Tag Archives: wild flowers

Hawkstone Park Follies ~ Shrewsbury.

Whilst looking for somewhere to stop off on route to our recent break in Shropshire, I came across Hawkstone Park Follies, a unique 100 acre country park near Shrewsbury. In the 18th Century this rocky sandstone landscape was developed into caves, grottos, towers and arches and became one of the most visited tourist attractions in the country.

It was in 1700 that King & Queens diplomat and Lord of the Treasury Sir Richard Hill inherited the Hawkstone estate and together with his younger brother John ,started making changes to the scenery. Over the years more and more turrets and towers were added until eventually the Hills family money ran out and by the Twentieth century Hawkstone was all but abandoned, overgrown and forgotten. Luckily in more recent years the area has been designated a Grade 1 listed park by English Heritage, allowing it to be restored to its former glory.

Dogs are permitted to visit as long as they are on lead, so we spent a couple of hours exploring the follies and then had lunch in the glasshouse tea room.

Near the start of the trail.
The Urn ~ Sir Richard Hills commemorative monument to his ancestor Rowland Hill, a staunch Royalist.
The White Tower ~ originally thought to have been white washed, this is a Grade 2 listed Summerhouse.

The park has a Troll trail especially for children. We found ourselves following it, completely by accident of course. πŸ˜‰

Californian Red Woods and other magnificent conifers adorn Hawkstone.

Another monument commemorating Sir Richards ancestor Sir Rowland Hill. He must have admired him!

We soon found ourselves regretting not bringing Hugo’s water with us. It was a humid type of day and Mr H was puffing and panting quite a bit. Unusually the park didn’t seem to have any brooks or ponds for him to dip in either. We decided to only look at a few more follies before turning back.

Swiss Bridge. We didnt see any trolls living underneath.

Green copper ore in the rocks.
Gingerbread Hall. Also known as the Temple of Patience, this was where visitors used to wait for their guide whilst enjoying a drink of lemonade and gingerbread.
Not totally sure what these strange looking flowers are growing on the rocky crags.
Ravens Shelf.
The Grotto ~ A myriad of caves encrusted with shells.
Gothic Arch.

We did miss a few other follies such as The Hermitage and Foxes knob. Not sure what that is! Have you ever visited Hawkstone?

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30 Days Wild Days 1 ~ 6. 🐞

The Wildlife Trust is again challenging people this month to join in with #30dayswild. Every June folks are encouraged to perform a random act of wildness each day. It could be something as simple as walking barefoot in grass, feeding the birds, enjoying an alfresco coffee in the park or watching insects in the garden. Just take a little time out to enjoy nature every day, and see how good that makes you feel.

I have joined in with the challenge a few times and this year I thought I would take a relaxed approach to blogging about it as I really don’t have anything particularly planned. I will take each day as it comes.

Meadow Falls Campsite with Ingleborough in the background.
Thornton Force on the Ingleton Falls Trail.
Early Purple Orchid.
Sticks to toast marshmallows.

We were camping at Meadow Falls Campsite in Ingleton at the beginning of June with friends and their girls , so of course we just had to walk the Ingleton Waterfalls Trail, which is well worth doing if your in the area. The recent rainy weather meant that all the falls were gushing impressively. The trail meanders through 4.5 mile of woodland and hillside terrain. Remember to wear sturdy walking boots if you do it!

We could smell the aroma of wild garlic ( it covers the woodland floor) as we ambled along and it was lovely to see wild orchids growing near Pecca Falls. Out in the fields meadow pippits called and tiny yellow flowers called tormentil ( known as the walkers companion flower) dotted the hills. The kids collected sticks for toasting marshmallows on the camp fire later, whittling them smooth with potato peelers.

I found this moth ( a nice man on twitter identified it as a Clouded- Bordered Brindle ) in the tent before we took it down. It was gently removed into the hedge.

Back home and a new visitor to the feeder! A jackdaw who swings on the fat balls, making even more mess than the raucous starlings. I also have visiting bluetits and House sparrows ( some are fledglings) , blackbirds, a robin and a coal tit.

A wet walk with the dog on Tuesday and I spotted this fungi growing through the greenery ~ possibly a pleated ink cap. I think they look quite ghostly.

I planted the Thirty Days Wild seeds in pots in the back yard. There are poppies along with some scabious I bought. Hope there are signs of growth by the end of June. 🌺

Yesterday I got caught in the rain out in the fields with Hugo. We did get to see a roe deer springing through the grass at great speed. A lovely wild moment, if it wasn’t for getting soaked to the skin! Once home I decided to download the RSPB single Let Nature Sing , which I have been meaning to do for a while. I’m quite late to the party as usual, apparently this cacophony of birdsong reached number 18 in the charts. I enjoyed listening to the Cuckoo, woodpeckers, curlews etc, with my brew.

Thanks for dropping by. 🌼

Sunday Sevens ~ May 12th 2019.

Hi folks , time for another Sunday Sevens, a collection of seven or more pics from my week. It’s been a strange old week that’s for sure. I am now officially unemployed/between jobs/made redundant. It’s all a bit surreal!

The bank holiday weekend included a night away in Manchester with Wil to see singer Newton Faulkner at The Albert Hall. Wow what a fantastic performer and what a wonderful venue too. Cathedral high ceilings and long stained glass windows. Another highlight was breakfast! I booked us into the Alpine style Albert Schloss right next door to the hall on Peter Street. Wil had a huge cooked breakfast ( look at that sausage! πŸ˜‰ ) and I indulged in an Apple & Blueberry Cruffin. For the uninitiated a cruffin is a cross between a croissant and a muffin. It was delicious. 😁

Is it a muffin? Er nope , it’s a cruffin.
Man versus Food. 😁
Pretty!

It was also fab exploring a bit of the city I had genuinely never been to before. The olde worldy pubs, the contrasts in architecture and a statue of Emmeline Pankhurst standing on a chair in St Peters Square, all stood out for me.

Beetham Tower.
Emmeline Pankhurst.
Old tiled pub ~ Peveril of the peaks. Named after the Walter Scott novel of the same name apparently.
Newton Faulkner at the Albert Hall.
Dusky Cranesbill.

I found a wildflower/plant I D ap called plantsnap recently, which is a good one to put on your smartphone if your a bit like me and constantly stumble upon flowers and wonder what the heck they are. It helped me identify the above Cranesbill I spied on the river bank as a Dusky Cranesbill.

Thursday was my last day at work with this merry lot. We have all ( plus two more peeps) now officially left our jobs on the counters at Tesco , having taken redundancy. Here we are downing some prosecco…in tiny shot glasses I may add. πŸ˜‰

And my last three minutes as a deli assistant ~ my two bonkers friends Jo and Fi dressed up as those supermarket staples ‘ bottle of sauce ‘ & ‘ fried egg’ and escorted me off the premises!

Currently I’m spending a few days with family before a friend’s wedding, four nights in Ravenglass and then a camping trip at the end of the month. Those are my immediate plans.

Thanks as always to Natalie at Threads & Bobbins for thinking up Sunday Sevens.

Ramsons.

I happened upon a carpet of star shaped flowers today. A woodland of wild garlic. Not quite as impressive as a forest floor of bluebells, but lovely all the same. Also known as Ramsons & Bear’s Garlic, the leaves of Wild Garlic can be made into a pesto or shredded finely into wild garlic scones.

Ramsons are an indicator of ancient woodland. Thousands of bulbs together create a dazzling white carpet like this one.

The second half of its Latin name ‘Allium Ursinum’ refers to the fact that brown bears who used to roam on British soil, fed on the bulbs. The only bear like creature I saw was a black Labrador!

Where Ramsons flower in April to June, so too do Cuckoo Pints. These unusual hooded plants often share the same habitat as Wild garlic, but they are definitely not edible.

A woodland in Spring is such a magical place. ☺️

Hawthorns Photo Scavenger Hunt~ March.

Hi, it’s been a while, fellow Photo Scavenger Hunters. Today ( Thursday) I was trying to find inspiration to interpret Kate’s prompts, whilst out and about with Hugo the Labrador. I did! For three photos anyway. πŸ™‚

Flat. So I took this picture whilst flat on my back on a dirt track. I’m surprised Hugo’s snout didn’t get in shot. A different perspective of the woodland above me.

Wheel. There are wheels galore at the Lakeland Motor Museum near Windermere. This is one of several penny-farthings. There was even old film footage of penny-farthings racing. It was a thing!

Swing. You wouldn’t believe it but I was actually thinking how I would photograph Swing, then I saw one right in front of me. Can you see it ?

Ragged. The not particularly attractive Butterbur came to my rescue here. It’s raggedy tight-knit flowers are popular with bees in early spring and you can find them close to streams from March to May. The Butterbur’s name comes from the fact that it’s large green leaves were once used to pack butter apparently. Other names for this Spring flower include Devils Hat, Bog Rhubarb and Pestilence Wort. The mind boggles!

Pot. A typical pot of Mint tea from my fave cafe in Clitheroe ` Escape’. πŸ™‚

My Own Choice. Last weekend we went for a walk in Gisburn Forest and came across this old church. Dalehead Chapel was rebuilt after the flooding of nearby land to build Stocks Reservoir in the 1930s. The original church was demolished and this is it’s replacement. I seem to remember that in my youth this pretty building had fallen into disrepair and had a reputation as a haunted church! Happily today it is in use again and there are information boards inside detailing the history of the area.

Thanks kate/Hawthorn for organising the Scavenger Hunt.

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?

Flora, Fauna and a Festival in a Forest.

I haven’t just been spending my time yomping up hills recently. At the weekend Wil and I joined some friends at the annual Cloudspotting Festival in Gisburn Forest, a popular family-friendly Arts & Music festival, set in the heart of the beautiful Forest of Bowland in Lancashire.

As this year’s festival was actually on a smaller scale than usual, with two nights camping and one full day devoted to fun events for all the family plus some great Live Bands, it was called A Break In The Clouds. Being my first ever experience of Cloudspotting, I wasn’t sure what to expect!

Apart from the early evening midgie beasts ( we were in a forest after all) , I loved it. When I wasn’t participating in laughter yoga, noshing on yummy festival food, drinking cider in the Bitter Suite Bar, listening to storytelling by the campfire or dancing along to Sweet Baboo’s psychedelic floor- filling tunes, I was chasing butterflies in the surrounding wildflower meadows. 😁

Our friends daughters ( aged 7 and 8 ) had a wonderful time too. There was plenty going on for kids including Forest School, The Highway Rat Trail and Interactive Theatre ‘ The Sorrowful Stag’ . What was lovely about ‘A Break In The Clouds’ was the chilled friendly vibe. It felt very safe and allowed the kids a rare degree of independence, that children don’t get to experience so much these days.

Here are a few images that myself and my friend Fiona took. 😊

Cloudspotting Hen Harrier.
Wildflower Meadow.
Bronte & Lydia.
Festival Footwear.
Silver Y Moth.
The Sorrowful Stag.
The Sorrowful Stag.
Festival Food.
Common Spotted Orchids.
Holistic Therapy Trailer.
The Green Canteen.
Damselfly.
Small Skipper.
Forest Camp Fire.
Festival Thoughts Tree.
Headliners, Lancaster Band ~ The Lovely Eggs.
A Break In The Clouds. πŸ™‚

The Cloudspotting Festival is set to return in it’s fuller form in 2019. πŸ™‚

Are you off to any festivals this Summer?