Where have all the birdies gone?

The Rainford Loop.

Yesterday I was walking in the southern part of Lancashire. Our starting point was Siding Lane Ranger Centre near Rainford. My walk description advised me to bring binoculars as the area was popular with visiting birds, especially at this time of the year when pink-foot geese arrive in their thousands from their summer home in the Arctic. I was sure they would be there as on several recent mornings I had been woken by their calls as flocks flew over my house at dawn.

Sidings Lane Local Nature Reserve was the site of an 1860’s colliery owned by the Rainford Coal Company. Following the 1926 miners strike the colliery closed in 1928. Some relics remain such as a couple of concrete capped shafts but most of the land has been returned to nature.

Our route headed south to cross the Liverpool to Wigan railway line and then proceed along field tracks and lanes. This was farming country and we stopped to watch workers harvesting the crop of sprouts.

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Sprouts

It looked hard work, all that bending, and it was very cold in the open fields.

On the second half of our loop we walked along the old coach road to Lord Derby’s estate. The fields alongside were where we had expected to see the pink-foot geese but all we saw were two crows. Later as we sat eating our lunch I was joined by a robin who enjoyed the crumbs from my last mince pie.

915 Robin

It had been an easy stroll, just over 6 miles and with a total ascent of 32 feet. That was climbing up the embankment to cross the railway line.

Back at the car we were taking off our boots when we noticed lots of birds fluttering around a tree. Someone had filled the feeders up with seed and the birds were almost queuing up to get at it. There were blue tits and Nuthatch. I did my best to get a picture but I needed a longer lens.

Blue tit

Nuthatch 2

They were joined by a hungry Grey Squirrel wanting to steal their food.

Grey Squirrel

It had been an interesting half day and only a short drive from home. I must go back.

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A walk above Prestatyn

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At the weekend I was out walking with Crosby Rambling Club. Our destination was Prestatyn on the North Wales Coast. The area was new to us but we were able to take in sections of the Clwydian Way and Offa’s Dyke.

We started our walk from the centre of Prestatyn and followed the main street out of town to begin the steep climb to the open ground above the town.

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Passing to the rear of some masts we followed the Clwydian Way towards the village of Trelawnyd.

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High above the village we made a diversion to Gop Hill. The summit of the hill did not look natural and in fact is man made and one of the most important Bronze-Age mounds in the UK. There is evidence of a burial chamber and the site was built above a series of caves that were inhabited back to the ice age.

We stopped for lunch just below the summit and nearby there was a pile of stones and a plaque dedicated to Freyja.

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Freyja was a Norse Goddess associated with love, sex , beauty, fertility, war and death. She rode a chariot pulled by two cats accompanied by a boar named Hildisvini. She possessed  a cloak of falcon feathers and was the owner of the necklace Brisingamen.                      What was she doing in North Wales?

We next followed green lanes heading towards Dyserth and linking up with the Offa’s Dyke Path.

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We paused at a ruined building which had once been a flour Mill with a huge mill wheel on the outside wall. We were in the Valley of the Mills.This valley once boomed to the thump of cloth mills and the whirring grate of the grindstones of the flour mill. Our mill was known as Felin Fawr or ‘Great Mill’.It was a flour mill powered by the waters of Ffynnon Asa. It was the largest of the seven mill wheels that worked between here and Dyserth in the late 19th century.

On the outskirts of Dyserth we climbed to the summit of Craig Fawr from where there were fine views across to Snowdonia and the North Wales coast from the Great Orme to the point of Ayr and to the off shore wind farms in the Irish Sea.

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86 Group photo on Craig Fawr

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A steep descent led us down to a cycleway, the route of the disused railway line that led us back to Prestatyn.

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I had plenty of time to enjoy a pint of Doom Bar before the coach journey back home.

Only just over nine miles but enough on these short winter days.

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Greetings from the Iron Men

It’s a bright and breezy start to the New Year.

Time to go down the beach and say “Hello” to the Iron Men.

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Nothing will change for them as they continue to gaze out to the horizon.

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But what adventures will I get up to in 2019?

Happy New Year from Crosbyman.                                           636

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A Winters Walk

A winters walk that could almost be monochrome.

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Memories of Yorkshire.

B. Cairn on Twistleton Scar

It will soon be a New Year and time to get my boots on for more walks.

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Rambling on

It was midwinter, the shortest day of the year. It was very bleak with a couple of inches of snow on the ground and the ponds were frozen but I was out walking with my friends.

As we left the village we saw an old man coming towards us following some footsteps in the snow. I thought he was a king as he was wearing a crown, but as he got nearer I realised it was just a paper party hat.

Up on the moor we met some shepherds by their hut. They were moaning about the weather. One said “it was a bit parky up here last night looking after them there sheep”.

We had to cross a stream which was a bit tricky. We were trying to rock hop across when I looked to my right. Three walkers were crossing via the footbridge. They were the Wise Men !

After lunch I thought I saw a star rising in the east and arcing across the sky but Roger said it was just the tail lights of a 747 out of Manchester heading across the Atlantic.

At the end of our walk we fancied a pint and we sent Joe on ahead to check out the pub. He sail the place was heaving and the landlord having looked at his muddy boots said we would be better off it the Stables Bar round the back. That was less crowded but it was still noisy.I could hear some cows mooing and somewhere nearby a baby was crying its head off.

We enjoyed a pint of Black Sheep and when we went outside the church bells were ringing and people were dancing round a big tree on the village green. They were all singing. David  said they were singing about Carol.

What’s happening ?

Merry Christmas everyone.

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Worston with Crosby Rambling Club

Last weekend I was up at Worston to walk in the Lancashire countryside and later to enjoy a meal at the Calf’s Head.

The weather on Saturday had been appalling. Very wet and warnings of freezing rain to come with treacherous driving conditions. Would we even get there? and would Pendle Hill be covered in snow. As it happened Sunday was bright and sunny but we still had to contend with the mud.

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I did the moderate ‘B’ walk which followed a lovely path across fields to the village of Downham.

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As it was close to Christmas it was time for the party hats to come out.

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Time also for a ‘groupenphoto’ and a bit of larking about.

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We had a short stop in the beautiful village of Downham which is closely linked with the Assheton family who bought the lordship of the manor in the 16th century. The diary of Nick Assheton written in the 17th century inspired Harrison Ainsworth to write his tale of the Lancashire Witches.

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23 Downham

25 Downham

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It was opening time and the Assheton Arms looked inviting but we had to press on. The remainder of our walk was mainly along quiet country lanes where at least there was no mud. We had our lunch close to Twiston Beck before heading back to Worston.

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The sun came out and we could look north and just make out the outline of the three peaks.

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We were back at Worston by 3 pm with plenty of time to get changed and enjoy a pre-diner drink. A good range of real ales were available at the bar. We all enjoyed a superb meal at the Calf’s Head with excellent service.

I opted for pot roast pheasant accompanied by a nice bottle of Malbec. Just what I needed after a long walk.

Posted in Crosby Rambling Club, Lancashire, Walks | 3 Comments