Category Archives: wildlife

Autumn in Strid Wood.

If your thinking of partaking in a Woodland walk this October, you can’t go far wrong with a wander along the woodland trails at the Bolton Abbey Estate in the Yorkshire Dales.Β  We took our dog Hugo here this morning and despite it being a soggy rainy day, we had a fab time enjoying the sights and sounds of Strid Wood. The Autumn colours are stunning at this time of year. And after despairing of not finding any fungi on local walks near where I live in Clitheroe, here at Bolton Abbey there are mushrooms and toadstools galore….
Here are a few images from our time on the estate. If you can identify any of the fungi I haven’t ( which is most of it! ) I would love your help. πŸ™‚

Male and female mandarin ducks. Saw lots of these beautiful birds.






Cauliflower Fungus.


Robin.

A rare sighting of a kingfisher sitting still. πŸ™‚


Possible Mallard Hybrid.


Beech nuts.

Have you enjoyed any Autumn walks recently?

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Wild October. πŸπŸ„

The season is turning to Autumn and the natural world is abundant with colour. A quick glance at Pinterest and I was engulfed in Autumn inspired poetry and quotes.

I can smell Autumn dancing in the breeze, the sweet chill of pumpkin and crisp sunburnt leaves. ( Unknown).

Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the Fall. ( E. Scott Fitzgerald).

Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the Autumn tree. ( Emily Bronte).

I’m so glad I live in a world where there are October’s. ( Anne of Green Gables).

To celebrate the beauty of the natural world in October I’m joining in with the hashtag #wildoctober2019 on Instagram & Twitter. Why not bob over and post your own Wild October finds too. Here are some of the photos I’ve taken so far…

Horse Chestnut, Clitheroe Castle.

Cuckoo Pint Berries, Ladies Walk, Edenhall & Langwathby.

These look like tiny green flowers but I was informed on Twitter they are actually whorls of leaves on Hedge Bedstraw. Found in Melmerby.

Purple Callicarpa Berries, Clitheroe Castle.

Autumn leaves, Ladies Walk, Edenhall to Langwathby.

A collection of conkers in the pub. πŸ™‚

This weekend I’ve been at the caravan with Wil and Hugo. It’s the first weekend we’ve visited in cooler weather, so it was important to stay snug and warm. My tips for keeping cosy in Autumn are…..

Always have throws and cushions nearby.

I like to light a scented candle.

Cook something hearty and tasty like this yummy Veggie Curry .

Keep a favourite book or magazine to hand.

Or watch some well loved old movies. For an Autumn vibe try Hocus Pocus, When Harry Met Sally, Practical Magic, Beetlejuice or The Craft.

Indoors I live in my slipper boots. πŸ™‚

Outdoors I live in my Wellies! Head for a pub with a roaring fire after a woodland walk.

Keep Cosy.

Enjoy your Wild October. πŸπŸ„πŸ•ΈοΈπŸ¦‡

Hawthorn’s Photo Scavenger Hunt ~ September.

I am loving Kate’s words for September, they are giving this post a glowing Autumn vibe. If you would like to see more interpretations of the prompts that Kate chose , please pop over to her lovely blog.. ☺️

Cosy. Here is Simba the cat looking very cosy in his usual spot, on a table at the entrance of an Amsterdam restaurant. It was definitely his presence that attracted us there……..and the cheese!

Changing foliage. Autumn colours in Clitheroe town centre. After the glorious Indian Summer type weather we have recently experienced, it does feel more Autumnal now.

Scarf. I do actually have a recent photo of myself wearing a scarf. This was taken on Allonby Beach in Cumbria. In the distance you can make out Scotland, separated by the Solway Firth.

Baking. I’m not one for doing much baking ( as you can probably tell!) but this prompt did encourage me to bake this pear and ginger loaf cake. Hurrah! A recipe can be found here.

Cobweb. A misty Monday morning walk down by the river gave me ample opportunity to photograph cobwebs……….as there were thousands of them! It’s scary to imagine how many spiders are out there. πŸ•ΈοΈ

My Own Choice. This was taken last night on a Bat Walk organized by the Ribble Rivers Trust. My niece and nephew with Bat Detectors. Bats love water apparently and trees ( especially in hedges and on the edge of woods) as both attract insects. They can eat up to a thousand pesky midges a night, as well as other insects and even small fish. The Bat detectors enable the human ear to listen into bat calls which are mostly too high pitched for us to hear. We were able to detect Common Pipistrelles , Noctules and Daubenton’s Bats ( water bats) with the help of the detectors. It was an amazing and fun experience. πŸ™‚

Thanks for dropping by.

Shap Abbey & Wet Sleddale Reservoir.

So on Saturday we decided to see what the Eden valley village of Shap has to offer. To be completely honest I have never been the biggest fan of Shap. Partly because it’s one of those places that you mostly just pass through, a road of grey houses on the way North…Β  and partly because I actually stopped there for a night once with an ex in the deathrows of our relationship. These reasons and the fact that it usually rains in Shap ( in my experience!) haven’t exactly endeared the area to me. But I am being unfair. A little bright sunshine and some friendly hospitality has happily changed my mind.
We arrived mid morning with a destination in mind, Shap Abbey. Little is left of this twelfth century abbey except the imposing tower which looks striking against both stormy and sunny skies. Information boards scattered around the site give a you a good idea of what was where. The building was one of several used by the Premonstratensian Order of Canons before the disolvation of the monestries by King Henry VIII.
The canons were known as ‘The White Canons’ because of their unusual white woollen habits. They were apparently given good pensions when their home was destroyed , some of the abbeys stones were used to build the adjoining farm house. I can’t help but wonder if those canons still walk the grounds of a moonlit night…..

Wandering round the abbey gave us a good appetite. Shap is home to an award winningΒ Fish & Chip shop. We headed there for lunch. Situated in the heart of the village, Shap Chippy is incredibly fresh and clean looking inside & out. The decor has a homely nautical vibe and we recieved a cheery welcome. You can eat in too, and we were pleasantly surprised that dogs are very welcome. Most importantly the fish & chips are excellent. Well recommended!



After that tasty treat we needed a good route to walk off those calories. Nearby Wet Sleddale Reservoir has a 4 mile public footpath & quiet road that circles the water. Set in the Shap Fells this triangular reservoir was built in the sixties, the water like many Lakeland reservoirs is used to supply Manchester. For this walk I recommend wearing wellies! I guess the clue is in the name. Wet Sleddale is indeed quite wet & boggy, even on a dry September day. We parked on the car park near the dam.



The countryside is lovely here and so peaceful. We only saw a couple of other walkers, so its definitely away from the Lake District crowds. Ling Heather, Scabious and Bog Asphodel grow in abundance and buzzards soar in the sky. The area also has connections with the cult ( and rather batty!) movie Withnail and I. Film locations include the stone bridge where Withnail attempts to shoot fish in the brook below and Sleddale Hall where him and his friend try holidaying in the Lake District. I took a sneak peek at the remote Hall, where outdoor screenings of Withnail and I are shown annually in the yard.


At the end of our wander round Wet Sleddale we sat and admired the gushing dam which is 21 metres high.

Have you ever visited Shap or the surrounding area?

Books I Read In July & August.

Hello, I thought I would have read more over July & August, but alas I didn’t even remember to swing about in my hammock with a good book. Maybe September will bless us with an Indian Summer! Here’s what I did dive into…..

The Woman In The Window ~ A. J. Finn ( 2018). I much preferred this psychological thriller to others such as Gone Girl and Girl On The Train. Anna Fox is a recluse, her everyday life is spent watching old Hitchcock movies, drinking wine and spying on her neighbours. One day she witnesses the apparent murder of her neighbours wife and the reader watches Anna’s life unravel as she tries to piece together what she has seen. There are loads of twists and turns in this book. It’s a real page turner that keeps you gripped until the end. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Highland Fling ~ Emma Baird (2018). If your looking for a little rom com escapism, I can recommend Highland Fling as a fun & sparky get away from everyday life. Our heroine Gaby needs to escape too, she finds herself the purrfect cat sitting job ( despite being allergic to them!) in a remote Scottish Highland village, where she is soon befriended by a quirky cast of characters. And then there’s a rather moody but impossibly good looking Jamie Fraser look alike who catches her eye. Plus some rather dodgy advice from a dating guru. What could go wrong! ✳️✳️✳️✳️

Murder In Midsummer ~ ( 2019). A collection of short murder mystery stories , most with a summer holiday backdrop. This book is a retro dip into the past and perfect for reading any time of year really. Some of the tales are better than others though, my favourites being ‘The House In Goblin Wood’ and ‘ The Adventures Of The Lions Mane’ . ⭐⭐⭐

The Tenant Of Wildfell Hall ~ Anne Bronte ( 1848). I must admit it’s taken me a long while to get round to reading Anne Bronte’s tale of escape from an abusive marriage. I wasn’t convinced that I would enjoy her writing as much as that of her more famous sisters. I needn’t have worried though, Anne shares the same passionate spirit as her siblings. The book is written in letters and diary form and centures around the sudden arrival of a young ‘widow’ who has come to live at Wildfell Hall, a bleak country house that has been empty for many years. Her reluctance to socialize with her neighbours makes her a figure of gossip, especially when a frequent visitor is spotted leaving the hall. Bronte writes about subjects such as alcoholism, fleeing a violent marriage and women working for themselves, all contraversial topics in the 1800s. ⭐⭐⭐⭐

The Adventures Of The Yorkshire Shepherdess – Amanda Owen (2019). If you haven’t discovered Amanda’s refreshing books about her life on a remote North Yorkshire hill farm yet, your missing a treat. Amanda, originally a townie from Huddersfield ,has been shepherding since she was a teenager. In her early twenties she met her soon to be husband Clive and moved in with him at Ravenseat. Several flocks of sheep, loyal dogs, faithful ponies, free wandering chickens, a cheeky peacock and ‘9’ children later , Amanda is sharing their very down to earth adventures yet again. I love all her books and I’m actually going to see her at a talk she’s doing in September. Can’t wait! ✳️✳️✳️✳️✳️

What have you read lately?

A misty morning at Malham Tarn.

The temperatures for Bank Holiday Monday promised to be high, which is great, except if your a black Labrador like Hugo, or indeed if your me. I think I’m more of a snowflake kind of girl than a sunshine kind of girl sometimes. πŸ™‚

We decided to head for water, but we’re keen to avoid the bank holiday traffic, so driving to the Lakes or seaside we’re out. Instead we made our way to Malham Tarn in the Yorkshire Dales. This glacial lake nestles at an altitude of 375 metres and is looked after by the National Trust. There is parking on both sides of the water.. We parked at Water Sinks and walked along a limestone track that leads down to the tarn. Hugo was straight in there. The sun hadn’t yet burnt off the morning mist, so the temperatures were both hound and human friendly. πŸ˜‰

Although the fog enveloped the water, there was still more than a hint of beauty on show.

A misty Malham Tarn.

Grass of Parnassus.

Young Wagtail.

Malham Tarn.

Female Gadwall.

The tarn and its surroundings are home to many water bird species ( if only we could see them! ) and when its clear you can apparently get a great view from the bird Hide. Other possible sightings include otters who have been spotted swimming at dusk & dawn. It was lovely to see a variety of wildflowers including harebells, devil’s bit scabious and grass of Parnassus. Grass of Parnassus is in fact an honorary grass, named because in Ancient Greece, this pretty white flower was devoured by cattle grazing on Mount Parnassus.

Orchid House.

Not so Incey Wincey!

Hare.

Sleepy Kestrel.

Heron.

The Pennine Way walking route passes Malham Tarn and continues through the grounds of a Field Centre where an old Orchid House provides information about wildlife & geology in the area. We then walked through woodland decorated with various animal & bird sculptures until coming across Tarn Moss & Tarn Fen Nature Reserve.

Peacock Butterfly.

Bog Asphodel.

Sundew.

Due to the fragility of the reserve , dogs & bicycles are not permitted here, so I left Wil and Hugo for a quick nosy. The unusual habitat of groundwater- fed fen and rainwater-fed raised bog is home to rare plant life including insectivorous sundew and yellow globe flowers. There is apparently a herd of wild ponies on the fen, but I didn’t spy them. A wooden boardwalk guides you through the boggy mossy wilderness, but alas I didn’t have time to venture far.

The mist is lifting.

We retraced our steps back to the car and ate a picnic lunch on the grass. The midday sun was definitely starting to scorch , but we thought we would head into Malham and walk up to its lovely waterfall Janet’s Foss. We visited here a couple of years ago, but much earlier in the morning, before it got to busy. On that occasion the Foss was a serene scene , but on a bank holiday, it was crushed and crowded.

Malham.

Bee Library.

Janet’s Foss.

Hugo still managed a few paddles in the babbling brook, so all was not lost. I am definitely up for returning to Malham, especially Malham Tarn. I’m imagining a walk their every season now. A cold crisp November day maybe……

Hawthorns Photo Scavenger Hunt ~ July.

Kate’s words for July are Cluttered,Paddle, Pink, Starts with an E, Roof & My Own Choice.

Cluttered. Can I say this field is ‘cluttered with cows’ . Moo!

Paddle. Hugo is the main paddler in this household, though he meets his match down by the river. #doggypaddlers

Pink. Still loving this sculptural pavillion at NT Berrington Hall in Herefordshire. Who can resist a pink pineapple? πŸ˜ƒ

Starts with E. Some might say this is E for Eccentric. πŸ˜ƒ Hugo was a guest at his doggy pals Birthday party recently.

Roof. I really like this house in the village of Melmerby with its clock tower and triangular roof.

My own choice. Beautiful Comma Butterfly spotted on this morning’s dog walk.

Thanks to Kate for organising as usual. X