Tag Archives: spring

Dean Clough Reservoir Walk.

On Saturday we drove ten minutes out of town for our permitted socially distanced exercise. It’s the first time I have left Clitheroe in six weeks. Wil still drives to Blackburn for work five days a week, so he wasn’t as excited to be out in the car as I was. It’s been a while! Anyway I think the change of scenery did me good. Apart from the odd dog walker, it was fairly quiet at Dean Clough Reservoir, a pretty body of water above York village near Whalley. We parked in a lay by outside the village and soon found the footpath that leads down to the reservoir.

At this time of year the golden yellow gorse flowers are all in bloom, giving off a heavenly coconut fragrance. There were bees buzzing round bugles and I saw my first swallows of the year.

In a few weeks the Yellow Flag Irises will come into flower, for now they are letting the marsh marigolds and cuckoo flowers take all the glory.

On the water we saw various birds including cormorant, Canada geese, mallards and this gorgeous Great Crested Grebe.

Instead of following the path around the reservoir we took another trail up to some rocky outcrops and admired the views for a little while. Butterflies fluttered by in a gentle spring time breeze.

We took the path back into York which is a small hamlet with a nice looking pub called the Lord Nelson. Hopefully it will open back up in the coming months. Spied some belties at a nearby farm.

Back where we had parked the car, this was our view! A rather large man standing on a small hill.

It’s a sculpture of some kind but I haven’t been able to find any information online about why it’s there. In the future will have to walk up to it for a closer look. 😁

Thanks for reading & stay safe. x

Seven days of wildflowers. 🌸

For the past seven days I’ve chosen a wild flower that I’ve seen on my daily walk with Hugo, and found out a few facts about each flower.

Saturday ~ Bluebell. There’s nothing more stunning than a carpet of bluebells in the Spring. I saw clumps of these gorgeous violet blue flowers on a walk today through a patch of woodland by the river. Here are a few facts about bluebells.

Other names for Bluebell include Wild Hyacinth, Wood Bell, Granfer Giggle, Witches Thimble, Cuckoo’s Boot, Bell Bottle and Lady’s Nightcap.

It is against the law to pick, uproot or intentionally destroy bluebells.

Bluebells can also be pink or white.

The bluebell is the flower of St George.

In folklore fairies ring the bells to gather together their fairy kin. If humans hear blue bells ring however, disaster will befall them. 😬

Sunday ~ Cowslip. There are lots of cowslips in bloom at the local nature reserve in Salthill Quarry. They tend to thrive in meadows, dry grassy banks, grass verges and in open woodland. Here are a few cowslip facts.

Cowslip apparently means cow pat! It has been noted that the flowers spring up around where cows have ‘slupped’.

Tea made from the flowers can be used to help cure headaches and insomnia.

In countryside tradition cowslips were strewn along the church path at weddings and put in May Day garlands.

Other names for cowslip include Bunch of Keys, Lady’s fingers, Yellowdrops , Freckled Face & Fairies Flower.

Cowslips are the food of the Duke of Burgundy caterpillar.

Monday ~ Germander Speedwell. These little beauties were growing amongst a patch of primroses next to Mearley Brook. I love the bright blue colour of speedwells. πŸ’™ Here are a few facts about the Germander Speedwell.

Other names that speedwells go by include Birds Eye and Cats Eye.

The flowers are a good luck charm for travellers. A speedwell worn in a button hole will ‘ speed you well ‘ on your journey.

The speedwells Latin name is Veronica Chamaedrys. It is said that a St Veronica wiped Christ’s forehead on the way to his crucifixion and an image of Jesus’s face was left imprinted on the cloth she used. Speedwell flowers resemble little faces.

In Germany speedwells are also known as ‘ mannertreu ‘ or ‘ men’s faithfulness ‘. Ironically the flowers wilt very quickly once picked.

In ancient medicine speedwells were used to cure many ailments especially coughs and congestion.

Tuesday ~ Yellow Archangel. As well as bluebells, the woodland floor near Standen Hall is covered in a hooded spring flower , the Yellow Archangel. Though I prefer to call it by one of its other names, the Yellow weasel snout. πŸ™‚

Although it is a member of the Dead-Nettle family, the Yellow Archangel doesn’t sting.

If you want to know what a weasel smells like, crush the plants leaves. The rank aroma will give you some idea apparently.

The Yellow Archangel flowers near the 27th of April, a day dedicated to the Archangel Michael.

The flower has been used in the past to protect cattle against a black magic disease.

Red Dead-Nettles and White Dead-Nettles are closely related to their yellow flowered cousin.

Wednesday ~ Wild Garlic. An indicator of ancient woodland, this time of year is ideal for foraging the leaves of ramsons or wild garlic. They can also flower on roadside verges, where I saw the above. Here are some facts about Wild Garlic.

Wild garlic leaves and flowers can be used in many recipes including garlic scones and wild garlic pesto.

The plant is also known as Bear Garlic. It’s Latin name is Allium Ursinum ( bear leek). On the continent brown bears like to feast on the leaves.

Cats are apparently repelled by the smell of wild garlic.

In Ireland wild garlic bulbs were put into the thatched roofs of cottages for good luck.

If you forage wild garlic leaves , do not confuse with the similar looking Lily of the valley, which is highly toxic and should not be eaten. The best way to know your garlic is to check with your nose.

Thursday ~ Bugle. Down by the brook I spied several bugles. They can be found in damp grassland and woodland.

The Bugles Latin name is Ajuga reptans. Reptans means creeping & crawling, rather like how the plant spreads on underground runners.

The sixteenth century physician and naturalist William Turner described the plant as ‘ a black herb that groweth in moist ground and shadowy places’. It was used in ancient medicine to stop bleeding.

Bugles are popular with bees and butterflies.

The herb was made into a tea in Austria to help with respiratory conditions.

Friday ~ Red Campion. Today’s flower is pretty in pink , one of the first pink blooms of Spring. Red campions grow on woodland edges, in hedgerows and fields. These were by Mearley Brook. Here are some facts about Red Campion.

Red campion is also known by the names of Adder Flower, Red Catchfly and Robin Hood.

On the continent Red Campion are a scorpion scarer! Scorpions are not fond of red campions , throwing one at a scorpion renders it’s sting useless apparently. Don’t think I would want to try this out!

In fairy folklore Red campion is said to have been used by fairy folk to protect their honey stores.

Another name for the pink flower is Bachelor s Button, perhaps the flower was worn in single fellows button holes at country weddings, once upon a time.

Red campions roots were once used as a substitute for soap.

Of course every day more and more flowers appear! It’s so lovely to see them on my daily walks. What wild flowers have you noticed this week?

Early April ~ Wildflowers On A Walk.

We are quite lucky in our small town that we are within easy walking distance of countryside. The river Ribble is best followed on foot if you want to spy the wildflowers that are springing up everywhere. Wildlife just keeps calm and carries on. πŸ™‚

River Ribble towards West Bradford Bridge.
Marsh marigolds often to be found near water. They are also called King Cups.
Pretty in pink Cuckoo Flowers herald the return of Spring…and the Cuckoo. Also called Ladies Smock and milkmaid.
Lots of Butterbur on the Riverside. In the past its large heart shaped leaves were used to wrap butter.
Primroses, Wood Anemone and Celandines.
Although some people have spotted otters here in Clitheroe, I have never seen a real one locally. Keep hoping!
Colts Foot.
Dog Violets. πŸ™‚
Pied Wagtail. There were a few darting round the river.
Wood Anemone. Saw lots of these bonnie white flowers carpeting woody areas.
Catkins.
Just too pretty not to photograph. Snakes Head Fritillaries in a front garden on the way home.

This walk was yesterday’s. What wildlife have you spotted recently?

Spring !

Spring Lambs.

Getting out and about in the fresh air is one of my greatest pleasures. I’m just thankful it’s something I’m still able to do in these strangest of times. Happily the sun has decided to shine this weekend so I took my camera on some local walks.

Coltsfoot flowers and leaves can be dried and used to make a tea that gives relief from coughs and congestion apparently.

Grey Squirrel

Female Blackbird.

The primrose is the ‘ first rose’ of Spring.

Feral Pigeon.

Cherry Blossom.

Goldfinch.

Pussy Willows.

Dogs Mercury.

Blackthorn. The blossom arrives before the leaves.

Daffodils with Pendle Hill in the very distance.

Thanks for stopping by. Stay safe and well. ❀️

Three Things ~ February.

Here’s a short blog post idea I found over on Bev’s blog. Hopefully now we are in March, I will try and post a little more!

Three Things I Liked In February.

1. Snowdrops. A welcome sign of Spring in the wettest February ever.

2. Watching Kiefer Sutherland’s band play at King George’s Halls with some friends. He comes across as a really nice guy, just like his character in Designated Survivor on Netflix, which I’m also watching.

3. Visiting my local Everyman Cinema. I’ve sneeked away for a couple of week day matinees at the new picture house in town. Watched both Emma and Like A Boss recently.

Kiefer Sutherland at King George’s Hall. Like a movie star actually came to Blackburn!

Three Things I’m Looking forward to in March.

1. Some dry weather. Need to get out of my wellies!

2. Spending some time at the caravan. We are up there in eleven days, and I really cannot wait!

3. Spring!!

Three Vegetables I eat the most.

1. Potatoes. 2. Cherry tomatoes. 3. Carrots.

Three items that are always on my groceries list.

1. Petfood. 2. Peanut butter ( my guilty pleasure on toast…. sometimes with marmite…eeeek) 3. Tin tomatoes.

Three Things we go through like crazy in my house. 1. Washing powder ( mostly for washing Hugo’s bedding and towels, especially in this weather). 2. Scented Candles. 3. Wild bird food.

Three things I always make time for.

1. Cuddles with my fur babies.

2. Recording wildlife I see in my Nature Diary.

3. I hope I make enough time to see friends & family, but I feel I need to be better at this.

Three Things I never make time for.

1. Pampering myself. I should really.

2. Going to the gym. Erm nope!

3. Meditation. My mind would wander. πŸ™‚

Blackthorn blossom, a harbinger of Spring. πŸ™‚

Thanks for dropping by. ❀️

February Flora and Fauna.

A wonderful few days weather wise. Enough sunshine to put a spring in everyone’s step.😁 Here are some camera shots.. and a few phone photos of birds and blossom taken over the weekend ,and when out and about late this afternoon. The sun shone, bees buzzed and I even saw my first butterfly of the year flutter by. All this as temperatures hit 20Β°c in February!

Rook.

Wild Plum Blossom.

Mute Swan Mum & Offspring.

Gorse in bloom.

Sika Deer in Brungerly Park.:)

White Butterbur.

Pussy Willow.

Hazel Catkins.

Moorhen.

Celandine.

Owl.

Fell Pony.

Blackthorn Blossom.

Meadow Pippit.

Canada Geese.

Crocuses.

Pack horse bridge. Spot Hugo taking a dip in the brook.

What early signs of Spring have you seen recently?

Sunday Sevens 24th February.

Last weekend I joined friends for a walk and Sunday Lunch. The part of the A59 that by passes Clitheroe has been closed at weekends due to the building of a new round-about ( much uproar from residents), so this normally extremely busy road is eerily quiet on a Sunday and you can walk down it ( or indeed sit on it) without being squished by on coming motorists. We managed to walk part of the way to the village of Worston along the road, pretending we were in a zombie apocalypse. πŸ™‚

Meanwhile my other half was decorating the bedroom, and what a grand job of it he has made too. I am super impressed! We went for a teal, mustard and white colour scheme ,which is a change from the pale blue & white it was previously. If your interested, the wallpaper and paint is from Twitter Lane in Clitheroe, the bedding and curtains are from Dunhelm Mill and the free standing lamp is from Next.

At the moment myself and my work colleagues are experiencing an unsettling time at work. Our department will be reducing its hours to Thursday to Sunday in May. My current hours are Monday through Thursday. Oh dear! Anyway we have to apply for the weekend jobs in April ( if we want them) and by then we should also know if redundancy is an option. So it’s looking like come May, I will be either working totally different hours…or be jobless! Neither are a very pleasant thought. I’m going to make the most of my weekends whilst I still have them and am still earning money. πŸ™‚

On Friday I visited Mum in Cumbria with my sister, niece and nephew. The weather was lovely so we had a walk up Askham Fell and made friends with the fell ponies. The sky was blue, the gorse was in bloom and smelt of coconuts.

And yesterday was even more Spring like in Lancashire. It was actually t-shirt and ice cream weather. Wil, Hugo and I did a 12 mile walk and discovered an old pack horse bridge. Long may the sunshine continue!

Thanks to Natalie at Threads & Bobbins for devising Sunday Sevens, a collection of seven or more photos from the last 7 days.

Wild buds and blooms.

At the weekend we were blessed with actual warm sunshine and blue skies. On my walks with Hugo I took my camera along to record the abundance of wild flowers that had literally sprung up in the April sun rays.

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Blackthorn Blossom.

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Sunshiney Celandines. The leaves were a valuable source of vitamin C to prevent scurvy.

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Paraglider enjoying the blue skies.

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Buds.

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Early morning Wood Anenome.

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Horsetail grass.

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Perhaps a flowering red currant?

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A leafy umbrella.

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Barren strawberry flowers.

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Ivy leaved Toadflax.

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Female pheasant in the grass.

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Daffs in Pendleton Village.

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Daffodils.

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Masses of Marsh Marigolds, also known as King-Cups.

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Blue Forget-me-nots.

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I also saw my first butterflies of the season, a small tortoiseshell and a cabbage white, though still waiting to see my first swallow. Spring really has sprung….at last. πŸ™‚

Searching for signs of Spring.

On Saturday we braved The Mini Beast Of The East and headed to Cumbria to visit family. We also packed in two short walks with our labrador Hugo. I kept my camera handy to record any burgeoning signs that Spring might just be making an appearance. πŸ™‚

First stop , Kirkby Lonsdale. This small market town on the edge of the Lake District sits on the banks of the River Lune. An easy stroll from the free car park at Devil’s Bridge takes you along the waterside and up into the town centre.

Devil’s Bridge, Kirkby Lonsdale.

Male Goosander.

Pussy Willow.

The only climb is the ’86’ Radical Steps that lead up to ‘Ruskin’s View’ , a beautiful vista painted by Turner and described by John Ruskin as ” the loveliest view in England”. The steep stone steps also take you to St Mary’s Churchyard, which was adorned with a delightful carpet of crocuses when we visited.

St Marys Churchyard.

Ruskin’s View takes in the river Lune.

Male Blackbird.

Such a bonnie house. I think I take a picture of it every time I visit.

The cold weather has meant that the snowdrops here in the North are still in good form! Whilst they continue to bloom, Winter has stubbornly decided to hang on I think. As we headed further up the M6 , the countryside turned whiter and the world got windier.

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Snow near Shap.

Dacre Bear.

Our second walk was later in the afternoon and started off in the pretty village of Dacre, about two miles north of Pooley Bridge. Four stone bears can be seen amongst the gravestones in St Andrews graveyard ( they are not very bear like now! ) and it is claimed that they once rested on the four corners of Dacre’s 14th Century Castle keep.

Could this be the Mini Beast From The East??

The only daffodil in flower that we saw was one solitary yellow trumpet in Dacre. Looking back to this time last year, the nearby village of Askham where my Mum lives was positively trumpeting. Not so in 2018…yet ! We continued on our way amongst snow flurries, bitter cold winds and odd spells of bright sunshine, along the estate path towards Dalemain Mansion. I wrote a post last year about our visit to the gardens here.

Deer park, Dalemain.

Although its a nice dog walk from Dacre to Dalemain, the estate does not allow four-legged friends to accompany you into the house, gardens or cafΓ©. 😦 So we tried to warm up outside with a steaming hot coffee and a delicious slab of ginger cake spread with marmalade. Dalemain is famous for its annual Marmalade Awards and Festival, and it was actually near to the end of the first day of this years festival, when we arrived. If your in the area today, the weekend of marmalade tasting continues. I bought a small jar of Jane’s Marmalade. Jane is the Lady Marmalade of the house apparently.

Crocus and Aconites.

Fallow Deer.

Heading back to Dacre. The 14th century Castle is just ahead.

These two short walks added up to six miles and it was lovely to see some small signs of Spring what has been an unusually cold March.

Walking in Clitheroe this morning.

Of course things are back to the norm, back home in Lancashire today. Yet more snow!

What signs of Spring have you seen in your neck of the woods?

I am linking up with Jo’s Monday Walks so do pop by her lovely blog. X