Sunday, November 24, 2013

Barn Owl, Kestrel, Buzzards and more!

Today was very much a bird watchers dream. Setting off from the car park near Rufford Station, it wasn't far into the walk when both Chris and I saw the Barn Owl ahead of us.


I don't think we saw very much for sometime as we constantly looked at the hedge row and railway bank where (s)he headed. We were lucky as we caught two or three glimpses.
Our 5.9163 mile route can be viewed at http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=6145659

At the Sluice,don't make the error that I made, follow the map and don't continue straight on but turn right over the second bridge. 

Turning left at the end of the next field. The path is then very obvious as you turn right. Along here we disturbed a roosting Kestrel.


The three wind turbines dominate the skyline with Winter Hill and the TV masts on the horizon. Teasles were a big attraction for Yellow Hammers and GoldFinch. Looking at Parbold Hill, Harrock Hill and Winter Hill brought back fond memories of our journey along the Lancashire Trail.

Turning left where, if you are observant, the Mawdesley Jubilee Trail Signs are visible on broken fence posts.(http://www.mawdesley-village.org.uk/pdf/mjt.pdf)
We headed along a farm track to Carr Lane.

Across a field on the left of Carr Lane, we cut through to the junction of Drinkhouse Lane and Drinkhouse Road. Along here we passed some houses with the traditional Vaccary Fence.


3 miles from the start and we were briefly on Moss Lane before cutting right to cross the Ormiskirk to Preston Railway Line


Currently there are no trains on Sundays.


It was along this part of the walk that we first heard their call  and then saw the Buzzards.





Passing Fours Wood


and a large pond 

we crossed a bridge

into field full of sheep who, once one of them set off at a gallop, all ran to group together. 

Out onto Meadow Lane (the A581) we crossed the road bridge, over the River Douglas and sharp left onto the raised flood defence bank.

Even this far inland, the Douglas is tidal.

The car park of Rufford Old Hall, viewed across the fields and the Rufford Arm of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, was busy and smoke could be seen rising from the Hall's chimneys.

Back under the Railway we emerged,next to the Fishing Lake, onto Station Road the B5246.

We'd decided,out of the options available to us, to have lunch at Fettler's Wharf Marina

at Thowd Boatman's Cabin.

Very enjoyable and, even if you don't want to do the walk, well worth a visit.

Back to the Car park brought our walk to its conclusion.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Lumberjack Morning - Meander Afternoon

Today's 6.3215 miles route is available at http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=6135605

Even though we normally walk in the morning, which today was spent removing four self-set trees and trimming the hedge, we decided it was too nice a day to miss walking after lunch.

The decision was made and I suggested we parked the car at Maghull Station and walked to Town Green Station for the return journey.

A quick glance at the time, and with trains only running on the Hour and half-hour on a Sunday, we reversed the plan and parked at Town Green Station.

Yes, quite a lot of the walk we've done before but not as a single walk. 

The map wasn't needed, well Chris wanted to go a different way, as we headed off from Town Green Station Car park, along Molyneaux Road, Whalley Drive and across the fields out onto the B5197 Prescot Road.
Turning down the drive past Moor Hall & Moor Hall Farm we remarked how, at last, the trees were looking more Autumnal. 

At the lower end of the field we crossed the footbridge.

There is something quite magical about the noise water makes, in this case, as it makes its way down towards Cuncough Brook.
video

Just after one of the most happy names (NOT!) for a farm, Grave-yard Farm, we headed off along the edge of fields occupied by horses.

Turning left onto Billinge Lane we past Billinges Farm.

Starlings were gathering on Electric cables pre-roost.

Simonswood lane took us past the pumping station and over the M58. Soon after crossing the M58 we headed cross country along paths we have walked many times, crossing streams,

and through or along the edges of woodlands. The bracken, just before emerging onto Spurrier's Lane was hiding the usually clear path. A bit of a struggle with dead fronds hiding the path as they die back.

Turning right along the A506, Maghull Lane, we headed up to the roundabout over the M58 turning left down Giddygate Lane.
It was then a right turn across the back of Guest Farm were we met a Falconer who was experiencing problems getting his Goshawk to return to his glove protected hand. Apparently we were not helping! It flew off over the fields followed by the Falconer and his colleague and dogs.
The rest of the walk, having recrossed the M58 was the reverse of last weeks walk. To say the setting sun was, "in our eyes", is an understatement...

Arriving at Melling Lane/Station Rd we turned right and headed for a pint at the Mogul before catching the train back to pick up the car.

Another sunny local walk which, apart from the bracken issue, was very enjoyable.

Sunday, November 03, 2013

Will it stay dry long enough?

The URL for today's 6.2609 miles route is 
Yet another Sunday where it is cloudy, and a high chance of rain. We had already had some heavy showers and a hail storm.
We decided to combine a number of sections from other walks and set off towards the Leeds Liverpool Canal.
A cold wind but again, with some thought, I decided on what I hoped would be the route with the wind behind us most of the time.
Ducks became very excited, when we reached the canal, but sadly we didn't have anything for them. Thinking about it, we never have anything for them.

A couple of Moorhens were the only other birds we saw until we branched off the canal tow-path across the Cricket/football ground. Here gulls were "treading" the pitches for worms. A bit like river dance.

A light shower fell as we crossed the A59 for the third time (once under it on the towpath).
Then past the shops and then down beside the playing fields of Maghull High.

It's a long time since Chris and I worked there!
Crossing the metal bridge we turned left along the lower level of the Cheshire Lines footpath. If you decide to follow our footsteps, I suggest you take the higher path as the gate at the end may not be open,as it was, thank goodness, for us. A heron flew up and settled ahead of us,a number of times before heading off towards Switch Island.
Yes it was then across the A59 again, under the M58, twice...

...and then the Merseyrail line before heading across farmland and through the yard at Wood Hall Farm.

Along the drive to Brewery Lane

The hedges along this section were well maintained.
Having crossed the Leeds Liverpool Canal again...

...it was under the M58 and turning right into and along the edge of Balls Wood.

By now the sky had cleared and the sun was out. With the M58 to our right we crossed Leatherbarrows Lane and heads towards the Mobile Phone Mast off Moss Nook Lane.
The berries on the redwood bushes,looking like glass beads...

...were attention grabbing as were the long-tailed tits and the wren.
Crossing farm land and through another farm we emerged onto School Lane. Here we followed the original route over the Merseyrail line and turned right onto Moss Lane.
Taking a short cut across the park/playground between Ribble Avenue and Gilpin Avenue we completed the 6.2609 mile loop.

An enjoyable local walk that ended in Sunshine and a trip to try out the new Costa Coffee near Maghull Square

If you haven't tried it you should!