Tag Archives: Wildlife

Lovely Lytham.

It’s been a couple of years since I visited the Fylde Coast, Bank Holiday Monday seemed the perfect day for a bracing beach walk. My was it cold! Luckily we wrapped up. The wind was determined and even whipped away our Parking Ticket ( probably into the North Sea! ) so another had to be purchased. Despite that, it was a pleasure to be in Lytham once again….

Lancashire’s Fylde Coast is home to Seaside resorts such as Blackpool and St Annes. Lytham is the one with the Windmill on the Green, looking out over the Ribble Estuary. Just in case you weren’t aware. The town has changed a little I think, even since my last visit two Winters ago. There are a wealth of new independent shops and cafes on the tree lined wide pavemented streets, away from the chilly seafront. A Summer trip is much overdue.

A Mussel Shell 🐚 Sculpture on the site of the old Mussel Tanks , near the RNLI Lifeboat Station.
Up until the 1940s freshly caught Shellfish were cleaned in the Mussel Tanks. The site has recently been preserved for history.
Adorably kitch Wreath.
Too cold for ice cream.
However , Chells on Clifton Street is a great place for lunch.
My Lunch.
On Clifton Street.
Newly opened Pie & Sausage Shop.
Old favourite ~ Tom Towers Tasty Cheese Shop.

The seafront at Lytham is actually an estuary front , with a 800 metre promenade that links the resort to its nearest neighbour St Anne’s. There are views over the River Ribble towards the twinkling lights of Southport and even to Wales. The marshes are home to thousands of migratory birds. I should have brought a pair of binoculars!

Shipwreck!
Looking towards the marshes.
A White Wagtail. A migratory species whose cousin is the more common Pied Wagtail.
Marshland.
A Kestrel finds a perch.
Lytham Green and Windmill.

Lytham Windmill is undoubtedly the town’s most iconic landmark. Built in 1805 it stands proud on the Green, looking out over the marshes. It was a flour mill but ceased trade in the 1920s. Today it houses a museum, though I have never ventured inside.

Lytham Windmill and old Lifeboat House.
Anchors. These were restored after being caught the nets of a Fishing Trawler called ‘ Biddy’ in the 1980s.
A boardwalk to the sea.
My purchase. Half price Christmas cards from the RNLI shop. I have put them away ‘ somewhere safe’ for this year.

Have you been to the coast this Winter?

Wildlife Seen In 2021.

Is it really time for my first Round Up Post of 2021! Before I put this blog together , I had actually forgotten that I have seen quite a selection of wildlife this year. The ending of travel restrictions at home meant holidays in different parts of the UK , therefore different wildlife too. It was so good to spend a week on the Norfolk Coast, where there are an abundance of sea birds such as Avocet and Brent Geese. And of course Seals galore, which are always fun to see ( and hear! ), they do make some funny noises. 😁

Spent quite a bit of time at the caravan too, which has has been a great base for exploring Cumbria and even further North. It was a pleasure to be taken to see a rare Bird’s-eye Primrose by a botany loving lady in Melmerby and to catch a glimpse of Red Squirrels in woodland at Killhope Mining Museum , County Durham.

The best wildlife moments are often those that completely sneek up on you. Like coming across a Sika Deer Stag whilst on a local walk. What an honour…. My personal favourite sighting though might just be that of a Blood Vein Moth. This strange insect was discovered by my niece and nephew in the grass ,whilst we walked in fields near Downham. To see the photo keep scrolling down. Enjoy. β™₯️

Red Squirrel 🐿️, one of three seen at Killhope Mining Museum in County Durham.
Common Seals on a hidden sand bank, Brancaster in Norfolk.
A nesting Fulmar , the stripey red cliffs of Hunstanton, Norfolk.
Brent Goose, there were flocks of these at RSPB Titchwell Marsh in May.
Two Red Legged Partridge in a field in Melmerby.
Sunflower 🌻 Display, Crummock Bank Farm in Cumbria.
Male Eider Duck in Eyemoth Harbour, Scottish Borders.
Golden Plover on Melmerby Fell in April.
Holly Blue Butterfly, Clitheroe Castle.
Turnstone at Hunstanton beach.
A Yellow Iris is home to a 🐌 Snail, Hest Bank, Lancashire.
Sweet Cygnet at Salt House, Norfolk.
More Norfolk wildlife ~ Muntjac Deer 🦌
Vibrant purple Columbine, Haltwhistle, Northumberland.
My first ever Tree Creeper photo, taken at NT Acorn Bank.
Birds – Eye Primrose. Love the colour. In a field near Melmerby.
Avocet ~ Cley Next The Sea, Norfolk.
A Grey Seal waiting for food at Eyemouth Harbour in Scotland.
Blood Vein Moth. Don’t you think it looks like a pair of blood drained lips! Photo taken by my nephew Roman.
Handsome Sika Deer Stag, Gisburn Park, Lancashire.

My vow for next year, is to actually take my Camera out more. Like most people I seem to be relying more on my phone camera, which of course is not good enough to capture that elusive Kingfisher or that cackling Jay.

What wildlife have you been lucky enough to see in 2021? πŸ€—

A Canal Walk To The Sea.

So here’s a throwback post to August and our stay in Arnside on the Cumbrian Coast. A short train journey away is the characterful town of Ulverston, a place we have visited several times before. The towns cobbled streets and plethora of independent shops, cafes and pubs make it a great destination for generally mooching about. After a ‘ mooch about’ we would be heading along the World’s Shortest, Deepest and Widest Canal, for a walk to the Sea.

Ulverston.
Laurel & Hardy….and friend.
Movie theatre inside the museum.

The morning we visited Ulverston it was exhibiting typical Lake District weather! To escape the rain we spent a good hour or so in the towns Laurel and Hardy Museum. Stan Laurel was born in Ulverston in 1890 and must surely be  it’s most famous resident. The museum has a good selection of the comedy duos memorabilia,  as well as a small cinema that plays Laurel & Hardy features on a loop. Our dog Hugo was made welcome and humoured us as we chuckled our way around. 😊

After a lovely lunch at the nearby Stan Laurel Inn we were suitably refreshed for a canal side walk. Ulverston Canal is a former Ship Canal which linked Ulverston to Morecambe Bay, one and a half miles away.  Completed in 1796 ,the waterway claimed to be the shortest , deepest, widest …… and straightest Canal in the World. Once upon a time passenger ships to Scotland and London embarked from here as well as cargos of local slate. But when the Railway arrived in Ulverston in the 1840s, the record breaking Canals fortunes were on the wane.  By the end of the Second World War Ulverston Canal was no longer in use.

Start of the walk at Canal Head, with views of The Hoad Monument behind us.

Today the waterway offers a serene amble from Canal Head in the town to Canal Foot with its splendid views over Morecambe Bay.  A footpath on the less industrial side of the canal is a popular stroll. There’s even a pub at the end. An incentive indeed!

Flowering Rushes.
A Map Of Ulverston Canal.
Canal Side Retreat looking out over a  million lily pads.

We saw lots of wildlife as we walked along. Plenty of waterside wildflowers and much of the surface was covered in Lily pads. Mute Swans, Comerants, Moor hens and Mallards swam and dived amongst them.

Old Man’s Beard , aka Travellers Joy.
Swanning off.

Half way along Ulverston Canal is a Rolling Bridge, the only one of its kind left in England. Forgotten about  for many years  , it was a history enthusiast who discovered the significance of the bridge and it was given Grade ll status in 2012.

Rolling Bridge.
More Lily Pads.
Juvenile Swans.
112 Foot Sea Lock, the only lock on the canal.

Before long we were at Hammerside Point , Canal Foot. Here the former Ship Canal meets the Leven Estuary. What a splendidly unexpected place…

Out to Sea.
Sign by the small car park at Canal Foot.
Leven Estuary.

For some reason I forgot to take a photo of The Bay Horse Hotel  from the outside ,so below is a distant one I found online. The former Coaching Inn enjoys stunning views over the Bay. Once upon a time it was from here that brave travellers would make the perilous journey by stage coach, over the sands to Lancaster. The arrival of the Railway probably saved a lot of lives!

Bayhorse Hotel with conservatory.
A white horse, not a Bay 🐎 horse, inside the Inn.

After a drink in the pub we retraced our steps back to Ulverston.  On the way an unassuming wooden shed near the Lock Keepers Cottage peeked my interest, especially when I saw its ‘ Welcome Humans ‘ sign?

Lock Keepers Cottage.
Welcome Humans!
Inside the shed.

Whilst looking it up online later, I discovered that the Shed is part of an interactive Art Installation Project called the Last Human Coro Shed . Perhaps not what you would expect to see where a canal meets the sea…..

Goodbye Morecambe Bay.

Thanks for joining me. 😊

Kirkby Lonsdale.

With staycations high on the agenda this year, Wil put the gift cards he received for his 50th birthday towards a couple of nights away in the pretty South Lakeland town of Kirkby Lonsdale . Luckily he invited Hugo and I along too. πŸ˜‰

Kirkby Lonsdale lies at the edge of the Lake District , retains a Carnforth postcode from its former Lancashire days and is minutes away from the Yorkshire Dales National Park too. An excellent base for lots of exploring then!

The town itself is incredibly picturesque with plenty of old inns, fantastic eateries and quirky independent shops. It’s also very dog friendly, which is great when your holidaying with a certain lovable labrador. 🐾

The Royal Hotel on Main Street.
Room 2.
The Bath πŸ›€.

We stayed in the very accomodating Royal Hotel opposite the Market Square. This elegant Georgian townhouse has tastefully furnished rooms and friendly approachable staff. We couldn’t fault it!

Though to be fair all the local businesses in Kirkby Lonsdale are super friendly and very happy to be recieving visitors once again. πŸ™‚

After arriving and checking in at The Royal on Friday evening we took Hugo for a walk through town and headed straight out for a couple of drinks. Fortunately we managed to find seats without booking ( hurrah!) , everywhere was buzzing but not rammed. We especially liked the warm local feel of The Orange Tree and those good vibes in The King’s Arms .

Orange 🍊 Tree Refreshments.
Belated Birthday πŸŽ‰ the King’s Arms.

I took a couple of Summer evening photographs of the town between pubs.

St Mary’s Church and The Sun Inn.
Ruskin’s View. A painting of this vista by Turner was much admired by Ruskin, who described it as ‘ One of the loveliest views in England’.
St Mary’s churchyard is a haven for wildlife.

Saturday promised to be a scorcher of a day . After a tasty breakfast at the hotel we went for a wander before the shops opened and then took Hugo for a walk along the river Lune.

Royal Hotel Breakfast.
Devil’s Bridge.
Hugo living his best life. 🀣

The nearby River Lune is spanned by the three arched Devils Bridge and is an attractive riverside amble from the town. The bridge is a popular spot with motorcyclists and there is a long established butty & brew van that always does a roaring trade. We also saw two guys being egged on by friends to dive off the bridge…and they did! It’s a well known dare spot for such jumps, but probably shouldn’t be encouraged. πŸ™

Beautiful listed building ‘ The Old Manor House’.
I love the street names in Kirkby Lonsdale. Salt Pie Lane named after the hot salted mutton pies on sale here in former days.
Jingling Lane. πŸ€—
There are plenty of cute shops in town , such as Abraham’s Store.
Bath goodies shop.
And Parma Violet, to name but a few…

In the afternoon we decided to drive to nearby Sizegh Castle . The National Trust property was pretty busy, but the estate is so large, it is quite easy to avoid people. Dogs are unfortunately not allowed in the gardens but are permitted in the cafe and within the grounds. We ended up walking a good eight miles or so around the estate. Phew!

I did have a peek in the garden.
Vivid blue irises were in bloom in the garden.
Buttercups.
Small Heath πŸ¦‹.
Views across to the sea from the estate.

Once back in Kirkby Lonsdale we needed an ice cream to cool down. A long queue was forming outside The Milking Parlour on Jingling Lane. Although this new ice cream shop has very positive reviews, we were keen to jump the queues. Chocolat on New Road is a delightful little chocolatier that also sells deliciously decadent ice cream. They were so good!

Ice Cream Waffle Cones in Chocolat. Oh yes. 😊

After all the walking and the ice cream treats we headed back to the hotel for a while. We reemerged later for another night out , having booked a table at a lovely restaurant called Plato’s . The food here was excellent and the staff made a big fuss of Hugo. We also had a couple of drinks in local brewery tap house The Royal Barn ~ my favourite tipple was the rhubarb flavoured Rosie Pig Cider. 🐷

The Royal Barn.
Plato’s.
A savoury custart tart in Plato’s. Yummy. πŸ™‚

On Sunday morning it was time to check out of our hotel after breakfast. We had such an enjoyable stay, stopping in the Royal had been a great experience. The whole town is loving recieving visitors once again. πŸ’—

Before heading home we drove thirty minutes to the coast for a walk along the foreshore at Hest Bank near Morecambe. It felt good to take in the sea air and enjoy the vast views of Morecambe Bay.

Wading bird sculpture by the car park at Hest Bank.
Along the foreshore to nearby Bolton Le Sands.
Windswept trees.
Praying Seashell at Red Bank Farm, Bolton Le Sands. The sculpture looks over the mudflats where 21 Chinese cockle pickers lost their lives in 2004, they were caught by the incoming tide. 😦
Rocks at Bolton Le Sands.
Yellow Flag Iris. Spot the snail.
The Shore Cafe, Hest Bank.

There is free shoreside car parking over the level crossing at Hest Bank and a couple of cafe options on route between there and Bolton Le Sands. Lots more in Morecambe.

Have you any weekends away planned?

Ribble side ramble. πŸ¦†

The weather is so surprising at the moment. Blue skies then snow. Warm sunshine. Then snow. And repeat.

I am wondering what to wear for a week night beer garden drink. Looking in my wardrobe, I seriously haven’t bought any new going out clothes since 2019! Pjamas ~ yes. Walking pants~ yes. But no new tops or dresses. However I suspect I will still be frequenting my warm puffa jacket for any approaching social activities!

At present social activities still revolve around walking, so here are some photos from yesterday’s walk along the river to Chatburn and back. A repeat of a post I did earlier in the year, but a little more wildlife on display. πŸ™‚

One of many picture slabs in Brungerley park. A fox and a hare gaze at the moon.
A hunched heron.
Greylag and Canada Geese.
Golden forsythia blossom.
A lone mute swan.
Hipping Stones.
Mary Horner’s bench.
Gushing.
Beautiful blackthorn.
Twisty tree.
Bridge at Grindleton.
In the Woods.
Primrose.
By the Ribble.
Hipping Stones.
Hipping Stones.
Female Goosander. A favourite water bird. Love her Nut brown quiff.
Hugo waiting to play ball.
Wood Anemones or Wind Flowers.
Dog Violet.
Love this cherry blossom painting.

Hope you have had a pleasant weekend.

A New Nature Reserve In Town. πŸ¦†πŸ¦‹πŸŒ³

Recently Hugo and I have spent a lot of time
treading the boardwalks…..at the new Nature Reserve in town. Primrose Nature Reserve has opened at last! What was once an overgrown wasteland containing a mill lodge of stagnant water has been transformed, with walkways, a viewing platform and even a Monet style bridge spanning Mearley Brook. A fish pass has been installed close to the old Primrose Mill to allow salmon, trout and eels to travel upstream and gallons of silt has been removed from the lodge. I have taken a few photos which I hope will give a feel for the place. The reserve is suitable for wheel chairs, push chairs and prams and it doesn’t take very long to walk through.

Owl carving at the Woone Lane entrance.
Wildlife the reserve hopes to attract more of.
Green Winged Teal. There are several of these. Such pretty water birds.
Bird accomodation.
Moorhen.
Habitats have been created using fallen logs.
Butterbur frequent the brook side.
Monet style bridge.
Facing Woone Lane.
A bluetit furnishes its new home, number 5. πŸ™‚
Little Egret seen from the bridge.
Sluice gates were used to control the flow of water to the mill.
Old Industry.
Mallard and ten ducklings.
I was happy to see there are actually primroses at Primrose Nature Reserve. πŸ™‚
Flowering currant.
Dunnock.
Willow arch near the Whalley road entrance.
Reserve map at the Whalley road entrance.

To view the fish pass you have to walk up Woone Lane to the top of the nature reserve and you will be able to see it from the road next to Primrose Mill. At the moment the mill is being turned into apartments so whilst renovations are going on, here’s a photo from Instagram.

Alaskan Fish Pass, one of the largest in England.

I am looking forward to the changing seasons ,to see how the area becomes established. I think the reserve is a lovely little addition to Clitheroe. A wild space in an urban landscape. 😊

In The Dunsop Valley. πŸ¦†

I have posted about the lovely Dunsop Valley before but I couldn’t resist showing some images from a 5 mile walk on Sunday morning. Only 20 minutes drive from home, the scenic Trough Of Bowland is every bit as picturesque as the Dales of Yorkshire, yet this is a Lancashire gem through and through. The area can also claim to be the Centre Of The United Kingdom, though quite a few other settlements in Northumberland, Yorkshire and even Wales claim to be also. The weather was both blustery and calm, it didn’t really know what to do with itself….

Right here πŸ€—
Into the woods.
Hebridean sheep in Lancashire.
Here’s my close up. 😊
A vibrant green moss on the woodland floor. Almost star spangled.
Not a muddy walk for us today.
Daffodils.
River Dunsop.
Mrs Mallard.
Footbridge.
Witches Butter or Orange Brain Fungi..
Onwards.
Sheltering sheep.
Scenery. 😊
Curly Tup.
Cock Pheasant.
Brew stop.
Water Intake.
There are a few United Utilities information boards in the valley.
We walked as far as this footbridge, but hope to go further next time.
Mini Monkey Puzzle.
Stonechat.
Alder Catkins.
Dog days.
Nearly back in the village of Dunsop Bridge.
Puddleducks.

A well deserved breakfast butty topped off the end of our walk from Puddleducks in Dunsop Bridge. πŸ¦†

A Wander To Wiswell. 🌼

After studying our O S maps, ( Wil is better at this than me πŸ€—) we found another walk from home, using footpaths we were not previously aware of. For this dear lockdown 3, I am grateful…

We plotted a route to the village of Wiswell and back via Barrow village and Standen Hey community woodland. The weather on Sunday was clear and bright, spring was definitely detected. On our walk we heard woodpeckers drumming, curlews calling and saw buzzards soaring. I noticed a solitary tortoishell butterfly and spied sunny clumps of primroses and celandines.

Heading out of Clitheroe to cross the busy A59.
And on into fields in the shadow of Pendle.
Hugo was happy to find a brook.
Plank bridge.
A huge house, actually newly built.
And into Wiswell village.
Hugo at the watering hole.:)
Wiswell.

Wiswell is a small village that lies at the foot of Wiswell Moor. Pronounced Wizzel, the settlement is possibly named after Old Molly’s Well , which became known as Wise Woman’s Well or Wise Well. We didn’t see the well though. Anyhow we sat and enjoyed a flask of coffee in the village centre a while. A greenfinch merrily chirruped in a nearby Conifer.

Greenfinch. πŸ™‚
The Freemasons public house ~ definitely on our list for future pub walks.
Heading away from Wiswell to Barrow.
Early plum blossom?
Berkins Deli in Barrow.

We got a bit lost in Barrow trying to find footpaths that had been either blocked off or diverted because of new housing development. Eventually we found ourselves on the right track, crossing a train track..

Safely across.
An unsuccessful selfie with Hugo.
Onto a familiar path, the old Roman road and stone cross base.
Community woodland.
Primrose.
Celendines.
Catkins.
Crocuses.
Alpaca πŸ¦™ on the outskirts of Clitheroe.

This walk was a little over 8 miles , started off chilly and ended up quite warm.

Os Explorer Map West Pennine Moors 287.

Seeking Out Sika Deer. 🦌

Unbeknown to me until recent times , the Gisburne Park estate in Gisburn is home to a herd of Sika Deer. The deer roam free and are wild, they are often spied in the local area. I had never seen one though…until now.

Sika deer were introduced into the UK from the Far East in 1860. And they were brought over to Gisburn from Ireland by Thomas Lister ‘ Lord Ribblesdale’ in the 19th century. The parks fallow deer herd had declined and it was hoped that the Sikas would make good sport. Lord Ribblesdale had a band of buckhounds used for hunting deer. All was looking good , but the imports were having none of it. They didn’t like hanging out in the open, and would make a dash into the trees if disturbed. Soon the Lord’s buckhounds were disbanded and the sika deer became feral. Their descendants roam the estate today.

Entrance lodges.
Fields of sheep.
Snowdrops.

Wandering round Gisburne Park early morning is a delight. Some areas are private but there are public footpaths through the grounds too. All was calm and peaceful and Hugo was able to have some off lead time. We saw several buzzards including one that landed in a tree just metres away and disturbed a long billed bird that flew out from the edge of the woodland into the fields.

A bonnie bridge.
Riverside House.
Hello Hugo.

Most exciting though was coming almost face to face with a stag, one of Lord Ribblesdales Sika Deer descendants! He stood his ground for quite a while, which gave me ample opportunity to take a couple of photos. As we quietly passed, he stamped his hoof and turned into the trees.

Our Sika deer are probably originally descended from Japanese sika deer.
The word sika comes from the Japanese word Shika ~ meaning deer.
Peering through the Catkins.
Handsome chap.

As Sika deer are an introduced species they are not protected wildlife. Their numbers are not encouraged, especially if in an area where there may also be native Red deer, which they sometimes breed with. As far as I’m aware, there are no red deer here so the sika are safe. πŸ™

Gisburne Park mansion, now a private hospital.
Ivy on a stone post.
Daffodils on an old cottage door.

Do you have any deer living locally?

Thanks for dropping by. 🦌

An Early Morning Clitheroe Route.

I am loving the weather at the moment. Cold and crisp, hard frost and no squelchy mud. Hugo coming home clean and no danger of him shaking dirt all over the house. Bliss!

During the week it’s mostly just Hugo and I on our walks as Wil works full time. I can fit the doogal in round my part time hours and we stick to local routes around the outskirts of Clitheroe. Happily It isn’t very far for us to find some fields and below is one of our usual hikes from home.

Walking past Primrose Nature Reserve.

Teals can be seen over the reserve fence.

We avoid walking up a busy Whalley road by using a shortcut . πŸ™‚

And cross the road into fields.

Kemple End through the trees.

One of my favourite fields. I hope it never gets built on.

Hugo likes it here too.

Obligitary sheep pic. πŸ‘

Tree lined path leading to Four Lane Ends.

Ivy Cottage.

Which way now?

We pass Ivy Cottage with its Wheel bench.

And Opposite is the entrance to a private residence ~ Standen Hall.

Four Lane Ends.

At Standen Bridge I peer down into the brook and spot a Dipper. πŸ™‚

Reflections.

Now this is a new addition, a vandalised caravan. 😦

A nicer new addition. Somebody has hung a few bird feeders along the lane.

A short detour to take this photo of Pendle.

And back to Clitheroe through the fields.

I spy Clitheroe castle. 🏰

Somebody’s watching me.

Heading into town.

Let’s hope this dry cold weather continues πŸ™‚