My niece and nephew broke up for Summer last week so Hugo and I joined them and my sister for a wander along the River Wharfe. Our plan was to walk from Burnsall to Grassington , a pleasant riverside ramble. However we stopped so many times to admire butterflies, identify insects, look under stones for crayfish and watch waterbirds, that we didn’t make much headway on the timescale we had. Another time perhaps! However we had lots of fun along the way. I come from a nature loving family. 🙂
My 8 year old neice Imogen says that we all have our own talents at identifying things. She is good at insects, Roman knows his reptiles & snakes ( we didn’t see any! ), Auntie Shaz ( me) can name most flowers ( though I might need my blogging friends to help with a couple ) and my sister’s speciality subject is dog breeds. Ok then!
Whilst looking for somewhere to stop off on route to our recent break in Shropshire, I came across Hawkstone Park Follies, a unique 100 acre country park near Shrewsbury. In the 18th Century this rocky sandstone landscape was developed into caves, grottos, towers and arches and became one of the most visited tourist attractions in the country.
It was in 1700 that King & Queens diplomat and Lord of the Treasury Sir Richard Hill inherited the Hawkstone estate and together with his younger brother John ,started making changes to the scenery. Over the years more and more turrets and towers were added until eventually the Hills family money ran out and by the Twentieth century Hawkstone was all but abandoned, overgrown and forgotten. Luckily in more recent years the area has been designated a Grade 1 listed park by English Heritage, allowing it to be restored to its former glory.
Dogs are permitted to visit as long as they are on lead, so we spent a couple of hours exploring the follies and then had lunch in the glasshouse tea room.
The park has a Troll trail especially for children. We found ourselves following it, completely by accident of course. 😉
We soon found ourselves regretting not bringing Hugo’s water with us. It was a humid type of day and Mr H was puffing and panting quite a bit. Unusually the park didn’t seem to have any brooks or ponds for him to dip in either. We decided to only look at a few more follies before turning back.
We did miss a few other follies such as The Hermitage and Foxes knob. Not sure what that is! Have you ever visited Hawkstone?
The Wildlife Trust is again challenging people this month to join in with #30dayswild. Every June folks are encouraged to perform a random act of wildness each day. It could be something as simple as walking barefoot in grass, feeding the birds, enjoying an alfresco coffee in the park or watching insects in the garden. Just take a little time out to enjoy nature every day, and see how good that makes you feel.
I have joined in with the challenge a few times and this year I thought I would take a relaxed approach to blogging about it as I really don’t have anything particularly planned. I will take each day as it comes.
We were camping at Meadow Falls Campsite in Ingleton at the beginning of June with friends and their girls , so of course we just had to walk the Ingleton Waterfalls Trail, which is well worth doing if your in the area. The recent rainy weather meant that all the falls were gushing impressively. The trail meanders through 4.5 mile of woodland and hillside terrain. Remember to wear sturdy walking boots if you do it!
We could smell the aroma of wild garlic ( it covers the woodland floor) as we ambled along and it was lovely to see wild orchids growing near Pecca Falls. Out in the fields meadow pippits called and tiny yellow flowers called tormentil ( known as the walkers companion flower) dotted the hills. The kids collected sticks for toasting marshmallows on the camp fire later, whittling them smooth with potato peelers.
I found this moth ( a nice man on twitter identified it as a Clouded- Bordered Brindle ) in the tent before we took it down. It was gently removed into the hedge.
Back home and a new visitor to the feeder! A jackdaw who swings on the fat balls, making even more mess than the raucous starlings. I also have visiting bluetits and House sparrows ( some are fledglings) , blackbirds, a robin and a coal tit.
A wet walk with the dog on Tuesday and I spotted this fungi growing through the greenery ~ possibly a pleated ink cap. I think they look quite ghostly.
I planted the Thirty Days Wild seeds in pots in the back yard. There are poppies along with some scabious I bought. Hope there are signs of growth by the end of June. 🌺
Yesterday I got caught in the rain out in the fields with Hugo. We did get to see a roe deer springing through the grass at great speed. A lovely wild moment, if it wasn’t for getting soaked to the skin! Once home I decided to download the RSPB single Let Nature Sing , which I have been meaning to do for a while. I’m quite late to the party as usual, apparently this cacophony of birdsong reached number 18 in the charts. I enjoyed listening to the Cuckoo, woodpeckers, curlews etc, with my brew.
If your looking for miles of dog friendly coastline then you’ve hit the jackpot in Cumbria. Because most people head for the lakes and fells, the beaches are almost always quiet, few having any dog restrictions at all.
We recently spent four nights in the coastal village of Ravenglass, and visited a couple of other seaside resorts whilst we were there. All three are served by the Cumbrian Coastal Railwayline.
Ravenglass. A tiny harbor village, Ravenglass has an ancient history. The Roman settlement of Glannoventa stood here and was an important naval base. The remains of a Roman bathhouse lie on the outskirts.
The beach is a mixture of sand, shingle and mud. There are lots of well signposted walks along the coast or up into the fells. Our dog Hugo enjoyed running here and his favourite nearby hill walk from Ravenglass was a mornings yomp up Muncaster Fell.
Hugo was made a fuss of in all three of the pubs in Ravenglass. We ate out at The Ratty Arms & The Pennington Hotel. Both were very good. 🐶
St Bees. Twenty minutes north of Ravenglass, St Bees is actually named after an Irish medieval Saint, St Bega . Bega ( a beautiful & devout princess) fled across the Irish Sea by boat, having been promised in marriage to a Viking Prince. She had other ideas, preferring to live in religious solitude on the English mainland.
I’m not sure if St Bega liked dogs ( there is a statue of her and her rowing boat in the village center) but the beach she landed on is a great place for a bracing walk. We took Hugo to the sands at Seacote Park, where there is a caravan park, lifeboat station and beach cafe. I don’t think dogs are allowed inside the cafe but as it was a nice day we had icecream on a bench outside and Hugo was brought water & dog treats.
St Bees is the start of the Wainwright Coast to Coast walk and the cliff top ( safely fenced off ~ Phew!) is also ideal for walkies. Look out for all sorts of seabirds. The cliffs at St Bees head are an RSPB bird reserve.
Arnside. A pretty estuary resort, Arnside resides in the Arnside & Silverdale Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It is from here that I took part in The Morecambe Bay Cross Bay walk with Wil and Hugo, three years ago. This iconic organized hike across the shifting sands of Morecambe Bay must not be attempted without an official guide.
On our latest visit Hugo had a good run on the beach but there are also plenty of coastal and inland walks to do in the area including Arnside Knott and along the shoreline to Silverdale. Do make sure you listen out for the sirens that are sounded to warn of the incoming Arnside Tidal Bore, a high tidal wave that happens once a month in Arnside’s estuary.
The village has a couple of dog friendly pubs and cafes. We chose to sit outside with the best ever fish & chips from Arnside Chippy. We also visited a very cute little jazz cafe opposite Arnside’s Railway station. Moochin About is a teeny tiny espresso bar with the cutest decor and vinyl jazz records playing on a record player. Sad to say no doggies allowed inside, purely because it is so small. There are two benches outside though, water bowls and the lovely owner brought out biscuits for Hugo and a collie customer. 🐕
If you have a dog, what beaches do you like to visit with them?
Recently I spent a few days with family. The pretty village of Askham in Cumbria has been my Mum’s home now for over 25 years. It’s attractive white washed cottages surround two village greens. The top end of Askham climbs up into the fells whilst the bottom end is all about the river Lowther and the surrounding woodland. Some of the village is still owned by the land owning Lonsdale family, who now live in Askham Hall and once resided in Lowther Castle. There are two pubs in Askham, a lovely village shop, an open air swimming pool and lots of walking trails round the Lowther estate. Here are a few pictures from my ambles round Askham.
I spent a good couple of hours in the woods, just enjoying the sights and sounds of nature. There were so many flowers, giving the woodland floor a magical fairy land appearance. And I didn’t spy a single other human being! I did see two jays, several woodpeckers, two buzzards and a weasel. 😊
If your visiting the Askham area, here are some useful websites.
Bristol does I suppose seem an odd choice of city break for three Lancashire lasses. But decamping to this historic South West maritime port on the banks of the River Avon definitely proved a hit with my friends Anne, Marian and I. Of course it certainly helped that Anne used to work in Bristol and knew of a few good spots to hang out. 😁
One such place was a restaurant with a view in elegant Clifton Village, a lovely suburb of the city , famous for a feat of Victorian engineering. Clifton Suspension Bridge was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and finally completed in 1864 , five years after his death. Anne had booked a table at Avon Gorge by Hotel Du Vin overlooking the iconic structure which straddles the Avon Gorge. We made the most of a few photo opportunities on the outdoor terrace before enjoying a really delicious three course meal , a delightful ambience created by Brunel’s bridge all lit up as darkness fell.
After the meal we had a couple of drinks in Clifton Village. Well it would be rude not to try out some local Somerset Cider. 😉
On Saturday morning we headed into the city centre. Anne had booked us tickets for the Bristol Street Art Tour. Arriving early we had a little time to potter round Bristol Cathedral before meeting up for the tour on College Green. The cathedral is an impressive example of a medieval ‘hall church’ with vaulted ceilings and elegant arches. As we admired the beautiful architecture we heard serene choir music wafting from the Bristol Choir School nextdoor.
The city’s Street Art is prolific and booking the walking tour is a great way of getting to know and view some of the colourful graffiti, murals and wall art that Bristol has embraced. Big names in the Street Art world ( most famously Banksy) have illegally made their mark here, whilst other art is commissioned. The scene is transient by nature, some stunning pieces can be here today but gone tomorrow.
The above piece is a Banksy called ‘Well Hung Lover’. It was stencilled on the wall of a sexual health clinic some years ago , apparently in the early hours of the morning. It has been targeted by paint bombs but remains one of Banksy’s iconic art works.
Above are a small selection of commissioned pieces from a 2011 art project called ‘See No Evil’ based around Nelson Street in the city centre. Their sizes alone are impressive.
I loved the geisha and the kingfisher , a beautiful and recent mural by Kin Dose. I hope it remains a while.
And I’m quite taken by ‘ Break Dancing Jesus’ by Cosmo Sarsen , situated in Stokes Croft….
Just opposite Jesus is Banksy’s famous ‘The Mild Mild West’ which due to its age and type of paint used is definitely under threat of simply waring away. Do you think measures should be taken to protect the work of our most famed graffiti artist?
I’m inclined towards loving the freedom of expression in Bristol. The colourful murals and evocative works just add to its vibrancy and charm. I took lots more photos on the two hour tour and would definitely recommend to anyone staying in the city. 🙂
After two hours tramping the streets we were ready for some tasty food! Cafe Cuba , a small family run Caribbean cafe in Stokes Croft really hit the spot. I think this is the first time I have ever tried plantain.
Lunch over we headed to King Street, a colourful area of old pubs and hostelries, for a couple more ciders. And then down to the harbor side. This is when the heavens decided to open , so we whiled a way an hour or so in the free museum of Bristol life M – Shed.
Although our Saturday night plans did involve going out for a meal etc near our Airbnb in the suburb of Shirehampton, we all admitted we were actually pretty knackered and all that we really wanted to do was order in pizza, watch Britain’s Got talent and talk about Game of Thrones. So that’s exactly what we did Saturday night ! Honesty is the best policy. 😉
The next morning we were up bright and early so Anne suggested going for a stroll round nearby Portishead Quays Marina before heading home. This clean ,modern and rather picturesque marina is popular with runners, family’s and dog walkers , and it’s definitely somewhere to go and admire the boats and wonder if buying a water side apartment or even a small vessel is in your pay bracket. Well nope! But it’s fun to dream. 😁
The loop round the Marina takes in several pieces of public art ( in fact there are twenty in total) , also a few restaurants and bars, a convenience store or two and the RNLI shop near the old pier. All in all a pleasant way to spend a couple of hours.
Hello and welcome to a Sunday Sevens. This is a collection of seven or more photos from my week. Exciting stuff eh!
Coffee Table ~ We have acquired a coffee table at last! I can’t tell you how fantastic it is to have somewhere proper to pop my brew/wine instead of the floor. Hurrah! Also it’s great for displaying my cacti coaster tree. 🙂
Rhubarb Cleaner ~ Thanks to my friend Jo for gifting me a bottle of ……. Method Anti-Bac wild rhubarb cleaner. The kitchen smells so delicious ly rhubarby after cleaning. And as a big fan of all things rhubarb, I can’t tell you how happy this makes me. 😁 Method Anti-Bac is probably available at most supermarkets. Jo bought it from Booths.
Cheese Easter Egg! ~ Speaking of Booths, Wil found his perfect Easter Egg there. It’s not chocolate, it’s cheese. 🙂
Waffles and a Walk ~ The kids are off school for the Easter break ,so enjoyed scrumptious chocolate waffles at The Chocolate Works in town on Friday, followed by a canal side walk at East Marten near Skipton with my sister and niece & nephew.
Yesterday Wil, Hugo and I did a pub walk to The Red Pump Inn in the village of Bashall eaves. Hugo decided to snaffle down quite a few sheep poops. We suffered his stinky trumps all evening.
Dog friendly hikes and exploring, mostly around New England. Our Adventures includes: waterfalls, the beach, conservation land, lighthouses, state parks, the woods, the mountains, statues, and castles.
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