Category Archives: walks

A Wainwright & A Walk Before Noon. 🥾

Sunday saw us getting up bright and early ( ok, definitely less bright than early!) in the hope of catching the sunrise from the top of Hallin Fell. One of the more diminutive Wainwright climbs at 388 metres, Hallin makes up for it’s stature with impressive views of Ullswater lake and it’s surrounding peaks.

We arrived at the little car park by St Peters Church in Martindale very early. In fact it was pitch dark. And the car park was almost full! There were a few overnighting camper vans and other cars possibly belonging to people wild camping out on the fell.

It takes about 40 minutes to walk to the trig point on a clearly defined path. At 5-30am in the morning it looked like we were the first folk heading up there. The views were totally worth the early get up. But unfortunately the sun deemed to stay behind a cloud.

Spot the tent. 🏕️

We enjoyed a flask of coffee and croissants at the top of Hallin Fell, drinking in the stunning vistas. It was calm and still with only a very gentle breeze. This was my 6th Wainwright fell and Hugo’s sixth too, on his 6th Birthday weekend.

Before heading back to the caravan we had a little look in the churchyard of St Peters at the bottom of the fell. There is still a monthly service there apparently. Noticed this grave stone adorned with an anchor.

As we left a few other folk were awake, drinking morning brews and maybe contemplating an early walk to the top.

Kirkoswald and Raven Beck Wander.

It was still early morning so after a chill at the caravan we drove the short distance to the Eden valley village of Kirkoswald. The village is named after the church of St Oswald. Oswald was a King of Northumbria in the 7th century. We took Hugo for a walk along Raven Beck, bought supplies from Raven Bridge Stores and I generally kept an eye out for ravens , though I didn’t see any. 😚

The cobbled market Square and cross.
Fetherston Arms.
Another raven name.
Ginger Tom.
Wildlife board alongside Raven Beck.
Woodland path.
Raven Beck.
Hidden tree den.

Raven Bridge Stores.
Water Wheel in the village.
Thatched cottage.
Herdwick sheep.
Treated ourselves to some jam & chutney.

By Noon we were ready for a relaxing afternoon at the caravan. It had been a really enjoyable morning.

❤️

Whalley Abbey Wander.

Another weekend walk from home. On Sunday we decided to venture from Clitheroe to the nearby village of Whalley, via an old Roman road. The route took us 4 miles through muddy fields, eventually passing under a handsome red brick viaduct into Whalley. We found the cafe at Whalley Abbey was open for take away ( hurrah) and ate our lunch on the benches outside.

As I was meeting friends that afternoon I decided to chance it and catch the bus back, whilst Wil walked home with Hugo. Even though Whalley Abbey is practically on my doorstep, I have never actually explored the grounds. Well , they are beautiful. Can’t believe I haven’t taken time to look around this tranquil hidden gem in Whalley before. Unfortunately I only had about 20 minutes to whizz round taking photos before my bus arrived….so I will have to return and take my time. Whalley Abbey deserves a closer look.

Community woodland at Standen Hey.
Hugo finds a stick.
An old cross base.
Oak trees.

I thought the above few photos show the prettiest part of the walk. You can almost envisage the peddlers and horses & carts that wandered between Whalley and Clitheroe in days gone by.

Totem Pole in the woodland by Calderstone’s park.
Heading through the fields.
Obligatary cows.
Whalley Viaduct.
The abbey’s oldest building is The Gatehouse , it spans a narrow lane into Whalley.

The 49 red brick arches of Whalley Viaduct are a prominent feature in the village. Even these are overshadowed though by the former 14th century Cistercian abbey and it’s pretty gardens.

In 1296 Monks from the flooded Stanlow Abbey in Cheshire relocated to Whalley and work was started on building the monastery on the banks of the river Calder. It became one of the wealthiest abbey’s in the country, eventually dissolved in the reign of Henry VIII.

Below are some images of the abbey grounds. The later Elizabethan buildings are now used as a religious retreat.

It seemed that no time had passed before I had to hurry for the bus. At least I got to admire the beautiful stainless steel sculpture of Three Fishes near the bus stop. The fish possibly represent the three rivers in the area, the Calder, Hodder and Ribble.

Tudor style houses in the village.
Whose looking in my window…
Three Fishes Sculpture.

Do you have any abbey remains near you?

Back On The Tolkien Trail. 🧙‍♂️🥾

Although I’ve posted about The Tolkien Trail on my blog before, I walked it again recently with my sister and family, and thought it worth another look. Undoubtedly this tranquil area of Lancashire inspired J. R. R. Tolkien , he often stayed here whilst visiting his son John who attended Stonyhurst College. The Lord Of The Rings author enjoyed walking in the lovely leafy Hurst Green countryside and local place names and landmarks made it into his writings.

On this occasion we followed the route starting at The Shireburn Arms , the 17th century Inn was named after the rich land owning Shireburn family. A river Shirebourn features in The Lord Of The Rings.

Hurst Green village centre.
A Tolkien quote near The Shireburn Arms.
A glorious clump of Purple Loosestrife. ❤️
Aqueduct.

Our walk very nearly got abandoned. At this point we were meant to be following the riverside but a herd of frisky cows showed too much interest in Hugo the Labrador. We made a hasty retreat up a hill and managed to rejoin the river later.

A house called ‘ Jumbles’ named after Jumbles’ rocks, pertruding stones in the river Ribble.
River depth gage.
Hugo.
Hacking Hall in the background.

The heavens kept opening ( and the sun shone too! ) as we followed the trail. To be honest the walk could really benefit from a few Lord of the Rings inspired sculptures or scribbles along the route, I reckon. Anyway above is Hacking Hall from where the Hacking Ferry boat still operated in Tolkien’s time at Stonyhurst. The ferry was possibly the inspiration for his ‘ Bucklebury Ferry’ .

This old oak is mentioned in The Woodland Trusts Ancient Tree Inventory.
Winckley Hall Farm.
Tree climbers.
Cromwell’s Bridge from Lower Hodder.

Cromwell’s Bridge over the river Hodder may have been the inspiration for Tolkien’s ‘ Brandywine’ bridge. It is named after Oliver Cromwell ,who along with his troops rode over the skinny stone structure, on their way from Gisburn to The Battle of Preston. We followed the riverside up through shady woodland past Hodder court.

Corn crops a long the Holder.
Cuckoo Pint Berry Stalks.
Windey path through the woods.
Up above.
Stepping out.

Eventually we ended up in the grounds of Stonyhurst college, though I didn’t manage to get many photos. And then back to the car parked in Hurst Green. The trail covered 6 or 7 miles in total.

Stonyhurst college grounds from behind.
Alm houses in Hurst Green.

I must confess I have never read any Tolkien, though I enjoyed watching The Lord Of The Rings films. When walking the trail you probably need to research the areas connections beforehand, as there is no signage or information on the route. Nevertheless this was an enjoyable hike around a lovely area. 🥾

Here is a recent post from The Bowland Climber who was in the area too.

The Tolkien Trail can be downloaded online and can be found in numerous local walk books. I used…

Walks Around Clitheroe ~ Terry Marsh.

A Weekend In Ravenglass & Eskdale.

Back in January a group of friends booked a holiday cottage on the Cumbrian coast. Little did we know then what a strange turn of events would unfold in 2020. A global pandemic would envelop the world, like something out of a Sci Fi film. We were definitely thankful that we had arranged our mini break for August in Ravenglass….and happily for us , it could still go ahead. Fortunately this little corner of the Lake District is relatively quiet and social distancing was easy. We also had amazing weather, which always helps. 😎

Looking over to Ravenglass.

Sunshine & Sunsets. So it was that 6 adults, 2 children and 2 dogs spent a happy 3 nights in lovely Ravenglass. Friday was enjoyed mostly on the beach in front of the cottage and admiring an incredible sunset from the balcony. One friend brought a Water Bottle Rocket 🚀 whose launches into the sky gave us endless entertainment on the sand.

Life’s A Beach.

Launching A Bottle Rocket.
Balcony view.
A Glorious Sunset.

A Ratty Trip , Walk To Eel Tarn & Wild Swimming. You can’t visit Ravenglass in the Summer without a ride on The Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway. Affectionately known as La’al Ratty, this narrow steam gauge railway takes passengers into the seriously scenic Eskdale Valley. We booked return tickets to Dalegarth Station near Boot, from where there are plentiful beautiful riverside and fell walks. Face coverings were advised though not enforced on the platform and inside covered carriages.

Our plan was to walk to a remote tarn for some wild swimming. However as stunning as the hike was, Eel Tarn itself wasn’t really suitable for water pursuits. Surrounded by boggy marsh, only Hugo the Labrador managed to spring in there for a cooling off doggy paddle. However the kids had discovered a promising looking waterfall pool in Whillan Beck , which we managed to visit later.

All aboard.

Eskdale Mill.
Whillan Beck Waterfall pool behind Eskdale Mill.
Sign to Eel Tarn and Scarfell Pike.
Heading up the fell.
Distant cattle.
Eel Tarn.
Picnic lunch.
Stone Peat Hut ruins.
Spot the Herdwick’s.
Direction to the pub.
A choice of destinations to head to from the Woolpack .
🐻 Bear at the Woolpack.
Time for a swim in the waterfall pool behind Eskdale Mill.

Saturday was a really hot day so the cool clear water in the beck was just perfect for swimming in. We had it all to ourselves too. As we left a local family arrived, the father had been coming to the waterfall for 40 years. To us it was an accidental ( and totally wonderful) discovery.

Eskmeals Nature Reserve. Having visited Ravenglass several times now, I hadn’t actually realised that the dunes I had seen on the other side of the estuary are part of Eskmeals Nature Reserve . We decided to visit here on Sunday for a walk. The dunes are home to rare natterjack toads ( we didn’t see any though) and many species of wildflower. There is parking by the viaduct at nearby Waberthwaite. Look out for a yellow flag. If it is flying the adjoining MOD land is in use.

Entrance to the reserve.
⛵ Boat.
Almost deserted beach.

Barrel jellyfish.
Sea Buckthorn.
We came across this pebble Union Jack in the sand.
Pebbles galore on a shingle spit.

A Few More Images From Ravenglass.

Tranquil waters.
Ravenglass has been a Roman port and was also visited by Vikings.
On a garden wall.
Hugo and yacht.
Little Egret.
The Queen wears a face mask in The Ratty Arms.
Anchor.
Bladderwrack seaweed.
A sea plane on the beach.

As we were leaving Ravenglass on Monday morning a man was setting up his sea plane for a 40 minute journey to a lochside cafe near Dumfries for a coffee. Can’t be bad!

Have you ever visited any places mentioned in this post?

🐚

Salthill Quarry Nature Reserve ~ August. 🦋🌼

Melilot.

Somehow I didn’t get up to my local reserve in July, but I have had two wanders round Salthill Quarry Nature Reserve recently. Lots of wildflowers still blooming, including a couple of ‘ new to me’ ones. I also took part in the Big Butterfly Count 🦋 , there is still time to submit your sightings. 2020 has been a bumper year for people taking part apparently.

Rosebay Willowherb.
Ox- Eye Daisy.
Yarrow. Pretty in pink.
Agrimony.
Small Tortoishell on Marjoram. For me Small Tortoishells have been the butterfly of 2020. Never seen so many.
The Wintergreens are still thriving.

Field Scabious.
Carline Thistle.
Red Admiral.
On the verge.
Great Burnett.
Eyebright.
Ragwort.
Skipper.
A ruffled looking rook.
Autumn Gentian/ Felwort.

Have a lovely weekend. 🦋

Melmerby & Ousby Circular walk.

Here are a few images from a 5 mile walk we did on Saturday in The Eden Valley. This is a nice walk in some parts, but we definitely had issues with some very lively cattle, and had to keep making diversions to avoid them. I love cows the most when they are snoozy, and not galloping down a field toward you. 🤪

Also, we had to finish the planned route by road ,as the crops in a cornfield we would have walked through ( on a public footpath) were being collected. It was a peaceful country road though, so not so bad.

We walked through Melmerby, passing rosy stone buildings such as this, the village store.
And a bee friendly area, not for mowing.
A pretty pink poppy, buzzing bee inside.
Bluetit on umbelifer.
A track that takes you up the fell.
But we turned right for Gale Hall.
And were passed by a trailer of bales.
Lane to Gale Hall.
Unsurprisingly Gale Hall is a farmhouse.
A calm cow. Unfortunately I didn’t think to get photos of the lively ones.
Think we are safe from cow stampedes in this field!
Distant crops.
I wondered what a Texas Gate is? It is in fact a cattle grid.
Pony who came for a pat.
Pretty pink mallows.
Feverfew.
Postbox in the Row, a part of the straggling village of Ousby.
Sheep being herded in Ousby.
Foxy pub sign.
A Robins Pincushion, which are created by a Gall wasp on wild rose bushes.
Once back in Melmerby I find a pretty painted pebble. 🙂

Parts of this walk weren’t great, but I did get some nice photos from it at least. 😊

A week At The Caravan.

I feel like it’s been a while since I posted.  We recently had a week away at the caravan, which for my other half was a much needed break ,  having worked continuously through lockdown. A holiday we booked in Northumberland was cancelled , so I think this year we will try to make the most of our own holiday home. I know we are very lucky to have it !

Here is a quick round-up of what we got up to.  We are based in the beautiful Eden Valley, which is a rather undiscovered part of Cumbria. I love where we are as there is so much to explore nearby.


Chilling At The Van.  Of course we made a bit of time for relaxing as well. We are fortunate to have a large decking area ( probably three or four times bigger than our little yard at home) ,so it was always nice to sit out and enjoy the sunshine with a glass of wine…..or two. 😁


Langwathby Riverside Walk.  An Eden Valley walk we often enjoy with Hugo is The Ladies Walk from Langwathby, through Edenhall village & back. The circular route is 3 miles long and takes in lots of gorgeous wildflowers, a couple of sculptures, a Celtic cross and pretty cornfields, as well as the lovely river Eden of course. We even enjoyed coffees and flapjacks on the green at the end from Saddleback’s cafe , a converted horsebox.


Eycott Hill Nature Reserve.  Oh my goodness, I was in my element here!  Eycott Hill near Penrith is run by the Cumbrian Wildlife Trust..and it is such a beautiful place. Sadly I forgot my actual camera, and only had my phone camera to hand, so trying to take photos of all the wonderful wildlife proved impossible. But I did see lots of beautiful wildflowers including Grass of Parnassus, Bog Asphodel & Marsh Cinqefoil, as well as various butterflies and moths. There are Belted Galloway cattle grazing here and views of the surrounding Lakeland  mountains. Dogs are welcome on leads.



Marmalade March.  Having just looked up Marmalade March online, apparently it’s a track by the psychedelic porn crumpets. Who knew! It is also an alternative name for the Dalemain Loop, an extension of  The Ullswater Way, which is a twenty mile walkable route round Ullswater. I’m not quite up to that yet, so the five mile Marmalade March was undertaken instead. Dalemain ( an Eden Valley country house famed for its annual marmalade festival) was an excellent rest stop mid way, and we made sure to check on the gnarly stone  Dacre churchyard bears as well. 🐻


Cow Green Reservoir & Cauldron Snout. The caravan is on a site at the foot of the steep Hartside Pass, which resides in the North Pennines AONB. Over that hill lies more beautiful rugged terrain to explore, as Cumbria eventually turns into County Durham. The border between the two counties runs straight through the centre of the Cow Green Reservoir and the area is home to rare wildlife, such as  Golden Plover. A track takes visitors past the dam and to the top of Cauldron Snout, which is apparently England’s highest waterfall. Even on a bleak day, there was much wild beauty to take in.


Skiddaw Summit. Oh my, did my poor legs suffer after walking ( or should I say crawling) up Skiddaw. This was my 5th Wainwright, and by far the highest at 900 plus metres. Unfortunately we picked the worse day to do it, as a dense fog obscured any views. We ended up dripping wet from the fog and Hugo almost turned white. 😮 Was still worth it though!


Allonby on the  Cumbrian Coast.  It isn’t a holiday without going to the seaside, I say.  A sunny Saturday meant a trip to the coast. 😊We chose Allonby,  as it has a great beach for dog walking and we were looking forward to fish & chips. The Cod father didn’t disappoint.

So there you have it. Can’t wait to go back to the van in September for a week, and there will hopefully be a couple of weekends before then too.

Thanks for dropping by.

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. 🥾

Clitheroe, Pendleton & Worston Walk.

Recent times have given me opportunity to explore new walks in my local area and also revisit places from my past. Although I live in a small market town, I grew up in the countryside. Of course at 17 I was only to happy to move away to ‘the big City’ , that’s what Clitheroe felt like to a country bumpkin like me back then. 🙂 I will never forget my farming roots though , as much as I love living somewhere with shops, pubs and friends, I do still feel at home clomping round the fields.

This is a walk from Clitheroe, through the pretty village of Pendleton, passing the farm I grew up on at the foot of Pendle Hill and taking in the small village of Worston. Most of the route has featured on my blog before at various times, but there’s usually something new to spot.

A woodland path past Standen Hall.

After crossing the A59 we walk into Pendleton. Lots of old cottages here.

And a pub called The Swan With Two Necks which is currently selling take way ales.

Pendleton is called ‘ Peniltune’ in the Domesday book.

Love this bright red gate. ❤️

Time to cross the road.

Heading through one of the farms in the hamlet of Mearley.

A sign for a new ( ish ) holiday let in Mearley.

Sunbathing cows.

Knowle Top farm looking down over Mearley.

Hugo and stick.

Mearley.

Little Mearley Hall where I grew up, at the foot of Pendle Hill.

Worsaw Hill in the distance.

Orange Hawkweed aka Fox & Cubs ,on the grass verges.

Interesting gate sign in Worston village.

Pendle Hill from Worston.

Rockery garden in Worston.

Honesty box eggs.

My first photo of a hare!

Little & Large. ❤️

Thanks for joining us on another local stroll.

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. ❤️