Tag Archives: wildflowers

Shap Happy. 🐿️

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.

We used roadside parking in Shap near this handsome house called The Hermitage.
We took a footpath a little further on into fields with limestone walls.
And here is The Gobbleby Stone , dating back to 2000 BC. Click on the link for more info about this ancient piece of Shap Granite.
Watched by some wary ewes.
A signpost showing the way to the hamlet of Keld.
Keld.
Keld Chapel, a simple medieval chapel owned by The National Trust. Closed for renovations at present.
A Keld Cat blends into a stone wall.

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. πŸ€—

River Lowther at Keld.
Bright yellow Monkey Flowers on the river bank.
Squirrel Nutkin maybe.
Approaching the abbey ruins.
The 15th Century tower is most of what remains of Shap Abbey.

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.

Restharrow.
Field Scabious.
Safe on the other side of the wall.
Lunch at Abbey Kitchen.

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. πŸ™‚

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Latest Weekend Wanderings.

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. πŸ˜ƒ

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. πŸ₯°

How was your weekend?

Bell Sykes Coronation Meadows Walk ~ Slaidburn.

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. πŸ˜ƒ

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.

Slaidburns War Memorial erected in 1923 on the site of the former market cross ……and whipping post.
Sign at the entrance of the Silver Jubilee Garden.

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. πŸ™ƒ

Ford over the brook.

We saw several hares in the grass and it was also a privilege to hear and see lots of flying curlews and lapwings.

Resting Hare.
Alert Hare.

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.

Approaching a cattle grid.
Over the bridge.
Coronation Meadow Sign.
Bell Sykes Coronation Meadows.

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.

A solitary marsh orchid.
Buttercups.
Yellow Rattle.

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.

Barn.
Bell Sykes Farm.
A path goes through the farmyard and up.
Old Grindstone used for sharpening scythes.
Looking back at the view.
Umbelifers at Lower High Field Farm.
One of many high Stiles.
Yes what Ewe looking at?
Tumbling Lapwing.

Toward the end of the walk we passed through a couple more of Bell Sykes beautiful Coronation Meadows.

Boy in Buttercups.
Eyebrights.
Bistort.
Flower Power.
Heading back to Slaidburn.
Pendle Witch Trail Tercet Waymarker in Slaidburn Car Park. The verse on this one mentions a Devil Dog.

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.

Thanks for dropping by. 🌼

The Centre Of Britain. πŸ‡¬πŸ‡§

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. πŸ˜€

Haltwhistle certainly knows how to advertise it’s central position , much more so than our understated Dunsop. To really confuse matters though, there are also several other places that like to call themselves ‘ In the middle’ and you can read about them all here. https://www.ordnancesurvey.co.uk/newsroom/blog/where-is-the-centre-of-great-britain-2 Such a controversial topic. πŸ˜‰

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.

Dipper.
Wood Cranes – Bill.

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.

A species of Marsh Orchid.
Mother of Thyme.
Yellow poppies.
Orange Poppies.
Columbine.

Have you ever visited one of Britain’s Centres of the kingdom?

A Birds- Eye View Of Primroses.

Spot the teeny cows.

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.

Buttercups galore. The fields are covered at the moment.
Red Campions & Dandelion Clocks.

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. 🀣

A covering of Great Bittercress.

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!

Heath Spotted Orchid. Often Confused with Common Spotted ,which has broader leaves.
Marsh Valerian.
Blurry Butterwort. These plants are insectivorous and have flat to the ground leaves that resemble stars.

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. 😊

Birds eye primrose.
The yellow centre of the flower is the Birds Eye.
Such pretty flowers.
Close up.

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. πŸ’—

Distant Bulls.

A Garden Of Eden ~ Flora & Fauna In The Eden Valley, Cumbria.

I thought I would share some of the wild treasures I saw recently on my week off in the lovely Eden Valley of Cumbria.

A Wildflower Meadow On The Lowther Estate. Situated between Askham and Whale after the bridge, the estate has put on a colourful display.

Vipers Bugloss.

Daisies & Campions.

Corncockle.

More from Melmerby Village. The village green and surrounding meadows are blessed with colour.

Red Admiral.

Travellers horses. Not particularly wild , but a lovely pair with very big hooves. Saw them clip clopping past pulling a Romany wagon, the occupant took the reins with a crow chattering away on his shoulder.

Bitter Vetch.

Skipper on Betony.

Honeysuckle.

Ringlets on Yarrow.

Langwathby & Edenhall. A perfect place for finding riverside and cornfield flowers.

Mallows.

Chamomile, maybe……

Common Furmitory.

Field Pansy, maybe…..

Giant Bellflower.

Cow Green Reservoir. A haven for moorland birds.

Juvenile wheatear.

Golden Plover.

Eycott Hill Nature Reserve. Definitely a go to if you love your upland wildflowers.

Ruby Tiger Moth.

Common Spotted Orchid.

Marsh Cinqfoil.

Bog Asphodel.

Mountain Pansy, maybe…..

Cotton Grass.

Dalemain Estate, Dacre. Always a pleasure to see the resident deer.

Fallow Deer.

Buzzard.

Fallows.

Hope all the colour and cuteness brightened your day. X

A Night Away At The Caravan.

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.

Pretty painted pebbles lined the riverside path.

Rather nice art on the public toilet doors.

An old fashioned float in Kirkby Lonsdale.

The River Lune looking choppy.

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.

Pied Wagtail almost camaflaged in the wall.

Betony.

Sheepfold.

Harebells.

Postbox in the village.

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!

Peppers.

Quiet on site.

On Sunday morning we headed to Pooley Bridge which is near Ullswater. The lake was lively!

Hugo in Ullswater.

Bought a sausage roll in here. 😁

And had a socially distanced coffee in The Crown .

The River Eamont and the new bridge under construction. Pooley Bridges original stone bridge was destroyed during Storm Desmond.

Pooley Bridge Inn sign.

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!

Did you go to a cafe or a pub at the weekend?

Under The Railway Bridge.

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. πŸ™„

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. πŸ™‚

So that’s all for now. There are foxgloves and teasel but I will save them for another post. πŸ™‚

Down by the river in Clitheroe.

This morning Hugo and I headed down to the river Ribble on one of our usual walks. I thought I would share some photos on here.

A glance back at the castle.

Weir.

Waddow Hall, which is used as a base for Girl Guiding UK.

River Ribble.

We walked to Brungerley park where there is a Sculpture Trail , which I blogged about previously.

I never noticed this bench in Brungerley Park before with its snake arms.

Three fish sculpture.

Heading through Brungerley park.

See the swan.

Bush vetch.

Otter sculpture.

Someone’s name perhaps?

Hunched heron.

Here’s my close up.

Watching for wildlife. πŸ™‚

Watery poem.

Brungerley bridge view.

Female Black cap.

Banded Demoiselle.

Sunbathing.

Loving the sunshine at the moment. ❀️

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