At the weekend we returned to the village of Shap in the Eden Valley of Cumbria, to complete a walk we took back in June. At the time we ended up fleeing from a feisty herd of cows ( and a bull! ) , so didn’t finish our hike properly. This time we opted to do the final part of the walk first, ending at Shap Abbey and then retraced our steps back.
Keld was actually a slight detour for us. It is a pretty little place and from which a ‘temporary road’ known as The Concrete Road was built in the 1930s for the construction of the Haweswater Reservoir. Cars are not permitted as the cement track is full of pot-holes, though walkers and cyclists may use it apparently. Another time we will explore!
We turned round and found a footpath sign for Shap Abbey just before the hamlet. Scroll down for a surprise little face, peering at
us from a tree. 🤗
On the way back to Shap we passed more late summer flowers and some curious cows. Luckily they were safely tucked away behind those lovely dry stone walls.
Back in the village and just in time for lunch. I love the little cafe there , which is named after the abbey. Ploughman’s for Wil and homemade quiche for me. A happy morning indeed. 🙂
When I haven’t been to the caravan for a couple of weeks, I’m always amazed at the changes in the garden. Not being a gardener at all, I struggled to identify this latest blossoming shrub. Any ideas?
My poor pansy pot has been used by a moth to lay their eggs in the flowers. The culprit is below. I think it’s an Angle Shades Moth. Oh well! It’s good to give back to nature. 😃
Saturday morning in Melmerby and the church was all decorated for a wedding with pretty white wildflowers.
And there’s always something to see on little walks round about the village.
In the afternoon we went to Honister Slate Mine where Wil would be going to Infinity and Beyond! His Birthday present from me this year was an Infinity Bridge Experience at Honister. Rather him than me! Scroll down for Wils photo of the bridge. Meanwhile Hugo and I explored around the site. There are some cool slate sculptures. 😚
Wil was buzzing after the Infinity Bridge.
I had noticed several people heading up the fells from the Honister Car Park. Has anyone done a Wainwright from there?
We then went for tea at Mary Mount Hotel near Keswick. The terrace has wonderful views. 🥰
I was looking for a short ( hopefully cow free ) local hike and I came across this 2.3 Mile Wildflower Meadow Walk , starting from the pretty Lancashire village of Slaidburn. Not sure the mileage mentioned is quite correct ,we ended up doing twice that amount! The directions took us on a wild goose chase a couple of times. Or maybe we just get lost easily. 😃
We arrived in Slaidburn about 9-30am on Sunday morning, unaware that we had visited on the day of a Vintage Steam Fair . The village car park was still quiet at that time though , so we found a space and set off to the cenotaph, the start of our route.
We turned right at the War Memorial and headed over the bridge and then through a kissing gate into a field on the right. Keeping the brook on our right , we headed across the field in completely the wrong direction. So best to ignore my instructions and follow the route link yourself, if you don’t want to get lost. 🙃
We saw several hares in the grass and it was also a privilege to hear and see lots of flying curlews and lapwings.
A stone track took us over another bridge and on the right we saw a farm gate with a purple Coronation Meadow Sign on it. Coronation Meadows is a Wildflower Meadow Restoration Project started by HRH The Prince Of Wales. Since the Queen’s Coronation ,Great Britain has lost a huge percentage of its naturally farmed meadows. This initiative started in 2013, aims to protect remaining wildflower meadows, create new ones and get people interested in them. There are now ninety Coronation Meadows in the country with Bell Sykes Farm representing the Ribble Valley.
Bell Sykes Farming methods have changed little over the years, hence their inclusion in the Coronation Meadows project. Seeds from the ancient pastures have been used to create new meadows, some are on the farm and others are elsewhere in Lancashire.
The meadows were looking resplendent, in them were thousands of buttercups and clover, ribwort plantain, self-heal and yellow rattle. I also spied one orchid, maybe there are more. The diversity of wildflowers encourages bees and butterflies. It was however very breezy on Sunday , so we didn’t actually see many.
Toward the end of the walk we passed through a couple more of Bell Sykes beautiful Coronation Meadows.
Once back in Slaidburn we had a coffee and piece of cake ( of course! ) sat outside the cafe that looks over the Village Green. By this time the Vintage Steam Fair was in full swing, rousing tunes piping from beautiful fairground organs. 😊 I shall leave you with a few photos.
If you were to ever visit the Northumberland town of Haltwhistle and didn’t already know of it’s proud claim to be ‘ the centre of Britain ‘ you would no doubt very soon find out. For this quirky market town has a Centre Of Britain Sweet shop, a Centre of Britain launderette, a Centre of Britain Army Surplus store and a Centre of Britain Hotel, to name but a few of the local businesses. Strolling down the high street here , we definitely felt like we were in the middle of the kingdom! However , coming from a little further South in Lancashire, I know that the true centre of Britain lies 71 miles away near the Trough Of Bowland village of Dunsop Bridge. 😀
Our visit to the town coincided with rumbling tummies, we found the perfect pit stop in the cobbled market square. Brew Bar is definitely the place to go for coffee, brunch and people watching. It looks like a cracking little night time venue too.
Hopefully we will be back to explore Haltwhistle further. The area is rooted in Hadrian’s Wall country, there are several Roman forts to visit and the town is ideally located for finding them.
For now though, here are some photos of our gentle amble alongside Haltwhistle Burn which is a well signposted waterside walk through Burn Gauge , packed full of wildlife and signs of the town’s industrial heritage. The path that runs aside the beck was once a narrow gauge steam railway.
The path eventually opens out onto a limestone meadow, before heading onwards towards Hadrian’s Wall, which I am sure we will add onto a future walk.
Have you ever visited one of Britain’s Centres of the kingdom?
A lovely lady from the village offered to show me the whereabouts of a quite rare species of primrose at the weekend. Leaving Wil to chill at the caravan , I met Linda by the pub and we headed along my favourite bridleway ,which connects the Eden Valley settlements of Melmerby, Gamblesby and Unthank. The flowers are growing on private land but luckily my guide knows the land owner.
I’m glad the weather has been dry recently because we ended up walking over quite a bit of soggy ground. In the adjoining field some young bulls were having fun chasing a group of ponies , then a hare. They also showed an interest in two crazy women cautiously navigating a bog. 🤣
Not to be put off by the curious cattle Linda forged ahead and we soon came upon an abundance of wild flowers. Now some of my photos turned out pretty blurry. I blame the bulls, the bog and the bright sunshine!
What we came to see of course were the Birds – Eye Primroses. And they did not disappoint. Linda was happy to see that the pretty pink flowers had spread their territory a little further….over the brook and into the bull field. Happily we remained where we were. 😊
Favouring both bog and limestone, the conditions here seems to be perfect for these rare members of the primrose family. The Birds-Eye Primrose tends to be found in the North and flowers in June & July. What beauties. So glad they are thriving in a tiny corner of The Eden Valley. 💗
On Saturday we were finally allowed to travel to our caravan and more excitingly, stop overnight! I must admit I was a little worried about our drive to the Lake District. Would we be stuck in traffic for hours? Would everyone in England be heading away for the weekend? It turns out we hardly saw a soul and the roads were not overly busy. There again the weather was not the best and we definitely needed our waterproofs.
Our destination was just under two hours away, so on route we stopped off near Kirkby Lonsdale to take Hugo for a riverside walk. The Lune was nearly bursting it’s banks, there had been so much rain.
Once we got to the caravan site we checked over the van , had some lunch then headed up into the fells for a walk. It’s the first time we have done this route, probably because of my general reluctance to drag myself up hill. It was of course worth it! We found a patch of woodland, a clear water beck and lots of foxgloves.
Once back in the village I couldn’t resist looking round the Green. Melmerby Village Green is an 11 acre green that used to be grazed by livestock. It is managed for wildlife and there are lots of lovely wildflowers on display.
In the evening we left the pub to the locals and had tapas and wine in the van. Wil fried these padron peppers in olive oil and tossed them in sea salt. Delicious!
On Sunday morning we headed to Pooley Bridge which is near Ullswater. The lake was lively!
It felt good to be able to stay overnight at the caravan and it was nice enjoying a coffee in the Crown pub. We are ready for our proper week long break away. Not long now!
I have been noticing lately how lovely a local field is looking. All-sorts of flowers have been popping up this year. Makes me wonder if someone has been scattering seeds? The plants have been absolutely buzzing with bees and grasshoppers. Meadow Brown’s , Ringlets and Skippers are flying in abundance. I’m eager to see what else will turn up over the Summer. Will keep you posted. 😘
There could be more clover than grass in the field and they smell really sweet, especially in the sunshine after a shower.
Pops of colour are certainly provided by the burnt orange blooms of the Orange Hawkweed, which is also known as Devils Paintbrush and Fox & Cubs.
I think this is a member of the Crane’s -bill family , maybe Druce’s Cranes-Bill.
Tutsan is the largest of the St John’s Wort flowering plants. I was quite surprised to find it amongst the vegetation. I like how there are both flowers and berries.
I noticed a couple of Silver Y Moths fluttering around the thistles. They are migrant moths that fly day and night and can be identified by the metallic y on each wing.
Love-in-a-mist is not a wildflower, so I’m not sure how this bloom ended up here. I love it’s delicate and intricate design.
By the brook a Yarrow peeps , it’s leaves are feathery. In the past this plant was used on bloody wounds, but sticking it up your nose causes nosebleeds apparently. 🙄
Skippers are seen resting on buttercups and darting from flower to flower. They are tiny butterflies, however I cannot tell whether they are the large or small species.
In the grass I spy Fairy Flax which looks like it should be in a fairies garden.
Along with ringlets there are lots of Meadow Browns in the field. They are very fond of the thistles. 🙂
So that’s all for now. There are foxgloves and teasel but I will save them for another post. 🙂
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. 😁
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