Tag Archives: penrith

May ~ Round-Up. ๐Ÿงก

My goodness these months are whizzing by are they not. May seems to have come and gone in a flash! I am currently off work as it’s the Spring Bank Half Term Holiday ( advantage of being a school cleaner) so it’s a good time for me to do my May Round-Up Post.

Reading ~ not that much to be honest. After recently extending my hours at school with five earlies a week, I find myself frankly too knackered to pick up a book. Wrong I know! I have bought The Lake District In 101 Maps & Infographics to take to the caravan. And I shall learn all about Haunted Cumbria, Cumbrian Film locations and quirky Cumbrian place names, amongst other things. Should keep me going for a while!

Everyman Cinema trip to See Top Gun Maverick. As soon as I heard the original soundtrack music I was hooked!

Watching ~ it’s all about good old nostalgia for me at the moment. I’ve been to the movies! We Clitheronians are very fortunate in that we have a fabulous Everyman Cinema in town and May has not disappointed on the film front. I have enjoyed both Downton Abbey A New Era and Top Gun Maverick , they are both appearing on the big screen right now.

On the box my go to show is Grace & Frankie. I am as usual a bit late to the party with this one. Not sure how a witty comedy series starring Jane Fonda & Lily Tomlin escaped my attention until now but I am loving the pairing of uptight Grace and Kooky Frankie. ๐Ÿ™‚ Other shows I have returned to in May include Ozark , Bosch Legacy and of course Stranger Things.

A lovely meal at Roundthorn Country House near Penrith.

Eating ~ It is rare that Wil and I spend time up at the caravan without our Black Labrador Mr Hugo, but we did have one weekend in May when we were there without him. It seemed a good time to book a meal out somewhere where you wouldn’t usually take a dog. Roundthorn Country House on the outskirts of Penrith is one such place, there wasn’t a four legged friend in sight. Which was strange for us, though also kind of liberating not eating in front of a drooling hound, eyes transfixed on our dinner. The food was yummy but I couldn’t help missing my boy.

Lowther Castle.
A walk through Cow Parsley.

Exercise ~ Our pet free weekend was all because we actually won a prize! We won half a days E-Biking at Lowther Castle In the Lakes , it was great fun. However I still felt like I had done some proper exercise even if it was power assisted cycling. ๐Ÿ™‚ There haven’t really been many notable walks this month, just my normal dog walking routes. I have loved seeing the wild flower displays, the lacey blooms of Cow Parsley have been beautiful lately.

Relaxing at the van.
Lilac Time. ๐Ÿ™‚

Enjoying ~ Relaxing at the caravan ~ My favourite area at the van is probably the front bit of decking, which is a real sun trap and perfect for lounging about on a deck chair with a brew. I especially like to look up and watch all the Swift’s whizzing about the sky, now they have returned from Africa. The scent of a lovely lilac bush in the garden there was a real treat too.

~ Friends Reunited ~ On the last day of May it was great to meet up with some friends I haven’t seen for two years. I love how normality has returned at last, I’m not taking it for granted.

Catching up in Holmes Mill.

Thanks for dropping by. Hope your May has been a good one. ๐Ÿงก

E Biking At Lowther Castle.

Whats the best way to get around the lovely Lowther Castle Estate? By Bike, you say! Well yes, but how about hiring an E Bike…….

Arragons Cycles are a bicycle shop and hire company that are based in Penrith and also rent bikes at Lowther Castle in Cumbria’s beautiful Eden Valley. Amazingly a few weeks ago Wil and I actually won half a days E Bike Hire in a raffle , so at the weekend off we went for our first ever cycling adventure together. ๐Ÿ˜€ Let’s just say we are not very well matched when it comes to bike riding. But get me on an E Bike and it’s a bit of a game changer!

Well Signedposted.
Trails Map.

There are several cycling trails around the Lowther Estate. We were handed a map by the helpful lady at the Cycle Hire and she gave us a quick tutorial. They also provide bike helmets though Wil brought his own and I borrowed his spare. The bikes we hired were Royal Dutch Gazelles which are all terrain E Bikes, unfortunately despite having my saddle lowered, my bike felt too big for me. Getting on it took me forever and as for dismounting, well basically I couldn’t stop without falling off. So all the photos I took for this post were taken after I had fallen off my bike, sometimes on purpose, and sometimes not. ๐Ÿ˜

Low Gardens Bridge over the River Lowther.

Apart from my stopping and starting challenges the actual cycling was alot of fun and it did truly feel wonderful whizzing up hills with ease. After practicing on the trails around the Castle and River Lowther, we headed through the nearby village of Askham and up Askham Fell.

There are a criss cross of walking and cycling trails around Askham Fell. One option is to head up and over to the lakeside village of Pooley Bridge. Maybe next time! We wheeled it to Whale via Helton instead, where I hoped the Lowther Estates Long Horn Cattle would be hanging out.

The fell was abuzz with the sound of Skylarks, it’s simply wonderful up there on a sunny day. ๐Ÿ™‚

Road from Askham up the fell.
Askham Fell.
Askham Fell.

We had a short refreshment stop on the Green in the village of Helton. A nice soft grass landing anyway! If you do fancy finding somewhere for a brew, there are cafes and pubs in both Pooley Bridge and Askham , Lowther Castle of course and Lowther itself has a walled Garden Tea Room at the Bird of Prey Centre.

Helton.
A lovely bridge near Whale.

Before the hamlet of Whale we followed the trail signposts back to Lowther Castle, passing, to my delight, a very placid herd of Long Horn Cattle. Some had gorgeous calves too.

Native Long Horns.
The cows were not bothered by passing cyclists.
One young un was particularly curious.

Unfortunately I didn’t take any photos as we cycled through woodland, stunning bluebells & wild garlic galore. Spring might just be the prettiest time to hire a bicycle at Lowther Castle.

I’m not used to riding a bike so I wasn’t sure whether I would become accustomed to all the different Speeds etc, but I did, it was fun and I would definitely consider hiring an E Bike again. Even Wil ( who is a bit of a middle aged man in lycra, he has a couple of road bikes ) enjoyed the advantages of power assisted cycling!

Lowther Castle.
Lowther Castle.

E Bike Hire at Lowther Castle costs ยฃ35 for 3 hours cycling, including helmet hire and a small tutorial.

My Tips ~ Take a rucksack with plenty of water.

~ Wear padded cycling shorts!

~ Cycle in the morning when the trails aren’t as busy.

Have you ever ridden an E Bike?

February ~ Round Up. ๐Ÿ’œ

Oh my it’s March already so it must be time to write a quick round up of my February. I have seen snowdrops , experienced some Van Time and watched a bit of good telly. Can’t be bad…..

READING ~ I haven’t finished it yet but I am enjoying reading Helen Russell’s ‘ The Year Of Living Danishly’ an amusing memoir of a Brit couples relocation to the land of Lego and Cinnamon Buns ‘ Denmark’. Apparently Denmark still tops the ‘ Happiest Country Polls ‘ 7 years after this book was published. Pass me a Danish Pastry!

The Marvelous Mrs M.

WATCHING ~ I have been in a binge watching mood this February. Blame the horrid weather! I’ve been reaquainting myself with money laundering in Ozark, sinking my fangs into Wolf Like Me, preferring the new Reacher series to the Tom Cruise films and of course adoring all things Midge Maisel in The Marvelous Mrs Maisel. โค๏ธ

EATING ~ I won’t mention my new found addiction to Pot Noodles ( aagh why is this happening! ) but instead share a photo of a delicious curry some friends cooked for us. Quite simply scrumptious.

VAN TIME ~ We did manage a couple of nights away at the caravan in-between Storm Dudley and Storm Eunice. Luckily we felt very safe and cosy inside the van. And managed a walk and a visit to Penrith whilst the weather was calm. Now that Spring is round the corner we are hoping to get away to our bolt hole a couple of times a month.

ENJOYING ~ Going Out Out. Spot Funk & Soul DJ Craig Charles in the background.

~ Signs of Spring. Despite the dismal weather there have been a couple of dry days. The sun came out on Sunday whilst walking round Dean Clough Reservoir near Great Harwood. It was a privilege glimpsing a couple of Great Crested Grebes affirming their relationship with a dazzling Water dance display.

How has your February been? ๐Ÿ’œ

Exploring Cumbria & The Lake District.

Hi there, I have been stopping at the caravan with friends and we were using it as a base to visit some places in Cumbria and the Lakes! I thought I would update this blog everyday diary style and post at the end of our stay. ๐Ÿฅฐ

Penrith Castle ~ photo credit Arwen Ball.

Day One. We arrived here last night , so today we nipped to nearby Penrith for supplies, had lunch, did some shopping, went for a few drinks and explored the red ruins of Penrith Castle. The girls had their nails done at a great little nail bar in town and we bought some pretty bits and bobs from a lovely clothes/gift shop called Adlib.

Day Two. An epic start to the day with an informative & interesting Whiskey/Vodka/Gin tasting tour, booked in at The Lakes Distillery near Keswick. Well Somebody had to take the morning slot. ๐Ÿ˜€

The Lakes Distillery.

After the tour we headed to The Lake District Wildlife Park nearby. Lots of lovely animals & birdlife to learn about and admire, including Otter, Red Panda, Scottish Wildcat, Flamingo and Zebra. ๐Ÿฆ“

Lake District Wildlife Park ~ photo credit ~ Arwen Ball.
Rowing Boat on Derwent Water ~ photo credit Tammy Cardoso.

An impromptu row on Derwent Water rounded up Sundays adventures. ๐Ÿšฃโ€โ™€๏ธ Look out for the rowing boats for hire next to the Keswick Launch & Jetty.

Day Three. A scorcher of a day! We are happily having untypically warm Bank Holiday sunshine. Our first destination was gorgeous Grasmere, the home of poet William Wordsworth and yummy traditional Gingerbread.

Inside Sarah Nelson’s Grasmere Gingerbread Shop.

Grasmere Gingerbread Shop is definitely a must when you visit the village. Although the store is tiny it brims with character and the scrumptious aroma of baking gingerbread is impossible to resist. Yet more sweet treats were purchased at the Grasmere Chocolate Cottage. A short walk was needed to burn off those soon to be consumed calories.

Colourful boats at Faeryland Tea Garden.

After walking to Grasmere lake we called in at Faeryland Tea Garden which has an enviable position overlooking the water, and pretty pastille coloured rowing boats are available for hire. ๐Ÿงšโ€โ™€๏ธ

Kittchen ‘ Pussy & Pints ‘.

Although I have been to a Cat Cafe before, none of us have ever visited a Cat Bar….until now. Kittchen in Hawkshead is home to seven adorable rescue cats and serves yummy food and alcoholic beverages. Because the weather was so hot most of the furry felines were asleep, but the sunshine did mean we had the cats all to ourselves. A purrfect end to the day. ๐Ÿฑ

Llama Trek to Brougham Castle. Photo Courtesy of Arwen Ball.

Day Four. Another hot day. Our anticipated llama trek was put back to late afternoon, so it wouldn’t be too hot for the above cute camelids, Warrior and Jester. We booked an hour mini trek with Lakeland Llama Treks based in Brougham and Melmerby. It was great fun to groom, learn about and walk with both boys to Brougham Castle ,with our lovely guide Caroline. ๐Ÿฆ™

Visiting family.

Day Five. The girls went on a little roadtrip to find a beach, spending a couple of hours relaxing on the sands in Maryport. Meanwhile I met up with family at my Mum’s in Askham and we enjoyed a saunter up the fell.

Face Mask Thursday ~ photo credit Tammy Cardoso.

Day Six. Alot cooler today so we chilled at the caravan, watching films etc. It was Arwen and Tammy’s last full day with me at the van.

Day Seven. After a tasty lunch at The Old Village Bakery in Melmerby, the girls have made it home. I am presently waiting for my other half to arrive. It’s been great spending time here with friends, a treat and a bit of normality all at the same time. ๐Ÿ˜Š

Thanks for dropping by.

A Ghostly Galleon on Ullswater and The Penrith Winter Droving.

It’s that spoooooky time of year when ghosties and goblins come out to play. I joined in with some Halloween fun at the weekend. Ullswater Steamers put on a Ghostly Galleon and myself , Wil, our friend Jo and God daughter Lydia enjoyed a cruise on the lake with a marvelous magic show and dressing up masks . Definitely aimed at children , but we adults had fun too. ๐ŸŽƒ๐Ÿฆ‡


After our spooky boat trip we spent an hour or so at the Rheghed centre near Penrith, where Lydia found a Halloween treasure hunt and an outdoor adventure playground, before heading into town for the annual Winter Drovers Festival.

The Penrith Winter Droving started eight years ago and is a celebration of all things rural. There’s a Drovers Cup with team events such as Hay Bale Racing, Egg Throwing, Tug O War and Sausage eating. Throughout the day various musicians and street performers entertain  the crowds and a huge Cumbrian Food Market fills the streets. As dusk descends a fantastic torch lit procesion takes place around the town. The animal lanterns look so effective , all lit up against the darkening sky. Later back at the caravan, out came the monopoly. It had been a long but enjoyable day. ๐Ÿ™‚

The Girls Go To The Caravan.

So one of the best things about owning a static caravan is being able to invite friends for a weekend away. Our caravan is in the village of Melmerby in the Eden Valley in Cumbria, close enough in driving distance to the beautiful Lakeย  District, but in a less busy touristy area. On Friday five of us drove up to the van for a girls getaway.ย  We spent an enjoyable and chilled couple of days there. Here are a few photos from our trip.
Pre – trip selfie.
Pimm’s.



Meal out at The Shepherds Inn in Melmerby.



Breakfast on the decking.

A stunning Hat Model ๐Ÿ˜. The Vintage Emporium ‘ La Brochante’ in Melmerby.

Exploring Penrith ~ Penrith Castle.

Quirky sign in Penrith.

Even quirkier sign in Penrith.

Drinks in Xavier’s Cafe Bar in Penrith.
Stunning Ullswater from Glenridding.

Jetty, Ullswater.

Meeting a furry friend ‘ Derek’ in Glenridding.

A Blueberry Pancake Breakfast at The Old Village Bakery in Melmerby.

It was fantastic to spend maybe our last sunny & warmย  weekend of the Summer with my friends at the caravan. Happy Days. ๐Ÿ˜

Thanks to Arwen & Marian for some of these photographs. ๐Ÿ™‚

Exploring Penrith, Cumbria.

Penrith is a bustling Cumbrian Market Town on the edge of the Lake District. Ullswater is about 20 minutes drive away. At the weekend we parked on the very outskirts and walked in. What immediately strikes a visitor are the many attractive red sandstone houses built from the local sandstone, these give Penrith it’s nick name of ‘Old Red Town’.

We looked for somewhere to have lunch, away from the general hustle and bustle. I can recommend the church Square which is just off the centre and has several little cafes looking out over St Andrews churchyard. St Andrews church itself is an impressive looking building ,it’s tower dating back to the 12th century. And in the churchyard resides a Giants Grave…..

Giants Thumb.

The Giants Grave consists of six tombstones, two ancient crosses standing upright and four lower hogback stones. But who is buried there? One legend has it that it is an ancient Cumbrian King ‘ Owen’ , though it could also be the grave of a great boar hunter ‘ Sir Owen Caesarius’ with the hogback stones representing four large boars. I’m liking the second option! Also in the churchyard is another impressive monument, a Norse Wheel cross known as the Giants Thumb, which until the 19th century was used as a whipping post for punishing local criminals. Very Christian behaviour…..

Giants Grave.

Scrumpy Dog.

We had lunch sat outside the Eden Gallery tea rooms, which inside are an eclectic mix of teapots, second hand books & a piano. There is an adorable resident Old English Sheep Dog called Scrumpy and they do a great tuna & cheese panini. ๐Ÿ˜„

After wandering round the town we headed to Penrith Castle, which can be found up from the centre near the train station. In fact if you arrive in Penrith by train , the red sandstone ruins of this medieval castle are your first view of the town. The once proud fortress helped to defend England from Scottish marauder’s and even became the residence of King Richard III. Today the site is looked after by English Heritage and is part of a public park.

War Memorial.

On the way back to the car we stopped for cake at a cafe bar called Xavier’s. We sat outside , though the cafe like quite a few in Penrith is dog friendly. Good to know for future visits!

Have you ever visited Penrith? What are your impressions?

Ambling round Askham.

Recently I spent a few days with family. The pretty village of Askham in Cumbria has been my Mum’s home now for over 25 years. It’s attractive white washed cottages surround two village greens. The top end of Askham climbs up into the fells whilst the bottom end is all about the river Lowther and the surrounding woodland. Some of the village is still owned by the land owning Lonsdale family, who now live in Askham Hall and once resided in Lowther Castle. There are two pubs in Askham, a lovely village shop, an open air swimming pool and lots of walking trails round the Lowther estate. Here are a few pictures from my ambles round Askham.

Village Greens.

Cuckoo Flower & Water Avens.

Stone bridge over the river Lowther.

River Lowther from the bridge.

St Peters Church.

The Punch Bowl is an 18th Century Inn.

Ramsons in the woods.

Sorry, just had to include Mums handsome cat ‘Biscuit’ who is recovering indoors from some heart problems. Aw. He’s doing ok now though. ๐Ÿ™‚

Mum and I had a look round Askham Halls gardens. ยฃ4 entry.

Askham Hall was built in the 12th Century. It’s now a rather posh boutique hotel and restaurant.

A stone Griffin , originally from Lowther Castle.

The village shop is also a great place to go for a coffee, chat and doggy cuddles. ๐Ÿ™‚

Lots of walking trails. I followed this footpath past Askham Hall into some beautiful bluebell woods.

Though I did encounter a miniature Dexter bull on the way. After a short stand off I edged my way past him. He was actually very small, but still quite mean looking!

I was glad to reach this gate into the woods unscathed.

Bluebells.๐Ÿ˜

Stitchwort.

Pink Purslane.

Dandelion Clock.

I spent a good couple of hours in the woods, just enjoying the sights and sounds of nature. There were so many flowers, giving the woodland floor a magical fairy land appearance. And I didn’t spy a single other human being! I did see two jays, several woodpeckers, two buzzards and a weasel. ๐Ÿ˜Š

If your visiting the Askham area, here are some useful websites.

Lowther Castle & Gardens.

Askham Hall.

Askham Open Air Swimming Pool.

Punch Bowl Inn.

The Ullswater Way.

Sightseers at Lowther Castle~ with Picnic Cinema.

So I have a 25 Before 45 Bucket List , which I have been neglecting recently. Still lots to do on there and not very much time left to do it ! Oh well C’est la Vie. Something I listed was ‘ Watch a film outdoors’ and the other weekend I did manage to cross this off my Bucket list, when I dragged Wil up to Lowther Castle in Cumbria, for an open-air cinema event.

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Lowther Castle.

Picnic Cinema specialises in bringing ‘cinema parties’ to some of the most scenic and iconic locations in the North, including castles, forests and in the case of cult classic ‘Withnail & I’ , a remote farmhouse that was used as a location in the movie.

It turned out that a favourite film of both mine and Wils ‘ Sightseers’ was showing at Lowther Castle, a once grand residence now in ruins, but still majestic all the same. Even though Lowther is only a couple of miles from where my Mum lives, I decided to book us camping tickets, as the lovely weather was perfect for an evening under canvas.

The weekend before,the Lowther estate had played host to the ‘Kendal Calling’ music festival, but this was the first time anyone had been allowed to camp so close to the castle , so we felt quite privileged. The fairy tale turrets certainly made for a magical backdrop.

It also happened that a Crafty Vintage fair was underway in the castle courtyard, so there was plenty to keep us entertained after we had pitched the tent.

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Being the rubbish picnickers that we were, we actually forgot to pack a picnic! Couldn’t get enough of this delicious pizza though. ๐Ÿ˜

The Picnic Cinema entertainment commenced at around 8pm. We wrapped up warm and took camping chairs, blankets, wine, snacks, and a torch up to where the film screen was situated.

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We were each given a cute goodie bag containing love-heart sweets, a sherbert dib dab, a pencil, a badge and a jigsaw puzzle piece! While we were waiting for the sun to go down, the Picnic Cinema team entertained us with a sightseeing themed quiz, filmed interviews with some obliging campers and various fun and games.

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At around 10.15pm it was dark enough for the movie to begin!

If you have never seen Sightseers, then you have missed a treat. Its a British Black Horror Comedy about a couple who go on a touring caravan holiday, visiting various tourist attractions on the way….and leaving a few dead bodies in their wake….. Filmed in the North ( Derbyshire, Yorkshire & The Lake District) , Sightseers is pretty macabre and totally bonkers! It was great to see it on The Big Screen. ๐Ÿ˜

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I think I would definitely go again to a Picnic Cinema event. I love that the films are screened in such gorgeous settings, the staff were enthusiastic, helpful and friendly and the movies shown are usually quirky and different.

Still to show this Summer.

Saturday 11th August ~ The Big Lebowski at Muncaster Castle, Cumbria.

Saturday 18th August ~ 24 Hour Party People at Kirklinton Hall, Carlisle.

Saturday 22nd September ~ Moulin Rouge at The Festival of Thrift, Redcar.

Whilst in the Lowther area we decided to do our own spot of sightseeing. ‘Long Meg and Her Daughters’ at Hunsonby is a druid stone circle that was used as one of the locations in the film.

Have you ever watched a film outdoors? Are you tempted?

Now, back to that Bucket List!

A Cumbrian weekend of wanderings and wildlife.

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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. ๐Ÿ˜ 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.

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Small Heath Butterfly.

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A herd of ‘Wild’ Fell Ponies live on the Fell. This one with Wil is not very wild and shaped like a barrel. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Cockpit Stone Circle ~ once used by villagers for cock fighting.

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Linnet. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Pied Wagtail.

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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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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.

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Siskin on Mum’s Bird feeders.

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Greater Spotted Woodpecker.

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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.

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Blue Himalayan Poppies and Alliums.

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I’m not very well up on my garden flowers, but as you can see the beds were abundant with colour. ๐Ÿ™‚

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. ๐Ÿ™‚

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Fairy Door.

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A freaky green spider on Bistort…or Sweaty feet. Is this a Cucumber Spider?

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Imogen and Woody Woodpecker.

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Acorn Bank.

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Impressive Coat of Arms.

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Hop It !

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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