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.
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. 😊
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. ❤️
There are lots of painted slabs to find. Should keep the kids busy in the Easter Holidays. 🙂
I have started tracking our walks on a free walking app called Relive. It makes handy little map videos of your hikes.
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 always do a yearly review post, and well even if 2020 has been a bit pants,I’m looking through my photos and there has still been plenty of stuff to be thankful for. We have survived living through a Global Pandemic. That can only be a good thing!
In January was Wil’s 5Oth Birthday and thankfully he got to celebrate with friends in real life. Yay! Though planned trips and gigs to continue the celebrations through the rest of 2020 have been delayed, hopefully he can carry them over to next year……
February. A pretty quiet month. I think we would have gone out more, if only we had realised that our lives would change quite dramatically, in just a few short weeks.
March. Wil, Hugo and I managed a wknd away at our caravan in Cumbria before lockdown was announced. Then one day in early March I was sent home from work….and never went back. Luckily I was furloughed and Wil has remained in his job throughout 2020. Having him carry on going to work as normal meant our everyday lives didn’t change as much as some people’s.
April. We had a long dry Spring which for me meant lots of walks with Hugo….and lots of baking. I can’t say my baking skills improved that much, but I did manage to make both Banana Bread and Rock Cakes. I never tried the Joe Wicks Workouts though, so I have put on a few pounds. 🧐
May. One positive thing about travel restrictions this year , discovering more of my home county of Lancashire. I must admit in previous years we have hopped over the border to The Dales or had days out in The Lake District, rather than explore locally. Lancashire is lovely too. I appreciate what’s on my doorstep more now.
June. Sometime in June restrictions eased and friends were allowed to meet up again…outdoors. The new going out became drinking in the park ,like a bunch of teenagers. 😉
July. Finally we were allowed to stay over at our caravan once again. Having bought it in Summer 2019 , Wil and I had been looking forward to spending lots of quality time there this year. Luckily we managed to grab a few weekends away in Summer.
August. Wow things were beginning to feel almost normal. We had the best time spending a long weekend in Ravenglass & Eskdale with friends.
September. Managed to add a few more Wainwright’s to my very short list, using the van as our base. New additions are Arthur’s Pike, Bonscale Pike above, Hallin Fell and even Skiddaw.
October. Autumn colours were glorious in 2020 and I noticed far more different species of fungi than any other year. Enjoyed a few nice walks with family , which is always good. Found a new job cleaning in a local secondary school ( phew!) after the cafe business I had worked in until March finally admitted it wouldn’t be opening up again.
November. Back in lockdown for a month. Blah. Bad timing for little old me as I had been looking forward to going out for my birthday, somewhat optimistically. My lovely friends did organize me my first Zoom Party though. 😊
December. Christmas has actually been pretty good , considering. Lots of walks with friends & or family. Socially distanced meet ups & a very nice Christmas dinner bought from Holmes Mill. ❤️
I know that the next few months will probably mean we move up a tier in Lancashire and things will probably get worse before they get better, but here’s hoping for a very happy and healthy 2021.
Thanks for bobbing by occasionally, I really appreciate it.
I’m joining in as ever with Hawthorns Photo Scavenger Hunt this month. For this one I did look into my archives for a couple of pictures.
Houseplant/s ~ I have a few cacti and succulents dotted around the house. Heres my favourite planted in a stout can which I got a few years ago from a Makers Market in Manchester. So happy it’s still going strong. 🙂
Ring/s ~ It’s The Singing Ringing Tree over Burnley way. A metal pipe sculpture of a twisted tree. When the wind blows through the pipes ,eerie tunes are played. Hugo was mesmerised on our visit a few years ago. 😅
Harbour ~ Staithes on the Yorkshire coast , a November visit some 5 years ago. A lovely picturesque place to amble round.
Window ~ I love this office window in town, with the town literally stenciled onto the glass. A picture perfect view of Clitheroe.
Sky ~ This was my front passengerseat vista on our journey home from the caravan in October. It felt like we were driving into those puffy white clouds.
My own choice ~ I have noticed quite a few white and black & white crows around Clitheroe recently. No photos yet, but here’s one of a bonnie blackbird with white feathers I have seen too.
Although the literary Bronte family lived in Haworth in Yorkshire, it was not uncommon for the siblings to walk over the Pennine moors to the secluded hamlet of Wycoller
in Lancashire. As Sunday promised some rare dry weather ,we headed to the village of Trawden for a Circular Walk that takes in some of the rugged Pendle countryside that may have inspired their writings.
The walk starts from the Trawden Arms in the village,so we found some roadside parking nearby. We then made our way up some old tram tracks to the right of the pub, crossed a main road and then followed a route through many boggy fields, moorland and woodland. It was very wet under foot, but there was lots to see. We passed several farms and smallholdings around Trawden, home to various pets and livestock.
We followed Trawden Brook up to Lumb Spout , once a popular Victorian beauty spot.
The route then follows the Pennine National Bridleway Trail over moorland for a way. I saw a couple of stonechat but didn’t manage to get a photo. The skies were big and the ground was sodden.
Eventually we found outselves off the rugged moors and entering the serene Wycoller Country Park with its greenery, woodland, winding brook and stone bridges.
Wycoller is a former handloom weaving settlement, the villagers took their cloth to the drying ground above Wycoller Hall. Folk moved away to find jobs after the introduction of the powerloom in Lancashire’s industrial towns.
The Bronte sisters visited Wycoller and it is said that in Charlotte’s novel Jane Eyre , the hall was her inspiration for Ferndean Manor where Mr Rochester lived.
We ate our sandwiches here and set off to continue our walk back to Trawden, totally forgetting to go and see The Atom Panopticon sculpture which is a short stroll away. Oh well, a reason to return!
All in all this walk was about six miles long, though at quite a slow pace because of all the mud. Unlike the Bronte sisters we didn’t need to wander the soggy terrain in long gowns and petticoats! I wonder if any of the siblings ever did catch a glimpse of Pendle Hill ? It would be nice to think so….
A lockdown birthday was never going to be the same. Celebration ideas were changed as Lancashire tiers upped levels and then a national lockdown was announced. Finally what I was left with ,still a happy time I think….a few doorstep visits from family & friends, an online party, a walk, yummy food cooked by my other half and a delicious take-away hot chocolate. The new normal isn’t so bad.
A book to dip into everyday of Autumn. Today’s poem probably more appropriate for a frosty November day.
Heres a few verses from The Duke Of Fire and The Duchess Of Ice by Carol Ann Duffy.
Passionate love for the Duke of fire
the Duchess of Ice felt.
One kiss was her heart’s desire,
but with one kiss she would melt.
She dreamed of him in his red pantaloons,
In his orange satin blouse,
In his crimson cravat,
In his tangerine hat,
In his vermilion dancing shoes.
One kiss, one kiss,
Lips of flame on frost,
One kiss, pure bliss,
and never count the cost.
As you can probably imagine, there’s a puddle at the end of this poem….
The weekend saw us head to the Ribble Valley village of Ribchester for a 5.5 circular walk, taking in squelchy fields and country lanes. Ribchester was the site of the Roman fort Bremetennacum and there are ruins of a Roman Bath House in the village. Take your wellies if you do this walk. 😁
We left the village by following the private road to Parsonage farm , where a bridleway took us into waterlogged fields.
After squelching through the fields there was some country lane walking. We kept Hugo on his lead, though we didn’t see any cars. Hothersall Lane eventually joins the Ribble Way.
Hothersall Lane winds its way down to an Outdoor Centre and then Hothersall Hall. Apparently just past the entrance of Hothersall Hall Farm there is a stone head wedged in a tree. But we couldn’t find it!
We climbed uphill to some trees and there were great views over the Ribble.
We followed The Ribble Way back to the village. There are lots of interesting old buildings in Ribchester ,so it’s definitely worth a look around.
It was good to visit a village less than ten miles from home, that we have rarely spent any time before.
Find this walk in Guide to Lancashire Pub Walks by Nick Burton.
It does feel like all I post about is walking this year. I suppose that is very true! Before this Sunday morning hike from the Nick O Pendle , we also enjoyed a tasty breakfast at the super cute Nest On The Hill , a newly opened little cafe in a cabin at The Wellsprings restaurant. Wil had a sausage butty and I devoured yummy french toast with melted chocolate and blackberry compote. Hugo was made a fuss of by the lovely young couple who run this quirky bruncherie ( hope bruncherie is a word! ), that serves warming food & drinks before the main restaurant opens for lunch. The Nest is also packed with locally sourced gifts and crafts. Lots of present ideas. I even started my Christmas shopping!
After our food and my purchasing , Hugo for one was busting for a walk. I could have curled up on the cosy sofa in front of the toasty log burner for a while longer ,but fresh air beckoned…. We took the owners recommendation of a bridleway walk through the fields, thus avoiding the crowds who park nearby to make their way up Pendle Hill.
We walked up the road and down a little , then through a gate on the right, following a farm track/ bridleway over rugged Lancashire countryside. To be totally honest I’m not really sure what this area is called, maybe Wiswell Moor. Some map perusing is needed! Anyway we basically walked as far as a field of llamas, then turned around and made our way back. A muddy 4 miles or so.
The weather was bright and breezy, a perfect Pendle day. More from Pendle Hill coming soon hopefully. 🥾
At the weekend we took a walk from Garrigill in the North Pennines to the nearby waterfall of Ashgill Force. We bought an Alston Moor walk leaflet in the outdoors shop in Alston for 60p.
The route begins at Garrigill’s Village Green, we parked near the village church. Garrigill looks to be a lovely little village , whose pub and shop have seen better days.
The leaflet says that there were once two pubs in Garrigill. The George & Dragon was the haunt of visiting gentry, Tories and shooting parties, whilst the Fox was for miners, poachers and Liberals!
The weather went a bit wild and after navigating about a million steep stiles we came across the waterfall. Unfortunately we had managed to deviate from our maps directions somehow, but we got there in the end.
It is apparently possible to walk behind the waterfall, and indeed ‘ Dance with the Fairies’ , although it looked a bit busy with Gill Scramblers the day we visited.
Hugo was joined in the gorge by another Black Labrador boy, which would be lovely if Hugo actually liked other boy labradors. Fortunately Hugo was more interested in the stones Wil were throwing in the water, than fighting. Phew!
The rest of the walk was more of a gentle meander, following the River South Tyne back to Garrigill.
I really enjoyed this scenic 5 mile walk and hopefully we will try it out again, maybe when the meadows are full of wildflowers come early Summer. 🙂