Tag Archives: lancashire

Sunday Sevens ~ 9th July. 

Its been a while since I have joined in with Natalie’s  Sunday Sevens, so I thought I would collect some piccies together, and give it a go. Last weekend was a friend’s wedding, and the reception included an Afternoon Tea!  Now any readers of this blog must be wondering , why have I  been slacking on the afternoon tea front recently?  I really don’t know!! Must remedy that. The Spread Eagle in Sawley does an amazing one, which includes a tasty sandwich selection, fruit cake and cheddar cheese, rocky road, carrot cake and scones with strawberry jam & clotted cream. I must say the Spread Eagle is also a lovely wedding venue with welcoming staff and lovely interiors. 

 

And theres even a menu for dogs. 🙂  Wil and I ended up walking back the next day to pick up the car. We had a yummy lunch there and ordered Hugo some crackerjacks. They didn’t last very long!  

 

Wil and I at the wedding.

This week I have been catching up on the utterly brilliant The Handmaid’s Tale on channel 4. If you have heard of the Margaret Atwood novel from the 1980’s , this series is based on her dystopian masterpiece….and is gripping, horrifying,moving, disturbing and Wow, just amazing!  Set in a totalitarian society in a modern day America, where chemical warfare has rendered most men and women sterile, The Handmaid’s tale follows the lives of  the few fertile women that are left, imprisoned as child- bearers , for the future of the population. Elizabeth Moss ( Mad Men) plays Offred and we see her struggle to survive this terrifying regime. You need to watch this show….

A year ago I blogged about the regeneration of  Holmes Mill, an old Textile Mill in my home town, Clitheroe. It is being turned into an amazing entertainment space and already houses England’s longest continuous bar. Thursday gone ,saw the new Food Hall open , showcasing some of Lancashire’s best local produce. I hope to do a proper blog about it soon, but here are a few photos to wet your appetite. 🙂

 Of course , as fantastic as it looks, the Food Hall is also incredibly expensive. Somewhere to go if you want to treat yourself , I think ! 

Speeking of much less creative spaces ( sigh) here is our horrid front room, with its stunning 1970’s brick work and fire. We had a bit of a declutter yesterday, and it is actually looking a lot better than it did!  Anyway future plans ( probably next year) are to update the fire ( hurrah!) and paint the horrible brickwork white ( may need about 20 coats! , not sure it will look right though? ) as well as put wooden flooring in and change the wallpaper. To be honest I would dearly  love to take a sledge hammer to those darn bricks, but Wil is not to keen on that idea! What would you do?? 

Lost in a time warp….in a bad way. 😉

Anyway thanks for dropping by and enjoy your Sunday.  Looks like sunshine out there! 

30 Days Wild ~ Days 26 to 30. A poem and a Nature Reserve Visit.

Here are my ‘Wild’ moments from the last few days of June. 🙂

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Day 26 ~ Pressed Flowers make memories.  After resurrecting my old Travel journal ( it went by the wayside after I started blogging), I thought pressing a couple of local flowers from our Yorkshire Dales camping trip, would be  a nice way of remembering our time there.  I must get myself a flower press though. I just squished a field scabious and a common vetch ( both are numerous along the river Wharfe) between two pages of a book, I was reading at the time. Not very professional!

 

 

Day 27 ~  A Nature Inspired Poem. So here’s my attempt at writing a poem!  I have took inspiration from my recent trip to the Norfolk coast. We stayed in the seaside town of Hunstanton and visited nearby Holme, Wells and Blakeney Point.

Busy Bee , Stop!  Look up….. and rest.

Rust striped cliffs, where fulmars nest.

In rocky pools  limpets cling.

Oyster Catchers peck them clean.

Cinnabars and fluttering Blues.

Sea Holly amongst the dunes.

Bursts of pink wave in the breeze.

Seals play in blustery seas.

So stop…. and look….. and take in

the wild living  amongst us.

 

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Day 28 ~ Feeling Blue. Today was another dreary damp day, but instead of feeling blue, I made a slideshow of the colour blue in nature. These pictures are all from the past couple of months.  They include Scabious, Meadow Cranesbill, Viper’s Bugloss ( aka Sea Thistle), Blue Sky, Small Blue butterfly, Bluebells, Violet and blue in a Peacock Butterflies wing.

Day 29.  Update. Has #30dayswild been a success in our little back yard? Well , it’s a work in progress! The wildflower seeds I planted at the beginning of the month are definitely seedlings.Still waiting to find out what they will become. I have not counted any butterflies, though I have seen bees. It has rained every day since I put out the bee water dish. 😦 Most successful is our little bird feeding station. We now  have bluetits and a Tree sparrow, as restaurant regulars. 🙂

Day 30.  Visit a Nature Reserve. My last day of ‘Wild’ has been a success! This morning I took myself off to one of Clitheroe’s two Nature Reserves, on the edge of town. You can find them both by using The Wildlife Trust’s Nature Finder App. Salthill Quarry is half woodland and half disused quarry. The limestone grassland is a haven for wildflowers, and even on a drizzly day like today. it did not disappoint. Prepare for about a million photos….

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Any ideas? A ground spreading purple flower in the woodland.
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A snail amongst the bramble.
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Trees Canopy.
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Not sure of this birdie either.
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Agrimony. Used in Herbal medicine.
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How cute is this squirrel. 🙂
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Self-Heal. Used by Medieval first- aiders for binding up wounds.
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Rosebay Willowherb. Also known as Fireweed.
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Vetch.
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There were lots of orchids. 🙂
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Ringlet Butterfly. One of the few butterflies that are active in light showers.
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Goldfinch.
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A type of grass.
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Despite the weather,I did see quite a few bees.
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Creeping Cinquefoil.
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Pignut. Has edible roots.
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Scabious.
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Marjoram.  A striking culinary herb.
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Hawkweed and Betony in the background.
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Another Ringlet.
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Thrush.
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Ladybird on Meadow Sweet.

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My favourite spots of the day. But are they Six spotted Burnet Moths or Cinnabar Moths?  They did not move from their blades of grass.

So there you have it! Another #30dayswild ends. It has been a challenge this year, but also a lovely experience. I have taken more notice of insects.  I have visited  new places, as well as returned to some old favourites. I have tried to make the garden area more wild and will continue to do so. As usual The Wildlife Trusts have inspired me to stop, step back and take in , all the beautiful nature that surrounds me. 🙂

30 Days Wild ~ Days 10 to 16. Wild-rose petal jam and a walk in the centre of Britain. 

Back to my own neck of the woods  now, the lovely Ribble Valley in Lancashire. Here are my wild moments from the last seven days. 🙂

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Day 10 ~ The Running Hare. I have started reading this charming book by John Lewis Stempel. It is  the story of how a farmer attempts to transform a bare ,almost barren meadow , into a haven for the kind of wildlife that would frequent a field, if it wasn’t for the intensive farming methods used  today. This book takes me back to my own childhood, growing up on a farm, when  hare and partridges, lapwing and field mice were much more commonplace  than they are today. I hope he succeeds…

 

Day 11 ~ Wild Rose-Petal Jam. The hedgerows are full of fragrant Wild Rose shrubs , so I thought I would follow this recipe and make Rose- Petal Jam.

2 Cups Wild Rose Petals.

2 Cups Caster Sugar.

1 tbsp Orange juice.

1 tbsp Lemon juice.

Half a cup of Water.

Dissolve two cups of caster sugar in half a cup of water mixed with one tablespoon each of lemon juice and orange juice. Stir in the rose petals and put the pan over a very low heat. Stir continuously for 30 minutes, or until the petals have ‘melted’. Cool the mixture and pour into a small glass jar and seal. Rose-Petal jam is popular in the Middle East , especially with yoghurt.

The recipe worked, though took an awful lot of stirring. Also the jam is incredibly sweet, so I think if I make it again, I would lessen the amount of sugar used.


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Day 12 ~  Feeding the Birds.  Wil very kindly made this hanger for the bird feeders at the weekend. Much less precarious than having them swing about on the washing line! One visitor has taken to the Coconut shell filled with cooked fat and seeds.A bluetit ! Hopefully more will follow. 🙂

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Meadow Cranesbill.

Day 13 ~  Wildflower Count. My blogger pal  Christine has posted on Facebook about an online Wildflower survey organized by Plantlife  , so I thought I would give it a go on today’s dog walk. Hugo and I followed Mearley Brook through the fields and then on to the River Ribble. I ticked off only 7 of the suggested flowers, which  was a little disappointing . But there were a few I spotted that were not on the list, such as Red Campion, Crosswort, Silverweed and Water Forget-me-not. I also saw the shiny copper coloured beetle below. Let me if know you take part…


 

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Possibly a Garden Chafer.

Day 14 ~ Meadow Grasses.  Flowers are beautiful, but have you ever noticed how pretty wild grasses are?  On an early morning walk with Hugo, I passed through a farmer’s field, which I think is waiting to be mown. Here are just a few of the different grasses that I very quickly took pictures of with my phone. Hugo loves racing trails through this meadow. We ended up soaked with dew and covered in grass seeds. 🙂

 

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Day 15 ~ Wildflower Seedlings. It looks like the seeds I received in my #30dayswild pack from The Wildlife Trusts are sprouting in my flower bed. Either that or a variety of weeds. I am intrigued to see what we end up with!

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Day 16 ~  A walk in the centre of the Kingdom.  Did you know the exact Centre of the UK is in Lancashire?  National Grid reference SD63770 56550 Hanging Stones , to be exact!  The nearest village is the pretty Bowland settlement of Dunsop Bridge. We parked our car in the village car park and walked up the track adjacent PuddleDuck Tearooms, past the playground and into the Dunsop Valley. Here are a few photos of the wildlife we saw on our walk.

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A Willow warbler, I think.
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Thistle.
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Heath Bedstraw.
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Pied Wagtail.
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Mallards.
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Elderflower.
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Common Spotted Orchids.
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Grey Wagtail.
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Foxglove.
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Eyebright.
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Mistle Thrush, I think !

After our ramble we had earned coffee and cake at Puddleducks!  A tearoom complete with ducks on the Village Green. 🙂

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Puddleducks , Dunsop Bridge.

Whoo I think that means we are just over halfway through ’30 Days Wild’ now. I just need to think of some ideas for the next 14 days!  All suggestions welcome. 🙂
 

 

 

 

 

Bluebells and Benedicts.

I’ve seen some lovely Bluebell walk posts recently, both on WordPress and on Facebook, so I just had to find my nearest Bluebell Wood and go for a wander, whilst these gorgeous Spring flowers are still in bloom.  The nearest such place happens to be just outside the nearby village of  Whalley. Spring Wood  was once owned by the monks of Whalley Abbey and is classed as a semi ancient woodland. There is ample parking, toilets, picnic benches and quite often an ice cream van parked at the site entrance.  We took Hugo for a short walk , as he is on restricted exercise at the moment.

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Speckled Wood Butterfly.

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Wild Garlic or Ramsons.

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Spring Wood proved to be the perfect place to admire the many bluebells and other wild flowers that frequent the woodland at this time of year. A friend even saw a deer last week ,so it’s well worth taking a camera. 🙂

After our wander we drove into Whalley and went for lunch at  Benedict’s  which is a lovely Cafe Bar in the Village ,that happens to be dog friendly.

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There is a varied menu that includes a good selection of free from foods.  Wil chose the Farmers Board ( a tasty combo of cheese, meats & pate ) and I had the Chicken & Smashed Avocado Salad.  My drink of choice was a bottle of sparkling Rhubarb Mimosa and Wil enjoyed an Americano Coffee. Hugo was given some treats from Millie & Ruby’s Dog Bakery.  🙂

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I loved my salad but it was a bit to healthy for me. 🙂  So I had to sample the Lemon & Poppy Seed cake!  And I tried a piece of Wil’s Rocky Road too. Both were delicious.

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Have you been on any Bluebell walks ?

Thanks for dropping by. 🙂

 

April Wildlife and Links & Likes.

Hi I’m mixing up my Links & Likes  with a few piccies I took on walks at the weekend. April brings sunshine, showers ….and lots of flowers. That certainly rings true here in the Ribble Valley. Enjoy the photos and check out the blog links for some of the posts that I have particularly liked  this month. 🙂

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Cuckoo Flowers.
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Orange Tipped White Butterfly.

Binny tries out a Chocolate Afternoon Tea and I am seriously envious !

Eliza has had a break in beautiful Venice. 

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Violet.
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Wood Pigeon.
Swallow.

There’s still time to Vote for where Christine should do her next Wild Swim!  I’m thinking Brothers Water. 🙂

More beauty on Laura’s Blog as she Walks among the Bluebells. 

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Hedgerow Blossom.
Robin.

Jo finds a A Glass Menagerie in Sunderland.

Nice to discover another blogger in The Ribble Valley ! Please check out  The Alfresco Family. They blog about all things Green. 🙂 

Wild Garlic.

Peacock Butterfly.

Janey has set herself the challenge of watching 52 Films By Women this year.

Grenson is enjoying his tour of The Lakes and The Lochs. 🙂

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A Lesser Spotted Hugo !

 

Pheasant.

 Thanks For Dropping by. 🙂

 


 

Searching for Panopticons in East Lancashire.

Despite being a Lancashire lass born and bred, the East Lancashire Panopticons have totally passed me by. Until very recently that is, when Richard’s post  ‘ Its Grim Up North’ ( honestly it’s not that bad ! 😉 ) , brought Burnley’s iconic Singing Ringing Tree to my attention. Ever since I have been very keen to visit this amazing structure and its fellow Panopticons. Panopticons. Panopticons. I love that word! 🙂

On the Mid Pennine Arts  Website  I found this description of a  Panopticon.

Panopticon  ( noun) Structure, Space or Device providing a comprehensive or panoramic view.

East Lancashire is home to 4 such sculptures and on Saturday Wil, Hugo and I managed to hunt down two of them. Thankfully it wasn’t a bad day weather wise ( unlike Richard’s experience) and my home county was bathed in sunshine. 🙂

First we drove to the town of  Rawtenstall in Rossendale and parked at The Whitaker Museum & Art Gallery  on Haslingden rd. The museum is set in a pretty park and car parking is free. There is a cafe and a bar in The Whitaker and a children’s playground in the park. Therefore  it is  a great place to start and finish a walk up to The Halo Panopticon on Top O Slate , in the hills above Haslingden.

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We followed a footpath from Haslingden Old Road up Cribden Hill.
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And found ourselves on ‘The Shoe Trail’ that celebrates Rossendales Shoe Industry.
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Saw some friendly sheep.

 

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And these guys had been rolling in the mud. 🙂
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The Halo !

It didn’t take to long to find  The Halo an 18 metre diameter  steel structure , supported on a tripod. It definitely resembles a Flying Saucer don’t you think ??

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Hugo and  The Halo.
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Yes Hugo it’s a Panopticon..

In daylight this Panopticon is the perfect vantage point for admiring the panoramic views over  Rossendale.  But it is when darkness falls that The Halo really stands out. The structure lights up at night and it’s blue glow gives the impression that it’s hovering over the valley. Maybe it does get mistaken for a UFO. 🙂  Check out haslingdenhalo.co.uk  for more images.

After our spaceship discovery we walked into Rawtenstall , had a nosy around the shops and enjoyed some refreshments at  Fitzpatrick’s Temperance Bar &  Emporium.  Fitzpatricks Temperance Bar on Bank Street has been serving Lancashire folks alcohol free tipples since 1890.  In fact it is England’s only remaining original temperance bar !  Having recently been refurbished, Fitzpatricks now sells delicious cakes, icecreams, floats, coffee & tea , as well as  its famed vintage  cordials.

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Fitzpatricks.

We sat outside with a couple of hot cordials. Wil had a Blood Tonic and Orange and I had a Lemon & Ginger cordial. Of course we had to sample some cakes as well. 🙂

These  lovely  Temperance Bar goodies set us up for our next Panopticon.  The Singing Ringing Tree  is situated about 15 minutes drive from Rawtenstall at Crown Point above the town of Burnley. Taking the form of a tree bending in the wind, this unusual musical sculpture is made from  galvanised metal tubes.  The wind whistleing through them creates a humming sound, as though the tree is singing. 🙂

The Singing Ringing Tree.
Play those pipes. 🙂

We were treated to a harmonious wailing up there in the Pennine landcape,which I find hard to describe. Think a cross between angels singing in old black & white movies…and a pack of howling dogs. Hugo was most intrigued..

Hugo being serenaded.

With far reaching views over the urban sprawl of Burnley and to the hills beyond ,this Panopticon  gives the town dwellers and visitors a new appreciation of the surrounding countryside……as well as its own personal backing track. 🙂

So thats two East Lancashire  Panopticons bagged and two more to go, the others being  Colourfields in Blackburn  and  The Atom in Wycollar Country Park. My Panopticon Quest continues….. 🙂

Have you visited any ? 

Which is your favourite Panopticon?