This afternoon we donned our waterproofs and walking boots, packed a lunch and flask of coffee and headed to the centre of the UK !
The pretty village of Dunsop Bridge in the Trough Of Bowland is the nearest village to National Grid reference SD63770 56550 Hanging Stones. Apparently this area has been determined to be the exact centre of the country.
From the village car park ( £1.40 charge for four hours) we walked past the green and took the tarmacked track to the left of Puddleducks Tea Rooms and Post Office. From here we followed the lane through a couple of farm cottages and up through the valley as far as the water pumping station and back.
Hugo really enjoyed dipping in and out of the brook and chasing sticks. 🙂
Meanwhile the weather was a mixture of sunshine and hale stones, plus it was blowing a bit of a hooley.
I think the weather conditions frightened off most of the wildlife. I saw a few ducks and the odd pheasant. Lots of purple catkins on the alder trees gave the countryside a lilac hue.
I think the scenery in the Trough is every bit as beautiful as in the Yorkshire Dales or the Lake District.
We didn’t venture further than this water tower but I’m sure we will return one day soon and follow the lane up into the fells.
We turned back and headed for Dunsop Bridge. This walk covered five miles in total.
It was lovely to see bunches of wild snowdrops growing by the stream and dotted round the village. Hopefully Spring is on its way..
Bank Holiday Monday was a scorcher wasn’t it! I had been working in the morning so was definitely ready for a little trip out. The Lancashire coast was a possibility, but in the end we decided to nip up to The Trough Of Bowland, a valley and high pass in the Forest Of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. I was quite pleased with this idea as I had heard that a statue of a mermaid resides in the trough, and I wanted to find her. 🙂 Because of the intense heat we decided to leave Hugo at home and take him out for an early evening walk instead.
But why on earth is there a mermaid living in an inland Lancashire valley, I hear you ask? I was a bit confused myself. Even though the Trough of Bowland is the scenic route to Lancaster and the coastal towns beyond, this is the only connection to the sea , that I know of. Several babbling brooks do meander through the countryside though and three Water Intakes were built in the 1920’s. Langden Water Intake is the home of our mermaid. Her name is Miranda.
Miranda is quite easy to find. Park at the Langden Car Park by the brook. This site is popular with picnickers on sunny days and at weekends there is usually a mobile hotdog/icecream van parked up. Cross the blue bridge and walk down a tree lined avenue, following the track a short way into the Langden Valley. You will see a cottage and the water treatment works ahead. Peer over a gate at the side and you should see a mermaid perched on the wall of the settling pool. Of course, we somehow totally missed spotting her at first…and walked straight past. I then spied the statue through the trees and got quite frustrated, as I couldn’t get a good photo. 😦
We found ourselves looking over a fence at the back of the property, with lots of No Entry signs. I decided to chance it and climbed over the gate, snuck up to the wall and got a couple of photos. Luckily our camera has a pretty good zoom! Though in hindsight I really didn’t need to do this ( Wil got some pictures from over the gate I mentioned afterwards), it’s great that I now have shots of the mermaid from two different angles. 🙂
Miranda was sculpted by water engineer George Aldersley in the fifties . She was modelled on his wife Madge and he actually sculpted the water nymph in their front room. She was possibly named after the mermaid in the 1948 film ‘ Miranda’ starring Glynis Johns , in the title role.
You have probably noticed that this mermaid does not have a huge swishing tail. She is apparently a twin-tailed mermaid, the statues legs tucked underneath her, end in flat fins.
After my spot of trespassing , we had a short walk into the Langden Valley. The sun was really beating down though, so we didn’t amble very far.
We soon headed back through the trees to the car park and treated ourselves to an ice cream to cool down. I also noticed a memorial to 25 air pilots who crashed in the Forest of Bowland during the second world war. The airmen were from Britain, America, Poland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.
Thanks for reading. If you would like to know more about the Langden Mermaid , I got my information from mermaidsofearth.com
Have you come across any mermaid statues, anywhere in the world?
Back to my own neck of the woods now, the lovely Ribble Valley in Lancashire. Here are my wild moments from the last seven days. 🙂
Day 10 ~ The Running Hare. I have started reading this charming book by John Lewis Stempel. It is the story of how a farmer attempts to transform a bare ,almost barren meadow , into a haven for the kind of wildlife that would frequent a field, if it wasn’t for the intensive farming methods used today. This book takes me back to my own childhood, growing up on a farm, when hare and partridges, lapwing and field mice were much more commonplace than they are today. I hope he succeeds…
Day 11 ~ Wild Rose-Petal Jam. The hedgerows are full of fragrant Wild Rose shrubs , so I thought I would follow this recipe and make Rose- Petal Jam.
2 Cups Wild Rose Petals.
2 Cups Caster Sugar.
1 tbsp Orange juice.
1 tbsp Lemon juice.
Half a cup of Water.
Dissolve two cups of caster sugar in half a cup of water mixed with one tablespoon each of lemon juice and orange juice. Stir in the rose petals and put the pan over a very low heat. Stir continuously for 30 minutes, or until the petals have ‘melted’. Cool the mixture and pour into a small glass jar and seal. Rose-Petal jam is popular in the Middle East , especially with yoghurt.
The recipe worked, though took an awful lot of stirring. Also the jam is incredibly sweet, so I think if I make it again, I would lessen the amount of sugar used.
Day 12 ~ Feeding the Birds. Wil very kindly made this hanger for the bird feeders at the weekend. Much less precarious than having them swing about on the washing line! One visitor has taken to the Coconut shell filled with cooked fat and seeds.A bluetit ! Hopefully more will follow. 🙂
Day 13 ~ Wildflower Count. My blogger pal Christine has posted on Facebook about an online Wildflower survey organized by Plantlife , so I thought I would give it a go on today’s dog walk. Hugo and I followed Mearley Brook through the fields and then on to the River Ribble. I ticked off only 7 of the suggested flowers, which was a little disappointing . But there were a few I spotted that were not on the list, such as Red Campion, Crosswort, Silverweed and Water Forget-me-not. I also saw the shiny copper coloured beetle below. Let me if know you take part…
Day 14 ~ Meadow Grasses. Flowers are beautiful, but have you ever noticed how pretty wild grasses are? On an early morning walk with Hugo, I passed through a farmer’s field, which I think is waiting to be mown. Here are just a few of the different grasses that I very quickly took pictures of with my phone. Hugo loves racing trails through this meadow. We ended up soaked with dew and covered in grass seeds. 🙂
Day 15 ~ Wildflower Seedlings. It looks like the seeds I received in my #30dayswild pack from The Wildlife Trusts are sprouting in my flower bed. Either that or a variety of weeds. I am intrigued to see what we end up with!
Day 16 ~ A walk in the centre of the Kingdom. Did you know the exact Centre of the UK is in Lancashire? National Grid reference SD63770 56550 Hanging Stones , to be exact! The nearest village is the pretty Bowland settlement of Dunsop Bridge. We parked our car in the village car park and walked up the track adjacent PuddleDuck Tearooms, past the playground and into the Dunsop Valley. Here are a few photos of the wildlife we saw on our walk.
After our ramble we had earned coffee and cake at Puddleducks! A tearoom complete with ducks on the Village Green. 🙂
Whoo I think that means we are just over halfway through ’30 Days Wild’ now. I just need to think of some ideas for the next 14 days! All suggestions welcome. 🙂
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.
This is my diary of the wildlife where I live in Oxfordshire, and sometimes the places I visit. I am a 15 year old young naturalist with a passion for British wildlife, especially Badgers and Hares. I have been blogging since May 2013 and you can read my old blog posts at www.appletonwildlifediary.blogspot.co.uk