Of the Flowerpot Festival in Settle, the Visit Settle website says ‘ Be Entertained, Astounded and Astonished by the beautiful flowerpot displays in our lovely town’. I couldn’t agree more! Here are a small selection of what we spotted when we dropped by Settle last Saturday afternoon. The Yorkshire Dales town is showcasing it’s stunning flowerpot creations until the first week of September.
On Sunday we were in Northumberland, a county we are discovering more of from our caravan base in the North Pennines. We visited Hadrian’s Wall, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The 73 mile wall was built under the orders of the Roman Emperor Hadrian in AD122 , guarding the Northern frontier from invaders further North. Today what remains of Hadrian’s Wall is looked after by English Heritage and other organisations.
We parked at Housesteads Roman Fort and walked along the Hadrian’s Wall Path as far as Sycamore Gap, about 4 miles there and back. Confusingly Housesteads is looked after by both English Heritage and the National Trust, yet the car park is run by National Parks. So as NT members we still had to pay for parking. Then I realised I had left my membership card at home anyway! So we didn’t bother paying to see the fort remains, we just went a walk instead.
The wildflowers along the wall are beautiful. Plenty of harebells, knapweed, ladies bedstraw and field scabious. The heather was just starting to bloom and mountain pansies were dotted here and there.
Your not really meant to sit on an ancient monument but Hugo and I did have one quick photo taken just before Hotbank Farm. A very scenic spot for a hill farm. 🙂
To the left of Hotbank farm lies a body of water called Crag Lough. I had no idea before I wrote this post that lakes in Northumberland and very Northern England are known as loughs . There are several loughs near Hadrian’s Wall.
Sycamore Gap is an iconic and well photographed spot along Hadrian’s Wall. A few hundred years old Sycamore tree 🌲 grows in the dip. The sycamore is known as the Robin Hood Tree as it appeared in the Kevin Costner film Robin Hood Prince Of Thieves.
My goodness, there is so much more to discover in this fascinating part of the world. I am sure there will be future posts!
If you were to ever visit the Northumberland town of Haltwhistle and didn’t already know of it’s proud claim to be ‘ the centre of Britain ‘ you would no doubt very soon find out. For this quirky market town has a Centre Of Britain Sweet shop, a Centre of Britain launderette, a Centre of Britain Army Surplus store and a Centre of Britain Hotel, to name but a few of the local businesses. Strolling down the high street here , we definitely felt like we were in the middle of the kingdom! However , coming from a little further South in Lancashire, I know that the true centre of Britain lies 71 miles away near the Trough Of Bowland village of Dunsop Bridge. 😀
Our visit to the town coincided with rumbling tummies, we found the perfect pit stop in the cobbled market square. Brew Bar is definitely the place to go for coffee, brunch and people watching. It looks like a cracking little night time venue too.
Hopefully we will be back to explore Haltwhistle further. The area is rooted in Hadrian’s Wall country, there are several Roman forts to visit and the town is ideally located for finding them.
For now though, here are some photos of our gentle amble alongside Haltwhistle Burn which is a well signposted waterside walk through Burn Gauge , packed full of wildlife and signs of the town’s industrial heritage. The path that runs aside the beck was once a narrow gauge steam railway.
The path eventually opens out onto a limestone meadow, before heading onwards towards Hadrian’s Wall, which I am sure we will add onto a future walk.
Have you ever visited one of Britain’s Centres of the kingdom?
As you may have read we have recently returned from a few days camping near Pooley Bridge in the Ullswater area of the Lakes. The we in question are myself, my boyfriend Wil and our elderly labrador Jake. We stayed at the Quiet Site and I reviewed it in my previous post.
Holidaying with the hound can prove quite a challenge but luckily the Lake District is quite geared up for accepting your four legged friend at various attractions. If you are into walking the countryside here includes some of the most awe inspiring terrain in England. Now that our Jakey is an old boy to much hiking around is no longer an option for us. But here are a few of the places we visited.
Whinlatter is a mountain forest park packed full of walking trails, mountain bike trails, and wildlife including Osprey, deer and red squirrels. There is also a kids adventure trail and a Go Ape for the more adventurous. Wil comes here alot mountain biking ( you can hire bikes here too) but it is also a great place to bring the dog.After checking out the trails we enjoyed a brew and homemade cake at Siskins cafe with its wooden veranda looking out onto the forest.Friendly birds darted from the many hanging bird feeders to feast on our crumbs.
High Cup Winery
Did you know Cumbria has its very own Winery? High Cup Winery is based at Townhead Farm at the foot of High Cup Gill in the Eden Valley. We discovered them whilst in the area last year but to our disappointment they were shut at the time. Luckily this trip they were open and busy constructing a fence round their fruit bushes to keep out the rabbits! The wines they produce come from their home grown raspberries,damsons,elderberries,rhubarb,gooseberries and even beetroot. We were able to sample them before we chose which ones to purchase. I was very keen on the spiced beetroot which is best served warm. We came away with bottles of ravishing rhubarb, raspberry rose and exquisite elderflower and apple. Perfect for sipping on a summers evening camping. 🙂
Llama Karma Kafe
A rather kooky coffee break stop off on the A66 Penrith, we had our lunch here oneday on the way to my nephews school sports day. Lovely food, a quirky peruvian interior,lots of animal inspired cuddly toys and gifts , a cozy woodburner.And Llamas in the back yard! Kids will love the Animal magic garden, the real live llamas and the wooden lifesize llamas.:)
Having the hound with us, we sat out front on one of the picnic benches. I had to go and have a sneeky peek at the Llamas though.Apparently the Llama Karma Cafe organizes Llama trek experiences in Lakeland too. Now that would be something to try!
Birdoswald Roman Fort
We have always wanted to see Hadrians Wall so decided on driving to Birdoswald Roman Fort near Brampton.Still in Cumbria, just, the longest intact expanse of Hadrians Wall can be found here. Not exactly ` Game of Thrones’ height but still impressive none the less! The weather was sunny but rather blustery and wild and I imagine the beautiful but harsh northern landscape must have seemed bleak to the Roman soldiers who lived along the wall. There’s a small museum at Birdoswald and information about the remains of the fort ( would have been better if there had been more artefacts on display from the site) , an English heritage gift shop and tearooms. You are welcome to bring your own picnic as there are benches in the courtyard. The attraction is dog friendly and there are extensive walking and cycling routes along the wall.
Ullswater is the second longest lake in the Lake District and I think, the most beautiful. A good way of enjoying the breathtaking scenery is to take a boat trip on one of the old Ullswater Steamersthat depart from the villages of Glenridding,Pooley bridge and Howtown and you can get hop on and off tickets which will allow you to explore the lake countryside partly by boat and partly on foot if you wish. We simply got a return ticket from Glenridding at one side of the lake, stopped off at Pooley bridge for lunch and a cream tea in the pretty riverside tea gardens at Granny Dowbekins Cafe and then headed back to Glenridding. It takes about an hour to get from one end of the lake to the other.
We learn’t quite a bit about Ullswater on our trip. I didn’t realize but Donald Campbell broke the world speed record here in 1955 in the jet powered Bluebird K7. William Wordsworth was inspired to write his famous poem ‘The Daffodils’,when walking along the banks here with his sister Dorothy. And Ullswater is linked to Arthurian Legend where it is often referred to as “The Dark Lake”. I highly recommend visiting this less touristy area.:)
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