Tag Archives: ribble valley

Spring has Sprung.

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Chaffinch.

Today was glorious and sunny. The kind of sunny that actually feels warm. 🙂  I went for a walk down through the fields to the river. This is one of our usual dog walking routes, but I let Wil carry on ahead with Hugo ,so I could get a few piccies without a black labrador crashing through the undergrowth. 🙂

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Delicate Blackthorn blossom.
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Blackbird.
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Barren Strawberry Flowers.
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River Ribble.
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Male Mallard.
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Robin.
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Ivy.
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Male Bullfinch.
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And another shot….just because it’s very rare that I manage to photograph a Bullfinch.  🙂
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First Butterfly sighting. A Small Tortoiseshell amongst the celandines.
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Wild Garlic Leaves.
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Wood Anemone.
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Spring Lamb.
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Mistle Thrush.

I also saw Sand Martins , back to reclaim their sandy nesting holes in the river bank, a male and a female Goosander flying down the Ribble and a tiny Goldcrest. I think I may do one post a month,following my wildlife sightings in this tiny corner of the world. 🙂

Ribble Valley Sculpture Trail.

I have walked through my local park  Brungerley Park in Clitheroe often enough, but Sunday was the first time I had picked up a leaflet for the area’s Sculpture Trail and tried to spot all the different Art works.  The Ribble Valley Sculpture Trail  can be accessed from either West Bradford Road or Waddington Road and takes  you  through woodland, grassland, a quarry and by the riverside. Roadside parking is available and the walk takes about an hour, so is short and family friendly. 🙂

Here are some of the sculptures we saw on the trail, our starting point was the Waddington Road Entrance.

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Common Comfrey by Halima Cassell. A Ceramic representation of a comfrey plant found in the park.
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The Cook House by Helen Calaghan.  This steel sculpture  is of a pan of tripe !  The quarry area is rich in fossils.
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Leaving Touch by Kerry Morrison.  Two leaves carved by a chainsaw.
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Butterflies by David Appleyard.  A Way marker covered in doodles and memories from local school writing groups.

As you can see the sculptures are quite diverse and many are inspired by the local area. It was good fun finding them all. There are free Trail leaflets at the Tourist Information Centre in Clitheroe which is situated inside the Platform Gallery near the train station.

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Sika Deer by Clara Bigger. A pair of life size stainless steel sika deer. I have yet to see any in Brungerley , but apparently live ones have been spotted. 🙂
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Hazel Catkins.

 

The Ribble King by Matthew Roby. Looking over the River Ribble, this majestic Kingfisher is made from copper, steel and recycled materials.
Otter by Fiona Bowley. Limestone otter. The Ribble is home to these beautiful creatures. 🙂
One of several colourful mosaic Way markers by Paul Smith.

Brungerley Park was first opened in 1876 and became the place for Clitheroe folks to enjoy their leisure time. Boating and Ice skating on the Ribble, band concerts, folk tales of River Spirits and Pendle Witches and even Victorian Bathing Huts on the river bank.

Hugo by the River.
Lords and Ladies by Halima Cassell. Ceramic representation of the ‘Lords and Ladies’ plant found on the trail.
Wildlife Ceramic Mosaic by Louise Worrell.
As the Crow Flies by David Halford. Wooden Compass points.

As we neared the river I spotted the first of the Spring Wild flowers that will adorn the trail. Another few weeks and there will be plenty more to see. 

Cheery Celandine. 🙂
Fish Mobile by Julie Ann Seaman. These three fishes look like they are leaping out of the water.
Just a few of the gaggle of geese on the other side of the river.
Two Heads by Thompson Dagnall. Depending on your view point, you will see one or two heads carved into a dead elm tree. I only saw one.
Primroses.
Alder Cone by Halima Cassell. Ceramic representation of the fruit of the Alder Tree, found in the park.

So there you have it. There are a few sculptures I forgot to photograph, including  some more ceramics by Halima Cassell. She certainly gets around a bit on the trail! Also look out for various play areas for the kids and keep an eye out for wildlife. 🙂

Lunch at the Freemasons in Wiswell.

Tucked away down a quiet ginnel in the picturesque village of Wiswell in Lancashire, the Freemasons is almost hidden from the eye, a secret place , that if sought out, delivers the most delicious food in a cosy country pub setting.

It seems a while ago now but a group of us congregated here for  New Years Eve Lunch. I was almost tempted to sit outside, all wrapped up in one of those lovely plaid blankets that are draped over the benches. The promise of pre-luncheon drinks lured me indoors , where fox and stags heads adorn the walls and a roaring fire welcomes guests.

Once inside we were promptly shown to our table. As there were 11 of us eating, we had the advantage of a small intimate room to ourselves with a long wooden dining table. Chef Patron ‘Steven Smith’ has turned the bustling  Inn into an aclaimed Gastro-pub with accolades including the highest ranking pub in 2017’s Good Food Guide .There are apparently also plans for several boutique bedrooms! But back to the food……

 The delicious selection of breads that were brought out before the starters were divine and soon devoured. I didn’t have a starter but options included Wester Ross Salmon and Crispy Hen’s Egg with gammon & pineapple. Definitely a ‘ Fish n Chips’ girl , I ordered the Panko crumbed Haddock for my main course. Served with chips and mushy peas and the most lip smacking tartar sauce, I confidently declare this to be my favourite ‘ Fish n Chips’ dish in a long time. 🙂

For dessert several of us chose the Quince. It came with a stem ginger icecream and brownies….and many questions about Runcible spoons. 😉 Wil decided upon the Artisan Cheeses, which he really enjoyed.

Some of my glamorous dining companions.:)

With some starters costing more than your average main , the Freemasons is somewhere I would return for a special occasion or celebratory treat. Hmmm maybe I should hint to Wil about a certain date in February!

www.freemasonsatwiswell.com 

Hoof and Rooster.

Clitheroe has yet another New Kid On The Block when it comes to dining out. The ‘Hoof and Rooster’ on York Street is an American Style BBQ and Smokehouse serving everything from Burgers to Brisket in a cool but cosy retro setting. I’ve actually been twice so I thought I had better do the blogger thing and post about it !

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The first time was a Saturday morning at about 11.30am, Wil and I  thought we would bob in for a coffee and a nosy…and ended up staying for lunch. And why not! We had bagged a comfy leather sofa, which was so hard to move from. 🙂 There was ample  opportunity to take quite a few photos with my phone before the lunchtime crowds arrived.

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The vibe was very chilled with A Fine Frenzy and Ray Lamontagne playing in the background. I didn’t see a jukebox though! Looking around us there was however enough going on to keep our peepers busy. Every wall is adorned with colourful American memorabilia. Retro advertising ( the Lucky strike cigarettes board reminded me of Mad Men), Eye popping wall art, and Neon Signage.

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But what about the important bit! The food!!  The menu is very meaty, which you would definitely expect from a Smokehouse. It’s mostly burgers,hotdogs, hot wings, pulled pork, brisket and steaks. On this occasion I opted for the Foot Long American Hot Dog ( Ok, I was hungry!) and Wil chose the Classic Steak Patty.

Our food was tasty and we had a friendly and attentive waitress so lunch was definitely a big thumbs up. And after all that I was still tempted to try dessert. What’s more Stateside than this yummy zesty Key lime pie. 🙂

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Our second visit was on Saturday evening and as you imagine, it was a hell of a lot busier, with a real buzzing night out vibe. I didn’t take many pics this time. Service was slower, but I will put that down to how busy it was. By the way you don’t have to eat at the Hoof and Rooster. There’s a well stocked bar ( specialising in American Craft beers) and I love the cute booths at the back of the restaurant, with tables made from old cable drums.

This time we were seated upstairs and as we were dining out with some veggie friends, I was a bit concerned about what they would think of the menu. I needn’t have worried. Vegetarian options include Spicy Bean Burger, Macaroni Cheese and Jack Fruit Burger. There’s seafood on the menu too. I really enjoyed my Soft Shell Crab Burger. 🙂

Great Music, Good food , Good beer , Quirky colourful surroundings. What more could you want in Clitheroe !

Check out their Facebook page.

I might be tempted to bob in again soon…..for coffee and a slice of pumpkin pie. 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Can you Glamp in Lancashire? Yes Of Course!

I  sometimes feel that Lancashire gets a raw deal in the holiday guides. As beautiful  as my home  county is ,with its rolling hills, pretty villages,miles of stunning coastline and it’s fascinating industrial heritage, lovely Lancs is often overshadowed by it’s more touristy cousins, the Yorkshire Dales and the Lake District. However Lancashire can compete in the glamping stakes! I did some research and found the following options. 🙂

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Stanley Villa Farm Glamping.  A lot less fuss than putting up a tent are these cute camping pods at Fylde Trout Fishery near Blackpool. There are 24 on site , with views over the fishing lake. All have 2 single beds with mattresses and enough room for a double airbed too, so ideal for couples,groups of friends or families. No electricity but the main lodge on site has communal cooking facilities and free teas,coffees and hot chocolates!  Each pod has it’s own fire pit and bbq facilities and a separate mini pod contains children’s toys,games and sports equipment. Pet friendly too. Prices from £47 per pod,per night. www.campingbugs.co.uk

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Shepherd’s Huts at Samlesbury Hall. Brightly coloured family friendly Shepherd Huts in the grounds of a historic 14th century Hall. There are 3 in the prettily arranged ‘Hut Hamlet’ , each with two double beds with memory foam mattresses, low-wattage electricity and cosy ensuites. Kids will love the Mayflower playground and the mini menagerie. The Hall itself ( check on opening times) is free entry and the guided tours are free too. The restaurant in Samlesbury Hall does cooked breakfasts….and there is a Wafflery called  ‘ Dotties’. Prices from £25 per person, per night.  www.samlesburyhall.co.uk

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Lanterns & Larks in the Forest Of Bowland.  Hidden on the Bleasdale Estate in an ‘ Area Of Outstanding Natural Beauty’, these luxury Glamping Tents have the most stunning of backdrops, the Bowland Fells. Each lodge has 3 bedrooms, shower and WC  and an  open plan living area with a cosy wood burning stove at it’s heart. A decked terrace , fire pit and barbecue complete these rural canvas cabins. Perfect for families, groups, wildlife lovers, walkers & cyclists…..and dogs are welcome too. Prices start from £365. www.lanternsandlarks.co.uk .

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Feather Down at Dolphinholme Farm.  Also on the edge of the beautiful Forest of Bowland, Dolphinholme Farm is only 20 minutes from the coast and very near the river Wyre. The 1920’s style Safari tents with wooden flooring and cosy wood burning stoves are the perfect getaways for families and groups of friends. Kids have plenty to keep them occupied here. There is a child orienteering course , a treasure hunt and a big play barn!  The farm has an Honesty shop selling it’s own cheese.  Oh and dogs are welcome . Prices for short breaks begin at £189. www.featherdown.co.uk .

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Yurts at the Red Pump Inn.  The Red Pump  is a picturesque Country Inn situated in the tiny village of Bashall Eaves near Clitheroe. As well as the usual accommodation inside the Inn, guests can ‘glamp’ in stylish Yurts, with lovely views of Pendle Hill and Longridge Fell. All feature king size beds with fur throws, a cosy wood burning stove and ensuite bathrooms. Breakfast is included next door in the pub and guests can dine at the Red Pump’s Steak House Restaurant. Nearby attractions include historic Clitheroe Castle and Bowland Wild Boar Park. Dog friendly. Prices from £250 B &B  for a two night stay.

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Lynx Helicopter stay.  For something completely different , how about stopping in a converted 1982 Westland Lynx XZ676 helicopter!  X-ray Zulu 676 sleeps up to four people and includes a custom made low down double ‘bunk’ in the tail of the helicopter, twin pull out bunk for additional sleeping space, LED flat screen TV and kitchen area with mini fridge and microwave. He stands proudly on a campsite 4 miles from Blackpool in the pretty Fylde countryside. Blackpool Wakepark is adjacent to the site and a ‘Learn to Wakeboard’ package is available for the adventurous. 🙂 Prices from £100 per night. www.reamhills.co.uk .

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Feather Down at Wyresdale Park.  Feather Down Farms already have a glamping site at lovely Dolphinholme Farm but it’s not their only one in Lancashire. Wyresdale Park near Preston hosts more cosy canvas lodges on their beautiful country estate.  All lodges sleep six, have their own private bathroom facilities, wood burning cooking stove, veranda with outdoor furniture and a wood fuelled hot tub. Kids will love the games and rope swing, nearby play barn and petting zoo at Old Holly Farm.  There’s a lake to enjoy messing about on boats and a glass house tea room at the Hall. Pets are very welcome. Prices from £429 for a short break. www.featherdown.co.uk.

Star Campers.  So why stay in one place?  When you have the whole of Lancashire on your doorstep, why not explore it in one of Star Camper’s stunningly restored VW Camper Vans !  Star Campers are based in the Ribble Valley near Clitheroe and Sunny above is one of two vans currently available ( 2 more, Buster and Terry should be ready for 2017) for hire. Such lovingly done restorations set apart the camping from the glamping.   Sunny is an original 1972 Tin top Westfalia campmobile and Starline is a 2009 VW T5 TDI. I can certainly vouch for Starline as Wil, Hugo the dog and I took him away for a night last year. 🙂  Dog friendly. Prices from £100 per day. www.starcampers.co.uk.

Glamping Pods at The Golden Ball Pub.  With elevated views over the River Lune near Morecambe these camping pods are affordable luxury. Each of the three pods has a double bed, sofa bed, ensuite shower and wc, flat screen tv and tea and coffee making facilities. With a food serving pub on your doorstep plus all the attractions of the seaside town of Morecambe nearby , these mini cabins are definitely a tempting option. Prices from £50per pod, per night. www.snatchems.co.uk.

whoooo all his research has definitely given me the Lancashire Glamping bug!

Are you tempted?

 

Atrium Picnic at Clitheroe Castle.

A couple of weeks ago Wil and I had a day off work so we decided to go out for lunch. Where better than somewhere local…. just a short walk in the park away, in fact. 🙂 The Atrium Cafe at Clitheroe Castle has just got a new chef and a brand new menu. We thought it might be worth a look.

The Castle Keep was looking a wee bit mean and moody that day. Luckily the Cafe itself is a light and welcoming space with attentive staff. We decided to try the Picnic Lunch which I had lusted over on Facebook a few days earlier. 🙂 After ordering our drinks ( The Atrium grounds it’s coffee beans on site and the Coffee Exchange in Clitheroe supplies their loose leaf tea), we took a seat by the window and admired the drizzly but historic view. 🙂

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Tempting treats.

The Picnic arrived served on a rustic bread board.As you can see it looks scrumdiddlyumptious!  Happily it tastes that way too. The delicious array of goodies include a selection of sandwiches,ham hock terrine ( a favourite with Wil),sausage rolls ( the best I’ve ever tasted 🙂 ), a flask of soup, pate and toasts, mocha frappe with shortbread,lemon and vanilla posset ( to die for), chocolate brownie and homemade  scones with jam and clotted cream.

This was definitely our kind of Picnic!  The food is yummy and locally sourced and it’s actually a clever spin on an Afternoon Tea. 😉  One that the Atrium  at  Clitheroe Castle can proudly call it’s own. And not bad value at £12.50 per person.

Are you tempted?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spring in the Castle Grounds.

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Today was a lovely spring day with warming sunshine and hints of blue sky. Ignoring the stinking cold I seem to have caught, I spent an hour in the grounds of Clitheroe Castle this afternoon. There were birds, there were bees and there were blooms and buds everywhere. Here is what I saw….

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Daffodils.
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Robin peers out from behind Spring blossoms.
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Glory of the Snow.
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Jackdaws.

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Sunshiney Celandines.
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Clitheroe Castle Museum.
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Pink Hyacinth.
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Cheeky Squirrels.

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Pigeon.
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Long tailed Tit.
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The Castle Keep.
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Primroses.

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Hope you enjoyed your weekend.X