2020 has been tough on us humans but the natural world has carried on as normal. In fact in those early days of lockdown when most of us stayed home and the roads were eerily empty, wildlife blossomed. Many of us had time to notice the birds in our gardens , the visiting butterflies, the quiet rustle of hidden creatures going about their business. From all the negativity a greater connection to nature came about. We have so much to appreciate in our wilder surroundings.
Travel restrictions prevented me from venturing very far so my photos this year are from Lancashire and Cumbria. Still plenty to see though. Enjoy the pics. ❤️
My sister, niece and nephew and I ( and Hugo, of course) had planned to do the Walking With Witches Trail , a 4 mile loop starting at Barley Car Park. The pretty villages of Barley, Newchurch and Roughlee lie in the shadow of Pendle Hill. The area is famed for its spooky associations with The Pendle Witches , a group of individuals who in the 1600s were sentenced to death for witchcraft. Of course the day we set off on our witchy wander it was chucking it down with rain and the foreboding bulk of Pendle Hill was enveloped in mist.
We only managed to follow the trail from Barley to nearby Newchurch over boggy fields, before calling it a day and turning back. I didn’t take many photos, but still thought I would share with you what we did see between showers. The scarlet and yellow waxy cap mushrooms we spied along the way are a fairly good indicator of ancient meadowlands.
Newchurch is named after its ‘ new church’ of St Mary’s consecrated in 1554. The west side of the churches tower is unusual for its Eye Of God. Can you see it? Maybe the eye was there to watch over the locals, more likely it was used as a window by the bell-ringers, so they could view approaching service goers. Whichever, it is a little bit spooky on a grey Lancashire day.
To the right of the churches porch is a Nutter family grave, inscribed with a skull and crossbones, athough it is unlikely that Alice Nutter herself was buried here. Alice Nutter was a land owning gentlewoman from nearby Roughlee. She had been involved in a boundary dispute with her neighbor , local magistrate Christopher Nowell. Maybe the dispute was easily solved when Alice herself was conveniently found to be one of the 12 people in the area sentenced to death for witchcraft.
Although the superstitious times of the 17th century are thankfully over, there is a little shop in Newchurch that sells all things witchy, so we couldn’t resist a mooch…and shelter from the rain.
Inside Witches Galore there is certainly plenty to look at. My sister purchased a painted Pendle witch pebble and as for myself? An ornamental toadstool. 🙂
If only we could have used Pendle Transport ( broomsticks!) for our journey back to the car. We settled on walking to Barley along the road instead of through the muddy fields. Another time we will do the whole Walking With Witches Trail. There is so much more to explore!
My weekend was a cornocopia of fungi finds. In rainbow colours!
A lovely lady in Melmerby showed me the ones that have sprung up on the village green. If you have ever been to this Eden Valley village, you will know that the green is huge. It’s also home to lots of gorgeous wild flowers in the spring and summer. The green is managed like an old fashioned hay meadow. It’s a real haven for wildlife.
Hope these identifications are right. I used the I naturalist app on my phone to double check. I am clueless when it comes to fungi.
Definitely feel blessed to have been shown these. My favourite has to be the ‘ Ballerina ‘.
Later on Saturday Wil and I took a walk from Garrigill to Ashgill Force. To my delight we spotted these beauties by the brook.
And last but not least, spotted these at home in Clitheroe.
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. 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. 🙂
The Wildlife Trust is again challenging people this month to join in with #30dayswild. Every June folks are encouraged to perform a random act of wildness each day. It could be something as simple as walking barefoot in grass, feeding the birds, enjoying an alfresco coffee in the park or watching insects in the garden. Just take a little time out to enjoy nature every day, and see how good that makes you feel.
I have joined in with the challenge a few times and this year I thought I would take a relaxed approach to blogging about it as I really don’t have anything particularly planned. I will take each day as it comes.
We were camping at Meadow Falls Campsite in Ingleton at the beginning of June with friends and their girls , so of course we just had to walk the Ingleton Waterfalls Trail, which is well worth doing if your in the area. The recent rainy weather meant that all the falls were gushing impressively. The trail meanders through 4.5 mile of woodland and hillside terrain. Remember to wear sturdy walking boots if you do it!
We could smell the aroma of wild garlic ( it covers the woodland floor) as we ambled along and it was lovely to see wild orchids growing near Pecca Falls. Out in the fields meadow pippits called and tiny yellow flowers called tormentil ( known as the walkers companion flower) dotted the hills. The kids collected sticks for toasting marshmallows on the camp fire later, whittling them smooth with potato peelers.
I found this moth ( a nice man on twitter identified it as a Clouded- Bordered Brindle ) in the tent before we took it down. It was gently removed into the hedge.
Back home and a new visitor to the feeder! A jackdaw who swings on the fat balls, making even more mess than the raucous starlings. I also have visiting bluetits and House sparrows ( some are fledglings) , blackbirds, a robin and a coal tit.
A wet walk with the dog on Tuesday and I spotted this fungi growing through the greenery ~ possibly a pleated ink cap. I think they look quite ghostly.
I planted the Thirty Days Wild seeds in pots in the back yard. There are poppies along with some scabious I bought. Hope there are signs of growth by the end of June. 🌺
Yesterday I got caught in the rain out in the fields with Hugo. We did get to see a roe deer springing through the grass at great speed. A lovely wild moment, if it wasn’t for getting soaked to the skin! Once home I decided to download the RSPB single Let Nature Sing , which I have been meaning to do for a while. I’m quite late to the party as usual, apparently this cacophony of birdsong reached number 18 in the charts. I enjoyed listening to the Cuckoo, woodpeckers, curlews etc, with my brew.
So October is at an end. And what a beautiful one it has been. Here are my wildlife photos from the last week of a rather glorious month.
22 October. On a wall Ivy – Leaved Toadflax which is a common trailing wallflower. It is also known as ‘Mother of Thousands’ and usually flowers from May to September.
23 October. I make some Foxy Leaf Art from a Sycamore Leaf. 🙂
24 October. On a walk with Hugo I notice this Fungi with it’s orange colouring. Looks like it’s been nibbled on. In an old almost dead tree I spot a Carrion Crow which makes a spooky silhouette.
25 October. Colourful purple berries and crimson leaves in the park.
26 October. I notice the changing colours of this Virginia Creeper on my way to work.
27 0ctober. Another flower that lingers in the hedgerows is Bindweed with its papery white trumpet-like blooms.
28 October. An afternoon at Lowther Castle in Cumbria saw myself and my little helper spotting lots of wildlife. 🙂 More Fungi , if anyone can id them? Imogen found lots of autumn leaves, berries and nuts, including Sweet Chestnuts . Once cooked , these are the chestnuts that can be roasted on an open fire. I love their fuzzy shells. The bird ( another silhouette I’m afraid) is actually a Buzzard with something in its beak. Apparently it is our most common Bird of Prey here in the UK. I still felt privileged to see it.
29 October. Poisonous red climbing berries from the Bryony plant.
30 October. A male Blackbird singing in a bush. Blackbirds appear in the nursery rhyme ‘Sing A Song Of Sixpence’.
31 October. Find a late bloomer in my back yard. Think it might be a Dahlia. 🙂
So there goes October. Hopefully the mild weather will continue on into November, and so will the beautiful colours. 🙂
Towards the end of this week the temperatures have fallen. Its certainly a lot colder than it has been. But last weekend it was still quite mild. Mostly my week has been all about the fungi. Oh what fun guys!
15th October. Noticed this dark brown topped Fungi growing up a tree. In fact it is there every year ,so it must consider the tree home. Can anyone identify it? Also very nearly stepped on a Furry Caterpillar crossing the pavement. Its reddish brown colour leads me to believe it could become a Fox Moth ? And today, inspired by Christine , I decided to collect some Autumn Leaves, Nuts & Berries on our walk with Hugo. They look quite pretty don’t they?
16th October. An Ink cap Mushroom amongst falling foliage. I know I photographed some last week but hey I quite like this picture. 🙂
17th October. I think these might be Honey Fungus at the bottom of a tree in the park. If so, they are edible but as I am not to sure about my identification skills, I will not be cooking any, any time soon !
18th October. Hugo enjoyed pouncing about in the crunchy leaves today in the Castle grounds. Grey Squirrels live in the park and unlike our native Reds, are in no danger of dying out. The breed was introduced from North America in the 19th century and the squirrels feed on acorns, nuts, bulbs and fungi.
19th October. I was surprised to see some Meadowsweet still in bloom , which must be testament to the mild weather we have been having. Their sweet smelling flowers were once used to flavour mead and this is the plant that first gave us aspirin apparently.
20th October. I had wondered what I could photograph on a walk out with Hugo , when this Rainbow appeared over the fells in the distance. 🙂
21st October. A colder morning today made me check my hanging baskets which were £3 each from Aldi and are full of Winter Pansies. I hope their name means they survive the first frosts.
8th October. Blackberries in the park. A late Summer and Autumn fruit that can be made into allsorts of lovely puddings, pies, jellies, junkets and jams. Here is a recipe for Apple & Blackberry Crumble .
9th October. Today (Sunday) turned out to be a good nature spotting day as it was sunny and still warm enough not to wear a coat. Although in the morning we had spied lots of squirrels at Gawthorpe Hall , it was our afternoon walk around Standen on the outskirts of Clitheroe that proved more fruitful. I hope I have identified these right! The fungi looks like Ink Cap Mushrooms which are apparently edible.If they are them however, they are poisonous when combined with alcohol ~ leading to their other moniker ‘Tippler’s Bane’. :b. The Dragonfly is a Common Darter which is one of the few dragonflies that are around well into Autumn. The beautiful butterfly is a Comma , so named because the species have a white marking on their underside similar to a comma.:)
10th October. View of the rather straggly honeysuckle in my backyard. It never has many flowers and those that bloom don’t have the lovely scent that wild honeysuckle has. 😦
11th October. A-haaah my friend the Grey Heron! There’s a particular spot on the river protected by a canopy of trees, that heron’s like to fish. I was passing with Hugo ( my dog) at just the right time to capture this photo. 🙂
12th October. A sunny morning though a bit nippy. These Elderberries grow by a wall which is a bit of a sun trap. The shrub’s clusters of fragrant creamy white blossom that bloom in the summer lend their flowers to cordials and champagne. The berries of Autumn can be made into wine and preserves.
13th October. I love the candy striped flowers of the Herb Robert. They look so delicate but can flower well into Autumn.
14th October. One of my favourite Autumn flowers is the orange Chinese Lantern. A house nearby has an abundance of them adorning its garden.
Thanks for joining me in my second week of posting a wildlife photo every day in October…