The weather is so surprising at the moment. Blue skies then snow. Warm sunshine. Then snow. And repeat.
I am wondering what to wear for a week night beer garden drink. Looking in my wardrobe, I seriously haven’t bought any new going out clothes since 2019! Pjamas ~ yes. Walking pants~ yes. But no new tops or dresses. However I suspect I will still be frequenting my warm puffa jacket for any approaching social activities!
At present social activities still revolve around walking, so here are some photos from yesterday’s walk along the river to Chatburn and back. A repeat of a post I did earlier in the year, but a little more wildlife on display. 🙂
It looks as though for a little while longer, local walks are on the cards. Actually I don’t mind too much, we have been discovering more of our beautiful Ribble Valley by way of dusty walking books, barely ever glanced through before.
The following images are from a route found in a Walks Around Clitheroe publication by Terry Marsh ~ Walk 8 ~ Bolton-by-Bowland.
Bolton-by-Bowland itself is a charmingly pretty village boasting two village greens, a lovely looking pub with a pumpkin coach sign and an attractive church.
I think we will return to Bolton by Bowland , I suspect there is alot more to discover. 🥾🐑❤️
Unbeknown to me until recent times , the Gisburne Park estate in Gisburn is home to a herd of Sika Deer. The deer roam free and are wild, they are often spied in the local area. I had never seen one though…until now.
Sika deer were introduced into the UK from the Far East in 1860. And they were brought over to Gisburn from Ireland by Thomas Lister ‘ Lord Ribblesdale’ in the 19th century. The parks fallow deer herd had declined and it was hoped that the Sikas would make good sport. Lord Ribblesdale had a band of buckhounds used for hunting deer. All was looking good , but the imports were having none of it. They didn’t like hanging out in the open, and would make a dash into the trees if disturbed. Soon the Lord’s buckhounds were disbanded and the sika deer became feral. Their descendants roam the estate today.
Wandering round Gisburne Park early morning is a delight. Some areas are private but there are public footpaths through the grounds too. All was calm and peaceful and Hugo was able to have some off lead time. We saw several buzzards including one that landed in a tree just metres away and disturbed a long billed bird that flew out from the edge of the woodland into the fields.
Most exciting though was coming almost face to face with a stag, one of Lord Ribblesdales Sika Deer descendants! He stood his ground for quite a while, which gave me ample opportunity to take a couple of photos. As we quietly passed, he stamped his hoof and turned into the trees.
As Sika deer are an introduced species they are not protected wildlife. Their numbers are not encouraged, especially if in an area where there may also be native Red deer, which they sometimes breed with. As far as I’m aware, there are no red deer here so the sika are safe. 🙏
One of Clitheroe’s neighboring villages is Chatburn and from there it’s a pleasant walk into Downham, a picture postcard village used as filming locations in various TV programmes and also in the classic film ‘ Whistle Down The Wind’. Sunday was bitterly cold, so we chose this walk as there are two brew stops, if so desired..
Instead of carrying on to Downham we took a detour to Downham Mill, which is down a track on the right,off the road to Rimington. In the past like nearby Twiston Mill , it was a medieval water powered cornmill. Both mills are no longer mills, but do have ponds and millstones.
It is possible to walk past Downham Mill and over the fields to Twiston. Instead we took a footpath on the right before the mill, which lead us over some hilly fields to the village of Downham.
Up at St Leonard’s Church in the village there are nice views of Pendle Hill, still blending into the sky.
We walked back to Chatburn , passing this unusual breed of sheep again. Anyone know what they are?
The weekends activities included the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch. Hurrah! Something to do, and really quite ideal for lockdown. I must admit though I didn’t have the most exciting hour. My newly filled feeders seemed to be regarded with suspicion by the resident sparrows. Not one bird ventured from the foliage behind the garden shed. What was going on!
I counted 8 sparrows during the sixty minutes I sat glued to the window, camera at the ready. For all that time they mostly stayed hidden in the ivy. Then about five minutes before my hour was up I noticed a much bigger bird had landed in the greenery. It was mostly obscured but I noticed a long speckled tail through the leaves. It wasn’t a pigeon! Then suddenly it flew higher and all was revealed. A sparrowhawk! No wonder my little feathered visitors were staying away from the food. They didn’t intend to be food themselves.
Sorry to say I didn’t get a photo of my raptor visitor. Think I was in shock. 😲 But I have added Sparrowhawk to my birdcount results for the first time ever.
Meanwhile my sister and family were doing the birdcount at the same time as me. I usually join them but unfortunately not this year. 😔 They had a really successful hour with Nuthatch, Long Tailed Tits, Pheasants, Kestrel and a Wren included in the final tally. 🙂
After lunch Wil, Hugo and I headed out for a walk from Clitheroe , taking in the fields and River Ribble near Waddow Hall. Plenty of wildlife out this afternoon and an enjoyable 4 mile ramble from home and back.
I was delighted to find some Scarlet Elf Cups, such vibrant pops of colour in the winter landscape. They are also called Red Cups, Moss Cups and Fairies Baths. In folklore Wood Elves drink morning dew from them. Scarlet Elf Cups are most commonly found on mossy decaying branches on the woodland floor.
I saw plenty of Snowdrops in people’s front gardens today , it was also nice to see some wild ones too. A real sign that Spring is on the way. ❤️
I wouldn’t like to admit to having a favourite water bird ( I love to see them all) , but if you insist, I would probably say the Goosander . I always smile when I see these sawbilled ducks on the river, the female especially with her nut brown quiff . They are super adorable 💖.
Thanks for dropping by. Let me know if you have done the Birdwatch, seen Snowdrops or walked anywhere this weekend. 🥾🐦
I stole the list below from BBC Winterwatch, some wildlife which can be seen at this time of year, on a typical Winters day walk in the UK.
Singing Robin ~ Easy.
Corvid Roost ~ Easy.
First Snowdrops ~ Easy.
Scent of Gorse flowers ~ Easy.
Jelly Ear Fungus ~ Easy.
Hazel Catkins ~ Medium.
Great Spotted Woodpecker drumming ~ Medium.
Overwintering migrant birds gathering ~ Medium.
Fox screeching at night ~ Medium.
Overwintering insects ~ Medium.
Winter Moth ~ Medium.
Hair Ice ~ Hard.
Mistle Thrush guarding winter berries ~ Hard.
Glue crust fungus ~ Hard.
This morning my locality was monochrome! We decided to walk from Clitheroe to Pendleton village and then along the bridle path to Mearley , passing the farmhouse I grew up in and then back home via Worston village. This walk has appeared on my blog before , though never in Winter.
I must admit I was hoping to find a little more snow and early on I wasn’t disappointed. We also spotted a few of the easy to see items on the watchlist too.
Pendleton lies at the foot of Pendle Hill near the nick of Pendle. Unfortunately it was foggy today so the hill became obscured by the mist after I took the photo below.
I still have relatives in the area and my lovely cousins made us a socially distanced outdoors brew ( a treat indeed! ) which warmed us up for the continuation of our walk.
Believe it or not, this is actually the first Holly I have seen with berries all Winter. The berries are an important sorce of food for birds in the colder months and trees are supposedly a protection against witchcraft. Appropriate in the Pendle countryside, home of the Lancashire witches….
As a child I lived in the tenanted farmhouse above. Little Mearley dates back to 1590 and my bedroom was the mullioned bay window room. I have happy memories of growing up there, though as a 16 year old , all I wanted was to move into town.
Afternoon and heading back to Clitheroe, the snow had all but gone.
Have you spotted anything yourself from the Winter Watchlist?
I am treating January as I usually do. It’s my month of keeping snug and cosy inside, with a healthy dose of fresh air and exercise. I also like to plan holidays and weekends away at this time of year, so have been researching our little holiday in North Norfolk during May and weekend walks in the Eden Valley, for when we can get back up to the caravan.
Continuing Winter cheer with my window display. The Robins mimic my real life robin visitor. The hyacinth plant I found in Sainsbury’s for a bargain 65p is now flowering and giving off a delicious scent, resembling woods of bluebells.
I’ve been looking for more walks from home. Although I thought we had been just about everywhere on our doorstep, I was proved wrong last weekend, when we discovered new to us footpaths. I’m sure there are more to explore!
There will be another place to wander when Clitheroe’s new Nature Reserve opens. It is very local indeed. I have nosed over the fence a couple of times and I spied several Teal on the water. 🙂 Can’t wait for a proper look.
The RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch is all set for the last weekend of January. I have signed up as usual and am looking forward to seeing which feathered visitors turn up in the hour.
Incase you are looking for some on screen escapism, here is a list of what I’ve enjoyed watching recently. Most are series and there’s one film. But let me say this, my list is one of mostly guilty pleasures. 😄
Bridgerton. Netflix. Regency romance with lots of drama, comedy, gossip & scandal.
Derry Girls. All 4 / Netflix. Coming of age comedy set during ‘ the troubles’ in nineties Northern Ireland.
Ghosts. BBC I Player. Spirited comedy about the ghostly inhabitants of a haunted house, from the creators of Horrible Histories
Winter Walks. BBC I Player. Join well known faces as they film their favourite walks in Yorkshire. I miss Yorkshire. ❤️
Eurovision Song Contest : The Story Of Fire Saga. Netflix. Very cheesy but enjoyable musical comedy film set in Iceland and Edinburgh.
The Masked Singer. ITV/ ITV Hub. Addictive crazy singing competition.
Home For Christmas. Netflix. Norwegian rom com series.
Sneaky Pete. Amazon Prime. Crime drama about a con man who assumes the identity of his cellmate to escape from a vengeful mobster.
The Queen’s Gambit. Netflix. An orphans rise against the odds to become the Worlds number one chess player.
All Creatures Great And Small. My 5. Heart warming 1940s comedy drama about a young vet who accepts a job in a Yorkshire Dales Vetinary practice. This is a remake of the original series, and just as good. ❤️
It’s nice to find a nice cosy read and I did in Winter Holiday from the Swallows and Amazon’s children’s book series by Arthur Ransome. I am immersed in a world of frozen lakes, snowy igloos and secret signals. Thanks to the What is it about books ? blog for the recommendation. ❤️
So this is my first foray into using the new WordPress editor. I hope it turns out okay.
Do leave me your own thoughts on how you are spending January?
Even a smattering of snow completely changes the look and feel of a place. Clitheroe Castle this morning ,before the betwixmas crowds landed ,had a magical quality about it. I took these photos with my phone on an early walk with Hugo. ❤️
Later today a friend asked me if fancied going for a Pendle Hill walk. I did not hesitate. I wanted to experience some more of the white stuff. 😁 Once parked , we headed to the Wellsprings at the Nick ,where we bought take away sausage butties & hot chocs before stepping into a winter wonderland. My friend took most of these lovely pictures. ❤️
I always do a yearly review post, and well even if 2020 has been a bit pants,I’m looking through my photos and there has still been plenty of stuff to be thankful for. We have survived living through a Global Pandemic. That can only be a good thing!
In January was Wil’s 5Oth Birthday and thankfully he got to celebrate with friends in real life. Yay! Though planned trips and gigs to continue the celebrations through the rest of 2020 have been delayed, hopefully he can carry them over to next year……
February. A pretty quiet month. I think we would have gone out more, if only we had realised that our lives would change quite dramatically, in just a few short weeks.
March. Wil, Hugo and I managed a wknd away at our caravan in Cumbria before lockdown was announced. Then one day in early March I was sent home from work….and never went back. Luckily I was furloughed and Wil has remained in his job throughout 2020. Having him carry on going to work as normal meant our everyday lives didn’t change as much as some people’s.
April. We had a long dry Spring which for me meant lots of walks with Hugo….and lots of baking. I can’t say my baking skills improved that much, but I did manage to make both Banana Bread and Rock Cakes. I never tried the Joe Wicks Workouts though, so I have put on a few pounds. 🧐
May. One positive thing about travel restrictions this year , discovering more of my home county of Lancashire. I must admit in previous years we have hopped over the border to The Dales or had days out in The Lake District, rather than explore locally. Lancashire is lovely too. I appreciate what’s on my doorstep more now.
June. Sometime in June restrictions eased and friends were allowed to meet up again…outdoors. The new going out became drinking in the park ,like a bunch of teenagers. 😉
July. Finally we were allowed to stay over at our caravan once again. Having bought it in Summer 2019 , Wil and I had been looking forward to spending lots of quality time there this year. Luckily we managed to grab a few weekends away in Summer.
August. Wow things were beginning to feel almost normal. We had the best time spending a long weekend in Ravenglass & Eskdale with friends.
September. Managed to add a few more Wainwright’s to my very short list, using the van as our base. New additions are Arthur’s Pike, Bonscale Pike above, Hallin Fell and even Skiddaw.
October. Autumn colours were glorious in 2020 and I noticed far more different species of fungi than any other year. Enjoyed a few nice walks with family , which is always good. Found a new job cleaning in a local secondary school ( phew!) after the cafe business I had worked in until March finally admitted it wouldn’t be opening up again.
November. Back in lockdown for a month. Blah. Bad timing for little old me as I had been looking forward to going out for my birthday, somewhat optimistically. My lovely friends did organize me my first Zoom Party though. 😊
December. Christmas has actually been pretty good , considering. Lots of walks with friends & or family. Socially distanced meet ups & a very nice Christmas dinner bought from Holmes Mill. ❤️
I know that the next few months will probably mean we move up a tier in Lancashire and things will probably get worse before they get better, but here’s hoping for a very happy and healthy 2021.
Thanks for bobbing by occasionally, I really appreciate it.