Category Archives: wildlife

Brinscall Walk In Early Spring.

At the weekend we headed over to Brinscall near Chorley in Lancashire for another hike from Nick Burton’s ‘ Year Round Walks’ Book. We had chosen a route from the Autumn section. But actually Spring is the perfect time to enjoy the early blossom and flowers that can be seen on this walk. 🌼

We used roadside parking in Brinscall, though there is a carpark next to the Swimming Pool, which looks out over a small lake. Brinscall itself is a nice looking village with The Cricketers Arms Pub , The Cottage Tearooms and a Fish & Chip Shop. The first part of the walk took us through a pretty Nature Reserve on a disused railway line. We followed The Jubilee Path which commemorates the Queens Platinum Jubilee in 2022. Local children designed the cute waymarker signs.

Lots of beautiful early flowering white blossom. I think this is Cherry Plum. It smelt amazing.
Primroses seem to love railway banking.
Jubilee Path.
Fairy tree by the Railway bridge.
Withnell Nature Reserve has lots of different wildlife areas and attracts deer, fox, stoats, frogs, birds and butterflies.
Wil spotted these sweet Scarlet Elf Cups lurking in the mossy undergrowth.
Fungi growing up a tree.
One of the Jubilee Path signs.

After leaving The Jubilee Path we had a quick look at the V C Memorial located just before the Church.

James Miller lived with his parents in the village of Withnell and worked at a local paper mill. The First World War broke out and James enlisted in 1915, joining the 7th Battalion Kings Own Royal Lancaster Regiment. After seeing action at Lens and Loos in Autumn 1915, the young private found himself moved on to The Somme. In July 1916 Private Miller was ordered to deliver an important message under heavy shell and rifle fire …..and told to bring back a reply at all costs!

James Miller was shot almost immediately after leaving the trench, the bullet hit him in the back and moved through to his abdomen. After compressing the gaping hole in his front James bravely delivered the message and staggered back with the reply, where he immediately fell dead at the feet of his commanding officer. He was 26 years old.

VC Memorial to James Miller.
Illustration from

The route then took us along a farm track and down through a residential area, back to Brinscall Village. We then turned left along Dick Lane and headed towards the old Victorian Waterway called the Goit.

Sign at the farm track entrance.
Brew stop.
Dick Lane and an even cheekier cottage name. 😁
Dick Lane turns into a tree-lined avenue, leading to Brinscall Hall.

Just before Brinscall Hall we turned left and headed downhill and under the disused railway line.. The next part of the walk would take us through woodland alongside The Goit, this man-made stream connects local reservoirs. Unfortunately we completely lost track of our routes instructions here and missed our loop back. Though happily we did end up at a rather scenic spot!

Alongside the Goit.
Twisty trees.
Mini waterfall.
One of several stone bridges.
White Coppice!
Resting at White Coppice.

We had arrived at White Coppice! I had seen this tiny picturesque hamlet featured on other peoples blogs, though hadn’t even registered that we were within walking distance of it. The green above is actually a cricket pitch. What a scenic backdrop. 🏏

After a brew here , we decided to retrace our steps back to Brinscall. Hopefully we will be back to explore the area, maybe get up onto the moors or find some of the local reservoirs….🌹

Walk 15 Brinscall, Lancashire Year Round Walks Book, OS Explorer 287 West Pennine Moors, 5 miles.


Bright Morning.

Around Standen Hall.

I make the most of a cold bright morning and head to the outskirts of town, looking for early Spring blossom. Skirting round the edges of Standen Hall , I spy plenty of gorgeous Cherry Plum in bud and bloom. My camera phone identifies it as Snow! The stately old building and it’s grounds are mostly hidden from view by high walls ( well, high to me! ) and the front entrance has a ‘ Private Keep Out ‘ sign. I walk up the drive as far as I dare, snapping pictures of cheeky squirrels.

In the surrounding countryside a sprawling new housing development is creeping ever closer to the Hall. I hear the echoing drumming of a woodpecker and see a buzzard soaring in the sky. Not another human in sight. I let Hugo run off lead in the fields. The sky is blue and the ground is dry underfoot. Today looks like Spring but it is deceptively cold.

Grey Squirrel.

Primrose Nature Reserve.

On the way home I walk through a local Nature Reserve. The old mill pond is busy with waterbirds including moorhens and a pair of goosanders. I look for the white goose who was brought here by well meaning folk to keep a solitary greylag female company. The two were a pair for a while , but one day I saw her flying off, honking furiously. She never returned.

White Goose by the Chinese Bridge.

Time to get home and make myself a brew. Soon Hugo is snoring away in his bed. ☕❤️

Stanhope ~ County Durham.

A hop, skip and a jump over the North Pennines AONB , County Durham is an area we haven’t really explored much, despite it being fairly close to our Caravan base in Cumbria. Recently we decided to head over the fells into the Durham Dales.

County Durham.

The first small town we came to was Stanhope in Weardale. Nestled alongside the River Wear , this attractive market town has riverside walks, a castle and a selection of small local independent shops that are both attractive and useful.

Stanhope Castle 🏰

I thought the Castle may be one that we could visit, but I think that is only possible if your stopping there. It comprises of several luxury holiday apartments, for those keen to stay in an almost royal residence. Apparently in the 13th Century Edward lll tried unsuccessfully to defeat the Scottish in Stanhope.

Instead we headed to the Riverside where you can walk along both sides of the Wear and cross over via a bridge or some submerged ( on this occasion ) stepping stones. Hugo had a paddle in the water , though he seems to be hiding in my photos.

River Wear.
Canoes on the River Wear.
Canoes on the River Wear.
Stanhope Stepping Stones.
River Wear.

We had parked at The Durham Dales Centre in the town, which is a useful tourist information spot with gift shops and a tea room. It has a nice little outdoor area too, with a giant Grasshopper in residence. 😊

Durham Dales Centre.
The Bug Corner Wildflower Meadow.
Giant Grasshopper.

Nextdoor to the Durham Dales Centre is St Thomas’s Church , where there stands a relic of the North Pennines more tropical past. A fossilized Tree trunk discovered in a nearby quarry is over 300 million years old!

War Memorial at St Thomas’s Church.
Fossil Tree.
Fossil Tree info plaque.

It was nice to wander along the main street in Stanhope, where you can really shop like a local. The only thing we bought though was a new shovel from the ironmongers!

Fruit & Veg on display.
The Bonny Moorhen Pub is named after an old folk ballad that tells the story of a revolution! Poorly paid local lead miners took to poaching the rich landowners grouse and moorhens. A bloody battle ensued between both sides outside this very inn. The skirmish was immortalised in a song.
I do spy tomatoes.
The Baker’s Loaf is home to the Weardale Tattie Cake. Unfortunately Sold Out on our visit.
Durham Dales Centre.

Back at The Durham Dales Centre I bought a walking guide for future visits and we settled in the cafe for a coffee, or in my case A Hot Chocolate.

Tea Room at the Durham Dales Centre.

Anyone have any recommendations for dog friendly places to visit in County Durham?

Sunday Lunch Walk To Mitton.

This tree has an all seeing eye!

I’m blogging a walk I’ve most probably blogged before, but sometimes don’t you notice things that you haven’t previously, like the tree above with its magnificent eye. 😊 The tree by the River Ribble in-between Clitheroe and Mitton has several eyes in fact. But one really does stand out!

Hugo and I met my Sister and Niece for a walk to Mitton ,where my sister had booked us Sunday lunch at the The Aspinall Arms, a favourite countryside pub of all of ours. It’s dog friendly , spacious , does great pub grub, and on a sunny day it’s riverside beer garden is deservedly popular. On this occasion we would be seated inside though, it’s still a bit nippy out there.

This cheerful robin chirped away as it posed for a photo, reminding us of the friendly robin from ‘ The Secret Garden’.

I met my sister and niece at the car park on Edisford Road in Clitheroe , we would then follow the Ribble Way to the pub. This is a pleasant stroll alongside the River Ribble and through some farmers fields.

The River Ribble.
Along The Ribble.

It didn’t take us as long as we thought it might to get to the Aspinall. In fact we were half an hour early. I’m glad we were booked in though as it soon got very busy. Lots of dog customers too, including 2 Basset Hounds and a Cocker Spaniel Pup.

We washed our boots, but only managed to wash one of Hugo’s paws. He’s not a fan of the Dog & Boot wash!
The Aspinall looking dressed for Spring.
Sunday Roast. Yummy!
Beautiful pot of primroses in Ukrainian colours.

Lunch was lovely and not to massive either, we were pleasantly full but not so much that we couldn’t bare the thought of walking back. I had decided on a different route that would eventually bring us out on the opposite side of the river.

We walked over the bridge and past Great Mitton Hall which is a private home, with some unusual guards.
And down past All Hallows Church , a place of worship since 1270.
Looking back at the road lined with Snowdrops.
We saw some black fungi called King Alfred’s Cakes. Also known as Cramp Balls!

We passed through several fields, most with Stiles. Hugo the Labrador, now aged eight and a half, has recently decided he doesn’t like stiles anymore. So between us we managed to hurl him over one, the others he ingeniously found gaps in fences to squeeze under. Dogs hey!

Lambing time has begun.
On the Bear Chair.

It was good to see the Bear Chair is still going strong. We originally discoverd it during lockdown walks.

Into the Woods.
Edisford Bridge.
The Ribble at Edisford Bridge.

A nice ending to our walk. But then…..

As I was heading home I got a phone call off my sister saying she had lost her purse and thought she may have dropped it somewhere. After checking at the pub we ended up retracing our steps , but with no luck. Somewhat disheartened ( and knackered! ) we all gave up the search. Happily though later that evening a nice couple got in touch, they had found the purse whilst out walking. Phew!

A Happy outcome after all.

Thanks for reading. 🌸

Snowdrops Galore.

I just had to share these photos from our walk on Saturday afternoon. We found ourselves in an enchanting snowdrop wonderland. And we had it almost to ourselves, apart from a couple of others with their dogs.

We were walking through a little woodland adjacent to NT Acorn Bank in Cumbrias Eden Valley. Although the house, gardens and watermill are closed until March, a public footpath meanders through the woods. Much of the ground was carpeted in one of our most delicately beautiful Spring flowers ‘ The Snowdrop’. Seen as a symbol of hope and purity, snowdrops were apparently named after pearl drop earrings, not flakes of snow.

It was really magical to wander amongst them. Have you seen any impressive Snowdrop displays this year?

Scotland Trip Plans.

Plans are afoot for a Scotland holiday later this year. So whereabouts are we going? Well, we are actually staying at three different places. It’s a bit of a Scotland Road Trip! I haven’t done a whole lot of research yet, so I thought I would get some ideas down here. If anyone can recommend any gems that are worth visiting in the destinations below, let me know in the comments.

Inverness & Around.

So we have two nights booked near the Capital City of the Highlands, Inverness. I know little about the city, though I hear there is a Castle 🏰 ( of course! ) and an amazing Book Shop ‘ Leakey’s ‘ that is housed in an old Gaelic Church.

Loch Ness. Picture by Edinburgh Tour Guides.

Inverness is from where the iconic tourist route the NC500 starts from. Although we are not following the NC500 , we will no doubt find ourselves stuck behind a queue of touring VW Camper vans at some point. Our trip is at the height of the tourist season, in August!

Leakey’s Bookshop in Inverness. Image from their Instagram.

Our accomodation isn’t actually in Inverness ,so maybe we won’t find ourselves there much at all. A quick shop for supplies and we may very well be drawn away to Loch Ness for some Monster Spotting or The Black Isle for some peninsula perusing. Any suggestions?

Rogie Falls is not far from our accomodation. Picture by Visit Scotland.

We will probably only have one full day here as the bulk of our holiday will be spent below….

Gairloch & Wester Ross.

My other half has always wanted to stop in a lighthouse ( Me too actually! ), so I am over the moon that he has booked us a week ……in a lighthouse! Rua Reidh Lighthouse near Gairloch in Wester Ross looks out over a Sea Loch, Loch Ewe. It’s pretty remote and by all accounts and from what I’ve seen online, down a long skinny track with high cliff drops. Oh my! The views and the wildlife here are meant to be amazing so definitely looking forward to this portion of our trip.

Rua Reidh Lighthouse. Image from website.

If we are inclined to move from our lighthouse base, we will possibly check out Loch Ewe and it’s millitary history. During World War 2 the area was used as a rendezvous point for ships in the Arctic Convoys to Russia. A museum and Wartime Trail tells the story of their dangerous journeys.

Loch Ewe Wartime Trail. Picture from website.

Our nearest civilisation ( with shops etc) is the village of Gairloch, which looks out over Loch Gairloch. In the Summer , marine life watching boat trips set off from the harbour. There are light sandy beaches in the area and a striking red sandy beach , Redpoint Beach.

Redpoint Beach. Image from The Beach Guide.

According to the National Trust For Scotlands Inverewe Gardens , the Highlands are home to the Big 5. Common Seals, Otters, Red Squirrels, Red Deer and Golden Eagle. Fingers crossed we get to see some of them. 🤗

Red Deer. Photo by The National Trust for Scotland.

Bo’ness & Falkirk.

After our stay on the west coast , we are heading back to the East Coast, our base for 2 nights is the coastal town of Borrowstounness or Bo’ness for short. Our motivation for staying here is the towns closeness to the phenomenal Kelpies monuments at nearby Falkirk. Inspired by industrial Heavy Horses and Mythical Sea Horses, ‘ The Kelpies ‘ are 100 ft tall !

The Kelpies. Image from the website.

Also at Falkirk The Falkirk Wheel looks like an incredible fête of engineering. As for Bo’ Ness , I haven’t done much research about the town. I know we are based quite near Edinburgh, so perhaps we will be enticed by Scotland’s historic Capital.

Blackness Castle. Picture via Visit Falkirk.

A Castle in the shape of a ship! Blackness Castle near Queensferry is a 15th Century Castle that is ship shaped and known as ‘ The Ship that never sailed. ‘ It just may be somewhere we can visit whilst in the area.

So there you have it. If anyone has any thoughts or recommendations please let me know in the comments.

Header Photo ~ Badachro Inn by Visit Wester Ross.

RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch 2023. 🐦

It was the 44th year of the Big Garden Birdwatch at the weekend. It’s an hour long survey run by the RSPB, helping them to get an accurate idea of how our UK Birdlife is faring.

On Saturday I did the birdwatch from my kitchen, camera and pencil poised, ready to record my feathered visitors. I have had quite a variety of birds show up in my back yard recently, so was very pleased when a few arrived in the hour.

8 Sparrows.

2 Bluetits.

2 Jackdaw.

2 Long Tailed Tits.

1 Blackbird.

1 Wren.

A few of my visitors.

Both my total tally and varieties of birds are up on last year and in fact are up on the last few years too. Positive news for my corner of Lancashire. 🙂

On Sunday I joined my Sister and Niece for their bird count, lemon drizzle cake baked for the occasion. Walt the cat didn’t fancy joining us this time, but plenty of birds did appear at the feeders. My sister lives in the countryside , so it was especially nice to see Nuthatch and a Pheasant put in an appearance. That pheasant looks well fed!

Some of my sister’s visitors.

Did you join in with the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch?

Lune Valley Stay With Walks In Glasson And Wray.

Recently we spent a night near Lancaster in the Lune Valley area of Lancashire. It’s a fairly little known area to us, so it was good to dig out a couple of walks books and discover some new places.

Walk 1 ~ Conder Green & Glasson Dock.

Map OS Explorer 296 Lancaster, Morecambe & Fleetwood. 3.5miles. Lancaster Year Round Walks by Nick Burton.

This walk actually starts from Conder Green in the book but we just had to be different, we parked at Glasson Dock, had lunch and set off.

Glasson at the mouth of the River Lune was once the busy port of nearby Lancaster. Today the village still thrives , taking in 150,000 tonnes of cargo yearly. There is a small marina, a couple of shops, pub and a cafe.

Glasson Marina.
The area is popular for cycling. The Bay Cycle Way is 81 miles long and connects Walney with Glasson Dock.
We loved The Quayside Cafe. It’s very dog friendly too.
Lunch at the Quayside.

The first part of the walk took us along beside the Lancaster Canal. The towpath was quite icey though, so it was hard going. I enjoyed spotting a heron amongst the reeds and flocks of geese in the surrounding fields.

Canal locks outside The Mill at Condor Green.
Grey Heron.
Lancaster Canal.

The next part of the walk involved tramping through some fields and crossing water. We saw lots of Hares bounding through the grass, a joy to watch.

After some road walking it was good to get back to the coastal scenery. The Stork Pub at Conder Green looks out over the reed beds. I especially enjoyed our hike for all the wildlife we saw, waterbirds in particular. Hopefully we can return in the Spring or Summer!

The Stork is a former Coaching Inn.
The River Conder.
The benches that look out over the water have this Sea Monster ? figure on them.
Glasson Dock.
A bonnie boat ⛵.

The weather was certainly chilly so after our walk it was time to drive inland to find our accomodation.

Our Stay.

Located in-between Lancaster and Kirkby Lonsdale, The Fenwick at Claughton is the ideal place to stay on a wintery weekend. With comfortable cosy bedrooms and warming log fires, the historic inn is a Steak and Seafood pub with an ever changing menu. It’s also very welcoming to your four – legged friends, so definitely a hit with us. 🙂

The Fenwick Arms.
Eat and stay.

Walk 2 ~ Around Wray.

Map O S Explorer 0l41. 2 miles. Lancashire 40 Favourite Walks by Alastair Ross.

The pretty village of Wray was our second walk of the weekend. Situated on the edge of the Lune Valley, Wray is set around two rivers, the Hindburn and the Roeburn. Back in the sixties th e normally quiet waters of the Roeburn rose after heavy rain and swept away 13 houses. Luckily it stopped dry for us.

River Hindburn.
A stone cat or perhaps fox on the river bank.
Saw a few dippers in the river.

This walk is short and sweet, taking in Wrays surrounding countryside as well as Riverside paths through the village.

Doggy day.
Wrays primary school which was a gift from a Captain Pooley along with the sum of £200 forever.
Holy Trinity Church.
Hornby Castle in the distance.

We noticed a pub and a cafe In Wray, so refreshment stops are available if you visit. And the village holds an annual scarecrow festival in the Spring. A reason to return. 🙂

Wildlife Seen in 2022.

It seems like a good time to do my Wildlife Moments Round-Up post of 2022. Currently wrapped up in my duvet with snotty tissues and a snoring cat, the ideal conditions, you might say. 😚

Anyway this year hasn’t seen me discover any new to me wildlife, but I have managed to photograph some of my favourite mammals and birds. Red Squirrels especially, have been very obliging. Most of the wildlife I have seen in 2022 has been either near my home in Clitheroe, Lancashire or local to my caravan in the Eden Valley of Cumbria.

My favourite wildlife moments have included watching the beautiful courtship dance of a pair of Great Crested Grebes and feeding Fallow Deer apples. ☺️

A Kestrel on a telephone wire. This beauty was spotted from the car , so I got Wil to pull over, and I took the photo.
Bee orchids appear in June in my local Nature Reserve.
An alert Hare on a walk around Slaidburn in Lancashire.
Little Grebe aka Dab Chick , Culzean Castle, Scotland.
A photo that needs a witty caption? Red Squirrel, Shap, Cumbria.
Foxgloves next to a red sandstone wall, Melmerby, Cumbria.
A pair of oystercatchers on a Melmerby wall.
Siskin at the feeding station, Mary Mount Hotel, Keswick.
Newly returned Sand Martin, resting after it’s April journey here from Africa. Clitheroe, Lancs.
‘ A Little Bit of Bread and Cheese ‘ is a song I heard frequently in the Spring. A Yellowhammer in Melmerby, Cumbria.
Nesting Lapwings can be seen from The South Tyne Railway, Alston, Cumbria.
Always a treat to see a Stone Chat. Spotted this male bird on the cliffs above Robin Hood’s Bay.
A bonnie Pied Wagtail on a Melmerby wall.
A sun basking Peacock Butterfly in Melmerby.
Courting Great Crested Grebes at Dean Clough Reservoir near Clitheroe.
Such a cutie ❤️. Red Squirrel 🐿️ at Dalemain, Cumbria.
Kingfisher at a favourite spot, Mearley Brook, Clitheroe.
Fallow Deer Stag eating an apple at Dalemain, Cumbria.

What have been your own favourite wildlife moments of 2022?


November ~ Round Up. 💜

I haven’t been blogging much recently, though life has been good in November, my Birthday Month!

Reading ~ it’s always fab when someone gives you books for your birthday. I am currently reading I Belong Here by Anita Sethi ,which was a present and on my wishlist of books to read. Having experienced a racial hate crime on a train, Anita bravely decides to reclaim the countryside of Northern England, on an inspirational solo hiking journey across the Pennines. I am looking forward to how things go. Will the natural world be more welcoming than the people she meets along the way ? I hope she finds goodness in both.

Bowling ~ For my Birthday some friends and I tried out the Duck Pin Bowling at Holmes Mill in Clitheroe. This is a bowling alley in miniature and was certainly alot of fun. Happy Days!

Fabulous Fungi ~ It’s been a great month for finding Fungi , especially colourful waxcaps it seems. These above were spotted on local walks here in Lancs and up at the caravan in Cumbria. My faves as always are the pale pink ones which look like opened flowers, I think they are called Ballerina Waxcaps.

Listening to ~ Records! Birthday money went towards a cute portable record player from Argos. I’ve wanted one for ages, despite having no vinyl to my name. I charity shopped them all years ago! Not that I had an impressive collection. Think Wham, Bucks Fizz and Aha. 😀 Back to the charity shops again for me..

Weekending ~ in the Southern Lakes Peninsula, or should I say Grange Over Sands. I am hoping to write a post about my time there. Until then here’s a photo of myself and Wil on the promenade ,which looks out over Salt Marsh and Sea.

The English.

Watching ~ I really watch too too much telly. Having a spare few hours in the daytime , because I work split shifts , does mean I binge watch new seasons and find a fair few films. Some good, some not so good. My faves from November are…

The Wonder ~ Film. An English nurse is sent to observe an apparent miracle in 19th century Ireland, a girl who hasn’t eaten in months, surviving on the Virgin Mary’s love. Beautifully filmed and told. Netflix. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Last Kingdom ~ Series. A Saxon boy is raised by Marauding Danes who killed his Earl father. Later when his Viking family are slaughtered , Uhtred pursues the kingdom that is rightfully his to inherit, taking him on a dangerous journey. Netflix. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Mrs Harris Goes To Paris ~ Film. Off to the pictures for this charming 1950s set movie about a cleaning lady who falls in love with a Dior dress and pursues her dream of owning one , to Paris. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The English ~ Series. Gorgeously filmed Western that brings together a Native American looking for home and a refined English Woman looking for revenge. BBC I Player. ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Wednesday ~ Series. Wednesday Adams gets her own show that follows her student years at Nevermore Academy, where she navigates solving spooky mysteries and school life, in her own dead pan way. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

That’s all folks!