When I haven’t been to the caravan for a couple of weeks, I’m always amazed at the changes in the garden. Not being a gardener at all, I struggled to identify this latest blossoming shrub. Any ideas?
My poor pansy pot has been used by a moth to lay their eggs in the flowers. The culprit is below. I think it’s an Angle Shades Moth. Oh well! It’s good to give back to nature. 😃
Saturday morning in Melmerby and the church was all decorated for a wedding with pretty white wildflowers.
And there’s always something to see on little walks round about the village.
In the afternoon we went to Honister Slate Mine where Wil would be going to Infinity and Beyond! His Birthday present from me this year was an Infinity Bridge Experience at Honister. Rather him than me! Scroll down for Wils photo of the bridge. Meanwhile Hugo and I explored around the site. There are some cool slate sculptures. 😚
Wil was buzzing after the Infinity Bridge.
I had noticed several people heading up the fells from the Honister Car Park. Has anyone done a Wainwright from there?
We then went for tea at Mary Mount Hotel near Keswick. The terrace has wonderful views. 🥰
I was looking for a short ( hopefully cow free ) local hike and I came across this 2.3 Mile Wildflower Meadow Walk , starting from the pretty Lancashire village of Slaidburn. Not sure the mileage mentioned is quite correct ,we ended up doing twice that amount! The directions took us on a wild goose chase a couple of times. Or maybe we just get lost easily. 😃
We arrived in Slaidburn about 9-30am on Sunday morning, unaware that we had visited on the day of a Vintage Steam Fair . The village car park was still quiet at that time though , so we found a space and set off to the cenotaph, the start of our route.
We turned right at the War Memorial and headed over the bridge and then through a kissing gate into a field on the right. Keeping the brook on our right , we headed across the field in completely the wrong direction. So best to ignore my instructions and follow the route link yourself, if you don’t want to get lost. 🙃
We saw several hares in the grass and it was also a privilege to hear and see lots of flying curlews and lapwings.
A stone track took us over another bridge and on the right we saw a farm gate with a purple Coronation Meadow Sign on it. Coronation Meadows is a Wildflower Meadow Restoration Project started by HRH The Prince Of Wales. Since the Queen’s Coronation ,Great Britain has lost a huge percentage of its naturally farmed meadows. This initiative started in 2013, aims to protect remaining wildflower meadows, create new ones and get people interested in them. There are now ninety Coronation Meadows in the country with Bell Sykes Farm representing the Ribble Valley.
Bell Sykes Farming methods have changed little over the years, hence their inclusion in the Coronation Meadows project. Seeds from the ancient pastures have been used to create new meadows, some are on the farm and others are elsewhere in Lancashire.
The meadows were looking resplendent, in them were thousands of buttercups and clover, ribwort plantain, self-heal and yellow rattle. I also spied one orchid, maybe there are more. The diversity of wildflowers encourages bees and butterflies. It was however very breezy on Sunday , so we didn’t actually see many.
Toward the end of the walk we passed through a couple more of Bell Sykes beautiful Coronation Meadows.
Once back in Slaidburn we had a coffee and piece of cake ( of course! ) sat outside the cafe that looks over the Village Green. By this time the Vintage Steam Fair was in full swing, rousing tunes piping from beautiful fairground organs. 😊 I shall leave you with a few photos.
Bank Holiday Weekend ( also platyjubes of course! ) , we escaped the celebrations for a while, choosing a less obvious Lakeland area for a countryside walk.
Shap is a long grey stoned settlement in the North Eden District. It has a couple of pubs, a shop, cafe, chippy and an open air swimming pool, the highest heated outdoor pool in England. The steady A6 is the main road that meanders through the village, it used to be the principal thoroughfare for the Lake District & Scotland.
Not far away is the busy M6 , but to the West of Shap it is picturesque and remote. I had downloaded this Walk from the Eden’s River Trust. Part of the route is on the Coast To Coast footpath , though we didn’t see one other human being out walking. It was so peaceful.
Things then got a bit scary , a family of cattle that we hadn’t noticed at first started to take a bit too much interest in us as we tried to cross the field. They had a Bull with them and youngsters, but it was the cows themselves that started kicking up a fuss , fairly galloping towards us. We managed to scare them away , though not before Wil got knocked off his feet and Hugo got butted. I’m not sure how but we legged it into a solitary farmhouse garden with the cattle at our heels. Definitely a hair raising encounter, we were a bit shuck up!
To make matters worse we would have to sneek past the herd again to continue with our walk. We waited until they had calmed down and ambled away, an unconcerned resident of the farmhouse didn’t seem to care that we had hotfooted into their garden or that the cows had chased us there…
The Preminstratensian Order of Monks from France settled in Shap in the 13th Century and built beautiful Shap Abbey from local stone. The monks became known as The White Cannons because they wore robes made from undyed sheep fleeces.
Here was a lovely place to stop for a while by the river Lowther again. I must admit we had lost our thirst for continuing the planned route , which would take us through the hamlet of Keld and on past another large standing stone called The Goggleby Stone. Instead we made our way back to Shap through a couple of cow free fields and along a country lane.
We ended up having a delicious cheese scone and a cup of coffee each at the Abbey Kitchens cafe in Shap, the perfect place to sit and watch the world go by. I’m so glad Wil and Hugo were non the worse for our ordeal. We will definitely be keeping our distance from any cows in the future. Although apparently there are some handsome looking Highland Cattle in Swindale………..
Whats the best way to get around the lovely Lowther Castle Estate? By Bike, you say! Well yes, but how about hiring an E Bike…….
Arragons Cycles are a bicycle shop and hire company that are based in Penrith and also rent bikes at Lowther Castle in Cumbria’s beautiful Eden Valley. Amazingly a few weeks ago Wil and I actually won half a days E Bike Hire in a raffle , so at the weekend off we went for our first ever cycling adventure together. 😀 Let’s just say we are not very well matched when it comes to bike riding. But get me on an E Bike and it’s a bit of a game changer!
There are several cycling trails around the Lowther Estate. We were handed a map by the helpful lady at the Cycle Hire and she gave us a quick tutorial. They also provide bike helmets though Wil brought his own and I borrowed his spare. The bikes we hired were Royal Dutch Gazelles which are all terrain E Bikes, unfortunately despite having my saddle lowered, my bike felt too big for me. Getting on it took me forever and as for dismounting, well basically I couldn’t stop without falling off. So all the photos I took for this post were taken after I had fallen off my bike, sometimes on purpose, and sometimes not. 😝
Apart from my stopping and starting challenges the actual cycling was alot of fun and it did truly feel wonderful whizzing up hills with ease. After practicing on the trails around the Castle and River Lowther, we headed through the nearby village of Askham and up Askham Fell.
There are a criss cross of walking and cycling trails around Askham Fell. One option is to head up and over to the lakeside village of Pooley Bridge. Maybe next time! We wheeled it to Whale via Helton instead, where I hoped the Lowther Estates Long Horn Cattle would be hanging out.
The fell was abuzz with the sound of Skylarks, it’s simply wonderful up there on a sunny day. 🙂
We had a short refreshment stop on the Green in the village of Helton. A nice soft grass landing anyway! If you do fancy finding somewhere for a brew, there are cafes and pubs in both Pooley Bridge and Askham , Lowther Castle of course and Lowther itself has a walled Garden Tea Room at the Bird of Prey Centre.
Before the hamlet of Whale we followed the trail signposts back to Lowther Castle, passing, to my delight, a very placid herd of Long Horn Cattle. Some had gorgeous calves too.
Unfortunately I didn’t take any photos as we cycled through woodland, stunning bluebells & wild garlic galore. Spring might just be the prettiest time to hire a bicycle at Lowther Castle.
I’m not used to riding a bike so I wasn’t sure whether I would become accustomed to all the different Speeds etc, but I did, it was fun and I would definitely consider hiring an E Bike again. Even Wil ( who is a bit of a middle aged man in lycra, he has a couple of road bikes ) enjoyed the advantages of power assisted cycling!
E Bike Hire at Lowther Castle costs £35 for 3 hours cycling, including helmet hire and a small tutorial.
My Tips ~ Take a rucksack with plenty of water.
~ Wear padded cycling shorts!
~ Cycle in the morning when the trails aren’t as busy.
It’s the time of year when English woodlands come alive with Spring flowers. Bluebells of course and another indicator of ancient woodland, Wild Garlic. White starry globes carpeted the ground admist a sea of fresh green leaves when Hugo and I visited a local woods.
A tweet by Nature Writer Robert McFarlane ~ “Buckrams” — one of many common names for Allium ursinum, aka wild garlic, bear-leek, ramsons; filling forest floors with millions of white stars & forest air with garlicky scent. Ancient woodland indicator, bluebell co-conspirator, soup-maker…
Wild Garlic is a foraging food. I did in fact once collect the leaves to make some Wild Garlic & Cheese scones. Click Here for a baking post. It doesn’t happen often. ..
The plants Latin name is Allium Ursium. Ursium is Latin for Bear. Brown Bears once roamed our forests and wild garlic bulbs were a favourite meal of theirs. Wild Boars love them too and the flowers are popular with pollinators.
I adore Bluebells of course, Woodlands of Wild Garlic are a little bit special too.
Which woodlands do you like to visit for their floral displays?
Today’s walk is one from the weekend. A gentle saunter starting at NT Acorn Bank and taking in the pretty village of Temple Sowerby in the Eden Valley district of Cumbria. The route can be found on the Acorn Bank Website. Because we are members of the National Trust we parked on the car park at Acorn Bank. Non members may have to adapt the walk a little.
We passed through a small village called Newbiggin , one of several Newbiggins in Cumbria. I love the rosie coloured sandstone that the buildings are made of. Here it was taken from Crowdundle Beck.
Temple Sowerby is an attractive village , once known as the Queen Of Westmorland villages. It was named after the Knights Templar who briefly owned the settlement and nearby Acorn Bank. Temple Sowerby was once a tanning village and other industries in the area included the mini ng of gypsum. There is still a gypsum plant at Kirkby Thore.
After a look in the second hand book shop at Acorn Bank it was time to head home. What a lovely walk. 😘
Over the Easter Weekend we spent quite a bit of time walking the dog around Melmerby. We are still discovering new footpaths there, it’s a lovely place for a wander, especially at this time of year.
I still love my original What To Look For In The Seasons Ladybird Nature Books , which were first published in the fifties and sixties. Ladybird brought out a new set last year, they are also quite charming. The Spring book accompanied me on my recent walks.
Melmerby is the kind of village , where I often find myself doing double-takes! This Easter I have seen 2 children walking their pet ferrets, a Grandmother taking the little ones bare back riding on a sturdy horse, a man whizzing round a field in a pony and trap and several llamas being led along the Village Green.
Here are a few photos from Melmerby in the Spring.
Hey, I’m pleased to report I finally made it up a fell on Good Friday. To a soundtrack of Meadow Pippits and Skylarks, I conquered Binsey. Binsey is my 9th Wainwright and it’s a diminutive one. Still, it is a hill, and that means a walk uphill and that means me wheezing my way up, a bit like the asmatic guy Stevie from Malcolm in the Middle. Except I’m not asmatic. Wil literally always calls me ‘Stevie’ on these occasions…
Seriously though, if you do fancy bagging a relatively easy Wainwright Fell , Binsey is a grand one to do. It’s in a quiet part of North Lakeland and what it lacks in stature, it makes up for in fantastic views.
To get to Binsey we headed Caldbeck way and over Uldale Common , where we were literally surrounded by mountain peaks. We passed through the little village of Uldale and found roadside parking at a crossroads near Binsey Lodge, a private residence at the bottom of the fell.
You can’t really get lost hiking to the Summit of Binsey. You just head straight up the hill. At the top there is a cairn, a trig point and a wind shelter.
From the top of Binsey there are views of Lake Bassenthwaite, Overwater and the Solway Coast. Out of my rucksack emerged Little Herdy ( affectionately now also known as Little Binsey) to conquer her first Wainwright Fell.
I am never going to be a big fan of hill walking but looking back on the day I bagged Binsey inspires me , to maybe think about my next Wainwright……. 🙂
A favourite walk of mine in the Lake District is the circuit around beautiful Derwent Water. Although 10 Mile long, this hike is mostly low level and if you keep the lake in sight, you can’t really get lost. 🙂 And there’s so much to see, it’s stunning in any weather. Here’s aLink to a map of the route.
I joined my sister, niece and nephew for this walk, we did the route anti clockwise, starting from the small free car parking area by Portinscale Suspension Bridge. We passed through the waterside village of Portinscale and found the path to the lake.
The Lingholm Estate on the shores of Derwent Water surrounds a grand Victorian House where the family of Beatrix Potter would spend their holidays. The garden where the Walled Garden is now inspired Beatrix’s ‘ The Tale Of Peter Rabbit ‘.
A Wooden Hand Sculpture ‘ Entrust ‘ can be found at Brandelhow Park. The Sculpture commemorate s the centenary of The National Trusts first land purchase in 2002. But recent storms seem to have moved the hands from their original position. I susoect they might be seen floating away in the future….
Aw look it’s ‘ Teddy In The Window ‘ a popular landmark on the lakeside path. The unclaimed Teddy Bear gets sent postcards, letters and photos from all over the world. He raises money too for lots of good causes. We stopped to say Hi.
The Chinese Bridge that spans The River Derwent is a great spot for playing poohsticks. In fact there is even an extract from A A Milne’s Christopher Robin underfoot.
The Centenary Stones are another National Trust Sculpture. These are found at Calfclose Bay. Nearby is a bench with a lovely view over the Lake, a bit too wet for us to sit on though.
At Keswick we made a detour into Hope Park to see the bronze statue of Max The Miracle Dog, who had sadly passed away the day before aged 14 and a half. Max was a very special Springer Spaniel therapy dog who raised alot of money for various charities and brought alot of happiness to alot of People. The orange coloured flowers are a tribute to the orange collar he always wore. 🧡🧡
It had been a soggy but very enjoyable walk. Well worth doing. Thanks for joining me.🥾
So I do love a bit of online research, especially if it involves finding a gorgeous place to stay. I am lucky enough to live in a beautiful corner of Lancashire called The Ribble Valley ,famed for its lush green countryside and picture postcard villages. If I was a tourist in my own town, I think I would look to one of these lovely destinations for a couple of nights away. In fact my suitcase is already packed!
Coach & Horses, Bolton By Bowland. The Cinderella in me is always totally charmed whenever I see this lovely old coaching Inn with its pumpkin coach sign. Award winning food, micro brewery and seven stunning rooms complete with molten brown toiletries, bathrobes and coffee machines are features of a stay here. The village of Bolton By Bowland itself is very picturesque with two attractive greens, a tea shop and lots of countryside walks nearby. Dog friendly. coachandhorsesribblevalley.co.uk If you like the area The White Bull Inn at Gisburn is another option.
Nancroft Cottage, Mearley. Now you could say I’m biased , my cousin’s own this delightful holiday cottage. But my goodness they’ve really gone the extra mile to make Nancroft a welcoming place to stay. This 18th Century farmhouse sleeps 8 , has two bathrooms, a boot room, a wood burning stove , enclosed garden and lots of lovely home comforts. It’s located in the tiny hamlet of Mearley at the foot of mystical Pendle Hill. You feel remote here but are only a short drive into the bustling market town of Clitheroe with its Castle and other attractions. Two pubs are within walking distance. Dogs Welcome . Cottages.Com. Also nearby ~ The Chicken Shed At Knowle Top is a romantic retreat with panoramic views.
Ribble Valley Retreat, Langho. Fancy stopping in a beautiful Bell Tent in the lovely Ribble Valley countryside? These luxurious hideaways are tucked away on a working farm in Langho. I’m smitten! The tents have the most gorgeous interiors and also come with their own fire pits, bbqs and picnic benches. BBQ Packs and Breakfast Baskets are optional extras. The retreat is handily situated near the train station so short trips into nearby Whalley and Clitheroe are a must. Ribblevalleyretreat.co.uk If you enjoy glamping check out Wigwam Holidays , also in Langho.
Spinning Block Hotel At Holmes Mill, Clitheroe. If you prefer to be at the centre of things then this stylish hotel in a bustling former mill will be right up your street. There’s plenty here to entertain including a Food Hall, Bistro Restaurant, Beer Hall ( hosting one of the longest bars in Britain) and an Everyman Cinema. The hotels 39 rooms have a rustic yet luxurious feel and Beercations and Drink It Dry evenings are popular. Clitheroe itself has a wealth of independent shops, cafes and bars to explore. Holmesmill.co.uk The Spinning Block is just one of a selection of James Places Hotels in the area.
St Leonard’s Church, Old Langho. Now for something a little different. Have you ever thought about Champing? That’s Camping in a church by the way. Now I would love to do this, but my friends and family seem a little reluctant. I say , embrace the Quirky, it’s an Adventure! The Champing price includes the provision of Camp Beds, Chairs, Lanterns, Tea & Coffee making facilities and a loo! St Leonard’s is a pretty little church with some ornate features. There’s a lovely pub very close by and this could be an ideal base for exploring The Tolkien Trail, the scenic Ribble Valley did inspire Middle Earth you know. Dogs Welcome. Champing.co.ukTraditional Campsite options are numerous in the Ribble Valley. Angram Green Campsite between Worston and Downham is situated near where Whistle Down The Wind was filmed.
The Lawrence Hotel ~ Padiham. Were right on the edge of the Ribble Valley here, but I cannot resist including this elegant Boutique hotel in picturesque Padiham. The 14 design led rooms range from Snug to Suite and include handy luxuries such as Rainfall Showers, Fluffy Bathrobes and Alexas. There’s an in house no rush restaurant with some lovely looking menus ~ the afternoon tea one looks particularly divine. Take your time to explore the area, Pendle Hill, NT Gawthorpe Hall and The Singing Ringing Tree should be on your itinerary. Dogs Welcome. the Lawrence hotel.co.ukFeeling flush ~ why not try a gourmet break at Michelin Star Northcote Manor in Langho.
The Red Pump Inn ~ Bashall Eaves. I do love a welcoming country Inn and my little corner of Lancashire has plenty of them. The Red Pump at Bashall has a popular steakhouse, cosy real ale bar and eight chic French inspired bedrooms. And that’s not all. Further fabulous accommodation at the Red Pump comes in the form of several glamping yurts and shepherd huts. Nearby attractions include Bowland Wild Boar Park and Browsholme Hall. Dog Friendly. Redpumpinn.co.ukOther lovely country inns in the area include The Inn at Whitewell and The Higher Buck at Waddington.
Hedgerow Luxury Glamping ~ Newsholme. The adults only luxury pods on this gorgeous glamping site all come with their own private patio and hot tub. Each are individually styled and include fabulous touches such as Blue Tooth Speakers, Underfloor Heating and Rainforest Showers. If you can bare to leave your pod there are beautiful communal areas too including a firepit cabin and artisan store. Get to know the other residents at Hedgerow, there are chickens, alpaca, Swiss sheep and Highland Cows! And your base here is on the Lancashire/Yorkshire border, so plenty to explore. Hedgerowluxuryglamping.com Just over the border Peaks & Pods also provide glamping pods with hot tubs.
Otter’s Rest ~ Clitheroe. Let’s finish with a secret hideaway in Clitheroe, so secret I’m not quite sure of where it is… Doesn’t it look idyllic. This award nominated Eco House sits by the waterside, somewhere near Primrose Nature Reserve. Inside the lodge is cosy and stylish and completely in tune with its woodland surroundings. I love that there are two terraces where you can sit , relax and enjoy the tranquil sound of the babbling brook. There is definitely a good chance of seeing Kingfisher, Dippers or maybe even a shy Otter. And your only ten minutes walk into Clitheroe’s bustling town centre. Airbnb Pendle View Holiday Lodge at nearby Barrow also has an enviable waterside location.
Hope you like my Ten Choices for Lovely Places to Stay in the Ribble Valley.
Of course there are many many more too! It’s a wonderful area to explore.
Where would you choose to stay in the Ribble Valley? Have you any recommendations?
Northeast Allie is a blog that reflects influences from the Philadelphia area and the regions around it. It explores perspectives on life, encouragement, travel, wellness, and local living so that you can really enjoy this unique community!