Monday, 29 November 2004

Hebden Hey

Had a wonderful weekend someplace near Hardcastle Crags near Hebden Bridge. There was a group of maybe 70 or 80 of us. Landed on the friday evening in time for tea, then off to the Blue Pig at Midghole for a pub quiz and entertainment. After a walk back through unlit woods, good job some guy had a torch with him, we all sluped into our bunkbeds for the night. Didnt get very much sleep what with all the snoring and folk traversing to the loo all night!!!

Had  a hearty vegan breakfast in the morning, then we all went up through the woods to Bent Head farm for the tree planting. It was a peircingly cold dry morning, not a cloud in the sky, wind blasting at us made my eyes water, but at least it was fine. Stayed there till about 1-30, I mainly planted alders and oaks, felt real good to be making an impact on the barren landscape. It was so cold in the shade, so I followed the sun round, had 2 pair of thermal gloves on so my hands were fine, my feet however kept seizing up on me. At about 1 I returned to the barn for a hot frink, then my stomach made the better of me and I returned to the scout hut for lunch.

After lunch there were workshops, I went to one on the kingdom of Elmet, all about the history and ecology of the place. Am afraid I dozed off for a while. Later there was a play about the area. In the evening we had a party, more people had come up to join us, saw some old faces I knew.

On sunday, there was more tree planting, but me and a few more went out in the mini bus to view all Treesponsibilities other sites where they have done tree planting.

At 2pm we had out final meeting, Penny, who had organised it all said altogether about 2000 trees had been planted, which I think was very good. Almost a forest!!

I stayed to help clear up, then finally got back home at around 6-45pm, knackered but happy.


Thursday, 11 November 2004


Amongst all the gloom and fog I espied a solitary red clover growing out of the dying grass on an overgrown patch of land. It wasnt stunted either, it was huge!!! Dont know if thats quite common or not in november but its the only one Ive seen for a while. There are still the odd daisies around but Ive seen them in december.


Am off now till sunday evening planting trees in Hebden Bridge. Should be fun. lol.

Wednesday, 27 October 2004

Ive not written anything new since July, its not cos Ive had nothing to write about, its just that too many other factors got in the way. Plus, at times I can be a real lazy old cow!!! In the last few days Ive tried to feed squirrels, they dont seem interested in bread anymore, but spend their time forageing under leaves looking for nuts, acorns etc. Its forecast to be a hard winter and I am wondering if it could be so. Last autumn I couldnt find any acorns, this autumn they are quite literally dropping on me there are so many. I do so hope not, cos I hate a cold winter. Anyway, Ive been like the squirrels and kitted myself up ready for a cold spell, thermal waterproof goretex gloves, arctic parka, thermal waterproof pants and jacket. I guess I am going to look like Madame Michelin!!! Anyway, who the heck cares so long as I am warm.

Love to everyone who reads my stupid notes.

Wednesday, 28 July 2004


Thought I would go for a walk up Howarth Road early on this aft, as soon as I got outside I noticed the rather pungent smell of privet blossom drifting across from a huge tree over on the back field. Ragwort is now flowering everywhere, complete with stripey caterpillars of the cinnabar moth.

Where Howarth Road approaches Mosely Road are raspberry canes at each side of the track. They are quite late developing this year, normally they are in full fruit the first week in July, now it is almost August. Anyway, I filled a tupperware container with them. They were delicious with fresh cream on!!!

It was a funny sort of day, dull as anything yet very muggy. Preferable to being chilly though. At least this weekend is not expected to be cold. Have already started packing my rucksack and tucker bag.

Saturday, 24 July 2004

Tuesday 20th july

Left Burnley on the 11-50 train to Hebden Bridge, the sky looked rather doubtful so I had packed my waterproof in my rucksack, though it wasnt in the least bit cold. On arrival went up to the archery place, then past the bowling green to Midgehole.Since last I was round there the nettles had grown considerably, and so had rosebaywillow herb and speedwell.

Climbing up the probably 1in 2 slope up to Heptonstall was a hairy experience, all I had on my feet were sandals, so I had to grope from boulder to boulder and hope not to slip on the soggy patches in between where I could see previous skid marks. Eventually I arrived on the main road jst before the village, ready for a home cooked pub lunch which was very enjoyable. A couple of village cats joined me, 2 sisters, recently neutered, one stripey and the other black.


After leaving the pub I walked across the field to Lumb Bank where my daughter did a writing course last year, and then down into Colden Clough where the Colden Mill used to be.I continued on a path to the right of the stream but after about a hundred yards the track became too dangerous to continue on. I retraced my steps and joined a pack horse track on the left which leads to Colden village. At least this track was safe underfoot. On both sides it was lined with both heather and bilberry, the latter of which was in fruit. I met an elderly lady who had gathered a whole container of them to make pies with. She said it was the second day she had gone out picking them. Because of the humidity down in the valley they ripen quicker than up on the moors.Around Burnley on the moorland they still have to ripen. On the latter part of the track on the right hand side I saw a stone amongst the bilberries, about 3 foot high, mostly covered in bracken.Whether this was an old standing stone or an old waymarker I want able to ascertain.. Eventually I reached  Jack Bridge and the New Delight Inn, had a drink ouside but the sky was getting darker  so caught the 4-30 bus back the Hebden bridge rather than risk the soaking that had been forecast.


Friday, 16 July 2004


Hi all, was busy looking out of my window this afternoon when I spied something reddish in the honeysuckle across the road at the end house. At first i thought it was a robin but soon realised it was a bullfinch. The last one I saw round here was about 3 years ago.


Hopefully the weather will soon improve, yesterday was St Swithins day, 40 days of rain just doesnt appeal. Am soon off to Ripon for 3 days for the Oakleaf camp. There are still very few raspberries and gooseberries not quite ripe yet. Ragwort is now in bloom with big hairy caterpillars crawling on them.


Sunday, 11 July 2004

Older entries

If anyone would like to read older entries, they are still there, just go to older entries and type in May 2004, which is when I started writing the notes.

The weather has been awful, so havent been out and about a great deal. However I did go for a short walk up Healey Heights today. Saw great swatches of cerise fireweed growing up on the slopes, (roasebay willow herb) mixed in with the paler pink thistle flowers. No sign yet of billberries plus raspberries are very late this year. Even my gooseberries are not quite ripe.


Wednesday, 7 July 2004

A horse named Blue

Seeing as yesterday was sunny and warm I spent some time in the community garden. This site was begun 2 years ago from a derelict area which had been used for tipping. Its website address is

Hours of hard work and effort have been put into this project, and it is looking a treat.I spent time dead heading roses and other plants and whilst doing so noticed a huge white stallion up on the delph, looking for all the world like a unicorn sylhouetted against the sky. Many times he has got out of his pen along with a white shetland pony, local people would take water up in buckets for him, especially in hot weather.


This morning when I got up onto the delph to inspect the fencing I noticed some RSPCA inspectors and police, along with a local man. I followed them to see what was happening, and to my utter horror discovered Blue dead from a broken neck in his pen. He must have tried to jump his fence or something and got caught by his rope in some way.

If anyone reading this keeps horses, or any other animals, will you please look after them properly. Blue's death was so unnecessary, it could have easily been prevented. He was loved by all the local children and will be sadly missed.


Rest In Peace Blue.

Friday, 2 July 2004


Today is just as bad weatherwise as yesterday was. However I did make a short foray up into the woods for about an hour or so, sheltering under a canopy of trees when there was a sudden downpour.

To the left of the small kiddies playground is a small copse, in spring it was full of daffodils and then  bluebells, now in one area it is carpeted in blue meadow cranesbill. Just further on from the playground is a swampy area by a stream known locally as the Chuckpad, there the yellow flag irises are thriving in the moist ground.

Further up the heights I foraged my way into a small clearing amongst all the japanese knot weed, standing very still and silent I was rewarded by seeing coal tits, blue tits, and then 2 turtle doves, as well as the usual blackbirds, thrushes, and sparrows.

For the foreseeable future it doesnt look like there is going to be any improvement in the weather, which is a pity as our summer is so short at the best of times.I'd like to be venturing much further afield again, maybe even to the top of Pendle Hill, but I dont find any joy in getting soaked to the skin.

Wednesday, 30 June 2004

walk in the rain

I thought the rain was finished with so I walked up to the east of healey heights, was very saddened to see another of the saplings has been snapped, this time a 4ft rowan tree. I'll have to find a stake for it and hope it can survive.

This has to be one of the most beautiful parts of the Burnley area, so close to the town and yet so tranquil. From there it is possible to see as far as the Ribble Valley to the west, Whalley Brew, Pendle Hill in the north, the great bulk of Boulsworth up to the northeast, Coal Clough wind farm on the Long Causeway, and the awesome Cliviger Gorge to the south east. The landscape always inspires me in all the changing seasons, sometimes it is wild and harsh, othertimes fertile and mellow. After it has rained all the scents in the woods become more pronounced.

I was intending to go much further than tending my own territory, but as I was sitting on top of a fence the heavens suddenly opened once more. By the time I had got back down from the heights it was quietly bucketing down and my jeans were rather soggy.

Have noticed that a cherry tree on manchester road still isnt at the ripe stage, at least a week behind last year. A plum tree near the canal has no fruit at all on this year for some unknown reason. The purple common spotted orchid on the delph has flowered for the second year running, just hope no idiot decides to go and pick it.

Sunday, 27 June 2004

view looking across to Heptonstall


I should have added this in my previous entry.

Stoodley Pike


Here is a pic of an old road I travelled down two sundays ago. There wasnt really time to go up to the pike itself, but I hope to one fine day soon. I must add that the view from up there is quite stupendous, Heptonstall church looks like a rabbit with its ears pricked up, way across the valley.


Thursday, 24 June 2004

This year we seem to have had far more vetch growing up on the delph than Ive seen in previous years.




In the 1960's laburnum trees were always in blossom for my grandmothers birthday on June 9th, now they are in flower mid may. Is this due to climate change or what?




Tuesday, 22 June 2004


Me and my friend Klur arrived at the camp near Roughlee at about 10 am saturday 19th June.The view from there was stupndous with Pendle Hill as a backdrop on one side and a vista of Burnley and Pendle boroughs to the other. There was an excellent view of Blacko Hill and tower also.



This site is supposed to be about nature so I wont go on about what transpired on the camp except to say it was a marvellous experiance apart from the lousy weather. It must have been the coldest 2 days in june ever recorded in lancashire. However it was good to wake up to the sound of swallows tweeting overhead.


For the benefit of any pagans/druids/wiccans etc who may read this here is something I wrote almost 2 years ago.



<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" /><o:p> </o:p>

<o:p> </o:p>

<o:p> </o:p>

<o:p> </o:p>


<o:p> </o:p>

<o:p> </o:p>

It is Yule, the Solstice. I am  Ceridwen, and from out of my bottomlesscauldren the Sun King, the Child of Hope is reborn. A tiny seed, long nurtured by the insulating blanket of snow and leaves ripens and begins to grow along with the first snowdrops.

<o:p> </o:p>

<o:p> </o:p>


<o:p> </o:p>

<o:p> </o:p>

Your light is very weak, but each day you rise that bit higher in the cold sky. I am but a child. I am Epona, wild, unfettered, free, as I gallop skittishly across the pale blue sky, and you shyly play hide and seek with me, peeping out from time to time, and I enjoy our playful games. You are still so small and so far away, but I know that you are the one, you have always been mine and will be again. I feel a joyous expectation build up within me, and in your increasing light the cold snows begin to melt, the sheep give milk to their lambs, and I begin to grow anew, refreshed from my long sleep, stretching upwards towards you. Yet still we do not meet or love.

<o:p> </o:p>

It is the Equinox and I am Brigantia. The rounded hills are my bosoms, the long swaying grass is my long pale hair, the gentle breeze is my breath. I dress in white and green, and my trees are dotted with blossoms, like pretty pink bridesmaids swaying in unison. The tiny birds chorus of my love for you, “Oh, come to me now between my hills, amidst the long grass above my Pennine home. I see you my beloved, so radiant, so warm, be at one with me now” You partake of my sweet fragrant waters and are made whole again. And my stream becomes a river coursing down to the ocean, mingling with the waves, to crash over and over again on the liminal shore. And you are awakened, and reborn a man, and I am a woman. We are together and I adore you. The gentle rains fall but yourincreasing warmth causes me to grow in stature as my buds burst forth and open into a thick canopy of green leaves. My cornucopia is full to overflowing, my love for you is endless.

<o:p> </o:p>


<o:p> </o:p>

<o:p> </o:p>

At May Eve I live amongst the bluebells and I greet thee, O Lord of the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" /><st1:place>Forest</st1:place>. You spread your green mantle all around and I bask in your light and heat. I am full of your love and the blackbirds sing sweetly of our love for one another, amidst the hawthorn blossom. By the Solstice you are with me all the time, I awake each morning and you are there, at <st1:time Hour="12" Minute="0">midday</st1:time> you are smiling down with passion upon me, when I go to rest you rest too for a little while. All my days start and end with you. My hair is golden, my skin is brown and I am gowned in emerald green and yellow. My perfume pervades all around. We are so complete, my joy for you is endless. “Oh, stay with me till the end of time, my beloved, never depart from me” But I see that even the brightest of lights cast the darkest of shadows and I turn my back on them and stay in your light. I am earth and water, you are fire and air. Your fire burns me consuming all my being, devouring me until I am one with you. I feel the scorching desert winds surround me, the light blinding me.

<o:p> </o:p>

<o:p> </o:p>


<o:p> </o:p>

<o:p> </o:p>

At Lammas the corn has ripened and must be cut down. God, that is is necessary to cut you down in your prime and fruitfulness, to end it so suddenly. I don’t want to do this, but I have to, and it breaks my heart this sacrifice. The blood soaked rowans stand as a living testimony, I see them everywhere shrieking “why?” I bask in your dwindling warmth and call to you who is dying “Take me with you”, but I know that you cannot, it is not my time yet. First all my fruits have to be gathered in until I can yield no more. “Come, drink deeply of my wine, partake of my bread one last time.”

<o:p> </o:p>

After the great harvest my hair turns grey and my leaves turn red and fall to the ground with my tears. I shroud myself in mists of mourning and drape cobwebs around me. The darkness is now overtaking the light as you sink into your underworld kingdom, the chill only serves to remind me of my emptiness. Without your warmth to nourish and sustain me I can grow no more. I am fading too, all my colour disappearing leaving the monochrome greyness of awful autumn. All is silent, the little creatures have disappeared, the birds have flown, except for a lone raven who stares silently from her fence. That great cyclopean orb in the sky shines balefully down, making shadows of shadows. All is still and I am so alone. I cannot live without you my love, for without you I am nothing.

<o:p> </o:p>

As Samhain draws near I become Hekate, standing at the crossroads of life and death. My hair is white, like the first flakes of snow which fall onto my black cloak, my heart frozen like icicles. Winter has arrived.

<o:p> </o:p>

<o:p> </o:p>


<o:p> </o:p>

<o:p> </o:p>

I can go on no longer without you. My life has come to an end. You are only a fragmentary weak light now, so distant, inexorably sinking lower. All around me darkness prevails along with my fast decaying leaves, trodden underfoot like my dreams. I must go deep within myself, inside my darkest recesses to find you again, but I cannot feel you, I cannot touch you, and how I yearn for you. Sleep, I must sleep, maybe somewhere I will find you again. I sink into the fathomless depths and as I sleep something stirs deep within me.

<o:p> </o:p>

It is Yule, the Solstice. I am Ceridwen, and from out of my bottomless cauldren the Sun King, the Child of Hope is reborn. A tiny seed, long nurtured by the insulating blanket of snow and leaves ripens and begins to grow with the first snowdrops.

<o:p> </o:p>

<o:p> </o:p>

<o:p> </o:p>

<o:p> </o:p>

Cathy Bennett. August 2002


thursday 17th June

I decided to go for a walk to the top of Crown Point via Woodplumpton Road, and was quite surprised to see so many common spotted orchids growing on the embankments on the way.


On reaching the first cattle grid I decided to take the route by Copy  Clough, instead of the boring main road so over the stile I went, taking a downward route parallel with the golf course. The cotton grass was beginning to flower everywhere.



The path is very indistinct but there are markers every few yards or so. On reaching the very bottom, even though we had not had much rain for a few weeks, Copy Clough was stilll rather boggy so I trod on the bullrushes to crosss it very gingerly without getting wet feet. I enjoyed seeing meadow pipits parachuting down.



After crossing the clough it was uphill all the way, taking a zigzag route until it joined an equally zigzag path leading to a plantation of tree in remembrance of folks loved ones. Here you can have a tree planted in soneones name. By that time there was a steady drizzle and on reaching the car park the visibility was pretty poor. I could just about makeout the great bulk of Ingleborough up to the north, to the west the coastal line was very indistinct, certainly no sign of Blackpool Tower, however to the south east Stoodley Pike was in view.



This is a view looking towards Firemans Helmet on a clear day.


I decided to walk back on the main road and am glad I did because after just a short way I heard a cricket in the grass, the first one Ive heard since I was in Tunisia about 7 years ago. I could hear skylarks, a sound not very much heard these days, and 2 curlews kept circling around low. A hawk of some sort was chasing a flock of swallows. The lambs that were so tiny in march are now almost as big as their mothers, still trying to feed offf their mums but the ewes shoving them away as if to say, " you are big boys now".

By the time I got to Glenview Road it was fine again, the walk had taken me 2 hours.

Saturday, 5 June 2004

todays walk

I decided to go for a walk mid afternoon to wake myself up, having only had 3 hours sleep last night. Too much on my mind I guess. Anyway, it was dull and dreary though not too chilly, but at least it was fine.

I got a few yards up Woodplumpton Road then turned on the farm track to the left which leads to Lower Small Hazels Farm. Nearing the end of the track a bird suddenly swooped over me quite low, calling "kee Kee" loudly, thinking it was a kestrel I looked up only to find it swooping over me again after which it alighted on a fence. It wasnt a kestrel it was a lapwing, one of my very favourite moorland birds.


I must have been quite close to where she was nesting and thats why she was circling around me. Upon reaching the farm I turned to the left to get onto the Burnley Way. A huge shire horse in the field came galloping over to greet me, I patted his nose but he was so eager to be friendly he almost shoved me into the ditch at the right hand side of the track. I ran the rest of the way before the track narrows with the hoss in hot pursuit. Towards the bottom section of the path it was completely overgrown in herbage of some kind, and as the path is very narrow and steep I found it quite dangerous as I couldnt see where I was putting my feet.


On joining Glenview Road I then took the turning through the woods near to Lower Timberhill and from there back to my home.


Sunday, 30 May 2004


This afternoon I went for a short stroll up Healey Heights, but didnt go right to the top, I took a left hand turn and came out on land between Lower and Higher Howarth Fold Farms. Actually the latter is now called Wayside. There has been some new reafforestation in the vacinity and I wanted to see howthe new saplings were doing. Was sad to find that a baby oak tree had been uprooted and left to die.I cant understand the mentality of some folk. Surely anything that will enhance out planet is something to be nurtured not destroyed.


To get back to a lighter note, May must be the prettiest month of the year, all the trees in blossom, daisies and buttercups brightening up the fields, lilac trees in gardens, and all around us the erotic scent of hawthorns.


Saw one solitary moor fritillary, and a raven on Berry Street, not its usual haunt.

Monday, 17 May 2004

sunday the 16th

I was on Manchester Road station for just before noon.As I sat there in the glorious sunshine, listening to the birds twittering away in the trees, on the opposite side of the platform I saw a bright yellow butterfly. It could have been a brimstone but was too far away for me to be sure.The eastbound train arrived on time and 20 mins later, after a stifling journey, I was in Hebden Bridge. It was a relief to get out into the fresh air again.

A short walk along the canal towpath took me to a cafe by the Alternative technology centre. After a much needed glass of coke I took the road past where Fosters Mill used to be and then the riverside path leading up to Midgehole.Even in the woods it was still very warm, I didnt need the warm jacket I had brought with me. After the weir I took a steep path through a gap in the wall and soon was quite breathless. All around the woods were carpeted with bluebells. At one stage when I was resting I heard an owl hoot, something must have disturbed it. Eventually I reached the old methodist chapel at Heptonstall, walked round to the side of it and then along a path through some fields parallel with the main road.They were quite yellow with dandelions and buttercups. I rejoined the main road and then walked down into the village. Far away in the distance I could see the transmitter at Emley Moor. It was with relief when I finally sat down outside the pub with a lovely cold drink, watching and listening to the swallows as they flew from roof to roof to telegraph wires.


To get back to hebden Bridge I walked down the Buttress, much easier going down than up I hasten to add.In the park everyone was laid out in the hot sunshine. As my train back home wasnt for ages I then walked along the canal as far as Mytholm, and took a short walk up through the woods, circling back to near the church of St John the Great.



My train was 18 mins delayed but I was in no hurry to get back, it had been a glorious day in some of the most beautiful countryside in England.

Monday, 10 May 2004

what I deleted yesterday.

Above it a pic of an orange tip butterfly, Ive noticed quite a lot of them over this past week or so, mainly flittering about on pasture and open moorland. They seem to favour mayflowers.

The hawthorns are almost out in blosson now, I love their scent, its a sure sign that summer is approaching. I dont celebrate Beltane untill they are in flower. Laburnums appear to be flowering 4 weeks earlier than they did in the mid sixties. If its a sign of global warming well and good but I'm very sceptical on that issue.


The swallows arrived back on around April 26th, 2 weeks earlier than last year. They come to the same nest up at the farm each year, I always keep a lookout for them in spring.


This morning looked as though it would brighten up to be a lovely day, so I stuck my washing out in the yard and guess what. It rained!!! Thats why Ive not been out for my daily walk as yet.


My tomcat Bonny is being impeached tomorrow. Poor pussycat. He is a very lean silky black cat and awfully timid. We've had him since he was a newborn kitten. His mum, Sparky, dissappeared a few weeks later and her sister Patch took on the job of feeding him.She and her kitten Timmy are also getting done this week. Will cost a fortune in vets fees but it will be worth it.