Tag Archives: Wildlife

Allen Banks & Staward Gorge, Northumberland.

With the largest area of ancient semi natural woodland in Northumberland, Allen Banks & Staward Gorge is managed by The National Trust. It’s a delightful place for a woodland wander along the banks of the River Allen, which rushes through the impressive rocky Staward Gorge.

The National Trust Car Park near Bardon Mill is Β£4 for the day or free to members. From there you can access various hiking trails deep into the wooded valley, whilst looking out for varied wildlife including deer, bats, dippers, otters and red squirrels.

The woodland originally belonged to nearby Ridley Hall before being gifted to The National Trust. During the Victorian era it was the Lady of the manor ‘Susan Davidson’ who developed the woodland walks and planted many of the trees and shrubs we see today. Apparently she was an enthusiastic animal lover and loved to take an assortment of dogs with her to church. And woe betide anyone who didn’t make a big fuss of her four-legged friends! Information about Susan can be found in the replica wooden summerhouse.

Wood Anenomies.
Toothwort.

Allen Banks is apparently known for its impressive Wild Garlic display. We were a little early to see the ramson flowers on our visit during the Easter break, but did spy daffodils, wood anenome and toothwort. In Autumn various types of fungi can be found.

I loved the diversity of our walk which included steps cut into the rock, waterfalls, pools and bridges. The wooden summerhouse was a lovely viewing point too. We didn’t explore half the trails though, so plenty more to see for future visits. 😊

There are no refreshment options at Allen Banks & Staward Gorge, but the village of Bardon Mill is close by. We bought some lunch from the village shop and popped into the Pottery there, where I was tempted to buy ………a pot snail. 🐌

Flash the 🐌 snail.

Have you ever visited Allen Banks & Staward Gorge?

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A Beautiful Morning Up Grindleton Fell.

I must confess I know very little about Grindleton Fell, but what a very lovely place to visit when the sun is shining. Hugo and I joined a friend and her dog on one of their regular walking routes around the fell, which has conifer tree plantations, heather moorland and far reaching views.

To get to Grindleton Fell my friend drove up Main Street in the village of Grindleton, the road eventually becomes narrower as it heads into fell country. There is roadside parking, we presently turned left up a farm lane and parked near some cottages, starting our walk from there.

There are fire tracks and lesser worn footpaths criss crossing Grindleton Fell, with plenty of opportunities to extend your hike over to Waddington Fell or Easington Fell. We found a small cairn from which we made out various distant hills and closer ones, Pendle Hill was one of course!

It was just so nice to actually feel a little warmth coming from the sunshine. There was a bit of a breeze , but we soon warmed up whilst yomping through the rushes . I actually took my jacket off outside for the first time this year. Spring has been slow coming!

On previous walks in the area my friend has encountered shy Sika Deer, sun basking Lizards and Green Hairstreak Butterflies. Today we spotted a hovering kestrel, 2 Red Legged Partridge and a couple of fast fluttering butterflies, not Hairstreaks, but lovely to see all the same.

We passed through a couple of impressive stone gateways on the fell, though I’m unsure if there was once a grand house here or are the stone pillars, simply what is left of the plantation walls? I have no idea.

This is a great hiking area, very quiet, can be boggy/muddy in places. I hope to return!

Thanks for dropping by. 🌸

Bright Morning.

Around Standen Hall.

I make the most of a cold bright morning and head to the outskirts of town, looking for early Spring blossom. Skirting round the edges of Standen Hall , I spy plenty of gorgeous Cherry Plum in bud and bloom. My camera phone identifies it as Snow! The stately old building and it’s grounds are mostly hidden from view by high walls ( well, high to me! ) and the front entrance has a ‘ Private Keep Out ‘ sign. I walk up the drive as far as I dare, snapping pictures of cheeky squirrels.

In the surrounding countryside a sprawling new housing development is creeping ever closer to the Hall. I hear the echoing drumming of a woodpecker and see a buzzard soaring in the sky. Not another human in sight. I let Hugo run off lead in the fields. The sky is blue and the ground is dry underfoot. Today looks like Spring but it is deceptively cold.

Butterbur.
Grey Squirrel.

Primrose Nature Reserve.

On the way home I walk through a local Nature Reserve. The old mill pond is busy with waterbirds including moorhens and a pair of goosanders. I look for the white goose who was brought here by well meaning folk to keep a solitary greylag female company. The two were a pair for a while , but one day I saw her flying off, honking furiously. She never returned.

Moorhen.
White Goose by the Chinese Bridge.
Teal.

Time to get home and make myself a brew. Soon Hugo is snoring away in his bed. β˜•β€οΈ

Wildlife Seen in 2022.

It seems like a good time to do my Wildlife Moments Round-Up post of 2022. Currently wrapped up in my duvet with snotty tissues and a snoring cat, the ideal conditions, you might say. 😚

Anyway this year hasn’t seen me discover any new to me wildlife, but I have managed to photograph some of my favourite mammals and birds. Red Squirrels especially, have been very obliging. Most of the wildlife I have seen in 2022 has been either near my home in Clitheroe, Lancashire or local to my caravan in the Eden Valley of Cumbria.

My favourite wildlife moments have included watching the beautiful courtship dance of a pair of Great Crested Grebes and feeding Fallow Deer apples. ☺️

A Kestrel on a telephone wire. This beauty was spotted from the car , so I got Wil to pull over, and I took the photo.
Bee orchids appear in June in my local Nature Reserve.
An alert Hare on a walk around Slaidburn in Lancashire.
Little Grebe aka Dab Chick , Culzean Castle, Scotland.
A photo that needs a witty caption? Red Squirrel, Shap, Cumbria.
Foxgloves next to a red sandstone wall, Melmerby, Cumbria.
A pair of oystercatchers on a Melmerby wall.
Siskin at the feeding station, Mary Mount Hotel, Keswick.
Newly returned Sand Martin, resting after it’s April journey here from Africa. Clitheroe, Lancs.
‘ A Little Bit of Bread and Cheese ‘ is a song I heard frequently in the Spring. A Yellowhammer in Melmerby, Cumbria.
Nesting Lapwings can be seen from The South Tyne Railway, Alston, Cumbria.
Always a treat to see a Stone Chat. Spotted this male bird on the cliffs above Robin Hood’s Bay.
A bonnie Pied Wagtail on a Melmerby wall.
A sun basking Peacock Butterfly in Melmerby.
Courting Great Crested Grebes at Dean Clough Reservoir near Clitheroe.
Such a cutie ❀️. Red Squirrel 🐿️ at Dalemain, Cumbria.
Kingfisher at a favourite spot, Mearley Brook, Clitheroe.
Fallow Deer Stag eating an apple at Dalemain, Cumbria.

What have been your own favourite wildlife moments of 2022?

πŸΏοΈπŸŒ²πŸ¦ŒπŸ¦†

Spring In Melmerby.

Over the Easter Weekend we spent quite a bit of time walking the dog around Melmerby. We are still discovering new footpaths there, it’s a lovely place for a wander, especially at this time of year.

I still love my original What To Look For In The Seasons Ladybird Nature Books , which were first published in the fifties and sixties. Ladybird brought out a new set last year, they are also quite charming. The Spring book accompanied me on my recent walks.

Melmerby is the kind of village , where I often find myself doing double-takes! This Easter I have seen 2 children walking their pet ferrets, a Grandmother taking the little ones bare back riding on a sturdy horse, a man whizzing round a field in a pony and trap and several llamas being led along the Village Green.

Here are a few photos from Melmerby in the Spring.

Daffodils on the Green.
Lungwort.
Melmerby mud and Rosie Sandstone buildings.
Pied Wagtail.
Blossom.
Honesty.
Peacock Butterfly πŸ¦‹ enjoying a sunny spot.
Little Ford.
Little Lamb.
New Life in the fields.
Dog Violet.
Yellow Hammer.

Thanks for dropping by. πŸ¦‹πŸŒΌ

Walk Derwent Water. πŸ₯Ύβ›΅

A favourite walk of mine in the Lake District is the circuit around beautiful Derwent Water. Although 10 Mile long, this hike is mostly low level and if you keep the lake in sight, you can’t really get lost. πŸ™‚ And there’s so much to see, it’s stunning in any weather. Here’s a Link to a map of the route.

I joined my sister, niece and nephew for this walk, we did the route anti clockwise, starting from the small free car parking area by Portinscale Suspension Bridge. We passed through the waterside village of Portinscale and found the path to the lake.

This Way Please. Portinscale Suspension Bridge.
The Marina.
We admired this rather nice house.
A bonnie bridge on the pathway to the Lingholm Kitchen & Walled Garden.

The Lingholm Estate on the shores of Derwent Water surrounds a grand Victorian House where the family of Beatrix Potter would spend their holidays. The garden where the Walled Garden is now inspired Beatrix’s ‘ The Tale Of Peter Rabbit ‘.

Alpaca at Lingholm.
Catbells in the distance.
Kayaks by the Lake.
Entrust Sculpture looking very weathered.

A Wooden Hand Sculpture ‘ Entrust ‘ can be found at Brandelhow Park. The Sculpture commemorate s the centenary of The National Trusts first land purchase in 2002. But recent storms seem to have moved the hands from their original position. I susoect they might be seen floating away in the future….

Lots of Gorse in bloom.
Teddy In The Window Shed.
Teddy. ❀️

Aw look it’s ‘ Teddy In The Window ‘ a popular landmark on the lakeside path. The unclaimed Teddy Bear gets sent postcards, letters and photos from all over the world. He raises money too for lots of good causes. We stopped to say Hi.

Cake by the Lake.
Chinese Bridge.
Looking back toward the bridge.

The Chinese Bridge that spans The River Derwent is a great spot for playing poohsticks. In fact there is even an extract from A A Milne’s Christopher Robin underfoot.

Lodore Falls Hotel ~ our pitstop for a dry off and Hot Chocolate.
A noisy flock of Barnacle Geese.
Wild Garlic, the only one in flower.
Centenary Stones at Calfclose Bay.
Millennium Seat.

The Centenary Stones are another National Trust Sculpture. These are found at Calfclose Bay. Nearby is a bench with a lovely view over the Lake, a bit too wet for us to sit on though.

Boardwalk through boggy woodland.
A tumbled tree.
Canada Geese.
Hollow tree base.
Keswick Launch.

At Keswick we made a detour into Hope Park to see the bronze statue of Max The Miracle Dog, who had sadly passed away the day before aged 14 and a half. Max was a very special Springer Spaniel therapy dog who raised alot of money for various charities and brought alot of happiness to alot of People. The orange coloured flowers are a tribute to the orange collar he always wore. 🧑🧑

A detour into Hope Park.
To see Max’s Statue. 🧑
Heading back to Portinscale Suspension Bridge.
Herdwick Sheep.

It had been a soggy but very enjoyable walk. Well worth doing. Thanks for joining me.πŸ₯Ύ

March ~ Round Up. πŸ’›

So I am finishing off my month with a little Round-Up. March has been a pretty quiet one but I’m not complaining. Spring made an appearance ( hurrah ! ) and of course, I am just thankful that life here in my little corner of the world is relatively peaceful and uncomplicated. 🌻

READING ~ Just finished Girl A by Abigail Dean. This is a disturbingly dark tale about a young family who are imprisoned in their home on the Moors by their increasingly erratic parents. ‘ Girl A ‘ herself is the one who got away, the girl who escaped her chains and made it out to find help. Years later the children are left the house in their deceased Mother’s will. Can anything good come out of it? ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Julia Garner is not some ‘ Basic B**** in Inventing Anna.

WATCHING ~ For some reason none of the film’s I’ve watched recently have stuck in my mind. Definitely more into TV Shows so far this year. My binge watch faves in March have included Inventing Anna ( Julia Garner is brilliant as scheming New York heiress/con artist/ VIP is always Better Anna Delvey ), Bridgerton Season 2 ( Jane Austin meets Gossip Girl , once again in London’s High Society) and Upload ( comedy drama about a man who yes, looks a bit like a young Tom Cruise, who’m is able to choose his own afterlife after his untimely death). But what can I watch next……..

Afternoon Tea Time.

EATING ~ My first Afternoon Tea of 2022! And hopefully not my last. Enjoyed a sumptuous Afternoon Tea at the impressive Country Manor ‘ Mitton Hall’ in Lancashire. You can read about it here. 🍰.

Tunnel Vision. πŸ˜ƒ

WALKING ~ Most of my March walks have been on the outskirts of my hometown of Clitheroe. But during a visit to the caravan we did manage to complete the Keswick Railway Walk which runs between Keswick and the nearby village of Threlkeld. Hopefully April will see me getting back into hill walking and attempting some Wainwright Fells. She says………

Sand Martin’s have returned from Africa.

Enjoying ~ Spring Sunshine ~ Yes we were all lulled into basking in actual warm sunshine 🌞 , then BAM it Snowed! As I turn on the central heating for probably the last time ever ( not out of optimism, but out of dread at April’s fuel cost rises) I will leave you with a few Spring like pics taken when the weather was a little warmer.

Dazzling Daffodils.
Curious Lambs.
Spot the Tiny 🏰 Castle.
Red Flowering Currant.
Hugo and Hyacinths.

Thanks for visiting and if you have any Book/Film/TV/ Walk/ Afternoon Tea recommendations, let me know in the comments. πŸ’›

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€—