Category Archives: wildlife

Hawthorns November Photo Scavenger Hunt.

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 passenger seat 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.

Thanks for dropping by.🥰

A Trawden & Wycoller Walk inspired by the Brontes.

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 ruins of Wycollar Hall.

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.

Trawden Arms Pub.
What Ewe Lookin At? ~ my go to caption for sheep.
Cuddly Llamas.
Collie guard.
The grass is always greener…
Donkey duo.

We followed Trawden Brook up to Lumb Spout , once a popular Victorian beauty spot.

If nothing else, 2020 has been my year for finding Waxcaps.
Not the best photo of Lumb Spout.

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.

Stone Clapper Bridge.
A bracket fungi.

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.

Wycoller Hall.
Wycoller.
Wycoller.

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!

Wycoller Moggie.
A pulpit style.
Trumpet Lichen.
Pendle Hill view ~ Pendle always seems to sneek into view on our walks.
A farm cottage toward the end of our hike.

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….

X

A Ribchester Ramble.

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. 😁

An old cottage in Ribchester.
Love this Autumnal wreath.
Corpse Bride.
Pub sign for the White Bull.

We left the village by following the private road to Parsonage farm , where a bridleway took us into waterlogged fields.

Parsonage Farm.
Hugo loved this rainwater pond.
View through the trees.

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.

Beef cows at Butchers Fold.
Butchers Fold.
Someone’s watching me…
Look out for those ducks.

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!

Hothersall Lane.
Autumn Leaves.
Hothersall Hall.

We climbed uphill to some trees and there were great views over the Ribble.

Hugo watching us eat sandwiches….
Heading downhill.
Fungi on a tree.
Spot the fieldfare. ❤️

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.

Fishing on the Ribble.
Love this house gateway.
St Wilfred’s Church, one of four local churches here.
Ribchester Roman Museum.
A column depicting Ribchester’s history.
Potters Barn Cafe is open for takeaways. I can recommend the cake. 🍰
Roman Bath House remains.
Roman Bath House remains.

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.

A Washed Out Witchy Wander.

My sister, niece and nephew and I ( and Hugo, of course) had planned to do the Walking With Witches Trail , a 4 mile loop starting at Barley Car Park. The pretty villages of Barley, Newchurch and Roughlee lie in the shadow of Pendle Hill. The area is famed for its spooky associations with The Pendle Witches , a group of individuals who in the 1600s were sentenced to death for witchcraft. Of course the day we set off on our witchy wander it was chucking it down with rain and the foreboding bulk of Pendle Hill was enveloped in mist.

We only managed to follow the trail from Barley to nearby Newchurch over boggy fields, before calling it a day and turning back. I didn’t take many photos, but still thought I would share with you what we did see between showers. The scarlet and yellow waxy cap mushrooms we spied along the way are a fairly good indicator of ancient meadowlands.

Newchurch is named after its ‘ new church’ of St Mary’s consecrated in 1554. The west side of the churches tower is unusual for its Eye Of God. Can you see it? Maybe the eye was there to watch over the locals, more likely it was used as a window by the bell-ringers, so they could view approaching service goers. Whichever, it is a little bit spooky on a grey Lancashire day.

St Mary’s Church with its Eye Of God.
Leaning head stones in the churchyard.

To the right of the churches porch is a Nutter family grave, inscribed with a skull and crossbones, athough it is unlikely that Alice Nutter herself was buried here. Alice Nutter was a land owning gentlewoman from nearby Roughlee. She had been involved in a boundary dispute with her neighbor , local magistrate Christopher Nowell. Maybe the dispute was easily solved when Alice herself was conveniently found to be one of the 12 people in the area sentenced to death for witchcraft.

Nutter family grave.
It is unlikely Alice was buried here as ‘ witches’ were not buried in consecrated ground.

Although the superstitious times of the 17th century are thankfully over, there is a little shop in Newchurch that sells all things witchy, so we couldn’t resist a mooch…and shelter from the rain.

Snap of Witches Galore from their website.

Inside Witches Galore there is certainly plenty to look at. My sister purchased a painted Pendle witch pebble and as for myself? An ornamental toadstool. 🙂

Witches above.
Witches all around.

If only we could have used Pendle Transport ( broomsticks!) for our journey back to the car. We settled on walking to Barley along the road instead of through the muddy fields. Another time we will do the whole Walking With Witches Trail. There is so much more to explore!

🧙‍♀️🎃

Autumn walk to Dunsop Bridge. 🍄🥾🍁

We joined my sister and kids for a walk along the river Hodder into Dunsop Bridge, a village that claims to be at the very centre of the UK. Lots of Autumn colours and plenty of fungi finds too. We parked by the stone bridge over the river just outside Whitewell.

River Hodder.
Pheasant.
A Lonk Tup.
A mushroom that looks like a small fried egg.
Bridge over the Hodder.
My sister navigates a wonky bridge.
Riverside.
One of two stone otters by the river outside Thorneyholme Hall.
Another bridge, near Thorneyholme Hall.
Honey Fungi, possibly.
Thorneyholme Hall, currently empty I think.
More unidentified Fungi.
And more amongst the leaves.
https://www.ribblevalley-e-bikes.co.uk/ opened in the village over Lockdown.
Anyone know what this is by the bridge?
Fun in the leaves.
Shaggy Inkcap.
Hello Ewe.
On our way back we crossed over the bridge. However if you have a dog, you may have to carry your pooch over, due to the holes in it. 🙃
Another Hodder view.
Autumn colours.
Walking back to the car.

This walk was a very enjoyable 4 miles, with a brew and biscuits bought from Puddleducks Tea Room in the village,which is presently operating as a take away. I think we will return 🙂

Garrigill to Ashgill Force walk 🥾🍁

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.

St John’s Church.
Village Green.
George and Dragon sign.

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!

Climb the slippy bridleway to Loaning Head.
A Loaning Head cottage.
Views across the Pennines.
Kestrel.
There are lots of very high Stiles to climb over.
Swaledale Sheep.
One moment, blue skies…
the next, sideways rain..
Meadow Cranesbill.

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.

Gill scramblers at Ashgill Force.
Ashgill Force.

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!

Labradors.
Footbridge.

The rest of the walk was more of a gentle meander, following the River South Tyne back to Garrigill.

An almost stone circle.
Another footbridge.
A beautiful place for a dip.
Fly Agarics beside the river.
Autumn colours.
Buzzard.
A mini waterfall.
Attractive stone bridge.
Hips.
And back to the church.

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. 🙂

Fungi Finds. 🍄

My weekend was a cornocopia of fungi finds. In rainbow colours!

A lovely lady in Melmerby showed me the ones that have sprung up on the village green. If you have ever been to this Eden Valley village, you will know that the green is huge. It’s also home to lots of gorgeous wild flowers in the spring and summer. The green is managed like an old fashioned hay meadow. It’s a real haven for wildlife.

Hope these identifications are right. I used the I naturalist app on my phone to double check. I am clueless when it comes to fungi.

Scarlet Waxy cap.
Scarlet Waxy cap gills.
Glutinous Wax cap.
Pink Wax cap aka The Ballerina.
Apricot Club.
Smokey Spindles.

Definitely feel blessed to have been shown these. My favourite has to be the ‘ Ballerina ‘.

Later on Saturday Wil and I took a walk from Garrigill to Ashgill Force. To my delight we spotted these beauties by the brook.

Fly Agaric.
Fly Agaric.

And last but not least, spotted these at home in Clitheroe.

Common Bonnets ?

Have you spotted any unusual fungi near you?

Hawthorns Photo Scavenger Hunt ~ September.

Hi it’s Scavenger Hunt time again. I am linking up with Kate’s Blog and choosing a photo for each prompt.



Seasonal. At the beginning of the month we had a walk around RSPB Campfield Marsh near Bowness on Solway. It looked particularly lovely with the late summer seasonal heather in bloom.


Favourite seat/place to sit. I haven’t really got a favourite, but if I had, how about a pew with a view. This was taken 2 years ago on Berneray in the Outer Hebrides. Oh to be back!
Comforting/cosy. Speaking of seats, a lovely friend made me a cushion over lockdown. It’s perfect as an armrest on my bench in the back yard.
Delight/ed/ful. I was delighted to capture this delightful Red Admiral on camera a few days ago. Now it’s September butterflies are becoming fewer and far between.
Micro/mini/tiny. These Shetland ponies might be small, but they are feisty characters. Hugo is keeping his distance. 😅


My own choice. Slinky hasn’t made an appearance on the blog in a while. Never fear she is still here. Here she is hogging Hugo’s bed. Luckily he has two!

Thanks for dropping by.

Lowther Longhorns.

Just a quick and hopefully cute post for you today, featuring some very laid back longhorns. I’ve had a fair few hair raising run ins with coos this year, there have been some frisky heifers and bullish young bulls on summer walks, I can tell you. But these guys, well they are just in full on relaxed mode. Though maybe a little curious about why I’m peering at them from behind a big tree…..

Luckily on my second attempt at capturing this native cattle breed on camera, I got slightly better photos. My first attempt a few weeks earlier was on my camera phone. I quite like that you can see lovely Lowther Castle on these ones though. 😊

The English Longhorns roam freely on the Lowther Castle estate near Penrith in Cumbria. They are a new introduction at the castle, and another introduction may well be on its way. Back in January the Lowther estate was given the go ahead to reintroduce beavers to the river Lowther. Due to coronavirus this has been put on hold at the moment though.

I was quite happy to see these snoozy beasts anyway. English Longhorns are a hardy breed , they will be able to stay outdoors during the cold winter months. I am looking forward to seeing more of them through the seasons. 🐮

Bampton grange & Bampton.

Bank Holiday Monday and the Lake District was swarming with visitors. Our plan to visit Haweswater, usually one of the quieter lakes in the National Park was scuppered, when we realised we were never going to be able to park.

Not far from Haweswater are the adjoining villages of Bampton and Bampton grange. The river Lowther separates the two. We parked by the river and took our labrador Hugo for a walk through the quiet lanes and meadows.

Summer Sky.

The Old Chapel, Bampton.

Jams for sale outside the Old Chapel.

Knipe Moor in the distance.

Mardale Inn.

Bampton Bridge.

Old fashioned Diesel pumps.

Hugo cooling off.

Shop and Tea Room.

Time for 🍰 cake. 🙂

Bampton has a movie connection! The phone box in the village appeared in the 1987 Cult Classic Withnail and I. There is even a visitor book inside and a battered video copy. We found other Withnail film locations here on a walk last year. It’s a bit of a bonkers film. 😅

Withnail and I phonebox.

Visitor Book.

Grass covered roof on a stone building.

Knipe Moor.

Robins Pincushion on Dog Rose bush.

Over the bridge is Bampton grange with its church and pub. The vicarage there houses a library of Latin books called Tinclar’s Library. The bridge walls were covered in pretty painted pebbles.

Bridge over the river Lowther.

Hedgehogs.

Strawberry plants and face masks for sale.

The Crown and Mitre.

The Crown and Mitre.

St Patrick’s Church.

A horse cools off.

It was nice to explore two villages away from the Lake District crowds.