Ready for a gentle wander around Whalley? Here are a few photos from Sunday mornings stroll around this attractive Ribble Valley village, a couple of miles from my hometown of Clitheroe.
We parked near the impressive 48 arches of the red and blue bricked viaduct that spans the river Calder. Whalley Viaduct is the longest railway bridge in Lancashire and if you travel from Blackburn to Clitheroe by train, you will cross this impressive structure.
Nearby is the fourteenth century Whalley Abbey Gatehouse which belonged to the Cistercian abbey in the village. I can almost imagine the monks passing through the archway.
If you look closely in the trees around Whalley you may be surprised to see some life-like bird sculptures. Delighting those who spy them amongst the greenery, the wrens are lovingly handcrafted by a lady in the village. Most are sweet little wrens , but you never know who could be watching you from above.
A spot of quiet contemplation ? The peaceful garden of the English Church Of Martyrs nextdoor to Whalley Abbey is dotted with benches, full of flowers and there are several religious statues.
We head to the River Calder via the pretty stone terraces on Calder Vale.
Whalley Weir is a man made weir on the river and is said to be the reason why the monks of Whalley chose this spot for their abbey. It’s a tranquil place to watch the ducks. 🦆
Back in the village and here is the Old Grammar School, now used as a pre school and for adult education. The War memorial is a focal point.
Whalley has many independent shops and cafes, no shortage of places to stop for a brew. We headed over to Cafe Autisan at Whalley Abbey. They do a wonderful rocky road, demolished before I remembered that I should of taken a photograph. 🤣
Hope you enjoyed my bumble around a popular Ribble Valley village. 💖
If you were to ever visit the Northumberland town of Haltwhistle and didn’t already know of it’s proud claim to be ‘ the centre of Britain ‘ you would no doubt very soon find out. For this quirky market town has a Centre Of Britain Sweet shop, a Centre of Britain launderette, a Centre of Britain Army Surplus store and a Centre of Britain Hotel, to name but a few of the local businesses. Strolling down the high street here , we definitely felt like we were in the middle of the kingdom! However , coming from a little further South in Lancashire, I know that the true centre of Britain lies 71 miles away near the Trough Of Bowland village of Dunsop Bridge. 😀
Our visit to the town coincided with rumbling tummies, we found the perfect pit stop in the cobbled market square. Brew Bar is definitely the place to go for coffee, brunch and people watching. It looks like a cracking little night time venue too.
Hopefully we will be back to explore Haltwhistle further. The area is rooted in Hadrian’s Wall country, there are several Roman forts to visit and the town is ideally located for finding them.
For now though, here are some photos of our gentle amble alongside Haltwhistle Burn which is a well signposted waterside walk through Burn Gauge , packed full of wildlife and signs of the town’s industrial heritage. The path that runs aside the beck was once a narrow gauge steam railway.
The path eventually opens out onto a limestone meadow, before heading onwards towards Hadrian’s Wall, which I am sure we will add onto a future walk.
Have you ever visited one of Britain’s Centres of the kingdom?
With staycations high on the agenda this year, Wil put the gift cards he received for his 50th birthday towards a couple of nights away in the pretty South Lakeland town of Kirkby Lonsdale . Luckily he invited Hugo and I along too. 😉
Kirkby Lonsdale lies at the edge of the Lake District , retains a Carnforth postcode from its former Lancashire days and is minutes away from the Yorkshire Dales National Park too. An excellent base for lots of exploring then!
The town itself is incredibly picturesque with plenty of old inns, fantastic eateries and quirky independent shops. It’s also very dog friendly, which is great when your holidaying with a certain lovable labrador. 🐾
We stayed in the very accomodating Royal Hotel opposite the Market Square. This elegant Georgian townhouse has tastefully furnished rooms and friendly approachable staff. We couldn’t fault it!
Though to be fair all the local businesses in Kirkby Lonsdale are super friendly and very happy to be recieving visitors once again. 🙂
After arriving and checking in at The Royal on Friday evening we took Hugo for a walk through town and headed straight out for a couple of drinks. Fortunately we managed to find seats without booking ( hurrah!) , everywhere was buzzing but not rammed. We especially liked the warm local feel of The Orange Tree and those good vibes in The King’s Arms .
I took a couple of Summer evening photographs of the town between pubs.
Saturday promised to be a scorcher of a day . After a tasty breakfast at the hotel we went for a wander before the shops opened and then took Hugo for a walk along the river Lune.
The nearby River Lune is spanned by the three arched Devils Bridge and is an attractive riverside amble from the town. The bridge is a popular spot with motorcyclists and there is a long established butty & brew van that always does a roaring trade. We also saw two guys being egged on by friends to dive off the bridge…and they did! It’s a well known dare spot for such jumps, but probably shouldn’t be encouraged. 🙏
In the afternoon we decided to drive to nearby Sizegh Castle . The National Trust property was pretty busy, but the estate is so large, it is quite easy to avoid people. Dogs are unfortunately not allowed in the gardens but are permitted in the cafe and within the grounds. We ended up walking a good eight miles or so around the estate. Phew!
Once back in Kirkby Lonsdale we needed an ice cream to cool down. A long queue was forming outside The Milking Parlour on Jingling Lane. Although this new ice cream shop has very positive reviews, we were keen to jump the queues. Chocolat on New Road is a delightful little chocolatier that also sells deliciously decadent ice cream. They were so good!
After all the walking and the ice cream treats we headed back to the hotel for a while. We reemerged later for another night out , having booked a table at a lovely restaurant called Plato’s . The food here was excellent and the staff made a big fuss of Hugo. We also had a couple of drinks in local brewery tap house The Royal Barn ~ my favourite tipple was the rhubarb flavoured Rosie Pig Cider. 🐷
On Sunday morning it was time to check out of our hotel after breakfast. We had such an enjoyable stay, stopping in the Royal had been a great experience. The whole town is loving recieving visitors once again. 💗
Before heading home we drove thirty minutes to the coast for a walk along the foreshore at Hest Bank near Morecambe. It felt good to take in the sea air and enjoy the vast views of Morecambe Bay.
There is free shoreside car parking over the level crossing at Hest Bank and a couple of cafe options on route between there and Bolton Le Sands. Lots more in Morecambe.
A lovely lady from the village offered to show me the whereabouts of a quite rare species of primrose at the weekend. Leaving Wil to chill at the caravan , I met Linda by the pub and we headed along my favourite bridleway ,which connects the Eden Valley settlements of Melmerby, Gamblesby and Unthank. The flowers are growing on private land but luckily my guide knows the land owner.
I’m glad the weather has been dry recently because we ended up walking over quite a bit of soggy ground. In the adjoining field some young bulls were having fun chasing a group of ponies , then a hare. They also showed an interest in two crazy women cautiously navigating a bog. 🤣
Not to be put off by the curious cattle Linda forged ahead and we soon came upon an abundance of wild flowers. Now some of my photos turned out pretty blurry. I blame the bulls, the bog and the bright sunshine!
What we came to see of course were the Birds – Eye Primroses. And they did not disappoint. Linda was happy to see that the pretty pink flowers had spread their territory a little further….over the brook and into the bull field. Happily we remained where we were. 😊
Favouring both bog and limestone, the conditions here seems to be perfect for these rare members of the primrose family. The Birds-Eye Primrose tends to be found in the North and flowers in June & July. What beauties. So glad they are thriving in a tiny corner of The Eden Valley. 💗
A holiday happened! We have not long since returned from a week by the sea. A few years ago we visited the North Norfolk Coast and hoped that one day we would go back. Happily we managed to do just that last week. It was great to get away to such a beautiful part of England. The sea air was a tonic! Below are a few places we visited, often by using the very handy Coasthopper Bus service.
Brancaster & Brancaster Staithe.
These two adjoining fishing villages were our base for exploring. Both are in an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, the National Trust looks after the beaches here. Hugo loved the vast stretches of sand and I was forever scanning the saltmarsh for interesting waterbirds. My favourite breakfast spot was marshside at the White Horse pub, from where you can watch skeins of geese taking off. We found our own secret seal colony when walking on the beach too. 💗
We spent an afternoon on the seafront in the traditional seaside town of Sheringham. With its pops of colour on the promenade ( vibrant murals and rainbow painted beach huts) its a smiley seaside resort. The sandy beach after the huts is dog friendly. 🐾
A mile inland from the coast is one of a number of villages called Burnham. This Burnham is full of trendy shops & eateries, looking over a village green. I did remark to Wil that it looks the kind of place where you might find ‘ Made in Chelsea’ being filmed. And researching this post did provide me with the information that the villages nick name is ‘ Chelsea on Sea’ . Fancy that!
Cley Next The Sea.
Keen birders will have heard about Cley. The marshland between the village and the sea is a renowned Nature Reserve, home to many rare species of birdlife including Pied Avocet, Bittern and Bearded Tit. There is also an impressive 18th Century Windmill ( presently a lovely looking b & b ) and various shops, cafes and galleries. Cley does have a shingle beach, from where you can walk to nearby Salthouse. 🦆
Just up the coast from Cley Next The Sea, Salthouse is perhaps it’s quieter counterpart, yet still boasting miles of wildlife packed salt marsh and shingle beach. We spent a lovely afternoon here enjoying some slightly warmer temperatures and fresh tasty seafood. We can recommend the Dun Cow for lunch and I loved the book & gift selection in The Salthouse Store. 🐚
Wells Next The Sea.
If like me you can’t get enough of Beach Huts then the charming seaside town of Wells Next The Sea is a must visit. After perusing the quaint gift shops on Staithe Street take a quay side walk to Wells beautiful golden sandy beach. It’s made all the lovelier by a pine forest backdrop and stunning array of colourful huts. I was memorised. The beach like many in North Norfolk welcomes four legged friends. 🦀
Hunstanton & Old Hunstanton.
On our previous visit to the North Norfolk Coast we stayed in the family friendly resort of Hunstanton, known as ‘ Sunny Hunny’ to optimistic holiday makers. We just had to revisit and walk along the beach to neighboring Old Hunstanton.
Of course there are lots more places to explore in North Norfolk and what’s above are only a small selection.
We loved the big skies and the stunning variety of coastline. I think Hugo did too. 🙂
Got a bluebell fix on the way home from the van on Sunday. We stopped off at the pretty village of Barbon which happens to be located in both South Lakeland and within the Yorkshire Dales National Park. To my delight a nearby woodland was packed with vivid blue bluebells and other spring flowers.
We hadn’t visited Barbon before. It’s attractions include a cheeseshop/cafe and a thrice yearly car race called the Barbon Hill Climb.
Have you walked amongst the bluebells this year? Head to Barbon whilst the colours are at their best. 💙
I think we can safely say that our caravan in Melmerby is fast becoming our second home. Now that England is coming out of lockdown restrictions, we are hoping to spend more time there, hopefully at least two weekends a month. There’s still so much of the Eden Valley to be explored, not least from our own doorstep. Never one to suggest a hike up a hill, I left it to Wil to persuade me that a fell walk from Melmerby on a clear Spring day was a good idea. 🙂
After breakfast at the van, we set off from the village, following a well defined track up through woodland and into the hills. And there are plenty of hills! Melmerby sits at the foot of the mighty North Pennines.
Eventually after a lot of lagging behind I caught Wil and Hugo up. The views are extraordinary , with the Lake District fells and even the sea in sight on a clear day.
Now there are several summits in the fells above Melmerby. And Melmerby Fell is certainly one of the bigger ones at 709 metres ( not that much shorter than two of the Yorkshire 3 Peaks, and higher than Pen Y Ghent ) but sorting which cairn or trig belongs to which fell is a bit tricky.
Up on the tops the weather had turned from t shirt weather to something a bit more wild and cold. It even tried to snow! We soldiered on along the Maiden Way, a Roman road later used as a Drovers route.
We made our descent by following an old tramway , now almost given back to nature. It leads down to a large lime kiln by Ardale Beck. I think the kiln looks like a miniature castle. And then on to Townhead, Ousby.
The final part of our walk took us along pretty country lanes from Ousby back to Melmerby.
In the end I was glad that Wil persuaded me to join him on this hike up Melmerby fell. 🙂
At the weekend we made our first trip of the year to stay over at the caravan. 🥰 We decided to deviate from our normal route up the M6 after Kirkby Lonsdale. Instead we meandered through the Dales and into the Eden Valley via the charming town of Sedburgh, nestling at the foot of the Howgills. This part of the Yorkshire Dales is pretty new to us, we usually only view the Howgills from the motorway. Alfred Wainwright once described the fells as ‘ looking like a herd of sleeping elephants’. 🐘🐘🐘
After parking in the town we made our way to the River Rawthey. It was certainly turning out to be a beautiful Spring day.
Presently we came to a field where three Highland cows were residing. They seemed completely happy for us to pass by. Very chilled in the morning sunshine.
I had a plan of course! A little further on along the Rawthey I had read of an old Victorian Wool Mill. Farfield Mill hosts art & craft exhibitions, has a shop and a tearoom ,presently open as a takeaway with tables outside.
Heading back now along the river, there are more cute livestock to see. 🙂
So Sedburgh Is England’s Book Town and has more second hand book shops than Birmingham apparently!
After buying some bread from the Three Hares Cafe Bakery, it was time for us to continue on to our van in the equally lovely Eden Valley. I am sure we will be visiting Sedburgh and the surrounding area again soon though. 🙂
The weather is so surprising at the moment. Blue skies then snow. Warm sunshine. Then snow. And repeat.
I am wondering what to wear for a week night beer garden drink. Looking in my wardrobe, I seriously haven’t bought any new going out clothes since 2019! Pjamas ~ yes. Walking pants~ yes. But no new tops or dresses. However I suspect I will still be frequenting my warm puffa jacket for any approaching social activities!
At present social activities still revolve around walking, so here are some photos from yesterday’s walk along the river to Chatburn and back. A repeat of a post I did earlier in the year, but a little more wildlife on display. 🙂
Recently Hugo and I have spent a lot of time treading the boardwalks…..at the new Nature Reserve in town. Primrose Nature Reserve has opened at last! What was once an overgrown wasteland containing a mill lodge of stagnant water has been transformed, with walkways, a viewing platform and even a Monet style bridge spanning Mearley Brook. A fish pass has been installed close to the old Primrose Mill to allow salmon, trout and eels to travel upstream and gallons of silt has been removed from the lodge. I have taken a few photos which I hope will give a feel for the place. The reserve is suitable for wheel chairs, push chairs and prams and it doesn’t take very long to walk through.
To view the fish pass you have to walk up Woone Lane to the top of the nature reserve and you will be able to see it from the road next to Primrose Mill. At the moment the mill is being turned into apartments so whilst renovations are going on, here’s a photo from Instagram.
I am looking forward to the changing seasons ,to see how the area becomes established. I think the reserve is a lovely little addition to Clitheroe. A wild space in an urban landscape. 😊
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