton Abbey. I walked up another of The Yorkshire Three Peaks and went to a Festival in Gisburn Forest. Fabulous Summer memories.
It was amazing to catch up with my old school friend/now Canadian citizen Lou in July, after not seeing her in nine years. She hasn’t changed a bit!
Highlights from August included reaching 1000 miles in the #walk1000miles challenge. Yay! I didn’t stop walking though. I kept those boots on and hoped to reach 1500 miles by the end of the year. This month Wil, Hugo and I had the best holiday in Scotland with two weeks spent exploring North Uist in the gorgeous Outer Hebrides and Kilmartin Glen.
Lots of walks in September , my favourite being a Railway Children Walk around Haworth, finding locations from the classic film.
Autumn arrived and so did crunching through leaves. We went for a Spooky walk with family in the grounds of Bolton Abbey.
November is my Birthday month so another trip was planned. 🙂 Stopped in Ravenglass on the Cumbrian Coast for a few days with friends, went to a chocolate making evening and enjoyed a birthday night out round Clitheroe.
And so it is December and 2018 is nearly at an end. I feel like its been an enjoyable month and looking back, a pretty fantastic year !
Having walked 1649 miles this year too, I am definitely motivated to carry on walking in 2019, and hopefully get even more mileage under my belt.
Thanks again for stopping by. Wishing you lots of great adventures in 2019. X
Sunday mornings unpromising weather predictions didn’t put us off our intended trip to Haworth. Our plan was to take a walk from the town, over the surrounding moorland to Top Withens . The wild location of the ruined farmhouse is thought to be where Emily Bronte pictured ‘ Wuthering Heights ‘ in her novel.
We put Hugo in the back of the car, picked up my sister and niece and made our way to Yorkshire, wind screen wipers on the go. Amazingly the rain seemed to clear up once we arrived in Haworth. A walk over Haworth Moor was still on the cards.
Raincoats on, we set off from the Brontë Village Car Park, and would you know it within five minutes, the weather could definitely be described as wuthering! We were blown past the ‘Literary Landscape Sculptures’ two sets of five stone books peering up from the heath. The sweeping rain prevented me from getting any photos. At this point we decided to only walk as far as the Brontë waterfalls, and save Top Withens for another day.
The Brontë Waterfalls lie some 2•5 miles over the moor. A well trodden path leads all the way there and is clearly signposted too, surprisingly in Japanese as well as English. Described by Charlotte Brontë as ‘ a perfect torrent racing over the rocks, white and beautiful’ the falls on Sunday were definitely more of a trickle than a torrent. However the setting is lovely, even on a dreich December day. As yet,shades of copper bracken add colour to the rugged scenery and a babbling beck gives drama to the landscape. You can see why the Brontë siblings enjoyed walking here.
Below the falls a stone footbridge known as the Brontë Bridge crosses the stream and the path continues onwards towards Top Withens. We posed in the rain for a quick selfie and were soon joined by a group of hardy ramblers who chose this glorious spot for a lunch break. It was amazing how many other walkers we had seen along the way, despite the dreary weather. Our tummy’s rumbling and feeling rather like drowned rats, we decided to retrace our steps back to Haworth, where the promise of a hot meal somewhere warm and dry beckoned.
Haworth is definitely somewhere that feels incredibly festive at this time of year. After warming up in a welcoming ( and dog friendly) cafe on Main Street called The Cook House, we went for a wander along the cobbles, listened to Christmas carols, visited some lovely independent shops and found a bustling Christmas market in Central Park.
I’m sure we will return in the Spring, for another stride over the Moors, in the footsteps of the Bronte’s.
I booked a week off work ~ you have to when it’s your birthday don’t you….
Anyway here are a few pictures from my week.
We spent last weekend at a mates Holiday Cottage in Ravenglass, a small seaside village on the Cumbrian coast. We were joined for two nights by some friends as well, and it was great to spend time with them. 😁
The cottage looked out across the Estuary and my God daughters enjoyed looking for ‘treasures’ on the beach. This anchor was a bit big to take home with them though!
The cottage was packed to the rafters with owls! They were everywhere. In the beams, on the walls, on the windows….
A favourite tipple of mine this week was a Edinburgh Rhubarb & Ginger Gin Liqeur served with Gingerale. 🙂
Birthdays mean books! I received these three as presents and I’m excited to delve into them. 🙂
This week I got to make a chocolate bar and a box of chocolates at The Chocolate Works in Clitheroe. Definitely a scrumptious idea for a Girls Night out. 🙂
And I wasn’t the only one with a Birthday! Hugo’s pal Mick the Greyhound had a 3rd Birthday Party at his humans house. Oh my! If you can imagine five Springer spaniels, two greyhounds, a beautiful collie and a naughty black labrador all running riot ( whilst getting on amazingly well ~ Phew! ) in your home for two hours, you’ve got the picture. 🙂 They were a lot easier to entertain than children anyway. 😉 Hugo loved it!
Ravenglass is a coastal village in Cumbria that looks over the estuary bringing together the rivers of Esk, Irt and Mite. The scenery is ever changing as the ebbing tides create rock pools and sand banks. A melodic sound of tied up boats, their parts clanging in the breeze , permeates the sea front.
I recently stopped in Ravenglass for four nights with Wil and Hugo. Some friends joined us for a couple of the nights. Luckily even in November we found plenty to keep us all occupied!
The village has two cosy dog friendly pubs as well as a rocky beach ~ home to many wading birds and beach combing treasures, ancient Roman ruins, a nearby Castle with a Hawk & Owl Centre and the Ravenglass to Eskdale Railway, affectionately known as La’l Ratty.
As well as windy walks on the beach , we enjoyed a stroll to Muncaster Castle which is a pleasant walk through the Muncaster Estate, passing the old ruins of a Roman Bath House.
We all loved the Bird of Prey Display and it was good to know that the staff are so enthusiastic about conserving the different species, especially Vultures, who do get a bit of bad press in the bird world. Seeing them as a ‘ Clean up Crew’ definitely helped me realise what a useful breed of bird they are.
Speeking of birds, Wil and I also visited Hodbarrow Nature Reserve, an RSPB reserve on the coast between Haverigg and Millom. It was a day of high winds and squawly showers, but we enjoyed the dramatic scenery.
Most of all just hanging out in Ravenglass itself was a wonderful experience. I am sure we will return. 😊
This is my diary of the wildlife where I live in Oxfordshire, and sometimes the places I visit. I am a 15 year old young naturalist with a passion for British wildlife, especially Badgers and Hares. I have been blogging since May 2013 and you can read my old blog posts at www.appletonwildlifediary.blogspot.co.uk