I am loving the weather at the moment. Cold and crisp, hard frost and no squelchy mud. Hugo coming home clean and no danger of him shaking dirt all over the house. Bliss!
During the week it’s mostly just Hugo and I on our walks as Wil works full time. I can fit the doogal in round my part time hours and we stick to local routes around the outskirts of Clitheroe. Happily It isn’t very far for us to find some fields and below is one of our usual hikes from home.
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?
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. ❤️
More and more this year, we have discovered places local to us that we haven’t really taken notice of before. One such village is Sabden , just over the other side of Pendle . Nestled in its own valley under the bulk of Lancashire’s most famous hill, Sabden is said to be 2 degrees cooler than any of its neighbors. With that in mind we dressed for Winter on Saturdays 3.5 mile hike from Sabden to Churn Clough Reservoir. We parked at the village car park, where we met a friend and his two Bedlingtons who joined us.
Basically this walk can be made much shorter by not even venturing into Sabden, there is roadside parking before you descend into the village. Personally I am glad we saw at least a small part of Sabden. Or you can include the reservoir in a much longer hike around the valley. Here are some photos from our walk.
We did somehow take a bit of a detour up the hill a bit ( not my idea 🤣) , so the reservoir materialised quite a distance away. Churn Clough Reservoir was built in the late 1800s and extended in the 1920s. It is used for fishing and there is a good footpath round it.
I am looking forward to returning to Sabden and it’s scenically set reservoir. Another local gem found.
What has been your favourite local discovery this year? There have been so many…..
My sister, niece and nephew and I ( and Hugo, of course) had planned to do the Walking With Witches Trail , a 4 mile loop starting at Barley Car Park. The pretty villages of Barley, Newchurch and Roughlee lie in the shadow of Pendle Hill. The area is famed for its spooky associations with The Pendle Witches , a group of individuals who in the 1600s were sentenced to death for witchcraft. Of course the day we set off on our witchy wander it was chucking it down with rain and the foreboding bulk of Pendle Hill was enveloped in mist.
We only managed to follow the trail from Barley to nearby Newchurch over boggy fields, before calling it a day and turning back. I didn’t take many photos, but still thought I would share with you what we did see between showers. The scarlet and yellow waxy cap mushrooms we spied along the way are a fairly good indicator of ancient meadowlands.
Newchurch is named after its ‘ new church’ of St Mary’s consecrated in 1554. The west side of the churches tower is unusual for its Eye Of God. Can you see it? Maybe the eye was there to watch over the locals, more likely it was used as a window by the bell-ringers, so they could view approaching service goers. Whichever, it is a little bit spooky on a grey Lancashire day.
To the right of the churches porch is a Nutter family grave, inscribed with a skull and crossbones, athough it is unlikely that Alice Nutter herself was buried here. Alice Nutter was a land owning gentlewoman from nearby Roughlee. She had been involved in a boundary dispute with her neighbor , local magistrate Christopher Nowell. Maybe the dispute was easily solved when Alice herself was conveniently found to be one of the 12 people in the area sentenced to death for witchcraft.
Although the superstitious times of the 17th century are thankfully over, there is a little shop in Newchurch that sells all things witchy, so we couldn’t resist a mooch…and shelter from the rain.
Inside Witches Galore there is certainly plenty to look at. My sister purchased a painted Pendle witch pebble and as for myself? An ornamental toadstool. 🙂
If only we could have used Pendle Transport ( broomsticks!) for our journey back to the car. We settled on walking to Barley along the road instead of through the muddy fields. Another time we will do the whole Walking With Witches Trail. There is so much more to explore!
It does feel like all I post about is walking this year. I suppose that is very true! Before this Sunday morning hike from the Nick O Pendle , we also enjoyed a tasty breakfast at the super cute Nest On The Hill , a newly opened little cafe in a cabin at The Wellsprings restaurant. Wil had a sausage butty and I devoured yummy french toast with melted chocolate and blackberry compote. Hugo was made a fuss of by the lovely young couple who run this quirky bruncherie ( hope bruncherie is a word! ), that serves warming food & drinks before the main restaurant opens for lunch. The Nest is also packed with locally sourced gifts and crafts. Lots of present ideas. I even started my Christmas shopping!
After our food and my purchasing , Hugo for one was busting for a walk. I could have curled up on the cosy sofa in front of the toasty log burner for a while longer ,but fresh air beckoned…. We took the owners recommendation of a bridleway walk through the fields, thus avoiding the crowds who park nearby to make their way up Pendle Hill.
We walked up the road and down a little , then through a gate on the right, following a farm track/ bridleway over rugged Lancashire countryside. To be totally honest I’m not really sure what this area is called, maybe Wiswell Moor. Some map perusing is needed! Anyway we basically walked as far as a field of llamas, then turned around and made our way back. A muddy 4 miles or so.
The weather was bright and breezy, a perfect Pendle day. More from Pendle Hill coming soon hopefully. 🥾
Another blog post, another local walk. This one is from the picture perfect village of Downham, where in fact many years ago, I went to primary school. The hike is a 4 mile circular route and was a very peaceful one, we saw only one other person out walking until we arrived back in the village at the end for an ice cream. 😊
We set off from the large car park in Downham, following the brook down through the village. You may recognize Downham from the TV series Born and Bred which was filmed here.
We ended our walk at the little ice cream shop on Hare Green, which also sells brews, cakes and sandwiches.
Recent times have given me opportunity to explore new walks in my local area and also revisit places from my past. Although I live in a small market town, I grew up in the countryside. Of course at 17 I was only to happy to move away to ‘the big City’ , that’s what Clitheroe felt like to a country bumpkin like me back then. 🙂 I will never forget my farming roots though , as much as I love living somewhere with shops, pubs and friends, I do still feel at home clomping round the fields.
This is a walk from Clitheroe, through the pretty village of Pendleton, passing the farm I grew up on at the foot of Pendle Hill and taking in the small village of Worston. Most of the route has featured on my blog before at various times, but there’s usually something new to spot.
We found a peaceful moorland walk on Sunday. I guess it was so quiet because of the drizzly weather. It soon fined up though and we happily abandoned our waterproof jackets. Yay!
Our walk started from a canal side car park near the Anchor Inn at Salterforth near Barnoldswick. This isn’t an area we have explored before and despite having a map and walking book we did get a bit lost ( shocker! ) but it all worked out ok in the end.
The route headed up into the rugged moorland of Weets Hill where there are fantastic views and even some unusual art work. Here are some images from our 6.5 mile hike.
This walk was definitely all about the views , the wildlife ( we were serenaded by the continuous chatter of pippits and skylarks) and those unforgettable sculptures at Duck pond farm.
Walking Book – Walking in the Forest of Bowland and Pendle by Terry Marsh.
I hope to bring you a few more photos from Lancashire walks whilst lockdown continues. 🌹
Higham nestles at the foot of Pendle Hill and the Pendle Way is a walking route which can be accessed from the village. The area has many associations with the Pendle Witches. Higham was home to several reputed victims of ‘ the witch ‘ Chattox. She allegedly turned the ale sour in the village pub ‘ The Four All’s Inn ‘ and bewitched the landlords son to death. She along with eight other people were hung on a hill above Lancaster for witchcraft in 1612.
On a more cheery note Higham was also the birthplace of Jonas Moore, who became known as ‘ The Father Of Time’ owing to his key role in establishing Greenwich Mean Time and the Greenwich Meridian. Not bad going for a Lancashire lad…
This walk is a 5.5 mile hike through a gorse strewn valley with lots of views of Pendle , old cobbled tracks and skies full of tumbling swift’s and swallows on a Sunday morning in May.
The Four Alls on the pub sign denote the following.
The King rules all.
The Priest prays for all.
The Soldier fights for all.
The Common Man pays for all.
I was really surprised by this walk. Lots of history and gorgeous scenery in what was once royal hunting ground ‘ The Forest Of Pendle’ . The area is actually now an AONB and deservedly so I think.
Walking Book – Guide To Lancashire Pub Walks by Nick Burton.