Category Archives: Places to visit

A Night Away At The Caravan.

On Saturday we were finally allowed to travel to our caravan and more excitingly, stop overnight! I must admit I was a little worried about our drive to the Lake District. Would we be stuck in traffic for hours? Would everyone in England be heading away for the weekend? It turns out we hardly saw a soul and the roads were not overly busy. There again the weather was not the best and we definitely needed our waterproofs.

Our destination was just under two hours away, so on route we stopped off near Kirkby Lonsdale to take Hugo for a riverside walk. The Lune was nearly bursting it’s banks, there had been so much rain.

Pretty painted pebbles lined the riverside path.
Rather nice art on the public toilet doors.
An old fashioned float in Kirkby Lonsdale.
The River Lune looking choppy.

Once we got to the caravan site we checked over the van , had some lunch then headed up into the fells for a walk. It’s the first time we have done this route, probably because of my general reluctance to drag myself up hill. It was of course worth it! We found a patch of woodland, a clear water beck and lots of foxgloves.

Once back in the village I couldn’t resist looking round the Green. Melmerby Village Green is an 11 acre green that used to be grazed by livestock. It is managed for wildlife and there are lots of lovely wildflowers on display.

Pied Wagtail almost camaflaged in the wall.
Betony.
Sheepfold.
Harebells.
Postbox in the village.

In the evening we left the pub to the locals and had tapas and wine in the van. Wil fried these padron peppers in olive oil and tossed them in sea salt. Delicious!

Peppers.
Quiet on site.

On Sunday morning we headed to Pooley Bridge which is near Ullswater. The lake was lively!

Hugo in Ullswater.
Bought a sausage roll in here. 😁
And had a socially distanced coffee in The Crown .
The River Eamont and the new bridge under construction. Pooley Bridges original stone bridge was destroyed during Storm Desmond.
Pooley Bridge Inn sign.

It felt good to be able to stay overnight at the caravan and it was nice enjoying a coffee in the Crown pub. We are ready for our proper week long break away. Not long now!

Did you go to a cafe or a pub at the weekend?

The Elusive Bee Orchid.

Yesterday in the scorching heat we found the elusive Bee Orchid! This one was in Cross Hill Quarry Nature Reserve in Clitheroe, which can be accessed through Brungerley park. A kind member of a local wildlife group offered to show my sister, her kids and I where it was. 😊

There are over fifty species of orchid in the UK and all are protected. Although there are much rarer orchids ,the Bee Orchid is particularly striking I think. It’s flowers resemble the insect and amerous bees can transfer pollen to them, mistaking them for another 🐝 bee.

There were plenty of insects out in the late afternoon heat yesterday. We saw lots of butterflies including meadow brown’s, skippers, ringlets, common blues, tortoishell s, red admirals, whites and comma all fluttering around the quarry.

One of many many large skipper butterflies.
An unassuming orchid found all over the quarry is the Common Twayblade. I did not even realise that these are orchids.
A beautiful Marsh Orchid.
My niece got this picture of a cute new moth ( to us) , the Latticed Heath Moth.
The only Bee Orchid ( as yet) in the reserve has three flowers.
Bee Orchid.
My niece and Yellow Loosestrife flowers.
Heron intent on tea.

As you can imagine, wandering round a quarry in the heat made us all want to dive in the river, which luckily was close by. We all went for a paddle to cool off and the above heron wasn’t bothered by our presence at all.

Have you seen any orchids this year?

Downham & Twiston Circular Walk. 🥾

Another blog post, another local walk. This one is from the picture perfect village of Downham, where in fact many years ago, I went to primary school. The hike is a 4 mile circular route and was a very peaceful one, we saw only one other person out walking until we arrived back in the village at the end for an ice cream. 😊

We set off from the large car park in Downham, following the brook down through the village. You may recognize Downham from the TV series Born and Bred which was filmed here.

A stone bridge over the brook.
All the cottages in the village are owned by Lord Clitheroe’s estate, so the whole village is tenanted.
There are quite a few Stiles and kissing gates on the walk.
A brood of ducklings. 🙂
We head uphill through farmland and find a well placed bench.
Some locals are keen to see us off though.
A pretty wildflower meadow. 🌼
Hugo cooling off in Twiston Beck.
Twiston Mill Pond, though we couldn’t see the pond for the reeds!
Heading past Twiston Mill , which was a busy cotton mill in the past.
Old squeeze style replaced by gate.
You can continue here to Downham Mill, but our route took us elsewhere. I would like to do this walk though too.
The walk carried on past a couple of farms. Here’s a view of Pendle.
Dog Roses and Elderflowers.
Cows grazing as we approach Downham again.
On a rocky outcrop above the village , a 🐝 on mother of thyme.
And Biting Yellow Stonecrop.
Back into Downham. The cottages are stunning and no overhead cables or satellite dishes in sight.
Picture postcard perfect.
The Assheton Arms, Downham’s lovely pub. A couple of days after our walk we heard that the company who owns it has gone into administration, so not sure about it’s future. 😦
Downham pre school, which once upon a time used to be my primary school.
Hugo waiting for ice cream.

We ended our walk at the little ice cream shop on Hare Green, which also sells brews, cakes and sandwiches.

I downloaded this route here. 🥾

Salthill Quarry Nature Reserve ~ June.

So I returned as promised to Salthill Nature Reserve in Clitheroe to look for the elusive Bee Orchid. There was a photo of one on a local wildlife group, but could I find it? Well nope! However there was still plenty to see and it was nice to wander round the reserve.

There were lots of Speckled Woods in the woodland areas.
And scented Dog Roses adorned the pathways.
The poisonous Cuckoo Pints green berry stalks cover the woodland floor.
The Common Blues looked vividly blue.
Honey scented flowers of Agrimony were once added to mead.
This rabbit sat and watched me from a woodland clearing.
A new wild flower sighting for me ~ Round leaved Wintergreen. The leaves remain evergreen through winter.
I saw a few Brown Ringlets.
Common spotted orchid.

I snuck into a gated off meadow which might not have been part of the reserve. Whoops! There were vast amounts of ox-eye daisies in there which were buzzing with bees and small dragonflies.

Daisy fest. 🌼
Small tortoishell on daisy.
And on bramble blossom.
Red Clover. This one looks particularly vibrant.
I didn’t have a clue what this was! I thought it may be some rarity, but then someone told me it was a cowslip gone to seed. 😜
Small tortoishell on wild thyme.
Cinnabar Moth.
I always get my Cinnabar’s and Six spotted Burnet’s mixed up. I should just count the spots. 😊

So despite not coming across the bee orchid, it was a successful visit. Have you visited a nature reserve recently?

To The Sea.

I have been craving ‘ a sea fix ‘ for some time now. Today was finally the day that I got my fix. We headed to Heysham on the Lancashire coast and parked at Heysham Nature Reserve behind the power station. After typing Heysham Nature Reserve into Google maps it told me that we had visited the reserve two years ago. Scary that it remembered. 😜

Heysham Nature Reserve is still open , however the car park and facilities are currently closed. We managed to find a spot near the entrance and Hugo had an off lead wander. At some point we ended up on the rocky shore in front of the power station. Un surprisingly it was easy to social distance beside a nuclear power station. 😊

We walked as far as the striking rust coloured South Pier lighthouse and retraced our steps back to the car.

Rocky shore.
Behind the power station.
Yellow Rattle.
Greater Knapweed.
Hugo inspects the thin strip of beach.
Sea & sky.
Lesser black backed Gull.
South Pier Lighthouse selfie.
South Pier Lighthouse.
Oyster catchers brunch time.

It was around 11-30 and already cracking the flags at nearby Half Moon Bay when we parked the car on the small car park there. In fact it was getting a bit too hot for Hugo. After a short walk along the cliffs as far as the St Patrick’s chapel remains, we called it a day. Looking back on my post from two years ago, we had a hot weather visit then too! No beautiful new sculptures at that time though. Fab to see the recent editions. 😊

Oyster catcher sculpture.
Half Moon Bay.
Ship Sculpture looking over Half Moon Bay.
Ship Sculpture.
My first ever sighting of a Whitethroat. 🙂
St Patrick’s Chapel.
Rock cut coffin graves.

Goodbye beautiful Lancashire coast. Until next time. ❤️

Clitheroe to Mitton Circular Walk.

Just a quick post featuring a walk today from home. We set out about 8 am hoping to miss the heat, it was already getting warm early on. Luckily for Hugo this is another route taking in the river Ribble ,so he had plenty of opportunities for paddles and swims.

Today’s walk is a circular route from Clitheroe to Mitton and back. It’s one we have walked a few times over the years.

Heading for the railway bridge.
Mearley Brook.
Approaching the Ribble Way.
There’s a newish photography aid down Edisford.
Edisford Bridge.
Quackers.
We have now crossed the bridge and are walking along the other side of the river towards Mitton. We pass through a little wood.
And carry on down the riverside.

Mama and brood.
Up through another little wood and we find this newly carved bear chair, which has appeared during lockdown.
We follow the footpath signs to Mitton, passing Great Mitton Hall.
Over the bridge near the Aspinall Arms.
The Aspinall arms is somewhere we would ordinarily stop off at for refreshment. Huge beer garden and dog friendly.
Next to the pub footpaths can be followed back to Clitheroe.
I heard a piping call. It belonged to a Common Sandpiper.
Nearly home and more content cattle relaxing in the sun. 🙂

Have you got out and about this weekend?

Caton Riverside Walk.

Today dawned sunny and warm , we got up pretty early, setting off from Clitheroe at 8am and driving through the beautiful Trough of Bowland and on to Caton , a village by the river Lune. Tantilising glimpses of sparkling blue sea could be viewed as we passed Jubilee Tower. We were however intent on a riverside walk.

At Caton we parked at the Bull Beck picnic site and car park. After crossing the road we joined an old railway walk/cycle path ( now part of the River Lune Millennium Park) and then ambled back along the river, about 4 miles in total.

Stone eisel depicting Railway walk/ cycleway.
Blue Sky.
Bug B & B ( open for business, I presume).
Squirrel checking out prospective breakfasts..
There was already a breakfast guest. 😘
I was so happy to see this gorgeous bullfinch…..and he posed for pictures. 🙂
Otter carving near the Crook O’ Lune picnic site..
And another. ❤️
Bridge at Crook O’ Lune.
Crook O’ Lune.
Reflections.
Ducklings.
Shallow Weir.
Riverside hide.
Relaxing by the Lune.
Spot the tiny Hugo.
Aquaduct.
There were several of these stone fence posts in the field.
Footbridge over Artle brook.
Hundreds of Sand Martins nest in the sandy river bank. They dart around so fast. I couldn’t believe it when one landed on a nearby fence. 🙂
Beautiful Sand Martin. 😘
Can just make out the flat top of Ingleborough in the distance.
Another hide.
Oyster catcher on shingle.
Hugo on shingle.
Following the river.
Young bull. Earlier we almost got stampeded by a group of cattle when a farmer was herding them to this field in his tractor. Don’t think he saw us ( hoping not) and we escaped just in time. Yikes!
Young bulls. All much calmer when not being chased by a cross farmer.

No more photos but we are almost back at the car park/ picnic site at Bull Beck. Amazingly the public toilets are actually open. Result!

After brunch ( it’s still only 10-45) we decide to head home through the Trough of Bowland. I had found another walk that looked nice at Abbeystead, but when we arrived it had gotten busy. Everyone else had the same idea! Another time perhaps.

We really enjoyed our River Lune walk. Such a tranquil beautiful morning. ❤️🥾

Walk Book ~ Walking in the Forest of Bowland and Pendle by Terry Marsh.

Map ~ Explorer OL41 ( Forest of Bowland & Ribblesdale).

Salthill Quarry Nature Reserve ~ May.

By midday today it was scorching hot. I had taken our labrador for a riverside walk early morning ( saw my first dragonfly of the year) and then decided to head out somewhere unaccompanied. I love Hugo but he gets a little impatient when I become distracted by butterflies. 🙂

Salthill Quarry Nature Reserve is one of two nature reserves in my home town. A mixture of limestone grassland and shady woodland, the reserve is a haven for wild flowers and birds such as black caps and bullfinches. Which I never see ! Haha. Today my nemesis bird ( a gloriously colourful jay) posed for several photographs, promptly flying off cackling before I could get him into focus.

I enjoyed my walk and intend to post a blog in June, when hopefully the bee orchids will be in flower. For now, enjoy these photos. 😘

Hawthorn.
Yellow poppies.
Blue sky.
Cowslips.

Clock.
Small white.
Germander Speedwell.
Robin red breast.
Birds Foot Trefoil aka Bacon & Eggs.
Dog Rose.
Small white.
Wood Aven.
Bugles and Herb Robert.
Bluetit flying in and out of a nesting box.
Crinoid bench.
Milkwort.
Wild Strawberry.
Common Blue.
Chiffchaff.
Common Blue on Buttercup.

I hope I have identified the above correctly, please let me know if I have mixed up my common blues with my holly blues. 😅

Higham Circular Walk ~ The Sabden Valley.

I hope to bring you a few more photos from Lancashire walks whilst lockdown continues. 🌹

Higham nestles at the foot of Pendle Hill and the Pendle Way is a walking route which can be accessed from the village. The area has many associations with the Pendle Witches. Higham was home to several reputed victims of ‘ the witch ‘ Chattox. She allegedly turned the ale sour in the village pub ‘ The Four All’s Inn ‘ and bewitched the landlords son to death. She along with eight other people were hung on a hill above Lancaster for witchcraft in 1612.

On a more cheery note Higham was also the birthplace of Jonas Moore, who became known as ‘ The Father Of Time’ owing to his key role in establishing Greenwich Mean Time and the Greenwich Meridian. Not bad going for a Lancashire lad…

This walk is a 5.5 mile hike through a gorse strewn valley with lots of views of Pendle , old cobbled tracks and skies full of tumbling swift’s and swallows on a Sunday morning in May.

A Pendle Way sign above Higham.
Golden gorse.
Pendle Hill from above Higham.
Old wall.
Friendly horses, one in a rather posh cerice jacket. 🙂
A lovely Dapple Grey who wouldn’t pose for a photo.
A beautiful Grade ll listed cottage with mullioned windows..
Geese. 🙂
One was obviously a Guard Goose.
Unusual carvings.
At another farm ~ a gorgeous guinea fowl..
And a friendly mog.
Onwards along a cobbled track.
Footpath sign.
Looking back towards Pendle.
Climbing a small hill and admiring Pendle, or stopping to catch my breath. 😉
Sheep & lamb.
Over the top of the hill..
Time for a snack.
Heading back to the village.
Wall Brown 🦋
The Four Alls Inn.
The Four Alls on the pub sign denote the following.

The King rules all.
The Priest prays for all.
The Soldier fights for all.
The Common Man pays for all.

I was really surprised by this walk. Lots of history and gorgeous scenery in what was once royal hunting ground ‘ The Forest Of Pendle’ . The area is actually now an AONB and deservedly so I think.

X

Walking Book – Guide To Lancashire Pub Walks by Nick Burton.

Map – OS Explorer OL21 South Pennines.

March break at the caravan.

Just returned from a few days at our caravan in Cumbria. It’s the first time we’ve managed to visit this year. Happily we were able to stay toasty in the van and get out and about and explore too. Life is carrying on as normal..for now! Here are a few images from our 4 day break.

Hugo in front of the electric fire. Our van is definitely in the Granny style of interiors , but it is cosy. :),
The local pubs unique way of displaying daffodils.
Before shot of horse in the village. So pretty!
And an After photo. Tee-hee. 😜

NT Acorn Bank.

We used our NT membership and explored the grounds of Acorn Bank in Temple Sowerby.
Though I didn’t go paddling in the pond. Hugo did.
Daffodils everywhere.
And an ever so beautiful flowering Quince…

Appleby & Rutter Falls. ( 8 mile muddy walk).

The River Eden flowing through Appleby.
Man in a bath. 😁
Rutter Falls and Hoff Beck.
Cherry blossom at Rutter Falls.
Hugo outside Rachel’s Wood.

Northern Viaducts Round ~ Kirkby Stephen. ( 4 mile, not as Muddy walk).

Frank’s Bridge over the Eden, Kirkby Stephen.
Crossing Merrigill Viaduct.
Podgill Viaduct.
Scarlet Elf Caps. Also saw a wispy red squirrel gathering moss on this walk. ❤️
One of several poetry stones on the route.

Definitely loving all the places we’ve discovered in the beautiful Eden Valley so far.

NT Acorn Bank.

Rutter Force & Hoff Beck Walk.

Northern Viaducts Round Walk.

Home via Ambleside. We were sad to head home today, took a little detour to Ambleside , so Hugo could have a swim in Windermere.

The Bridge House.
Seriously satisfying soup , served with cheese! Brill idea. Rattle Ghyll Cafe.
Windermere.
Hungry swans.

Hope everyone is well. Stay safe. ❤️

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