Having had a whole week off ( oh yes! ) , I thought I would share some of what I have been up to, in the form of a Sunday Sevens. Sunday Sevens is 7 ( or more) pictures from your week and was originally devised by Natalie at Threads & Bobbins
Fun With Family. Last Sunday my brother stopped over, so we headed to our sisters and had an afternoon out at Beacon Fell Country Park, looking for all the sculptures on the trail. Woodpeckers, Owls, Hare and Dragonflies…to name but a few. You can read about a previous visit to the park here.
Sinking Sandals. Also this week my lovely friend Lou visited us on route to her graduation in Liverpool. Before dropping her off at Crosby Station ,we paid a visit to the Art installation Another Place at Crosby Beach. 100 Iron Men stand looking out to sea, over 3 miles of coastline.
We were very stupid and decided to head out over the wet sand to examine one barnacled specimen. Don’t try this at home folks! Lou was fine, but I ended up losing my sandals to the squelchy Mersey mud. 😦 I know it could have been a lot worse. After that we stayed close to the promenade!
Big Butterfly Count. Heres something I was excited to join in with! Every Summer the Big Butterfly Count asks that you take 15 minutes of your time to sit and watch butterflies. 🦋 I decided to count the butterflies we saw whilst relaxing by the dunes at Crosby Beach. It was a great location as I spotted Peacocks, Tortoishells, Whites, Six-spotted Burnets, a Painted Lady and a Common Blue. Why not give the count a go and submit your results here.
#walk1000miles. A riverside walk to a nearby village yesterday, brought my miles walked total for this year so far to 909 miles! Think my swan friend here was impressed! Hopefully I should hit 1000 miles in August and then my aim is to walk 1500 miles by the end of the year. That would be pretty awesome!
How are you? Any good plans for today ( Sunday) ? Hoping to head to the coast again. Will try not to lose my sandals this time……
As my other half and I are ‘owned’ by a bouncy black labrador, our days out and holidays are often planned round walks and pet friendly places. With this in mind, here are a few of Hugo’s ( and our) favourite haunts, over the last 3 years.
Allan Bank , Grasmere, Cumbria. There are not many National Trust properties that allow dogs inside. A charming exception, a short walk from Grasmere, is a former home of poet William Wordsworth. Not every room is decorated however, so this Georgian Manor has a relaxed carefree vibe. The grounds are worth an explore too and include a woodland walk and gardens. Sadly there is no cafe on site at present, though you are welcome to make yourself a brew. Open this year from the 10th February. You can read about our visit here.
St Annes Beach Huts, St Annes, Lancashire. What better base for a day at the seaside than a beautiful beach hut! We spent a memorable day with Hugo in St Annes a couple of summers ago…. and we do need to repeat the experience. The huts are fully equipped with a fridge, microwave and radio. The sands in front of them are dog-friendly all year round. stannesbeachhuts.co.uk
Another Place, Crosby Beach, Merseyside. An atmospheric and thought-provoking art installation. 100 iron figures grace Crosby Beach, all identical , all modelled on their creator Antony Gormley, all stand staring out to sea. A stunning spectacle and a great place for a bracing beach walk. Pay and display parking but there is also free parking at nearby Crosby leisure centre.
Castle Kennedy Gardens, Dumfries & Galloway. If you find yourself in Scotland’s much underrated Dumfries & Galloway , these 75 acre gardens surround two lochs and the ruins of a 14th century castle. Great for exploring, you can stay on the estate too, as we did here. 🙂
Conishead Priory, Ulverston, Cumbria. Although this Gothic Priory is now a Buddhist Retreat , the grounds, gift shop and cafe are all open to the public. We have visited maybe three times now with Hugo, for lovely woodland walks that lead down to the beach. A January trip saw the woods abundant with snowdrops. Look out for the Buddhist temple and a giant golden buddha! Parking is free and you can eat with your dog in a comfy lounge, next to the cafe.
East Lancashire Panopticans. Have you heard of The Singing Ringing Tree, The Atom or The Haslingden Halo? All three of these unusual structures are found locally in East Lancashire, and can be incorporated into interesting walks. For more information check out midpenninearts.org.uk
Formby Point Red Squirrel Reserve, Formby, Merseyside. Formby has a great dog-friendly beach with sand dunes and coastal pine forests which are home to Lancashire’s only native red squirrel population. 🙂 The Squirrel Walk is a must if you wish to see these cute tufty creatures. Parking at The National Trust Car park. Dogs on leads in the reserve. You can read about my visit Sea Air ~ Squirrels and Naked Men on the Sefton Coast. .
Ingleborough Show Cave, Clapham, Yorkshire. We had no intention of touring this grand Victorian Show Cave but having stumbled upon it whilst walking along Clapham Nature Trail, we found that dogs are admitted. 🙂 The tunnels are well lit, though low in places. The tours are interesting and the shop at the entrance sells snacks and souvenirs. Find out more here .
Ingleton Falls Trail, Ingleton, Yorkshire Dales. This 7km walk from Ingleton village is £6 per adult, including car parking. The trail takes in several stunning waterfalls and there are a couple of refreshment kiosks along the route. Walking boots are best worn and dogs may need to be on lead in some areas. www.ingletonwaterfallstrailco.uk
Janet’s Foss & Malham Cove, Yorkshire Dales. The Yorkshire Dales is renowned for its beautiful waterfalls and Janet’s Foss is no exception. There is a stunning woodland walk from Malham village ( start at the Smithy) leading to the falls ( home to a fairy) and Gordale Scar. Another walk from the village takes you to the impressive Malham Cove , with its unusual limestone rock formations. I blogged about Malham here .
Lake District Boat Trips, Cumbria. Did you know that four-legged friends are welcome on the pleasure boats that cruise four lakes in the Lake District? Hugo has taken trips with us on Windermere, Ullswater , and Coniston. I am sure Derwent Water will be on our itinerary for 2018. 🙂
Lowther Castle & Gardens, Penrith, Cumbria. The imposing ruins and gardens within gardens of this nineteenth century castle are a joy to explore. Lots of events all year round and an amazing castle themed adventure playground for the kids. Dogs are also welcome in the cafe and the gift shop. lowthercastle.org
Morecambe Bay Cross Bay Walk, Arnside, Cumbria. In 2016 we walked across the shifting sands of Morecambe Bay between Arnside and Grange-Over-Sands. As you can see walking actually means wading…partly. And some swimming for Hugo! Bay walks are organized group walks and should not be attempted otherwise. You can read about our attempt here.
Pendle Sculpture Trail, Barley, Lancashire. The natural world and the Pendle Witches have inspired this informative ( and stunning ) trail through woodland near Barley. Park at the village car park ( pay via an Honesty Box) and walk for one mile, passing a reservoir, to Aitken Wood. I blogged about a pre Hugo visit here.
Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway, Ravenglass, Cumbria. Traveling 7 miles through gorgeous Lake District Countryside on a miniature steam train is something you can happily do, in the company of a four-legged friend. 🙂 There are hop on and off stops with many opportunities for lovely lakeland walks.Parking and Refreshments available at Ravenglass and Boot. ravenglass-railway.co.uk
Temple Seal Trips, Morston, Norfolk. Dogs are welcome on these popular boat trips, where you can see seals basking on Blakeney point. Colonies of Grey and Common Seals as well as rare arctic terns. Definitely a must do. The red and white boats even have a part canine crew! We loved our experience and here’s my blog to prove it. 🙂
I can only apologise that most of our days out have been in the North of England. But maybe that will be an incentive to holiday here with your hound. 🙂 If you have any recommendations for dog-friendly places to visit ( anywhere) please comment below.
Wednesday was a gorgeous cold and clear blue sky day and both of us happened to have the day off work. Talk about good luck! We decided to head off to the Sefton Coast near Liverpool….with the dog of course.
In the morning we found our way to Formby Beach and parked at the National Trust Car Park which was quite expensive but well worth it. I do keep thinking about membership and just don’t get round to it. Anyone out there a member? So, the car park area is right by the pine woods where red squirrels are in residence. 🙂 But first we ambled down to the beach via one of the many trails. Check out the recycled Christmas trees that have been planted in the dunes to protect them from becoming flattened.
Formby Beach is lovely and very dog friendly too. There are lots of shells especially Razor Shells. This part of the coast is home to some rare wildlife such as Dune Tiger Beetles and Natterjack Toads. And when the tide is out ancient human and animal tracks dating back 5,000 years can be seen in the rocks. The other wildlife Formby is famous for is of course it’s Red Squirrels.
The pine woodlands were planted 60-110 years ago to stable the sand dunes and protect the asparagus crops that were once grown here. Nowadays they are a refuge for our protected squirrel species. The squirrel walk ( dogs allowed on leads) is a delight. I can’t tell you how chuffed I was to see so many of these beautiful little tuftys. 🙂 They are smaller than their grey cousins and never keep still for long!
After our fun times in Formby we drove a little further down the coast to Crosby Beach. Here is home to 100 cast iron statues by artist Antony Gormley entitled Another Place. They are dotted around 3 km of beach, looking out to sea. There is a signposted free car park and dogs are allowed on the sand. I’m not sure what Hugo thought of the sculptures. He did pee on a lot of them!
As you can see all the statues are naked! They are actually modelled on the artist’s own body. I wonder how he feels about himself being duplicated across the coastline in his birthday suit. Well pretty good, I guess. 🙂
It was interesting to see the varying states of erosion and weathering the statues have succumbed to. Ten years have passed since they were installed. I hope they are gracing the coastline for many years to come. 🙂
I recently purchased a little gem of a book that has definitely inspired me to explore the more quirky attractions on my doorstep. The book is called Northern Delights and is described as ‘A Guide to the Hidden Joys of Northern England’. As a Northerner I was very excited to find it! 🙂
The author ‘Anne Ward’, loves nothing better than to wander about aimlessly with a camera. She made it her mission to discover peculiar places and family holidays meant leaving no stone unturned in her quest to discover the North’s hidden gems.
Here is just a small selection of the attractions mentioned. A couple I have happily already discovered under my own steam, the other’s are awaiting my visit!
Another Place ~ Crosby. One hundred cast iron figures looking out to sea, straddle 3km of Crosby beach near liverpool. Designed by artist Antony Gormley the statues are modelled on his own body. The guide says they are sometimes adorned with sun-hats,motorbike helmets and even santa outfits. And are a handy place to leave your flip-flops! I found a great post about Another Place at kathyathy.com .
Saltburn-By-The-Sea Cliff Lift and Pier. The funicular railway is the oldest operating water balance cliff lift in Britain, according to Northern Delights. Visitors can ascend and descend the cliffs in style here in this little known Victorian resort. The Pier at the bottom is the most Northerly surviving pleasure pier in Britain and the surf at Saltburn rivals that of Cornwall. Visit www.saltburnbysea.com for more info.
The Forbidden Corner ~ Coverham. Here’s my post from a couple of years ago, about this delightful collection of statues,mazes,follies,castles and water features set in woodlands and beautiful gardens in the Yorkshire Dales. 🙂 A magical place indeed.
Pontefract Liquorice Festival ~ Pontefract. Well I had never heard of this colourful event celebrating all things liquorice until I found it in the book. Apparently liquorice was introduced to Pontefract by monks as a medicinal herb and kind of took over the town. Sugar was added and the well loved confectionary was invented. The festival is held every July www.yorkshire.com
Midland Hotel ~ Morecambe. The beautiful art deco building in the Lancashire resort of Morecambe graces the promenade and enjoys vistas over the bay. Restored in the last few years to its former glory, it is once again an elegant place to stay and hosts eclectic events such as Vintage By The Sea .
Carnforth Station ~ Carnforth. Maybe the most romantic train station, you will ever visit. This unassuming Lancashire platform was the setting for the classic 1945 film ‘Brief Encounter’. The story follows a budding romance between a couple who meet at the station, but it is a romance that can never be. Have railway goodbyes ever been so bittersweet. A 1940s style tea room welcomes visitors, for their own brief encounters apparently.www.carnforthstation.co.uk
Marsden Grotto ~ South Shields. Britain’s only pub in a Sea Cave is here apparently. According to my little guide book, visitors can walk down the 137 zigzag steps ( or take the lift) and enjoy a drink in the shady nook. It’s history tells of smugglers hiding their contraband in the cave and the grotto is said to be haunted by those rum suping spirits. Spooky!
I hope you enjoyed this small selection of Northern Delights. You can find the book yourself at www.pocketmountains.com
Any interesting or quirky places in your neck of the woods?
Dog friendly hikes and exploring, mostly around New England. Our Adventures includes: waterfalls, the beach, conservation land, lighthouses, state parks, the woods, the mountains, statues, and castles.