Lancaster Canal

Walk: Canalside walk. Various starting points. Today: Hest Bank to River Lune, Lancaster.

Difficulty: Easy

Accessibility: Good tarmac/gravel towpath.

Car park: on street. Grid ref 474665. On Ashworth Drive, off Hatlex Lane, Hest Bank.

Today, The Dog and I drove towards the coast and decided to walk along the Lancaster Canal. It is within spitting distance of Hest Bank, where we parked last week to walk along Morecambe Bay. Here, you can walk north towards Carnforth or south towards Lancaster. We have a tendency to walk to Carnforth so we made a change today. The path leads out into fields and country between Hest Bank and Lancaster whereas the north route tends be more suburbia, lined with houses with their gardens backing onto the canal path. I don’t mind as I can have a good nose into people’s houses and gardens. It’s amazing I haven’t got a cricked neck. My friend would say I was inquisitive, curious and wanting more knowledge where my hubby would say I was just bloody nosey. I fear the latter is true.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lancaster_Canal

https://canalrivertrust.org.uk/enjoy-the-waterways/canal-and-river-network/lancaster-canal

A glorious spring day and I mean it. Yesterday was rubbish – rain all day, wet and soggy. This is the trouble with our little island nation – it has a lot of difficulty what weather it wants. Yesterday was cold, damp and wet weather clothes, today warm, sunny and the braver types in shorts and t-shirts! Yes, people were either wrapped up like it was the Arctic and others as if they were strolling along the beach front in Benidorm. It’s so extreme and topsy turvy our weather and I regretted my extra layer (after a lot of umming and arring on what to wear).

It was wonderful – the birds were singing their little hearts out, little yellow anemones were blooming, Hawthorne bushes have started to show their vivid green leaves and it felt that finally spring had won and overcoming winter – things were greener and brighter. Lovely.

This little bird fascinated me. He caught my eye when he dived under the water and I waited for him to bob up again. He didn’t and I was thinking what an amazing bird for holding his breath for so long, when he reappeared some 50 foot further up the canal. Almost immediately he dived again and I ran to where I thought he might appear to get a photo. I was badly out in my calculations. He was so quick and the distance he travelled under water was incredible. The Dog and I followed him along the canal, watching him bob up, take a breath and dive and reappear further along. I just managed to catch him here though I was still out of position and he was quick.

And gone again!

The Dog enjoyed herself immensely as it was the first time she was able to swim. It’s been just far too cold. She happily swims after sticks and also dredges a few out of the canal itself. She did drop one of her sticks back into the canal by accident and then preceded to bark at me to retrieve it for her. And stupidly I did.

There’s not a lot to tell on a canal really, but a couple of years ago, this road wasn’t here. It was just green fields, but groundwork’s had just started and my heart sank. Another bit of our green and pleasant land nibbled away. It’s the new Heysham/M6 link road that bypasses Lancaster which on one level is good as Lancaster is awful to get through, but look what we have lost…….

To make us all feel better, the construction company has planted thousands of plants (landscaping I think they call it) and encased them in green protective tubes so the saplings don’t get savage by rabbits and other ravenous creatures, so in years to come, it will be all wooded and you would never know a raging bypass was there. Do they ever work? For years afterwards, there’s still stubby little green tubes, now falling apart and depositing plastic everywhere and the plants have failed to flourish. There never seems to be anyone looking after these plants. Almost a tick box exercise……

Then I saw this and thought – you might have a point there, mate.

The Dog and I walked for over an hour one way, finally turning around when we reached the Lune Aquaduct, where the canal goes over the River Lune. Another thoughtful information board.

The River Lune looking west towards Lancaster, Morecambe and the Irish Sea. It’s all very industrial on one side of the bank. You can see a factory spewing out smoke on the left.

And east, in the far distance you can see Ingleborough, one of Yorkshire’s Three Peaks, poking its head above the hills and the edge of the Yorkshire Dales.

They don’t make bridges like this anymore. True Victorian workmanship. Today, you would get non descriptive concrete blocks and girders. (See the Heysham/M6 link road above). Absolutely beautiful.

The Dog and I were tempted to get on if they were running. A canal bus – how brilliant!

By now, The Dog and I were well on our way back to Hest Bank. In the background are the Lake District fells. Stunning.

Cows enjoying the good weather while it lasts. Feel so sorry for all the sheep and cows outdoors in this appalling weather. I did shout at these guys to stand up as apparently it’s a sign of bad weather if they are lying down……..

This is coming back into Hest Bank with all the canal boats moored up. I’ve always had this dream to live on a canal boat and be a bit nomadic, just cruising around and stopping wherever. Sounds so romantic. In reality, it probably isn’t and you’d end strangling your partner because you’re on top of one another. Maybe a week’s holiday to test it.

And a colour picture, because I can.

And if you look closely, at the bottom of the road, is the level crossing for Hest Bank, when we did our beach walk last week!

A lovely stroll with no hills, with great views across Morecambe Bay and the towns of Lancaster and Morecambe coming into view. Even better in perfect spring weather. Enjoy.

Golden Acre Park, Leeds

Walk: Park walk – a mixture of formal gardens and woodland.

Difficulty: Paved area around the Lake – easy walking.

Accessibility: Easy, but woodland paths are uneven.

Parking: Golden Acre Park off A660 Grid ref: 269416 or King Lane Car Park Grid ref: 272416.

The Dog and I decided to walk around Golden Acre today, but timed it badly. Got caught in a heavy rain shower in the wrong type of coat and desperate for an aboreal umbrella! Then suddenly the sun came out and it was a glorious spring afternoon.

Golden Acre is across the road from Breary Marsh that we visited last week. It is large park featuring a lake, ornamental gardens, woodland, heather gardens. It has a fascinating history dating back to the 1930’s when a local entrepreneur designed and built an amusement park there. It was amazing, but sadly lasted only 6 years.

Above is an aerial photo of the original Golden Acre Amusement Park. Today hardly anything remains of this Park. Read more on the links below.

Click to access Golden%20Acre%20Park-%20download.pdf

Golden Acre - The lost amusement park of Leeds.

http://www.thetelegraphandargus.co.uk/news/15475036.A_fascinating_glimpse_of_a_lost_amusement_park/

The entrance from the car park from A660. In the background is the footbridge that takes you to Breary Marsh. The underpass saves you crossing the very busy A660.

Walking through the wooded area, I was delighted to see the numerous rhododendrons starting to blossom along the paths. It is a beautiful sight when they’re in full bloom.

Signs of life are just starting to show at the beginning of April – at long last. At the weekend, another cold blast hit our little island and this was all covered in snow. The poor plants don’t know which way to turn. The daffodils are very half hearted – some are very brave and have bloomed while others have barely budded. It’s going to be a extended daffodil season, which I’m not complaining about!

One badly taken photograph, but more evidence that spring is finally beating this extra long winter. I drove past the River Wharfe this morning and it’s threatening to break its banks, the water level is so high. We are a very soggy country at the moment!

This is the remnants of the miniature railway which went around the lake way back in 1932, this small section of track. It’s great that it’s been preserved.

This is the wall of the outdoor lido. As you can see, trees have replaced the water and the wall is the only reminder of this project.

One end of the lake, where most people gather to feed the ducks and the other birds that gather here. It hosts a great variety of birds here – swans, geese, coots and ducks plus much more.

Looking across, back to that little hut on the other side of the lake. It’s a beautiful sunny day with some fantastic clouds. Love days like this!

One of the paths that leads to the lake and creates a lovely circular walk around the lake and finishes back to the cafe. That’s my kind of walk!

This is the cafe which has outdoor seating too. Think it was part of the original buildings from the amusement park. It used to have murals and pictures inside showing the old amusement park buildings and attractions. Haven’t been inside lately as I usually have The Dog in tow and therefore banished to the outdoor seating area to sup my tea and nibble a teacake. It has had a major extension and refurbishment a couple of years ago and look quite nice.

Trying to be artistic with the reflection, but failed miserably.

The Meanwood Beck runs through Golden Acre and this is one of the little bridges that crosses it. The beck starts from around here at Paul’s Pond (though the source is on the Otley Chevin) and runs through North Leeds and the city centre and finally into the River Aire. As you can see, it’s quite muddy here, but if you’ve got wellies, it’s great to investigate.

This is at the back of the Lake and the beck continues its journey to Leeds. This runs into the Adel Nature Reserve which is another story and another blog.

Another rubbish photograph, basically because I couldn’t be bothered to walk down to the entrance. This is where you get into the Nature Reserve and have a walk around. There are bird hides here and you can spend some time bird watching amongst other things!

Some of the information boards dotted around the park. There is lots more to Golden Acre that I missed altogether today. I took a long phone call and basically ran out of time. Oops. However, I can do another blog on it!

This area is called the Heather Garden and in the summer, is quite delightful. Unfortunately my photo doesn’t do it credit.

As I said, I have missed out a chunk of Golden Acre that I will return to in a later post, but in the meantime, enjoy this little taster/snippet. Worth a visit, though on lovely sunny days, it can be very very busy! Enjoy.

Coastal walk at Hest Bank, Lancashire

Walk: Coastal walk from Hest Bank Level crossing to Bayview.

Difficulty: Depends where you walk. Beach is very stony, but there are paths.

Accessibility: can be difficult terrain. Sturdy boots recommended and if going onto the Bay itself – wellies!

Parking: Hest Bank Level Crossing Grid ref: 468665

Hest Bank is a great walk for dogs and humans, offering a fantastic view of the south Lake District (you can see the Old Man of Coniston), of Morecambe Bay and Arnside Knott.

I park anywhere in the above picture. It’s free and right next door to a great little cafe that serves a wide range of food (their afternoon teas are good) and biscuits for your four legged friend. (they are allowed in, so no sitting outside in the cold!)

You can follow the road, keep to the grass verge or drop down onto the stony beach. I usually walk on the stony beach and follow my nose. There’s a great view of the Lakes especially on a beautiful summers day. When the tide is out (it always seems to be out when I go) there are many different wading birds feeding on the creatures left behind. (I know a Wildlife conservationist who could tell me what they were exactly!)

A rather dull day with heavy cloud cover, but a bit of a taster of the view. There were a few RAF jets screaming through the clouds, practising their runs through the Lake District valleys.

Looking back towards Morecambe which is just down the road. I read that Morecambe was suppose to be the Blackpool of the area, but somehow didn’t make it. It’s got a splendid promenade and the delightful Art Deco Midland Hotel on the front, but I will save that for later blog. Just love the rain showers in the distance.

Silly picture time. The Dog loves sticks, branches and logs to carry, but I think this one is beyond her. So she gave it a chew instead.

About halfway, there is cliff which you can walk either over or keep to the beach path, though the stones are like mini boulders and careful negotiation is required. It looks like it’s getting badly eroded and the red soil is seeping onto the stones. I prefer to drop onto the mud flats and avoid that area.

You come across this area when you walk beyond the cliff and come across the The Archers Cafe (a good half way tea stop, if that way inclined). It’s a massive grassland that stretches to the sea and hosts ground laying birds. It is riddled with this trenches and channels of water which The Dog loves. Some are quite deep and wide.

Here’s some more. They are full of water and mud, so don’t fall in!

The Dog found a more sensible stick to run around with.

This reminded me of the terrible cockling tragedy that hit Morecambe Bay in 2004 when 21 Chinese cockle pickers died when they got stranded out in the Bay. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2004_Morecambe_Bay_cockling_disaster

The Bay is notorious for quicksands and fast flowing tides and has caught out many people. It is strongly advised to find a local guide to help you cross it, but some days I see people way out. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morecambe_Bay

Sheep usually graze up this end. At this point, there is a green warehouse looking building which is the Bayview Garden Centre. It’s a short walk up the lane for a cuppa and a bun.

When I get to this point I usually walk back along the mud beach though there is a large wide channel to negotiate. Just makes a change. There are several different routes to follow.

Just fancied doing a moody atmospheric photo here. The mud flats stretch for miles out to sea here. There is a row of houses who have a fantastic view overlooking the Bay and the south Lakes and I have envied them. And not too far to take the dog for a walk!

I love the way the sand and mud create fantastic patterns, and the little channels making rivets deep into the mud. It’s really a creative person’s paradise.

The remnants of the old Wharf here at Hest Bank.

http://www.slyne-with-hest.org.uk/local%20history/wharf.htm

Looking back towards the wharf. The mud was very gloopy and I got smothered.

Not the greatest picture, but an information board giving you some background to the Wharf.

This is the entrance to the Hest Bank car park. You have to cross the level crossing, but be prepared to for a while sometimes. It’s part of the West Coast line, so it serves the Virgin intercity trains, the local sprinters and lumbering freight trains. They seem to bring the barriers down ages before a train appears and often will wait for two to go through before lifting them again. It’s amazing how much traffic is on this line as the barriers are forever up and down.

A good walk if you need fresh air and spaces. It’s a big sky place and regardless of the weather, there’s always something to see. Enjoy.

Breary Marsh, Leeds

Walk: Small urban woodland walk in North Leeds

Difficulty: Easy

Accessibility: Available to everyone. Good paths. There are side paths that can be muddy and uneven with tree roots.

Parking: Golden Acre Park. Bus stops nearby on A660. Grid reference: 269417.

Breary Marsh and Golden Acre Park are adjacent to each other. Golden Acre is a ornamental parkland and back in the 1930’s an ambitious amusement park, but that’s another story, while Breary Marsh is a woodland.

I park the car in the main car park off the A660 road and walk down the steps. Here the path splits. To the left, you go under the underpass to Golden Acre and across the bridge to Breary Marsh.

A great information board by Leeds City Council. The woods are full of birds and animals. Once The Dog took off when she was younger and to my horror, she was chasing a deer. Thinking both would disappear into the distance, never to be seen again, the deer elegantly jumped a fence while The Dog failed to calculate and slithered to a halt as the deer legged it across open fields. Phew.

The path from the car park, heads down the middle of the wood and takes you to the other end where it opens up and you arrive at Paul’s Pond. It was part of Cookridge Hall, a former stately home which still stands beyond the pond and is now part of Cookridge Golf Club which butts Breary Marsh. The pond was used by the owners for boating and in the winter supplied the house with ice which was broken up and taken to an ice house which is hidden on the golf club somewhere.

http://www.leodis.net/searchResults.aspx?LOCID=9999&DECADE=0&YEAR=&KEYWORDS=Cookridge%20Hall&KEYWORDS2=&KEYWORDS3=&ANDOR2=&ANDOR3=&RECSPAGE=5&VIEW=1&CURRPAGE=1

https://www.leeds.gov.uk/leisure/parks-and-countryside/nature-reserves/breary-marsh

http://www.leodis.net/display.aspx?resourceIdentifier=20031024_62463015

The pond is usually full of ducks, swans, colts and other fowl as well as fishing platforms.

This tree is just great. It looks like a gang of woodpeckers used it for target practice as it’s riddled with holes. It’s probably a great place for insects and fungi and all manner of creatures. Long may it stand.

One of the main paths running through Breary Marsh wood.

Earlier in the afternoon it was raining and hailing, not conducive to walking, but then the sun came out, the skies cleared and there was beautiful light. Breary Marsh is on the Leeds Country Way as well as the end of the Meanwood Valley Trail. It is well signposted.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leeds_Country_Way

The Meanwood Beck runs through here from its source on the Otley Chevin. Here’s the beck running under the bridge and where The Dog gets to wash off the mud. It continues into Golden Acre Park and onto Adel Woods and ultimately into the River Aire in central Leeds.

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meanwood_Beck

Breary Marsh is only small and I do several circuits to wear The Dog out. There is a path that leads to the suburb of Cookridge called Pinfold Lane which is another way in, and involves street parking. Another footpath comes in across the Golf Club (if you don’t mind dodging golf balls), so there is variety. I can usually get an hour out of it, and it’s beautiful in May with the bluebells. Paul’s Pond was surrounded by overgrown and unruly rhododendrons, but the City Council did tackle them and got them under control, but they added colour to the woodland too.

As I said, it is adjacent to Golden Acre but that’s for another time and blog. Meanwhile enjoy.

Meanwood Park and The Hollies, Leeds

Walk: Stroll around north Leeds park and woodland.

Difficulty: depends on the walk you choose – mainly easy.

Accessibility: paved paths in park, other pathways can be very muddy (after rain). There are some steep areas especially in The Hollies.

Parking: At The Hollies Grid ref: 276378 and Meanwood Park Car Park Grid ref: 282373. Cafe here as well.

I love Leeds and it’s parks. This one is on the edge of the Outer Ring Road, but you would never of guessed it – apart from the traffic noise. You could be in the middle of the country.

I usually park at The Hollies, but to confuse the The Dog I parked at Meanwood Park. Two areas merge into each other so you get woodland, parkland, streams, ornamental gardens and past industry all mixed into one! The Dog loves it – a woodland full of grey creatures with bushy tails to chase and water to having a cooling drink and a swim in.

There are many paths and different ways to walk around these two area, so I have a “follow your nose” policy and see what you discover. I usually spend a good couple of hours here.

The Meanwood Valley Trail passes through here. The trail starts further in the city at Woodhouse and meanders through the suburbs to Golden Acre Park in the North.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meanwood_Valley_Trail

This is one of the main paths, but other parts can be quite muddy after rainy weather and wellies are the best footwear.

This is Meanwood Beck which runs from beyond Golden Acre right through the city centre and into the River Aire. Many years ago when I worked in a school, we did a year long project with kids and followed the Beck to the Centre (where it disappears underneath the city via tunnels and gullies!). Really fascinating and the kids loved it.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meanwood_Beck

There are fascinating glimpses of an industrial era in the area. There were mills for flax, corn and paper and the Beck was used to great advantage. This is clearly a man made water course and probably used to power the mills.

There are several quarries dotted in the woodland around the Hollies too.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meanwood

More evidence of Meanwood’s hidden past. It’s sort of pleasing that nature can take back what we take and it hasn’t taken long to do so.

How do these trees stay alive and remain standing!!!!

This was an absolute delight to see. Usually someone points out a kingfisher as it’s flying downstream and I’m lucky to see its back end. Today, this one was just sitting on a branch looking into the Beck for ages. I couldn’t believe my luck. I carefully took photos on my phone, but sadly couldn’t get closer. Oh for a proper camera!

This row of cottages are between The Hollies and Meanwood Park. They must of been workers cottages years ago as they are stuck on their own. If it wasn’t for the park and woodland, I think they would of been swallowed by suburbia. Housing is not far away and can be seen through the trees and across the park.

The start of the parkland, but with two stones protruding in the middle distance, Again, must of been part of a gateway or something.

A beautiful packhorse bridge spanning the Beck. It’s still in use.

Love this building with bottles used for windows. It is very fascinating. Looks like it’s been converted for a garage which kind of spoils it.

Very clever.

Then you get this monument tucked in a corner out of the way. I tried to get closer, but there was a quagmire of mud and I only had my trainers on. And there’s me telling you to wear wellies!!! Tried to get a photo of the plaque.

And failed.

And one final picture of the park itself. It’s a lovely combination of tended parkland, woodland one end and undisturbed woodland at the other end with its remnants of its industrial past. There seems to be an untidy ornamental garden with rhododendrons in the Hollies. They are beautiful when they flower in May. It’s a real mish mash of everything which is just wonderful. Enjoy.

Eccup Reservoir, Leeds

Walk: 4.5 mile circular walk around Eccup reservoir, Alwoodley, Leeds

Difficultly: Easy

Accessibility: 2 or 3 stiles and can be muddy in parts.

Parking: on road. Eccup Moor Road 287420 or Alwoodley Lane 297408

This is a nice little circular walk of about 1.5 – 2 hours. A mixture of walking on the perimeter of the reservoir and road walking. I usually park at Eccup village (2) and do it in reverse of the map. The Dog can be off lead entirely. So I walk down an arable field and cross a stile at the bottom which can be quite muddy after a lot of rain. Then up a short path to another stile where you enter a large field. Branch left here, keeping Goodrick Plantation on your left. There can be sheep and cows in this field, but usually in the distance. Keep your eyes peeled for Red Kites who usually hover and swoop around here. They are pretty common.

Through a gate and down a path between fences, you come across an old ornate house which I presume must of been the old manager’s houses many years ago when the reservoir was first built. It’s quite imposing when you walk down the lane from Alwoodley Lane.

Here The Dog and I walk through a gate and follow the path with the reservoir to my left and the golf course to my right. There’s a little drainage channel here and The Dog loves jumping in and dredging sticks. Further along she’s able to chase imaginary squirrels in between the trees. You are unable to get to the reservoirs edge as it’s been fenced off, but it’s a lovely flat walk with lovely view.

Another house appears at the end of this path and here you turn left to walk over the dam of Eccup Reservoir. Here The Dog tries to have a look by jumping up the dam wall, but not very successfully. At the end there is a lot of machinery and pipes, with water gushing and whooshing through the grilles, sometimes slopping up through the grating. There’s a lot of noise from the water too. It’s fascinating and I would love to know what’s happening there.

In the 1840s the Leeds Waterworks Company acquired land from the Earl of Harewood for Eccup Reservoir to provide the City of Leeds with clean drinking water. The reservoir was expanded in the 1850s and again in the 1890s. It now has a water treatment works.

Four brick shafts were constructed in Alwoodley to serve the tunnel which brought the water from Eccup Reservoir over the Seven Arches aqueduct in Adel Woods into Leeds.

There’s a slight incline and the road bends right where you can see a footpath sign. Take this path past houses that seem to be just dropped there. They are full of security cameras and grilles and really I wonder who would buy a house and live like that.

Finally you reach the Eccup Moor Road and turning left again, you follow this road back to the car. It’s very quiet except for the occasional car, bike or utilities vehicle heading to the water treatment works.

I love this tree. It’s been dead for years and is just a skeleton. I half expect a couple of vultures sitting there shrugging their shoulders wondering what to do next. It’s so gnarled and a piece of art in its own right.

The road is fairly straight and drops downwards on a slight gradual incline. Here you get great views across towards Cookridge and see planes coming into land at nearby Leeds Bradford airport. It’s a great evening walk and there are options to extend it too. Take a pair of binoculars for the Red Kites and geese will gather here too, making a huge cacophony of noise. Other birds can be seen too.

A pleasant stroll on the edge of Leeds with countryside stretching beyond. Enjoy.

River Lune Riverside Walk, Caton, Lancashire

Walk: Lune Riverside walk from Bull Beck picnic site, Caton to centre of Lancaster. Linear path, but there are circular walks too, off the path, through woodland and fields.

Difficulty: Easy

Accessibility: Flat tarmac throughout.

Parking: Free parking at Bull Beck, Caton Grid ref: 542649.

Good walk for dogs off lead, though beware of cyclists.

http://www.wayoftheroses.co.uk/fullpage.php?ad=309i

The River Lune Millennium Park stretches some 15km along the banks of the Lune from Salt Ayre in Lancaster to Bull Beck near Caton in the heart of the Lune Valley. With unusual artwork and interpretation, the park offers various walks and cycleways.

This is the walk I followed today rather than do the path to Lancaster. Bull Beck isn’t marked, but the picnic signs on the right shows where it is. You can carry on towards to Lancaster as far as you want and there are other circular routes. I tend to follow my nose and found two or three good walks.

I always park at Bull Beck and never done the full 15km to Lancaster, except on a bike many years ago. It’s a good dog walk if it’s wet and muddy and they can be off lead.

Bull Beck is located on the A683 Kirkby Lonsdale to Lancaster road, just east of Caton. It is sort of tarmacked with quarry bottom and a few large “potholes”have appeared, but can be navigated around. Parking is free and there’s a small cafe there that serves bacon butties and steaming mugs of hot tea plus a lot more. There are picnic tables too. Loos are available at 20p a pee and it can be a gathering for motorcyclists which can be a real sight.

This is the beginning of the walk. It is well signposted and there are information boards.

This is the path and as I said, flat, level and tarmacked and great for everyone. Can get busy with people, kids, dogs and bikes.

,

The path is dotted with art work and signs and statues. I really like this one.

Then there’s these guys just lying around by the River Lune.

And this one, which I need to find out more about. If you know, answers on a postcard please!

The path is actually an old railway line – the old line from Wennington to Lancaster which was closed in 1966. There is a second line from Wennington that still runs to Lancaster via Carnforth. The fine Victorian bridges are well maintained and this is one of them.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%22Little%22_North_Western_Railway

This part of the path is known as the Crook O’ Lune and a popular tourist area. The River here does a huge u-bend and within yards there are two bridges to cross it. If you look at the above OS map you can see where it almost doubles back on itself.

This is the road bridge across the River Lune which runs parallel to the Millennium Path. The river was flowing very fast today.

The day has been overcast all day with rain this morning. It’s still quite cold for the end of March, but I noticed that the trees and bushes are just starting to bud. Spring seems a long way off, though the clocks go forward this weekend – we lose an hour in bed but gain an hour of daylight in the evenings.

Below the Millennium Bridge and the beautiful wrought iron work. I’ve dropped off the path and starting to walk through the fields alongside the River Lune back to the car.

If you stick to the path, there is another watering hole called Woodies a little further on. Not the most glamorous places, but they serve a very good cuppa and anything that goes into a bun! Small nominal charge of £1 for parking and again toilets.

And not a bad spot to sit to eat your butty and sup your tea. This looks east towards the Yorkshire Dales and hidden in the distance in cloud, is Ingleborough, one of the Three Peaks of Yorkshire. It always seems to be shrouded in cloud and even on the most beautiful day, can have a little cap of cloud. Apparently JMW Turner, the artist visited here and painted.

Along this section, there’s seems to be a lot of waterworks and associated buildings. This is the flow management building apparently. It is such at odds with its surroundings and I love the way it’s on it’s own little pillar. It does flood here, believe me!

Just love this. Makes me wonder every time I walk past. All that metal work and signage to tell you to beware – danger, but a few feet along, you can happily fall into the drink and be in Lancaster before you can say ” oops, I’ve fallen in!”. In reality I think there’s a little weir or drop of some sort and I bet it’s to prevent idiots trying to negotiate their way across it thinking it’s stepping stones. But it’s still odd in the acres of space here.

Further along you come to a rather fancy bridge which essentially just carries water pipes across the River Lune, but in that grandiose Victorian style. Think this is a pump house, but look closer and it’s got a fancy stone plaque on the side. It’s in the middle of a huge sheep field and in the middle of nowhere. So elaborate.

Also on this isolated bridge, there are stone plaques marking the height and date of floods from the 1800’s and after the 2015 floods, thought “well, it’s always flooded badly, what are we get excited about?”…………………

The two newer stones at the top of the picture are the new 2015 flood levels……..

And to put it all in perspective, the 1800 one is my first photo. I think we do have something to get excited and worried about!

The bridge in all its glory! Just to carry water pipes. Maybe it wasn’t for that purpose, but there seems to be no roads and there’s a steep incline on the other side and it’s quite wide. A bit of a mystery. You can walk across the bridge as there’s a footpath on the other side to,take you back to the Crook of Lune. The Dog hates crossing it as it’s a metal mesh pathway and she’s scared of it. Got a funny little gait as she crosses which is hilarious.You can see the 2015 flood level so it must of been terrifying and covered swathes of land.

No idea what these are. There are three of them spaced out across the field close to the bridge. Must be for something and maybe hark back to the waterworks.

The fields are full of lambs and their mums and it’s a lovely sight. I just love lambs and how giddy they get when they get together. It’s my favourite time of year to see the newborns. I have felt for them this week as last weekend we had thick snow agin, albeit for just a day which is typically British, but fancy being born in such conditions. However, they were enjoying life today despite the low cloud and general drabness and brightened up my day.

A nice stretch of the legs and got some air. It’s a lovely little walk with different options depending on your mood. If you stick to the path to Lancaster, you come across the little village of Halton and the busy M6 motorway crosses over above, with huge concrete pillars and dripping water. A bit spooky, but fascinating. Beyond that, you enter the suburbs of Lancaster following the River Lune into Morecambe Bay. Enjoy.

Hunger Hills Wood, Horsforth, Leeds

Walk: A small suburban wood on the edge of north west Leeds.

Difficulty: medium

Accessibility: steep hills and very muddy at the moment.

Parking: street parking.

Links: https://www.hungerhillswoods.org/about-the-woods-and-their-history/the-origins-of-the-woods/ (also includes walks and other information).

http://west-leeds-country-park-and-green-gateways.webplus.net/a_guide_to_hunger_hills_woods.

It is a lovely spring day today. The sun is warm when out, but there’s a cool wind and pockets of snow are still lying about. Not quite t-shirt weather. The Dog and I walked to Hunger Hills Wood, a tiny woodland adjacent to a housing estate that affords some great view across Leeds.

Apparently today, days and nights are both 12 hours long and hark the beginning of spring. All I care about is summer is coming, with lighter evenings and the possibility of a barbecue if the British weather allows it. The squirrels in the wood certainly know, as there are an abundance of them scampering through the trees, much to The Dog’s delight. She spent a happy hour chasing them and wearing herself out. She has never caught one and never will as she gives them prior notice as she crashes through the undergrowth, but it keeps her occupied. The birds were all singing in the trees too which was lovely to hear – it gave you that feel good factor. I saw two or three Jays flying around too.

This is the view looking south west towards Shipley and the Pennines beyond. Considering there’s a housing estate some 100 yards away, this is literally the edge of Leeds but you could be in the middle of the countryside.

This is looking towards the city centre with the University, Bridgewater Place (the highest building in Leeds) and other landmarks clearly seen. On clearer days, you can see Drax Power Station (amongst others) beyond in the east.

The Friends of the Wood have created this great information board that pinpoints all the landmarks with a brief description of each. Very interesting and makes you really study the landscape.

Tried to be clever with my phone camera (one day I will use my proper camera) and did a panoramic shot in the same spot as the photos above. There’s is a fantastic 180 degree view from the countryside north of the city, across into the suburbs and the city centre and then out over the south side towards Farsley and Pudsey.

The green is not grass but hundreds and thousands of bluebells, starting to push their way up from the soil. In May time, this wood usually has a beautiful carpet of Bluebells throughout and is stunning.

Now this makes me vent.

Somebody has come up to the woods, carrying this piece of rubbish and dumped it. I scratch my head at this, as there is no vehicular access to the woods, so the person concerned as made a huge effort to cart it up the hill and drop it there, when there were easier options to dispose of it. The only other way for it to get there was by the wind catching it, but there’s surrounding fields and no other debris nearby, so I doubt it. It just drives me crazy at people’s careless actions and their mentality. End of rant.

There’s a footpath up from Westbrook Lane/Lee Lane East leading up towards Hunger Hills. Underneath all the earth are these stones, which I’m trying to find the history of. I’ve got a feeling that it was an old drovers road from years gone by, but can’t find out for sure. They have been there for quite a while!

Swinsty Reservoir

After a weekend of snow and icy wind, today felt a lot more like spring. The sun was out and warm in sheltered areas and I managed to go for a walk in trainers rather than wellies!

I’m cursing myself of not recording the last couple of days of snow, but my phone kept hibernating and needed CPR when I got home. Namely being plugged into the mains and being recharged even though it still had lots of battery life. Sometimes, technology just doesn’t make the grade.

Anyway The Dog and I headed to Swinsty Reservoir, north of Otley. It’s a lovely circular walk around the reservoir and through woodland.

It’s pretty flat and accessible to everyone. It’s one of my favourite walks as the drive to Swinsty is very pleasant too and The Dog can be off lead all the way round.

It was a glorious spring day, though snow can still be seen behind walls. Yesterday morning, snow blanketed the whole area, covering roads and paths. Twenty four hours later and it’s all different.

Spotted these icicles still clinging on down these stone steps.

The wind was quite strong here, blowing across the reservoir. Even the water has little waves with white caps. We didn’t linger here!

I think this is still in use and used by Yorkshire Water who manage the Reservoir. Inside there are tanks and pipe work, so I think it’s a pumping station of some sort. I just love the building – typical Victorian with its ornate windows. It looks like a little cottage!

Swinsty started construction in1871 and completed in 1878. It’s situated in the Washburn Valley, north of Otley and west of Harrogate. Click on the link below for more information.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swinsty_Reservoir

Love how nature works. These trees are just amazing – they are barely attached to the ground and actually a couple of them have lurched sideways and leaning against their neighbours. It shows how intricate their root system is too, intertwining with each other.

This is the Washburn Valley Heritage Centre, where on certain days, volunteers serve home made cakes and tea. It is very nice and a half way stop, though to reach it from the reservoir edge, it’s a bit of a walk up a gravelly path. Makes you appreciate your scone and jam though! It’s attached to the beautiful church and the graveyard. I love reading the inscriptions on the ancient graves. One is particularly heart rendering as a family loses four daughters in their early twenties. How tragic is that?

http://www.washburnvalley.org/i

I love these information boards. Apart from a wall in the background, all there is of the old vicarage is a knot of ivy and brambles. A beautiful stately house like that lost to the reservoir because of subsidence. It’s bad enough that valleys are lost for reservoirs feeding the large northern cities with fresh water and that many families were displaced and their homes lost forever. Sometimes, when the levels get too low, the lost villages and houses make a brief reappearance. There was a lot of upheaval and I wonder how the villagers reacted to the news.

Love these two very British iconic structures, rarely seen together like this. Many of the traditional red telephone boxes like this one, were replaced by awful metal and glass boxes that someone in BT’s design department thought was a good idea. They look like they were thought up after a Friday afternoon liquid lunch on the back of an envelope. Luckily the red ones survive and are usually home to defibrillators for medical emergencies. Others are used as mini libraries and other uses which is just brilliant. Others find permanent homes in people’s back gardens.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red_telephone_box

Little Observations on Everyday Life

Is it just me it happens to or are other people out there who cannot fill their car up without going over to the penny?

Say you want £30 worth of fuel and you click off at say, £29.67 and spend the next few seconds of your life, gradually clicking a bit more petrol in the tank as it inches towards that nice round number. You get to £29.97, 98, 99. You’re concentrating so much that your tongue is sticking out. Just one more flick of the finger and bingo.

Except of going up in increments of one like the last few clicks, it suddenly leaps by two and you’re staring at £30.01. How did that happen? You pull a pained face and probably swear inadvertently loudly at the pump, alarming fellow motorists.

Now here’s the thing. Were you heavy fingered or are the pumps programmed to always show £30.01.

I’m convinced it’s the latter. I always ask the checkout staff and they smile and mutter about collecting points. Other drivers smile wryly. After all, if it’s happens to all the motorists filling up, that’s a lot of extra pennies being collected. It’s now becoming a challenge every time I fill up – can I avoid going over and giving the petroleum companies more profit? More often I fail miserably, pull a face and traipse across the forecourt cussing under my breath. Little things ………