Sunday, April 27, 2014

Lepidoptera here, there, everywhere.

OK, so a bit of an exaggeration, but when they first appear, we do tend to notice them more than when you are expecting to see them.
So before we discuss the walk, what did we see?
Well we saw one or more of each of the following - Orange Tip, Painted Lady, Peacock, Small Tortoiseshell, and a Small White.

Where were we?
We were back in the Yarrow Valley,having enjoyed our first visit so much, but this time we were starting just off the Southport Road (B5250), Euxton; near Euxton Cricket Club.
The skate park, next to the car park, was busy as we set off on our 5.5923 miles route that can be seen at... http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=6286017.

Initially we turned left walking on the road past the Cricket Club. We were soon walking, in the sunshine through fields, over stiles, and down to the River Yarrow.


That was our first error.
The flow of the river showed that, if we stayed on the path we were on, we would be going in the wrong direction.
A quick retrace of steps, and a turn right across a relatively open space and we were back on track.
Over what I'm sure once was a mill race, we emerged onto a road down to the first of a couple of Quarries. It looks as if the mill race is now being used to generate electricity (I may be wrong).
Decision time!
We turned right, planning to return to this point on our way back, along the other path.
Turning right again, at Yarrow Farm, we headed on towards Parker's th' Fields, via a footbridge and skirting a couple of ponds. 

And pointing out to each other the wide range of wild flowers including May flowers.

Once we had negotiated the path through the Farm, it was across Yarrow Valley Golf Course then down into Parker's Wood.
The descent down to the banks of the River Yarrow was stunning!
Bluebell Carpets, Wild Garlic and a whole range of other flowers.


At the end of our descent we had a warning about eroded river banks which, to be fair,were not an issue.
Upon reaching Dob Brow Road, we made our second error. 
If you decide to follow our footsteps, it is here that you should turn right and look out for the path on the left. It will take you on a much better route that the one we chose to take.
That aside we did see lots of Forget-me-nots.

Having rejoined the path, that I've suggested you take, we crossed the B5251 New Road/Coppull Road and onto the Visitor Centre 

for a drink and some cake! Mmmmmm.
My better half and I had compared this walk with Fairy Glen, last week, and had commented on the fact that we had not seen Cuckoo Pint (Arum maculatum) on this walk.
You guessed it!
No sooner had we said it, when we saw it. Typical!

On our return loop we had yet another issue (they come in threes). 
We were the wrong side of the River Yarrow! We could see the way back via Yarrow Farm; we just had to cross the footbridge that we could see across the meadow.
But the plan had been to return via the Quarry mentioned earlier.
We (I) sorted it but it involved going up onto the B5251, heading up Burgh Wood Way (1st exit off roundabout) then first left and over the bridge, across the tributary from the reservoir, and under the B5251.
The best show of Anemone nemorosa ( Wood Anemone) was seen along this path.


All in all, another sunny, wild flower, Lepidoptera sprinkled inspiring delight!
Envious? ;-)

Monday, April 21, 2014

Short, sweet but still enjoyable!

Today was a mixture of slow meanders in two places with refreshments between and at the end.
The plan was to have a gentle stroll through Fairy Glen (Delf House Wood)
The 1.3505 miles route we took is saved at http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=6279079

In spite of the weather forecast, today was beautiful; wind dropped an sun shining.
We took some familiar paths and some neither of us remember taking on previous visits.
I spent some of the time experimenting with 2 iPad Apps Horizon and Spotliter.



The aromas constantly changing - oilseed rape, wild garlic, bluebells to mention the three main ones.
I also recorded some video clips using the apps.
video

After completing our meander we headed off to get refreshments from the Owd Barn

Coffee and Coconut Cake for me and Tea and Victoria Sponge Cake for Chris.
The 1.3505 miles in Fairy Glen hardly burning off the calories taken in here. However it was very tasty!
We then travelled off to phase two of our Bank Holiday Meanders - Martin Mere.

Our 1.2541 miles route, here at Martin Mere, has been saved at http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=6279118

The only youngsters we saw in our walk were two Black Swan Cygnets and a young Moorhen.
It's along time since we've been to Martin Mere without grandchildren and, although it's always been fun, it was quite relaxing to meander without constantly checking they were safe, not to close to the water etc.

Upon completion and a walk through the shop it was time to complete our day out with afternoon tea at Lady Green Garden Centre.

Sandwiches, Scones with jam & cream, Victoria Sponge and Fruit cake. No they were small portions!
All in all a wonderful day in sunny Lancashire and Merseyside.
What better way could you spend a Bank Holiday?

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Turner: Travel, Light and Landscape

Our 1.748 miles route, saved at http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=6276750

would hardly be worth mentioning if it wasn't for the place or the opportunity to view a selection of some 30 works by Turner, drawn from the Walker Art Gallery, Lady Lever Art Gallery and Sudley House.
The exhibition takes a chronological approach to explore the artist’s life and work.

Paintings such as 'Margate Harbour' (1837) and 'Linlithgow Palace' (about 1807), are shown alongside prints and watercolours that are rarely displayed due to their light-sensitivity. Including the watercolours 'Dudley' (about 1830-33), 'Off Dover' (between 1820-1827), 'Wells Cathedral' (1795-96) and 'View of the Mole' (about 1818).
As we are chronologically enhanced we used our Merseyrail passes to travel under the Mersey to Bebington Station.
Here we took, what seemed a ridiculously long detour through the station car park and, once the other side of the fence, back, albeit downhill,  past the exit from the platform and down to the main road.
It didn't take long to reach the Lady Lever Art Gallery, where we enjoyed the exhibition and then refreshed our memories of one of the best collections in the UK. 


As you can see, it should be a place everyone should visit if they can.
I'm hope you agree, that such collections should be viewed via many visits rather than trying to cram it all into one.
Having absorbed as much as was appropriate, we headed of, through the model village which was built by Lever Brothers to accommodate workers in its soap factory (now part of Unilever); work commenced in 1888. The name is derived from Lever Brothers' most popular brand of cleaning agent, Sunlight.
Port Sunlight contains 900 Grade II listed buildings, and was declared a Conservation Area in 1978.
Port Sunlight has been informally suggested for World Heritage Site status to protect it from development and to preserve the unique character for future generations; however, it is not yet on the current UK "tentative list" for future consideration.
In the past, we've spent some time admiring the buildings.
Today the plan was to visit Mayer Park, that had somehow missed our attention on previous visits.
Merseyside and the Wirral are blessed with a wide range of open public parks and this added to our short but enjoyable walk in the sun.

The squirrels obviously have no fear of people and looked as if they were expecting us to provide food.
It was then back to grab some lunch at the cafe opposite Port Sunlight Station
Note: they don't take payments by card but the is a cash point a little further along the road.
After an enjoyable, good value lunch we wandered down to the Theatre, to see what was on, before catching the train home from Port Sunlight Station.
PS It was all completed in bright sunshine!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Better late than never!

What!
Well I've failed to find time to post our Meander on the 6th April 2014. 
So here goes...
The 4.3161 miles route was saved and the URL for this route is http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=6270019

Little did we know what was ahead of us when we parked the car at Yarrow Country Park but, it was perhaps on of the best woodland/riverside walk we've done in the North West of England (UK)
Setting off along the South West side of Big Lodge Water, the first impressive area was the "playground" with various sculptures.


One potential place to take the Grandchildren when they visit!
The chainsaw carved wooden sculptures were very impressive and there were more to come.
I'm sorry that the photographs taken don't truly reflect the impressive spring flowers. I don't think we've ever seen so many. 
The steps beside the waterfall, for trout to go upstream, was also impressive so I took this clip using an app called Horizon...
video

The winding path and bridges back and forth across the River Yarrow added to the enjoyment, the wettest and coldest part of the walk was a short trek across an open meadow.

Nearing the furthest point from the car park we were fortunate to see the latest carving where, using my sisters Tweet ...I took a slefie of the "three Twits!" Thanks Lynn.


The skill of the sculptor, EW, speaks for itself.
We returned along the opposite bank, still surrounded by Spring flowers, before retracing our steps, once we had reached the meadow.
At Big Lodge Water we completed the circumnavigation of the reservoir passing memorial benches, stones and more carvings. Oh yes, it wouldn't have been a Sunday walk if we hadn't see a heron as well!


Reading this post through, I don't feel I've done this environment justice; it was beautiful and I'm sure we will be visiting again soon.
PS To be honest, the last picture is from our garden not the walk.


Saw the Cheshire Cat but no Alice!

Yes we were in Daresbury for our walk on Sunday 13th April 2014.
The  7.2162 miles route has been saved and the URL is http://www.gmap-pedometer.com/?r=6269820

For those who have followed our Meanders, you will see that this walk includes bits of a number of other walks.
We started our loop at the Lewis Carrol Centre, All Saints Church, Daresbury.

You can find out more about the Centre at http://lewiscarrollcentre.org.uk/about-us/
From the car park we headed off towards the pub, turning left and followed the "Timberland Trail" down to the Bridgewater Canal.
Although a nice start to the walk, the number of wild flowers, compared to last week, in the Yarrow Valley, was disappointing.

The oilseed rape in flower, compensated in some way.
Passing across the bottom end of Daresbury Science Park, with the well kept lawns and moorings, it was ironic that no one was allowed to use the moorings. Private Land.
The Bridgewater Canal was a hive of activity, not just the narrow boats, and plastic tubs, but walkers, cyclists (without bicycle bells), horses, and a wide range of wildlife including Herons and ducks that showed no sign of fear at all.


Swapping sides of the Bridgewater we briefly rejoined the "Timberland Trail" before heading off over a golf course and then around one side of Appleton Reservoir. Grebes, Shellducks, Moorhens, Coots, the list goes on, plus those fishing and more. When we emerged from the woodland, even without her distance glasses, my better half spotted possibly the highlight of our walk. Why highlight? Well sadly they are not very common any more. What aren't? Hares. We we lucky to see two hares.

It's not knowing what's around the corner that makes walking in the countryside so enjoyable. (and the company of course).
In contrast, as we returned to the car park, on the B5356, we saw something that was very sad. What did we see? The remains of a Badger. Mixed feelings, sad it had been killed, pleased that there were badgers in the Daresbury Wonderland.


Still no Alice!