Tag Archives: wild flowers

Spring walks, a Nature Diary and an Easter treat.

The Easter Weekend so far ~ a Good Friday walk with friends, spring shoots and wild flowers and a visit with my lovely friend Lisa to Stydd Gardens in Ribchester. 😁

Blackthorn blossom
Good Friday Walkers assemble in the Calf’s Head Beer Garden.
Stydd Gardens.
Nutella Hot Chocolate and an Easter treat. Rosie Duck at Stydd Gardens.Soo good. πŸ™‚
Lovey Dove.

Treats for the dog at Rosie Duck.

My Ladybird book What To Look For In Spring helped me identify some of the spring flowers below.

Butterbur by a stream.
Golden Saxifrage.
Wild garlic leaves. I do have a recipe handy for wild garlic leaves & cheese scones!
I am going to start a nature diary for my sightings. πŸ™‚

The Easter Weekend has been lovely so far. πŸ™‚

Roll on the next two days. X

Advertisements

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.

P1080012
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

Wildlife Moments in 2017.Β 

I thought I would post a few of my favourite wildlife photos that I have taken whilst out and about this year. There have been a few special moments! I finally managed to photograph a kingfisher  ( not once, but twice! ) and I was thrilled to spy a Green Woodpecker by the river Wharfe in Yorkshire.  A holiday on the Norfolk Coast proved an amazing experience for wildlife spotting and even a few days away in London gave me some photographic opportunities. πŸ™‚ Hope you enjoy my pictures.

norfolk 076
Small Blue Butterfly  , Old Hunstanton sand dunes.
brotherswater 023
Pied Wagtail eating lunch , Brotherswater.
FB_IMG_1513026262996.jpg
Kingfisher perched above a rowing boat on the River Nidd in November.
norfolk 168
Foxgloves in Sandringham Country Park.
lakes 2017 111
Comeront , River Esk, Cumbria.
lakes 2017 139
Tawny Owl, Muncaster Castle.
seaside b and c 001
Sea Holly, Rossall Beach, Fleetwood.
norfolk 014
Nesting Fulmar  in the stripey cliffs of Hunstanton.
brougham hall and dalmaine 066
Fallow Deer, Dalemain Estate, Cumbria.
london 063
Grey Heron in Hyde Park, London in April.

 

london 029
Moorhen in Hyde Park.
london 053
Green Parakeet ( another London Park regular).
norfolk 043
Vallarean flowers amongst the beech huts, Old Hunstanton.
ullswater aira force 066
Wild flowers on the banks of Ullswater.
harrogate 057
Kingfisher on the river Nidd.
norfolk 107
Sea Asters, Cromer.
salthill quarry 055
Six spotted burnet moth, Salthill Quarry Nature Reserve.
norfolk 308
Common and Grey Seals, Blakeney Point, Norfolk.
yorkshire 120
Green Woodpecker next to the river Wharfe in the Dales.
caves 053
Pheasant in the Dales.

What wildlife have you enjoyed viewing in 2017?

 

Hawthorn’s August Scavenger Hunt.

Hey there, it’s time for another bash at Hawthorn’s Photo Scavenger Hunt.  Looking at this month’s pictures makes me realise, I have been out and about quite a bit in August. Not that I’m complaining!

1. Relaxed.  A friend’s cute Bedlington Terrier is supplied with her own cushion in the pub , on our camping trip to Ingleton.

seaside b and c 083

2.  It begins with an M.  This curved sculpture on the beach in Cleveleys is called Mary’s Shell.

ribblehead 037

 

3.  Time For…… a delicious slab of moist ginger cake in a cute cafe bar in Sedbergh called ‘The Three Hares’.

ingleton 053

4.  Tangerine.  Ok this photo is a bit of a stretch!  I am seeing a slight hint of tangerine colour here , in a waterfall on the Ingleton Falls Trail.

seaside b and c 062

5.  It begins with an O.  The Old Fashioned Traditional Sweet Shop on Blackpool’s North Pier sells all sorts of goodies. πŸ™‚

ribblehead 036

6.  Whiskery. Ok he’s not really that whiskery, just scruffy and cute. I met this sweetie in The Three Hares in Sedbergh. His name is Tigger!

7.  Lace.  Cow Parsley in a local meadow. It’s also known as Queen Anne’s Lace.

ribblehead 007

8.  Bridge. Well how about this bridge! Ribblehead Viaduct is Europe’s longest viaduct and its in our very own Yorkshire Dales, not far from Ingleton.

ribblehead 033

9). Letters.  The letter appears prominently on these colourful Collins hardbacks in a book shop in Sedbergh. Sedbergh is a Book town in the Yorkshire Dales National Park.

 

 

10.  My Own Choice. My two god daughters with their camping breakfasts. πŸ™‚

 Please check out Hawthorn’s Blog for more Scavenger Hunt posts. πŸ™‚

 

 

A Dales Camping Trip. 30 Days Wild ~Days 23 to 25.Β 

Day 23 ~ Set up Camp.  Less than a week to go now, of the Wildlife Trusts 30 Days Wild challenge. It is becoming a challenge to find new things to do in the wild, but a camping trip can surely help with that.  However looking back to my wild moments of 2015 , I can see we went camping then too. And to the same place! Still, you can’t go wrong with a firm favourite, and Appletreewick in the Yorkshire Dales is somewhere we have returned to again and again.  Howgill Lodge Campsite is a 30 minutes walk along the river from the village, and is a great little site, popular with families and walkers. And it’s dog friendly too. πŸ™‚

camping appletreewick 100
The chickens usually arrive whilst camp is being set up. πŸ™‚
camping appletreewick 023
And bunnies play their part at keeping the grass short.

Howgill Lodge tries to do its bit for the environment and encourage wildlife. There are bird boxes around the site, wildflower areas, and solar panels for water, heating and lighting in the shower blocks.

camping appletreewick 026
There is a Wildlife Board near the site entrance.

After setting up camp in the Yorkshire drizzle, we walked along the River Wharfe and ended up in one of the pubs in Appletreewick for a few drinks. Then we got comfy , the rain got worse, so we stopped for tea and more liquid refreshment! If you find yourself in the area I can definitely recommend the Craven Arms and Cruck Barn  for real ales, ciders and amazing food, adorned with wildflowers. πŸ™‚

camping appletreewick 011
Pan-fried Cod with Mussels. Spot the cornflower.

And the walk along the river is always beautiful, even in the rain. Some things reassuringly never change. Lots of glorious Common spotted orchids in bloom and a young Wild Swimmer, forever immortalised by a poignant plaque, as the Wharfe winds it’s way  through the woodland.

Day 24 ~ Wildlife along the River Wharfe.  As is tradition when we visit these parts, we decided to walk to Bolton Abbey and back.  With a lunch break, and me forever stopping to take pictures ( much to the annoyance of my other half, tee hee) , we were probably out walking for about 6 hours. Anyone else would be much quicker!  Here are a few million photos from the day.

camping appletreewick 027
Giant Bellflower.
camping appletreewick 033
You don’t need a wrist watch on this walk.
camping appletreewick 038
Common Sandpiper.
camping appletreewick 052
Not sure about this striking blue flower, maybe a garden escape.
camping appletreewick 054
A lesser spotted Hugo.
camping appletreewick 044
Nuthatch.
camping appletreewick 062
Bolton Abbey.
camping appletreewick 056
Grey Heron.  
camping appletreewick 069
Goosander.
camping appletreewick 072
Great Tits.
camping appletreewick 079
Betony.
camping appletreewick 077
Willow Warbler.
camping appletreewick 066
Hugo has a Wild moment !
camping appletreewick 087
Skippers on Scabious.

Day 25 ~ More from the Riverside.  Before heading home we took Hugo a walk from nearby Burnsall village to Hebden.  There is a choice of wibbly wobbly suspension bridge or stepping stones to cross the river.  Which would you choose?

And look out for these beautiful yellow flowers that adorn the river bank. I have seen them on previous visits, but only just managed to Id them.

camping appletreewick 037
Mimulus aka Monkey Flower.

How is 30 Days Wild going for you? Thanks for joining me in the Dales. πŸ™‚

30 Days Wild ~ Days 2 to 6. I β™‘ Norfolk.Β 

norfolk 102
A hastily arranged ‘Wild’ of Fir Cones.

Having recently arrived home from a holiday in Norfolk, thrown some washing in, greeted the cat and waved off my Other Half to the pub, I thought I had better do some catching up on blog posts. πŸ™‚ Firstly it’s time to update my progress on #30dayswild, which The Wildlife Trusts have organized to challenge people to experience 30 random acts of wildness in June.  On Day One I made Wild Watermint Tea here  and since then I have been staying on the coast in Hunstanton , aka Sunny Hunny. πŸ™‚ Here are some Wild Moments!

Day Two.  Red Striped Cliffs and Nesting Fulmars. As soon as had we settled into our accommodation , we headed to the beach with Hugo. The first thing we noticed was the extraordinary red and white striped cliffs. The red chalk is due to iron staining. They are certainly a stunning sight.

norfolk 019
Red and white striped cliffs.

The tide was out and below is our view toward the Sea. Rock pools have formed in between the boulders. Hugo is out there somewhere!  We did not find even a solitary crab in the pools, but they do have rather a lot of predators. Looking up to the cliffs once again , we couldn’t fail to see ( and hear ) hundreds of pairs of Fulmar, nesting in the craggy rock face.

norfolk 020
Rocky pools.

Fulmars look like Gulls but are apparently members of the Petrel family.  They are able to drink sea-water and have ”tube-noses” enabling them to excrete excess salt through their nostrils. You learn something new every day!  We wish our labrador had a Tube Nose, he does tend to take the odd sea sip, when he thinks we are not looking….

Day Three.  Coastal Butterflies & Wildflowers.  On a walk along the Norfolk Coastal Path from Hunstanton to Holme , here are some of the plants and butterflies that we spotted. Now despite studying a couple of Collins Guides , I’m not confident with all my IDs. So if you know better, please let me know. πŸ™‚

norfolk 028
 Vipers Bugloss 
norfolk 062
Orange Hawkweed.
norfolk 084
Pink Valerian.
norfolk 073
Painted Lady in Holme.
norfolk 082
Sea Bindweed.
norfolk 076
Saw lots of tiny blue butterflies fluttering around. Possibly Small Blues.
norfolk 029
Maybe a Tree Mallow.
norfolk 080
Lots of these tiny red moths. Possibly Cinnabar.
norfolk 066
Phacelia.

This walk was a dream for me. Some of these flowers and insects, I have never seen before. I just couldn’t stop smiling. πŸ™‚

Day Four.  Eating Lavender.  Norfolk Lavender is one of the country’s largest Lavender Farms and as it was only down the road from us at Heacham , I persuaded Wil that we needed to try their Lavender Cake!  Lavender has been used since Roman times ( indeed it was the Roman’s who probably brought this fragrant flowering herb over to our shores) in medicines, lotions and potions. I for one had never tried it in cake….. or in Lemonade.

20170604_115857
Cake!

The cake was quite nice ( in a fragrant flowery way) but even though Wil and I shared it, we couldn’t finish it. Now that wouldn’t happen with Chocolate Cake!  The lemonade was refreshing but very very fizzy, so I couldn’t drink all of that either. Most disappointing was the fact that about ninety percent of the lavender isn’t in bloom yet, so if you are planning a visit, wait a few more weeks.

Day Five. Collected Shells on Brancaster Beach.   On Day Five we took Hugo for a walk On Brancaster Beach.  Norfolk is great for Pet Friendly Beaches and Brancaster is just one of many lovely stretches of sand. Our walk was incredibly windy so we got somewhat sandblasted.  I’m not sure my photo really does the conditions any justice!

norfolk 146
Brancaster Beach.
norfolk 148
Sea Campions.
norfolk 149
Shells.

I probably gave up collecting shells after about five minutes , so my little collection is a bit sad. What you can see are a couple of oyster shells, a razor shell, a couple of cockle shells, pebbles and a couple of trough shells. I think they are all quite common on British Beaches.

Day Six. Rainy Walk In a Country Park.  This day was wet and windy so we decided to have a wander round nearby Sandringham Country Park. The canopy from the woodland offered some protection from the elements.  At this time of year the Royal retreat is adorned with flowering Rhododendrons and Foxgloves. We spied a Roe Deer, several squirrels and a couple of cheeky Jays. They were all very camera shy. So here are some facts about foxgloves. πŸ™‚

norfolk 168
Dead Man’s Bells and Witches Gloves. 

Other names for Foxgloves include Fairy Thimbles, Floppydocks and Goblin Gloves.

The  name Ffion is Welsh for Foxglove.

Foxgloves , though highly toxic, are used in Heart Medicines.

Plant Foxgloves in your garden and you will attract fairies.

The White Spots in each bell are marks left by fairies.

Fairies apparently taught foxes to ring the bells, warning other foxes of hunters in the area.

Bad fairies told foxes to wear the flowers on their paws ( like slippers) so the hens in the hen house wouldn’t hear them coming.

In mythology the Roman Goddess Flora touched a foxglove to Juno’s belly, so she could conceive a child with Jupiter.

Thanks for reading my update. More to follow in a few days. πŸ™‚

 

#30dayswild:)

Water Mint by Mearley Brook.
A refreshing Mint Tea !

Hey there, I thought I would do one quick #30dayswild post before I go on my jollies to Norfolk tommorrow. Its a bit of a cheat because I actually collected the mint yesterday afternoon. But I did make the tea this morning. I had a refreshing wild moment. πŸ™‚

All I did was steep the leaves in hot ( not boiling) water for about 5 minutes and pour into a teacup. I don’t like my mint tea to sweet so didn’t add sugar. Water Mint tea has a pepperminty taste and I must say, I really enjoyed it. 

Look out for Water Mint by streams. You will probably smell it’s minty fragrance first!  At the moment you can identify Water Mint by its green leaves tinted with purple. From July there will be lilac flowers to admire too. πŸ™‚

If you haven’t heard about The Wildlife Trusts #30dayswild yet, check out their website. They are challenging everyone to get involved , by doing something Wild every day in June. This could be anything, from taking the dog  on a different walk route, sowing a patch of wild flower seeds, eating a picnic up a tree or identifying a bird call…..

As I’m off to the Norfolk Coast tommorrow, I am really looking forward to spotting  wildlife there that I don’t get to see in Lancashire. I look forward to updating my blog and reading everybody elses Wild posts on my return. πŸ™‚

Bye for now.x