Every so often I remember to join in with #photoanhour on Instagram, and yesterday was one of those days. The concept is simple. Just take one photo of whatever your doing every hour and join in with the hashtag #photoanhour. Either Janey or Louisa chooses the date each month.
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?
Beacon Fell Country Park in the beautiful Forest of Bowland area of Lancashire is not that far from where I live, yet it is somewhere we rarely visit. I think that will change this year, now that we have discovered what a fab afternoon out, this popular Country Park is. After picking up my niece and nephew and demoting Mr Hugo to the boot, we set off from Clitheroe to the village of Chipping and beyond, passing Bowland Forest Gliding Club and Blacksticks Lane ~ which immediately made me think of the Lancashire cheese. 😊
The park has several car parks, the main one having a cafe and visitor centre and a small parking charge. After piling out of the car, we set off to explore. There are several sculptures dotted round Beacon Fell. In hindsight we should have bought a 20p map from the visitor centre, as is the usual case with sculpture trails, we failed to spot them all.
Beacon Fell Country Park is a mixture of heather moorland at the summit and spruce woodland ,so is a rich haven for wildlife. There are numerous walking trails and the blue Fellside trail may also be used by mountain bikers and horse riders. The weekend we visited was very busy with families and dog walkers, so we failed to spy the area’s native roe deer. I imagine at quieter times, there is probably lots more to see. I settled for a photo of a camera shy kestrel. 😊
The views from Beacon Fell’s Summit ( 266m high) are lovely all around. From the Bowland Fells you can glimpse the Lancashire coastline and on a bright day, the skies are generously big.
On our future return we will be sure to look out for a heron, a walking snake , a living willow deer and a black tiger. We did at least spot a dragonfly, he isn’t on the map! There is also a tarn to discover, which apparently buzzes with real dragonflies….
After a couple of hours of climbing trees, wildlife spotting and throwing sticks for Hugo ( his ball on a rope ended up tangled round a tree branch as usual 🤣) ,we had a drink at the cafe and a quick look in the visitor centre. We all agreed a return trip is a must!
Hi folks welcome to another Sunday Sevens, a collection of 7 or more photos from the last 7 days. 😁
On Monday eve I met a couple of friends for a date with some dogs! Isle Of Dogs is the latest Wes Anderson movie and it’s definitely got the Anderson quirkiness. The story revolves round a Japanese Cities population of dogs who are all banished to ‘Trash Island’ after an outbreak of doggy illness. One boy vows to get his beloved ( though some what tick infested! ) best friend back, so we follow the scruffy mutts adventures as they attempt to become reunited with their former humans. I quite enjoyed it. ☆☆☆☆
It was my sisters birthday recently so it was nice to get together with her little family to celebrate. We went out for a lovely meal to The Three Fishes in Mitton. I loved my Fish & Chips served on a fishy plate. 😊
My sister will probably kill me ( if she reads this!) but my favourite photo that I have loved this week has got to be a selfie she took of her and the cat. 🐱 Sis has just turned 41 and Chloe is 20 this year. Talk about the fountain of youth ladies. xx
Thank goodness Spring has arrived! Lots of colour in my local park this week. Always nice to see. 😁
Yesterday was a pleasantly warm day so we made the most of it with a couple of walks. We drove over the fells towards High Bentham, hoping to do a good hike round there.
Unfortunately we couldn’t let Hugo off lead as there were lots of ground nesting grouse in the grass. I was pretty delighted to hear their calls and catch glimpses of their eye-catching red eye flashes. I swear I saw a black grouse ( I think the one below is a red grouse) but now I’m not so sure. Anyway it was wonderful to see them….and also The Great Stone Of FourStones , a local landmark , that made us think of a mini Ayres Rock. 🙂 This glacial deposit has been used as a border marker for Lancashire and Yorkshire. It is said that it was dropped on the moors by the Devil himself, whilst on his way to Kirkby Lonsdale to fashion Devils Bridge. There are well worn steps carved into the side.
After larking about on The Great Stone we drove over to Clapham in North Yorkshire and had a wander along Clapham Nature Trail with Hugo. He had a splashing time in the brook with a couple of golden retrievers. 🙂
Typically, the day we chose to walk The Tolkien Trail dawned damp and grey, a Ribble Valley rainy day. 😐 These kind of drizzly conditions are always a hit with our labrador Hugo though, so we didn’t let them dampen our spirits. Waterproofs on, we set off on our trek through boggy fields, and some of the loveliest countryside in Lancashire, unfortunately obscured by rain clouds.
Writer J. R. R. Tolkien often stayed in the area. He was writing Lord of The Rings , whilst visiting his son who attended Stonyhurst College. He and his family regularly stopped in the grounds of this stately pile, which became a boarding school in 1794 . I have no doubt the author, when out walking in the surrounding woodland and river meadows , drew inspiration from the lush greenery and rolling hillsides of this unspoilt part of Lancashire.
We had with us a walking guide book which contained a map and instructions for our route. Unfortunately after parking in the pretty village of Hurst Green and walking up the long drive to Stonyhurst College, we came face to face with several Private No Entry signs. Aaagh what to do! It turns out the guide book was written in the nineties, when maybe you could walk right up to the front of the building. After much discussion we decided to chance it and follow the route as it is written. Luckily it was such a miserable day that there was nobody about to challenge us!
I didn’t manage to get very many photos of Stonyhurst, as I have to admit being a trespasser didn’t really help me on the photography front. 😗 Happilly we were soon back on track, heading through fields with Pendle Hill supposedly on our right, hidden in the clouds.
The rivers Hodder, Ribble and Calder can all be found in the locality. Perhaps they were the inspiration for the fictional rivers of Brandywine, Shirebourne and Withywindle.
A good portion of the walk is on the riverside and at one time a Boat House housed a ferrymen who would take travellers across the Ribble between Winkley Hall and Hacking Hall below. Soon the river Calder also joins the Ribble as it curves through the countryside.
In the distance we spied the glamping cabins of Hobbit Hill perched above the valley. I wondered if anyone was staying there and if they too would try out the Tolkien Trail. Check out their website for a more up-to-date version of the walking route.
Eventually the footpath passes through woodland again and then through a very muddy meadow , before we arrived back in Hurst Green. There are a couple of nice pubs in the village. One is called The Shireburn Arms and is named after the man who built Stonyhurst College and Cromwell Bridge, Sir Richard Shireburn.
I must admit I am prone to taking for granted the fact that I live in one of the most beautiful parts of the country. If England is a ‘green and pleasant land’ then the gorgeous ‘Ribble Valley’ encapsulates this. Tucked away in the Forest of Bowland AONB , it’s lush meadows, picture-postcard villages and the historic market town of Clitheroe are all lorded over by the scenic slopes of Pendle Hill. Meandering brooks and rivers criss-cross the valley, including it’s namesake ‘the River Ribble’. Hailing from the nearby Yorkshire Dales ,the river makes its merry way through Lancashire and towards the sea, lending it’s name to an often overlooked area of the county. But with it’s thriving foodie scene, cosy watering holes, quirky independent retailers, stunning countryside and fascinating history, the Ribble Valley is the perfect destination for a break away.
With this in mind , I thought I would look into the glamping scene here. Over the last twelve months several glamping options have sprung up in the Ribble valley. And what better way to enjoy an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. 😊
Camping Podsat Bowland Wild Boar Animal Park.
No tent needed for this back to basics style of glamping. Bring with you everything you’d need whilst camping, except for the tent. The pods are fully insulated and all usual campsite facilities can be found on site. The real charm of these camping pods is the fab location, inside the grounds of Bowland Wild Boar Park near Chipping, which is a very popular visitors attraction, especially with families. With wild animals and farm animals on your doorstep, a large kids adventure playground, tractor rides, riverside walks and a lovely café, this glamping option sounds like a fun family favourite. Pods from £65 per night. Dogs may stay too for an extra £5 per night. wildboarpark.co.uk
Ribble Valley Wigwams.
Set on a family run farm near Langho, these six luxury heated en-suite wigwams have views towards Pendle Hill and Longridge Fell. All cabins have an integrated shower room with walk-in shower, hand basin & toilet, electric hob, toaster, kettle, microwave, fridge and television. A home away from home! You might prefer to bring your own bedding, however you can hire a bedding pack as an additional extra. A picnic bench and fire-pit outside completes the cosy camp. There is a small shop on site in reception and a riverside walk will take you into the charming village of Ribchester, with it’s Roman Museum, art gallery and selection of eateries. Wigwam prices from £75 per night. Three of the cabins are dog friendly. wigwamholidays.com
Yurts at the Red Pump Inn.
I have long coveted a stay in a yurt and these beauties are only up the road from where I live in Clitheroe, in the tiny village of Bashall Eaves. Owned by the Red Pump Inn, there are four fabulous Yurts, set in a private garden area adjacent to the Inn. Each yurt has a king size bed with fur throws, a cosy wood burning stove, fairy lights, electric lamps and sockets and it’s own ensuite bathroom. Breakfast is included in the price and is taken inside the Red Pump , which is also a popular steakhouse and real ale pub. Nearby attractions include Bashall Barn Food Visitor Centre and the historic town of Clitheroe with its many pubs, independent shops and Norman Castle Keep. Yurts prices for a two night stay from £250. Dogs are welcome for an additional charge of £12.50 per night. theredpumpinn.co.uk
Hobbit Hill Glamping Cabins.
Did you know that the lush green Ribble Valley inspired the writings of Lord of the Rings author J. R. R. Tolkien? His son boarded at Stonyhurst College near Hurst Green and Tolkien often visited and penned much of his beloved novel here,perhaps taking inspiration from the surrounding countryside for Middle Earth and the Shire. The glamping cabins at Hobbit Hill are set on the Tolkien Trail….and look cosy enough for any discerning Hobbit. Two of the five cabins have king size beds and all have sockets, fridges, toaster and microwave plus a firepit/bbq area outside. There are toilets and shower facilities on site and some very good country pubs and cafes in the nearby villages of Mitton and Hurst Green. Glamping Cabin prices from £70 per night. hobbithill.co.uk