Tag Archives: national trust

A Cumbrian weekend of wanderings and wildlife.

P1080869
Chimney Sweeper Moth.

The recent weekend was spent gathered with family at Mums. She didn’t want a big celebration, just time spent together with children and grandchildren on her 70th Birthday. Country walks, playing games, visiting some lovely gardens, and a Birthday Cake. It was a happy couple of days!

Mum lives at the foot of Askham Fell near Penrith in Cumbria. Its a comparitively little explored part of The Lake District, but well worth a visit. On Saturday morning before my sister and niece and nephew arrived, Wil and I armed ourselves with a Askham Fell Marsh Kelpie Tale Trail Map, and headed for a walk up the fell.

There are various Tale Trail maps of different places in The Lake District, aimed at younger walkers ….and the young at heart. 😁 The Marsh Kelpie is a fictional character that lives on the fell. We didn’t find him of course, but we did see lots of wildlife and a stone circle.

Skylark, Askham Fell.
P1080749
Small Heath Butterfly.
P1080743
A herd of ‘Wild’ Fell Ponies live on the Fell. This one with Wil is not very wild and shaped like a barrel. 🙂
P1080750
Cockpit Stone Circle ~ once used by villagers for cock fighting.
P1080738
Linnet. 🙂
P1080757
Pied Wagtail.
P1080762
Common Bistort on the road side. Mum knows this as ‘Sweaty Feet’ and if you smell it…..it does whiff a bit. : b

Its a good job my family are all wildlife lovers , as we also spent a lot of the weekend pouring over Mum’s Bird book, trying to identify the birds we saw. 🙂 My sister and I forgot our phone chargers ( there’s not much of a signal or wifi anyway) , so it was nice to Id what we saw , the old-fashioned way.

P1080867
Siskin on Mum’s Bird feeders.
P1080865
Greater Spotted Woodpecker.
p1080814651586032.jpg
Wil’s photo of a rather dapper Dipper on the River Lowther.

On Saturday afternoon we took Mum to Holehird Gardens near Windermere. She loves gardens and this one which is run by volunteers, is home to the Lakeland Horticultural Society. June is a good time to visit for the rhododendrons and blue Himalayan poppies.

P1080779
Blue Himalayan Poppies and Alliums.

P1080782

P1080770

P1080775

P1080771

P1080780

I’m not very well up on my garden flowers, but as you can see the beds were abundant with colour. 🙂

On Sunday we visited somewhere closer to Askham. Acorn Bank gardens and Water Mill at nearby Temple Sowerby. The National Trust looks after the property and the manor house dates back to 1228, its first owners were the Knights Templar.

There is plenty to see at Acorn Bank. We walked along a forest trail to the working water mill, looked for frogs in the lily pond, found fairy doors, enjoyed the gardens, had a lovely brew and cake, browsed the second hand book shop and found Newtopia. 🙂

P1080833
Fairy Door.
P1080841
A freaky green spider on Bistort…or Sweaty feet. Is this a Cucumber Spider?
P1080834
Imogen and Woody Woodpecker.
P1080846
Acorn Bank.
P1080843
Impressive Coat of Arms.
P1080863
Hop It !
P1080857
Looking for Newts!

There’s a pond full of Great Crested Newts in the Sunken Garden at Acorn Bank. We had plenty of fun trying to spot them!

Thanks for joining me on a fun family weekend…with lots of wildlife thrown in for good measure. x

Advertisements

Postcard From The Lakes.

Well, we couldn’t have picked a better time for our first camping trip of the year! This very un-British like weather is having its advantages. 🙂

Last week we spent four nights at Scotgate Holiday Park in Braithwaite, near Keswick.

Hugo chilling at ScotGate.

The campsite ( although a little overlooked) is

more or less perfect. Surrounded by a mountinous back drop and boasting a well stocked shop, cafe and shower block with underfloor heating ( No Less!) , Scotgate has a village location and good bus links to nearby Keswick and Cockermouth. Braithwaite itself is a lovely village with 2 pubs, a tea room ( opening soon) and a friendly village shop.

Here are a few photos of what we got up to on our break away.

Buttermere.

A lake we have always wanted to visit ‘Buttermere’ is a six mile drive from Braithwaite. A scenic route passes through the Newlands Valley and once in Buttermere village , there is parking near The Fish Hotel.

The Fish Hotel ~ once home to famed beauty Mary Robinson, known as the ‘Maid of Buttermere.’
There is a four and a half mile low-level walk around the lake.
Beautiful views everywhere you look.
Herdwick sheep and new borns.
My favourite view of Buttermere.

We loved our meander round Buttermere and I can’t wait to visit nearby Crummock Water and Loweswater.

Braithwaite is surrounded by mountain fells, so one morning we decided to bag another Wainwright ( mine and Hugo’s second! ) and walked up ‘ Barrow’ , one of the more diminutive Wainwright fells. At 1,494 feet , it still felt enormas to me!

A very rewarding view from the top! Both Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite can be seen from the summit.
Hugo enjoying a mountain breeze. 🙂
Wil and Hugo.

We started our walk from the top of the village ( near the Coledale Inn) and the ascent is a gradual one , there is a clearly defined path up through the bracken. Once at the top, the views all around are stunning! The descent is quite steep. We soon realised we had actually done this walk before!! About 10 years ago, before I even really knew about bagging Wainwrights. So what was to be my second,is actually my first, done twice. Doh! Still, the hike up Barrow is definitely worth a repeat performance. 😁

Keswick Launch , Derwentwater.

The nearest town to Braithwaite is Keswick, on the shores of Derwentwater. Known as Queen of the Lakes, Derwentwater has a scenic ten mile waymarked path around it, which we walked on our last visit in January. This time however, we thought we would take advantage of the Keswick Launch , whose pleasure boats have transported tourists around the lake since 1935. Its a hop on/hop off service , so fantastic for taking to a certain point then walking back…or vice versa.

We walked from Friars Crag to Ashness Gate , passing The National Trust Centenary Stone at Calfclose Bay. I have wanted to visit the most photographed packhorse bridge in The Lake District, Ashness Bridge since seeing its iconic image on a postcard. A short hike from Ashness Gate, and there it is!! A little further and another wonderful photographic opportunity is Surprise View, where we had a vast uninterrupted vista of Derwentwater.

Doggy Paddle. 😉
The Centenary Stone.
Ashness Bridge.( Wil’s photo).
Bugles.
Surprise View.

It was beautiful up there and so tranquil. Imagine clumps of pretty Wild flowers, curling ferns and the sounds of cuckoos calling. :). A cooling boat trip back and a delicious tea at The Square Orange in Keswick. Bliss…

Pigging out at The Square Orange.

Our last full day of our holiday was also the Royal Wedding day. During the day we visited Dodd Wood where there are two Osprey viewing points , trained over Bassenthwaite Lake. Unfortunately the Osprey were in hiding, but these magnificent raptors nest nearby every year and are often seen flying over the water. Opposite the Dodd Wood car park is the entrance for Mirehouse & Gardens , a beautiful historic mansion and grounds , open to the public. Dogs are allowed in the gardens and grounds, so I persuaded Wil, that we should take a look. 🙂

Mirehouse & Gardens
P1080569
In the Walled Garden.
P1080564
The Wall Garden provides shelter for Bees.
P1080574
A surprise find ~ A Snuff Garden. Atchhoooo!
P1080570
Pretty pink. 🙂
P1080576
Fancy sitting on this throne?
P1080592
Lots of colour in the grounds.
P1080590
Bluebells.

Mirehouse’s gardens are a riot of colour and there is lots to explore including a Heather Maze, Fernery, Herb Garden, Bee Garden, Poets Walk and nature trails. The grounds reach as far as the lakeside and there are woodland walks with surprises at every corner.

P1080597
The Coledale Inn.

We were definitely late to the Wedding celebrations, but in the evening I did indulge in a Meghan Markle Mac N Cheese at the Coledale Inn , back in Braithwaite. : b

Thanks for reading. X

Ullswater & Aira Force.

Our last visit to Aira Force Waterfall near Ullswater in the Lake District was not very successful photo wise….as it was both tipping it down with rain and howling a gale!  Happily on our return yesterday, the weather was a lot kinder. We decided to park in the lake shore village of Glenridding and take the steamer the short 20 minute journey to the newly erected Aira Force Pier.  The steamers themselves have been pleasure cruising along and around Ullswater for 150 years, and weather permitting , operate 363 days of the year.

ullswater aira force 005
Waiting for the boat at Glenridding Pier.
ullswater aira force 010
One of the beautiful vessels, The Lady Wakefield.
ullswater aira force 011
Stack on The Western Belle.
ullswater aira force 009
Glenridding Pier House.

We bought return tickets from Glenridding Pier House for £8 each and sat and waited with a nice warming brew. There is a coffee shop and gift shop in the pier house as well as lots of local information. Presently our steamer, The Lady Dorothy , arrived to take us to Aira Force.

 

 

ullswater aira force 021

We sat out on deck and admired the passing scenery. Ullswater is the Lake District’s second largest lake and the daffodils that grow on the bank at Glencoyne Bay are said to have inspired Wordsworth’s poem ‘Daffodils’.  The mighty Helvellyn mountain range provided a magnificent backdrop and the waters were tranquil and deep.

ullswater aira force 033
The Lady Dorothy.
ullswater aira force 029
Aira Force is looked after by the National Trust.

Aira Force Waterfall  tumbles a lengthy 65ft and can be reached via a stroll through pretty woodland. There are wooden walkways, gravel footpaths and ornate stone bridges. We looked out for the many different trees on the tree trail and Hugo enjoyed dipping in and out of the babbling brook. 🙂

ullswater aira force 037
Herdwick Sheep.
ullswater aira force 038
Ancient trees along the trail.
ullswater aira force 046
Woodland paths.
ullswater aira force 040
Aira Force.
ullswater aira force 043
Aira Force Platform.

The name Aira comes from the Old Norse ‘ river at the gravel bank’ and Force is a derivation of the Old Norse word ‘ fors’ meaning Waterfall.  So Aira Force is apparently a waterfall on the gravel-bank river. Head further into the woodland to discover the less dramatic High Force.

ullswater aira force 048
Money-tree stump.
ullswater aira force 059
Wet Doog!

There is a National Trust shop and tea room on site. We had a spot of lunch and another walk before heading back to catch the steamer. 🙂

ullswater aira force 063
The Ullswater Way ( a 20 mile walk around Ullswater) takes in the waterfalls.
ullswater aira force 054
Inside the cafe. Hugo eyes up dinner.
ullswater aira force 053
Pretty window box.
ullswater aira force 066
Wildflowers on the banks of Ullswater.
ullswater aira force 070
Ullswater.
ullswater aira force 077
Big skies and Aira Force Pier.
ullswater aira force 082
Back in Glenridding. Can’t help taking pictures of these beautiful steamers!
ullswater aira force 086
Have to have cake in the Lakes!

Thanks for joining me in the lovely Lakes. 🙂

www.ullswater-steamers.co.uk

www.nationaltrust.org.uk/aira-force

In the grounds of Gawthorpe Hall.

Sunday dawned bright and sunny with an Autumnal nip in the air. We decided to try visiting Gawthorpe Hall  again , a handsome looking Grade 1 listed Elizabethan residence in Padiham. On our last visit the car park was jam packed full on a weekend lunch time ,so we turned back. And sure enough it was pretty busy at half nine on this particular morning too. It turns out there is a school football ground nearby so I guess families were dropping off their kids. I’m not to sure where Hall visitors should park at such times. 😦  However we were fortunate on this occasion!

october-2-006
Gawthorpe Hall.

Although it would have been lovely to look inside this fine old house, we had Hugo with us ( dogs are only allowed in the grounds and Stubbins Estate) so we explored the outside for a couple of hours. Hugo enjoyed bombing around and it was still early enough for him not to bother anyone. The Hall itself did not open until 11am.

october-2-007

october-2-009

october-2-010

october-2-008

Gawthorpe Hall was built in the early 1600’s and was the family seat of the  Shuttleworth family until the 20th century when it was gifted to the National Trust.

october-2-040

A lot of work was done on the house and garden in the 1840’s when Janet Shuttleworth married Sir James Kay of Rochdale. The now Kay-Shuttleworths commissioned  Sir Charles Barry to carry out restorations . Sir Charles was the architect who remodelled Highclere House , which is the filming location of Downton Abbey. The couple were also friendly with Charlotte Bronte who visited Gawthorpe a couple of times and it is through them that she met her friend, the writer Elizabeth Gaskell.

A walk around the estate and we met these two characters. I shall call them Nippy and Chomper !  Chomper took a shine to me and more specifically my right arm. They were cute…but hungry. Serves me right for not bringing them apples. 🙂

october-2-020

october-2-021

october-2-029

The grounds at Gawthorpe Hall are lovely to walk around especially in Autumn when the trees are slowly changing from green to reds and golds. I will leave you with a few more photos and if you would like to learn more about this National Trust Property, please take a look at Cathy’s blog post here.

october-2-032

october-2-025

Not as expected, Sunday.

Have you ever planned a day out and it hasn’t turned out how you expected?  Today was a bit like that, well a lot like that to be honest !  Happily in the end things panned out ok. We started off by heading over to Hardcastle Crags in Yorkshire.

No as expected .....Sunday 003
Gibson Mill.

We parked on the National Trust Car Park  and walked to Gibson  Mill  , a beautiful 19th century textile Mill which is now a completely self sufficient museum,visitor centre and cafe.

No as expected .....Sunday 005

There were stepping stones over the river. As I gingerly hopped from stone to stone, Hugo sped by and nearly sent me a cropper!



The Weaving Shed Cafe opened at 11am ,  we were just in time for coffee and cake. It was quite chilly , so we were happy that we could sit inside with Hugo. 🙂

So far, so good. Our next planned stop was the quirky town of Hebden Bridge. Its great for independent shops,pubs and cafes. Theres something for everyone there, the town has a hippy,artisan,eclectic vibe. Unfortunately our history of actually getting to Hebden is not good. Like a modern day Brigadoon, our sat nav has previously either got us there eventually, or not at all.

Today we bizarrely managed to totally bypass it altogether and ended up in nearby Todmorden before we realised what was happening. We had actually  been congratulating ourselves that we were not in the ‘ millipede of cars’ going the opposite way,when it dawned on us that, that was the way we should have been going. Doh!

So change of plan!  I suggested we head to Gawthorpe Hall in Padiham ,  which is another NT property in our home county of Lancashire. We got there ok but at 12.30pm on a Sunday in July, the quite frankly too tiny carpark was full to bursting. 😦 Feeling frustrated we gave up and pointed the car in the direction of home.

This weekend is actually the anniversary of when Wil and I got together 11 years ago!  So instead of a celebratory day out like we had planned , we accepted that we should just hang out in our home town. Things immediately got better from then on. 🙂

Clitheroe Castle

We enjoyed a gorgeous lunch at The Atrium at Clitheroe Castle.

Perfect platter.
Hot Chocolate 🙂

Then headed for a pint at our fave local , The New Inn.

Soz ,this pic is quiet scary!!


And after had cocktails…….and a giant pink meringue in Escape Coffee & Cocktails in the town centre. 🙂

One should always devour a meringue with one’s cocktail. 😉

So Sunday didn’t turn out quite as we planned. But it wasn’t bad in the end!  Where is your Brigadoon?? Or do you have more luck than us!

.

Lake District Days.

A couple of weeks ago we spent a few days away in Silverdale on the Lancashire Coast. I love the sea and am quite happy pottering about on the beach. But as we were but a hop, skip and a jump away from the Lake District , we decided to take advantage of our convenient location and explore some places in the Lakes as well. 🙂 Enjoy the pictures.

silverdale 022
The  Gothic features of Wray Castle on the shore of Windermere lure you in.

But as we had Hugo with us, we enjoyed the scenery outside instead. The Cabanas above were used in an Art TV show that was filmed at Wray. Quite a beautiful view to paint!

silverdale 009
Nearby Hawkshead has some attractive buildings like this pub ‘The Queen’s Head’.
silverdale 014
And lots of Beatrix potter connections of course. 🙂
silverdale 005
Poppi Red  in Hawkshead is the perfect cafe to pop in for a delicious Almond slice. 🙂
silverdale 052
We headed to the Great langdale Valley and walked from Elterwater Village to the lake of  Elter Water above.
silverdale 051
And we set up the camera to take this shot. Quite surprised that Hugo was actually looking. 🙂

The Langdale Valley , home to the majestic Langdale Pikes was a nice surprise. The National Trust are the most significant landowners here, owning 7 farms,3 car parks, a campsite and a Pub. Sticklebarn is a very family/walker/pet friendly pub that serves meals,shows family films and even has a doggy menu. 🙂

silverdale 189
One way of exploring the Lake District is of course by boat.
silverdale 195
Approaching Bowness on Windermere.

 

A cruise on Lake Windermere is great fun….and nice and cooling on a hot Summer’s Day. Yes we do have the occasional one of those.;)  We enjoyed the 40 minute boat trip from Lakeside Pier at the Southern end of Windermere, to Bowness. Hugo even got his own ticket which was for ‘One Well Behaved Dog’ . Luckily he was a good boy and didn’t jump overboard!  Bowness is pretty but incredibly busy and touristy in the Summer, so only visit if you don’t mind the crowds. See Windermere Lake Cruises.

Hopefully there are a few ideas here for anyone who is considering visiting The Lake District. 🙂

Ten things I enjoyed in Silverdale.

silverdale 176
Limestone chimney, Jenny Brown’s Point.

I’ve recently got back from a few days away on the coast. I decided I needed some refreshing sea air and as my other half loves the Lakes we compromised and chose to stay  just outside  the lovely village of Silverdale. Silverdale looks over Morecambe Bay and the coastline is rocky , the tree’s twisted into windswept shapes. I loved it there. 🙂  The village is actually in Lancashire, though quite close to nearby Arnside, which is in Cumbria. Here’s a wee list of some of the things I enjoyed in Silverdale. 🙂

1. Camping at Gibraltar farm.  The perfect campsite to pitch your tent  Gibraltar Farm  is a family run site on a working farm with stunning coastal views. There’s good hot showers, a little shop and miles of countryside walks on your doorstep.

silverdale 130
Windswept trees at Gibraltar Farm.

2. Breakfasting like a king.  Just across from the campsite  The Wolf House Gallery Cafe is somewhere you should definitely treat yourself to brekkie one morning. But don’t expect plain old bacon and eggs. How about Harissa roasted pepper,potato hash,fried eggs and honey pickled jalapenos or Buttermilk & Blueberry pancakes with bacon & maple syrup, to tempt your tastebuds. Yes we treated ourselves twice. 🙂

3. Local art and gifts.  The Wolf House Gallery ( legend has it the surrounding area was home to England’s last living Wolves) sells beautiful pottery, prints, ceramics and jewellery so after breakfast I just had to have a browse. And in the village itself there’s a lovely vintage shop called Vintage and Country , both are well worth a look.

4. Wildlife Watching. Silverdale and nearby Arnside are a designated Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty. I loved nothing better than heading out with my camera to snap the various wildlife that considers this gorgeous habitat home. Below are a Little Egret, Common Spotted Orchid, a Shelduck and and a tiny orange butterfly.

And if you want to see Bitterns,Otter, Birds of prey and even more varied wildlife, RSPB Leighton Moss is just up the road. 🙂

silverdale 057
The Woodlands is a bar in someone’s House. 🙂

5. Find the Local’s Pub.  Silverdale has two very good pubs that serve really nice food. It will be easy enough to find the warm and welcoming Silverdale Hotel  and the recently reopened and refurbished Royal  in the village. But if you fancy hanging out with the locals , sampling good ale ( at very cheap prices) in 1970’s decor then why not hunt out THe Woodlands ( known as Woody’s ) on Woodlands drive. Not a food serving pub but they do do sandwiches and bags of crisps!

6. Walking to Arnside.  Nearby Arnside is a picturesque village that looks over the river kent estuary, it’s pretty promenade of shops and cafes face the Arnside viaduct. The village has two pubs and a train station. There are several ways to walk here including over the limestone fell of Arnside Knott but we chose the coastal path from Silverdale.I would say it’s probably a six mile hike through coastal woodland and over cliff tops. Breathtaking!

7. Buying plants for the garden. Ok a bit of a strange one, but I was kind of spoilt for choice in Silverdale. A couple of houses as well as The Woodlands were selling garden flowers on their door steps for charity. Really pretty ones too. I ummed and ahhed and finally chose a Red Hot Poker ( a lilac and pink one!) and a pink lupin. 🙂

8. Sit on Jenny Brown’s Bench and wonder ‘Who the heck was Jenny Brown?’  It’s an easy walk from the village to Jenny Brown’s Point.  Follow the country lane past Gibraltar Farm until you see a National Trust sign for Jack Scout on your right. We passed a lime kiln and criss crossed our way along until we came to a bench with stunning views and a sign. Maybe the mysterious Jenny sat here wistfully gazing out to sea. A whole flock of Shelduck congregated here and samphire grows by the rocks.

9. Walking in the footsteps of Literary Heroines.  I didn’t realise that when writer Elizabeth Gaskell holidayed in Silverdale , she actually stayed at Gibraltar Farm. Nope she didn’t pitch up a tent unfortunately. 😉 Mrs Gaskell resided in Lindeth Tower which is next to the farm house. I spied it through the trees and wondered how she ever got any writing done, with such fine views to distract her……  Another famed author, Charlotte Bronte visited Silverdale too as a young girl.

10. Biryani on the Beach.  On our last night we treated ourselves to an Indian take away from Silverdales only restaurant. Cinnamon Spice  does a delicious biryani and what better place to enjoy it than down by the shore watching the sunset  with a bottle of cider. Who says Romance is dead !

Have you ever visited Silverdale?  Hope my blog has inspired you . X