Tag Archives: lancashire coast

Snowdrops and the Sea ~ Hornby Castle and Morecambe.

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I had been researching Snowdrop Walks in Lancashire and found two. Both were at historic piles and not to far from the sea .Lytham Hall near St Annes and Hornby Castle , a short drive from Morecambe. I managed to persuade Wil that we could incorporate snowdrops and seaside into a good day out for ourselves and our Labrador Hugo. Off we set on a dreary grey day in Clitheroe, heading for Hornby Castle near Lancaster . We actually ended up blessed with some sunshine. 🙂

Hornby Castle in the Lune Valley overlooks the village of Hornby and the river Wenning. Parts of the building date back to the 13th century and the impressive tower that dominates it’s shape is 16th century. The castle is privately owned and the gardens are only opened to the public a few days a year

Hornby Castle from the weir.

It was lovely to see all the many varieties of snowdrops in bloom. They carpeted the woodland, grew in thickets by the river and adorned the lovely walled garden. Hugo’s favourite part was exploring the riverside walk.

I wish I had taken more snowdrop pictures for you all. They really were stunning! Entry to the Snowdrop weekend was £4 per person and included a talk about the castle in the drawing room ( which we managed to miss! ) and you could buy plants, hot drinks and cake in the walled garden. A pottery exhibition was also in the grounds. If you wish to visit Hornby castle yourself, the next opening weekend is 19-20 May, Bluebell season. 🙂

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The village of Hornby itself is quite pleasant and Hornby Post Office & Tea Rooms are a very good stop off point for a spot of lunch. The picture above is quite deceptive as the place was absolutely rammed, due I think to the Snowdrop Weekend and a second hand book sale in the village. The old fountain in the village depicts a cat with a rat in its mouth, said to represent the former owner of the castle, Pudsey Dawson, who brought in cats to clear the castle of a huge rat population in the 19th century. Yikes!

In the afternoon we headed to the coast and went for a blustery walk on the beach in Morecambe. Luckily at this time of year you can depend on pup friendly beaches, even if it is somewhat freezing! Morecambe has appeared in my blog quite a few times so apologies for any repetitive photos. Its a very photogenic place though, if a bit worn and weather beaten.

Eric Morecambe Statue.

The bracing winds encouraged us to head for the Midland Hotel that looks over the bay and the long stone jetty, decorated ( as much of the town is) with seabird sculptures and poems.

The Midland is a Grade II listed Art Deco design hotel , which was built in 1933 by the London, Midland and Scottish Railway. Like many grand seaside hotels it fell into disrepair and decline. In 2008 it was re-opened to the public, all restored and its elegant curving façade happily housing a lovely hostelry once again.

After enjoying our hot drinks we headed home through the Trough of Bowland, calling in at my sisters for another brew. Can’t get enough of brews in this weather!

Have you been on any snowdrop walks this year? Or bracing beach walks for that matter! 🙂

Butterflies, Seabirds & Rock Pools.

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Large Tree Nymph Butterfly.

In my last blog post I was feeling all Autumnal , but then Summer made a reappearance on Sunday 🙂  Happily we were put in charge of my niece and nephew for the day ….or was it the other way round !  Anyway we decided to head for the coast.  First we found ourselves at Williamson Park  on the outskirts of Lancaster.  With 54 acres of beautiful parkland , the impressive Ashton Memorial and far reaching views across Morecambe Bay, there’s certainly plenty to see.  But it was the Butterfly House and the Mini Beasts that the kids and I were interested in. Whilst Wil took Hugo for a walk , we got up close and personal with allsorts of cute creatures.  🙂

Tropical Blue Butterfly.

 

Common Garden Skink eating lunch.

The Butterfly House in Williamson Park is a former Palm House which resembles a tropical rainforest.  Indeed my camera lense started steaming up as soon as we entered!  Colourful butterflies flutter amongst the greenery and there are also various reptiles living here.  We were especially enamoured by the Common Garden Skink and a Chinese Water Dragon, who seemed a very friendly fellow.

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Chinese Water Dragon.

 

Meerkats. 

As well as The Butterfly House ,there is a Mini Beasts House, an Aviary and Meerkats, so plenty to keep the kids oooohing and ahhing for a little while. We also found an adventure playground, before meeting up with Wil and Hugo in The Pavilion Cafe. And we had to have a quick look in the gift shop too of course!

If only we had climbed up The Ashton memorial.  The views are apparently stunning from the first floor viewing gallery. That’s a definite for next time.  The memorial dominates the Lancaster skyline and was commissioned by Lord Ashton, as a tribute to his late wife.  Constructed mainly from Portland stone, with a copper dome, the structure was completed in 1909, and is now a popular venue for weddings and other events.  But now let’s head to Morecambe, whilst the sun is still shining. 🙂

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Tropical flower.

 

 

 

 

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Ashton Memorial

Morecambe’s Seafront is home to the Tern Project , an art trail that celebrates the varied birdlife and wildlife that make their home on the Lancashire Coast. Look out for poems and puzzles, jokes and riddles and lots of birdy sculptures.  Many can be found on the long stone jetty in front of the Midland Hotel, and along the promenade.

 

A Bird’s Eye View across the Bay.
Comerants.
Lapwing.
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Ringed  plovers.
Magpie.
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Mythical Bird.

When I asked my niece and nephew what they enjoyed the most about our day out, the answer was rock pooling!  These two could spend hours looking for crabs and water snails. Simple pleasures eh. 🙂

 

Gone Crabbing !

Here’s hoping for some more summery days to lead us out of September. X

Heysham and Half Moon Bay.

The recent sunshine is making me long for the seaside. I shall have to make do by collecting my pictures together of a lovely coastal walk in Lancashire.  😉

When I think of Heysham, I basically picture it as a Ferry port and the home of Heysham Power Station.  I actually had no idea of how pretty the old part of the village is, and how full of history.

We parked up in the spacious village car park ( £1.40 for five hours)  and passed a few pretty tea rooms and shops on our stroll towards the start of our walk, St Peter’s Church.

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St Peter’s has windswept tombstones and uninterupted views of the sea. It has been here since Saxon times.
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The Coastal Walk is looked after by The National Trust.
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We headed through a patch of woodland and emerged onto a cliff top. Here are the 8th Century ruins of  St Patrick’s Chapel.
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St Patrick is said to have been shipwrecked here in the 5th Century.
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The Chapel looks out over ‘Half Moon Bay’.
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Definitely the most unusual burial ground I have seen.  Rock cut graves carved out of the headland.

The Rock- Cut Graves that surround St Patrick’s Chapel are actually not unique.  There are apparently similar graves in Hexham, Northumberland and in Ireland.  The body shaped hollows were carved for the VIPs of the eleventh century, mostly kings and priests.  I hope they had lids on!

We continued along the cliff footpath , heading towards the Ferry Port in the distance. It was quite a bracing day in May , so when we spotted the Half Moon Bay Cafe ,we warmed up with a hot drink.

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The beach allows dogs all year round. 🙂
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Looking towards the Ferry Port.
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The Half Moon Bay Cafe is bright and friendly.  It sells a small selection of local art and doggy treats too. 🙂

After a welcome brew we made our way back to Heysham, following another criss- crossing path over the cliff tops, an area known locally as ‘The Barrows’.

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Flowering Gorse.
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Campions.
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A pretty cove.
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Wil and Hugo.
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Bluebells.

Back in the village, I picked up a fantastic and quirky map of The Morecambe Bay and Heysham area from the Heritage Centre .  The ‘Seldom Seen’ series of maps , ‘map the hidden assets of Morecambe bay’ and are full of interesting facts. I especially like the phrase ‘ Beyond This Place Lie Monsters’. 🙂

Seldom Seen Map.
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The newly refurbished Royal is a great place for lunch.
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Look out for ‘The Spirit of Heysham’ sign…..and a viking!

Vikings came to Heysham over 1000 years ago and today this is celebrated when the village holds  it’s annual  Viking Festival. This year’s event takes place 15th ~ 17TH jULY.

By all accounts I was very surprised by Heysham. Now I have my map , I’m sure I will be returning soon. 🙂

 

Beach Hut Day. :)

I have long coveted the seaside tradition of hiring a beautiful beach hut for the day. 🙂 When my friend Jo did just that, for a girly get together by the sea, I was a very happy bunny indeed. ❤

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The newly built huts are proving very popular at lovely St Annes on the Lancashire coast.  Jo booked through their website St Annes Beach Huts  ~ and between four of us it cost around £20 each for the day. The day starts at 10am and you can stay until Midnight.

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Each hut is decorated in a pretty nautical style and the space inside is very practical too. Most have electricity and facilities include the all important fridge, kettle & microwave. There is a bench inside which can be brought out onto the front decking area on a sunny day and all huts are equipped with crockery & cutlery.

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The time we spent at St Annes was typically British weather wise ! A spot of drizzle and very windy. Our beach hut was a cozy base from which to enjoy our day by the sea. As it was also our friend Marian’s birthday weekend we celebrated with a little afternoon tea spread, a birthday cake and glasses of prosecco. 🙂

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The kids loved their experience here too. They were able to make sandcastles on the beach, scooter along the prom, ride on the little steam train located behind the huts and play on the various rides and attractions nearby.

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We noticed other families and groups here celebrating special occasions or just enjoying the summer holidays. And the huts are also dog friendly . Plenty of bouncy dogs and their owners were enjoying the bracing sea air. We all had such a fabulous time and I think it is one of those memories we will remember for years to come. I for one could go back tommorrow. :))

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This is my August entry for #take12trips organized by Claire over at Need Another Holiday.