Tag Archives: Wildlife

Winter walk in the Centre of the UK.

This afternoon we donned our waterproofs and walking boots, packed a lunch and flask of coffee and headed to the centre of the UK !

The pretty village of Dunsop Bridge in the Trough Of Bowland is the nearest village to National Grid reference SD63770 56550 Hanging Stones. Apparently this area has been determined to be the exact centre of the country.

From the village car park ( Β£1.40 charge for four hours) we walked past the green and took the tarmacked track to the left of Puddleducks Tea Rooms and Post Office. From here we followed the lane through a couple of farm cottages and up through the valley as far as the water pumping station and back.

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Heading toward the Dunsop Valley.

Hugo really enjoyed dipping in and out of the brook and chasing sticks. πŸ™‚

Meanwhile the weather was a mixture of sunshine and hale stones, plus it was blowing a bit of a hooley.

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I think the weather conditions frightened off most of the wildlife. I saw a few ducks and the odd pheasant. Lots of purple catkins on the alder trees gave the countryside a lilac hue.

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I think the scenery in the Trough is every bit as beautiful as in the Yorkshire Dales or the Lake District.

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We didn’t venture further than this water tower but I’m sure we will return one day soon and follow the lane up into the fells.

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We turned back and headed for Dunsop Bridge. This walk covered five miles in total.

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It was lovely to see bunches of wild snowdrops growing by the stream and dotted round the village. Hopefully Spring is on its way..

Have you been out and about this weekend?

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RSPB Big Garden Bird Watch 2019.

Over the weekend I joined in with the RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch , a wildlife survey which is in its 40th year. Us Brits first started counting our garden birds for an hour in January back in 1979 , when the RSPB joined forces with good old Blue Peter. The survey proved popular and is still going strong, with over half a million people joining in every year.

This was my second year participating , so here’s what I saw on Saturday in my little back yard.

1 Starling, 3 House Sparrows, 2 Bluetits and 1 Blackbird.

Although this seems a small tally, I’m quite happy with the results. Last year I had a dunnock visiting in the hour instead of a starling. Since then I have seen quite a few starlings fighting over the fat balls as well as visiting Long-tailed tits, Great tits, Coal tits, a Robin, Dunnocks, a Wren, a Mistle thrush and even a Jackdaw. You just never know who will turn up in the hour.

On Sunday I went to my sisters to see who would turn up to her Big Garden Birdwatch. We were all very cosy sat by the window with our brews and biscuits. She put on quite a spread! As Yvonne and her family live in the countryside, we hoped a good variety of wildlife would visit.

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All set for the birdwatch.
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Bluetits.
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Robin.

Despite it being quite windy outside , the hour was pretty eventful, mostly because two mischievous Grey Squirrels came a calling. This prompted my sister and nephew to resort to trumpeting party blowers at them in order to scare the rascals away. They kept returning though. πŸ˜‰

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Cheeky visitors.
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Coal Tit.
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Nuthatch.
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Chaffinch.

Here’s what we saw in the hour on Sunday.

5 Bluetits, 3 Chaffinch, 3 Coal tits, 2 Great tits, 5 long-tailed tits, 2 Robins, 1 Wood pigeon, 1 Nuthatch & 2 Grey Squirrels.

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Chloe the cat. Avid Bird Fan.
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Bluetit & Long-tailed Tits.
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Great Tit.

Straight after the hour two blackbirds and a pheasant arrived! But we didn’t include these late arrivals in the results.

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Female Blackbird.
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Pheasant.

Did you participate this year?

What is your favourite garden visitor?

New sculptures on the Pendle Sculpture Trail.

Pendle Sculpture Trail in Aitken Wood near Barley is a great little walk that is brimming with eye catching sculptures. I’ve blogged about this trail before here , and it’s now somewhere we love to bring Hugo. Over time some of the sculptures have naturally eroded but a few more have recently been added too. We visited on a foggy Monday morning, driving through the village of Downham and over a misty Pendle Hill.

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Witches on the trail.

There is ample parking in the car park in Barley ( Β£1 charge) which has a cafe & information centre. No maps featuring the new art installations were available on our visit ,but hopefully this will be remedied soon. To access the Sculpture Trail we made our way through the village , passing the Pendle Inn on our left and then Barley Garage, before following the signs up past two reservoirs and on to Aitken Wood.

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Another witch on the garage.
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A collie keeps a watchful eye on us.

The original Sculptures are very much inspired by the tale of the Pendle Witches. In the 1600s nine local women and one man were accused of witchcraft and tried and hung in Lancaster, as part of the Lancashire Witch trials. Of course they were no doubt innocent victims of the superstitious times they lived in. Other sculptures are inspired by the natural world and there are yet more, with a hint of the supernatural about them.

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Could this be a fir cone?
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Bracket Fungi , maybe.
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Mischievous boggart.
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Bat.

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Any eye-deas?

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Witch Finder General.

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The fog really adds to the atmosphere of the walk don’t you think? At one point I heard some bizarre sounds, that Wil and Hugo seemed completely oblivious to. Some very strange clickings & chattering’s from deep in the woods. Maybe I was letting the surroundings get to me, but I didn’t investigate further. Wil said I had probably heard a toad. Hmmmmm!

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Into the woods.

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I was definitely starting to believe I was in a Grimm’s Fairy tale by this point. More and more supernatural beings were emerging from the fog.

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There were years written on the circular flags. Possibly denoting the time passed since the Witch trials.
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Black Dog.
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Dryad ( tree nymph).
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Unicorn.

Also dotted around the woods are several ceramic plaques, one for each of the accused witches.

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Ceramic sheep skull plaque.
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Tiny fairy on woodpecker.
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Loved this one of the Pendle Witches.
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One of a flock of male and female Crossbills.

As we were leaving Aitken Wood I heard a lot of activity in some conifer trees. Looking up, I saw a flock of crossbills , my first ever. A magic moment indeed.

Are there any interesting sculpture trails near you?

Wildlife Moments in 2018.

Its December everyone! Is it to early to do a bit of a round-up post?? 2018 has been a pretty good year for spotting wildlife I’ve never seen before. I glimpsed my first Gannets plunging into the ocean for fish off Skye, my first Stonechats darting between fence posts and gorse bushes in Ravenglass and my first Great Crested Grebes fishing in the lagoon at Hodbarrow Nature Reserve. I witnessed my first Eider Ducks bobbing along an aquamarine blue sea in the Outer Hebrides and watched for the first time, wild otters swimming and playing in a sheltered cove there.

And this year I have tried to identify and record every flower, mammal, bird, butterfly and moth I have come across whilst out and about , in a Nature Diary. Doing this has definitely got me busy looking up everything in my often neglected wildlife guides. My diary has gotten quite full, though I know there are still so many plants and animals, that I haven’t had the pleasure of viewing in our beautiful British Isles.

Here are just a few photos of some of the wildlife I have managed to capture on camera this year. πŸ™‚

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Great Crested Grebe fishing whilst sporting winter plumage ~ Hodbarrow Nature Reserve, Haverigg, Cumbria.
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Hugo amongst Sea Lavender in Heysham, Lancashire.
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Hedgehog wandering up a woodland path, Bolton Abbey, Yorkshire Dales.
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Underneath the Umbels, Clitheroe, Lancashire.
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Red Grouse, Great Stone of Four stones, Bentham, Lancashire.
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Small Heath Butterfly, Askham Fell, Cumbria.
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Compass Jellyfish on the beach, North Uist, Outer Hebrides.
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Common Seal, Isle of Bernerey, Outer Hebrides.
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Pretty Linnet, Askham Fell, Cumbria.
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Female Red Deer, North Uist.
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Blooming Heather on North Uist.
Swallow-tailed Moth, Salthill Nature Reserve in Clitheroe.
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Common Spotted Orchids in the Wildflower meadow, Gisburn Forest, Lancashire.
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One of the Otters we saw on North Uist. πŸ™‚
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Corn Buntings, North Uist.
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Sea Holly, Crosby Beach, Merseyside.
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Painted Lady, Salthill Nature Reserve, Clitheroe.
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Bugles near Derwentwater, Cumbria.
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Dipper, Stridd Wood, Bolton Abbey.
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Skylark with lunch, Askham Fell, Cumbria.

Hope you enjoyed the photos.

What are your own favourite wildlife moments of 2018?

Spooky walk at Bolton Abbey.

I have visited the beautiful Bolton Abbey Estate on the banks of the river Wharfe many times in both the Spring and Summer, but never in Autumn before. A mistake I believe, as this is now my favourite time of year to explore the Priory ruins and the acres and acres of woodland trails. We were meeting up with my Sister and her family as well as our cousin and her husband, who were holidaying in the area.

Autumn Half Term is a great time to visit with the kids, as spooky goings on are happening deep in the woods. A family friendly Pumpkin Trail with hidden clues to unravel a witches spell, is proving a spooktacular attraction. πŸ„ You can pick up a leaflet from the Cavendish Pavillion Shop.

The estate is also pet friendly with miles of on and off lead walks to enjoy. And plenty of chances for a dip in the river. πŸ˜‰

Car parking is quite expensive. Β£10 per vehicle, although the ticket does let you move round the various car parks on the estate. Make the most of your day there and pack a picnic or visit one of the cafes on site. We liked The Strid Tearooms , a short walk from the end of the pumpkin trail, and they welcome four legged friends.

As well as completing the trail, the kids also enjoyed the Welly Walk, playing in the river and looking for wildlife. The Wharfe was teaming with various bird life including Herons, Dippers, Kingfisher, Grey Wagtails and Ducks.

Here are a few photos from our day. We spent a good five hours exploring and loved the Autumn colours. πŸ™‚

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Bolton Abbey.
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The graveyard of the priory church of st Mary & st Cuthbert.
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Celtic cross.
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Hugo and Stepping Stones.
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Through the spooky gates to the start of The Pumpkin Trail.
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Witches legs. πŸ™‚
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The Strid, River Wharfe.
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Dipper.
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Male Mandarin Duck.
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Grey Heron.
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Autumn colours.
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Fairytale Fungi. πŸ„
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Family on the trail.
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Giant Pumpkin.
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Spooky Spider.
Caught in a web. πŸ™‚
Crayfish catch.

Past posts from visits to Bolton Abbey, if you wish to read them ~Β Camping trip ~ Catgill Campsite, Bolton Abbey, Yorkshire Dales. andΒ Easter Holiday Fun at Bolton Abbey.

A camera and a coffee ~ Clitheroe Castle.

Some of you will know that I happen to live, but a hop, skip and a jump away from a tiny castle keep in a small Lancashire market town. I have been neglecting the grounds of Clitheroe Castle on my blog recently, so yesterday I took my camera and a coffee out and explored for an hour.

The Castle was built in 1186 by Robert de Lacy and rises proudly over the town. Its really only a Norman ruin with no roof, but it’s our roofless ruin. πŸ™‚

Clitheroe Castle. The Ivy flowers on the wall were buzzing with insects.
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Peeping Pigeon.

Below the keep is aΒ  memorial commemorating all those residents of Clitheroe, lost in two World Wars. The soldier stands, head bowed, looking out toward Pendle Hill.

War Memorial.
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Front view , with the castle in the background.
Museum.

Clitheroe Castle Museum resides in the former Steward’s House in the grounds. Many moons ago I visited with a friend and wrote this post ~ Clitheroe Castle and Museum.

There is also a cafΓ© in the Atrium, which is a good place for a brew.

 

Newish signage for ‘The Pinnacle’
Cheeky Squirrel.

I soon got side tracked by the local wildlife.

Orange Berries of the Firethorn.
Red Admiral.
Turning Oak Leaves.
Female Chaffinch.
Honey Fungus.
The Pinnacle.

The Pinnacle , situated in the Rose garden was once part of the Houses of Parliament and was gifted to the town in 1937. Also in the Rose garden are a couple of sculptures , a leaping limestone salmon and a hawk.

Dive-bombing.
Hugo at the Castle Street Entrance.

That’s all for now though, my hour is up! Maybe I will return soon, with a camera and a coffee . πŸ™‚

Hawthorn’s Photo Scavenger Hunt ~ September.

Time for another Scavenger Hunt with Kate & co , over at I Live, I Love, I Craft, I am Me. The words that kate chose are Brightly Coloured, Pattern, Ink, Upside Down, Bag & My Own Choice.

Brightly Coloured ~ Not my hanging basket unfortunately! Mine did not do well at all this year, so here’s one of the lovely brightly coloured ones at The Aspinall Arms in Mitton, a pub we occasionally walk to, across the fields . I love the vibrant pink fuchsia.

Bag ~ Not exactly a bag, but more of a picnic basket ! The above items are on display at a lovely olde worldy train station I visited recently. And they are from a film. Can you guess which one? Blog post to follow. πŸ™‚

Upside Down ~ We managed to take a wrong turn on a walk near Haworth in Yorkshire a couple of weeks ago and ended up walking past this great kids Welly storage. πŸ™‚ It was however the perfect photo opportunity for upside down.

Pattern ~ I always think Speckled Wood Butterflies wings are adorned with a very Autumnal pattern. πŸ™‚

Ink ~ Didn’t really know what to photograph for Ink, but then I thought, well I am writing most days in my Nature Diary. I’m jotting down all the wildlife that I see when I’m out and about ,walking the dog, walking to work etc ,and I have being doing so since April. It has encouraged me to ID various insects and flowers and is a useful way of recording the changing of the seasons, and what wildlife lives where. I’m quite addicted!

My Own Choice ~ Whilst walking to nearby Mitton recently, one of the fields we walk through was full of horses, including these two little Shetlands. They were too busy munching to be bothered by us. I just thought they were so cute!

Thanks for reading and have a great weekend. ❀️