Tag Archives: spring

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™‚

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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

Wintery Spring ~ Links & Likes.

Welcome to my first Links & Likes of 2018. This is a series where I like to include some links to a few posts I have β™‘ recently.

February is a funny month. Spring is just around the corner( hopefully!) ,yet I still feel like hibernating! With snow, sleet, rain and hale all forcasted over the next few days in the North West, can you blame me if I cosy up under the duvet and snooze for the forseeable….

Yet I do have plans. 😁 Febuary is Snowdrop Season and I would really love to witness these first signs of Spring in all their gorgeous glory. Here in Lancashire Lytham Hall welcomes all to wander round their lovely grounds over the next couple of Weekends. Frames high-light the blooms for picture opportunities. Hornby Castle near Lancaster is opening to the public for Snowdrop Walks on the 17th & 18th February. Elsewhere The National Trust has details of early blooming gardens on their website. Hopefully I will be out and about searching for snowdrops in the next few days.

Other plans I have for February include a Ghost Walk at Houghton Tower and a Girls Night In Clothes Swap Party. So really, hibernation is not actually an option. πŸ˜„

Snowdrops at Lytham Hall. Image off Pinterest.

Christine has been playing Colour Bingo with her camera. A great idea for a blog post!

Amanda visits a Train Station , where an iconic Romantic Movie was filmed in the 1940s.

Louise marks the beginning of Spring ( Imbolc ) at the Marsden Fire Festival.

I love Rosie’s post about close encounters with cute seal pups. Aw.

This Tea Time Mango Cake looks and sounds delicious on Shilpi’s blog. 🍰

The Typewriter Girl has some perfect ideas for filling February with fun and light. πŸ™‚

Its going to be A Dog’s Life for Gina, as she prepares to welcome a cute new arrival. πŸ™‚

What are your plans to brighten up a dreary February?

Thanks for dropping by. X

Birdies in the back yard.

This weekend was the Big Garden Birdwatch in the UK and because my little back yard has been quite busy with bird visitors recently, I decided to join in. Apparently the Big Garden Birdwatch, organized by the rspb is the world’s largest wildlife survey! From previous years results the data collected has shown which birdlife is thriving and which breeds are not doing so well. Once common garden visitors such as the starling are now on the decline, though numbers of the tiny wren are happilly……on the up. Through January both of these birdie breeds have frequented my yard. Of course when you only have one hour to record the species that visit, its pot luck which , if any , will turn up. πŸ˜‰

Female sparrow.

The survey was short and sweet…..and quite relaxing too. The idea being that you took one hour out of your time on Friday, Saturday or Sunday to sit and watch which birds appear. I chose an hour on Friday morning, settling down with a brew, cereal bar and my Big Garden Birdwatch Pack.

For what seemed like ages, I sat there wondering if anyone would arrive. 😐 But then luckilly a sparrow and a dunnock turned up. Dunnocks are shy brown and grey birds that mostly forage on the ground ,as they like to nibble what has dropped from the feeders.

Male Blackbird.

My next visitor was a male blackbird. He and his mate are frequently seen feeding on the fat balls, swinging on the feeder. I was pleased to see him.

Bluetit.

The true acrobats at the feeders are the pretty bluetits with their yellow fronts and black eye stripes. Usually I see quite a few enjoying the half coconut shells , but during the hour, only one graced the yard with its presence.

Snowdrops. πŸ™‚

So there you go, I recorded 4 bird species in the hour. Not as good as I hoped, but it was still interesting and I hope my filled in survey helps the RSPB.

Did you take part this year?

What wildlife visits you?

Spring has Sprung.

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Chaffinch.

Today was glorious and sunny. The kind of sunny that actually feels warm. πŸ™‚  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. πŸ™‚

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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.  πŸ™‚
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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. πŸ™‚

Links & Likes March. β™‘

Starlings and Hares by Rob Barnes.

Hey and welcome to March Links& Likes. I thought I would include some pretty pictures of mad March hares frolicking around with not a care in the world.  If only our lives could be as carefree as these beautiful illustrations.  Anyway without further ado….

Gina put   The Kelpies

 

 in Falkirk on her visit list. I would love to see these Giant horse sculptures for myself. 

Fancy a walk that meanders through a pub and ends with a Waterfall?  Let Jo  show you the way.  

Naomi tells us about  The Joy of Gorse and how the shrub’s sunshine yellow flowers  can be made into a fresh and delicious cordial. πŸ™‚

Illustration by Lucy Grossmith.

Louise  follows in the footsteps of  Peakland writer Roger Redfern and finds that things haven’t changed all that much ,since he published his own rambles in the 1960s.

One of my favourite travel boggers ‘Mary’ from Travels with the Blonde Coyote hasn’t posted in a while, but hopefully that will all change now she’s introduced her gorgeous new dog pal ‘ Vida’. What a beauty! πŸ™‚ 

Erin has visited the vibrant and colourful city of Lisbon. Me too please. πŸ™‚ 

Illustration by Louise Scott.

This fab post by Baked by Mummy Iris explores London’s Covent Garden. It looks like foodie heaven and certainly makes my tummy rumble. πŸ™‚

 Hey did you know that there is a A Cat ~^^~ who actually works in B & M Bargains???  Check out this cute Kitty ! 

And if your planning a trip to Iceland this year , here is a very useful blog to consult I β™‘ Reykjavik.

Wendy Andrews ~ Dreaming of Spring.

Thanks so much for dropping by. If you have any blog recommendations, that you think I will like, please let me know. β™‘

 

 

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. πŸ™‚

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. πŸ™‚
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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. πŸ™‚
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. πŸ™‚
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. πŸ™‚