Wednesday, 18 October 2006

Last sunday

Met Paul at 10, parked the car on Gorple Road. It was already quite windy, so much so, that I decided to put a wooly hat on. So, we set off, fine but very windy, about a mile along the track we came up with a bench dedicated to a William Joyce and his wife. Could it be the same Mr and Mrs Joyce who taught me at  Towneley High School? Both of them were quite batty, so it may be them. What a bloody place to put a bench though, though I do admit it gives one a place to park ones bums. It was a gloomy day from the start, somewhere on the horizon we could see light, but not near where we were, So, we ventured on, got to the Yorkshire border fence, then realised we should have turned off a while back, my fault. Anyway, we turned off in the region we should have originally gone, ended up at the Hare Stones. They are a fantastic crop of mill stone grit stones that mark the boundary between Lancashire and the west riding of Yorkshire. was time for a stop for a break, had a banana and a wee sup of tea, then off again. We tried in vain to find the stone cairn circle at Cant Clough, was like trying to find a needle in a haystack, the grass was up to my chest.


So, we journeyed forth unto Widdop reservoir, whereupon we encountered thick fog over the water. All the birds now seem to have departed, apart from a few field pippits and a few wagtails. At Widdop there were hawks, but as they were in profile agianst the sky I cannot say what kind of birds they were. Once there we branched left onto the Burnley way, until it joined with the main road from Colne to Hebden.

All along the way I was so surprised to see new tufts of grass, new flowers blooming, same as in my front garden, fuschia bush sending up new shoots. Plenty of fungi growing though am not too sure on a lot of it.


Saw a spirit of a lady at Widdop. I do not usually see spirits, but this one was genuine. She could only be seen out of the corner of my eye, think she was as curious about me as I was about her. At Swindon reservoir was in time to see a migrating flock of gulls land there,

Anyway, got back to Worsthorne by the way we had done a couple of weeks ago, it had been yet another good days walk. Pity we didnt find the stone circle though.

Sunday, 17 September 2006

Worsthorne Walk

We all met on Gorple Road at 10 am, 8 of us showed up. It was a very misty start to the day, when I got up Pendle Hill wasnt in site, hidden behind a think bank of fog. However, as the morning progressed, the sun came out and it was quite warm as there was no wind.

The first site we went to was on Hambleden Pasture, near the top of Gorple Road.Here there are 2 sites, a tumulus and a stone circle. We came across a lovely little frog hopping around amongst the stones, tried to get a pic of him but he was a shy chappy. From there we journeyed downhill to Ringstones, a supposedly Romano British fort. The first time we went to look for this one we couldnt find it, possibly cos the grass was too long to see anything. When you get there, it is actually quite well defined, and on a very large scale. There is more info on this place in Bennett's History of Burnley. ( No relation to me, I am a Suthers).

I had begun this mornings walk in a lot of pain from an acute ingrowing toenail, however, the painkillers set in and I was ok so long as I didnt kick a stone in the grass. When I did, I had to strictly modify my language!!!! I did blaspheme though!!!!

After Beagle Hill, Bonfire Hill, and Pike Law, we eventually got to Ells Clough where there is an earthwork and a stone ring cairn. Then onto Delph Hill, my favourite site. By then it had begun drizzling, so we all rapidly got into waterproofs. It soon fined up however. Coming back we were amazed by the amount of ponies and horses that seem to roam wild over this area, noticed one mare who was heavily pregnant with her foal from last year and another baby from this year. How many times a year do horses breed? Would be glad of some input from this from anyone in the know. Not many magic mushrooms around. maybe they are late this year? Saw harebells growing in the same place as last time we were up there. Also a Canadian Goose flew over in the afternoon and landed on a pylon about half an hour after we had seen a skein of them fly over. Maybe the others were migratory and this one was staying. Skylarks are still rife up on the moors as well as meadow pippits, so are a few swallows. Cant be long though until they all go south.

Anyway, I digress, after we went back to Hambledon Pasture and to the stone circle on Slipper Hill, of which nothing much remains, but you can still get the feeling of the site. Will have to look up on old maps what used to be on that site cos to me it looks like there may have been an old dam there at one time.

Several folk had to make there way back home then, so we said our goodbyes, then 4 of us went on to Burwains which is in Briercliffe cl;ose to Thursden Valley. It is thought that this is a place where people would converge in the past as it was a burial site and a supposed place for rituals. Whoever discovered this site either had a very fertile imagination, or saw it in winter, cos at this time of the year when the grass is long, its very hard to distinguish landforms.It does cover a very large area, but I think with constant mowing of the land over the centuries, that the site isnt as obvious as it once was. Mores a pity in a way. If this was my ancestors grave yard, then just where did my ancestors live? Where are the remains of their houses, farms, their rubbish tips? They must be someplace locally. Will we ever know?


Monday, 7 August 2006


Yesterday I went on a ramble over the moors from Worsthorne. We went out in search of stone circles, cairns, henges and such. Even though I have walked over that way plenty of times in the past, I had never bothered searching for the neolithis and bronze age sites before. We didnt find all that were marked on the map, but 2 of the sites were very special. The last one was a perfect stone circle on Delf Hill, 7 stones in all, one looked to have a small face carved onto it. There was such a good atmosphere to the place, very peaceful we both thought.

On the way there we disturbed a hare, which bounded away from us as we approached it, and coming back we saw another one in a different place. Its very rare to see them near where I live so I felt quite pleased about it. One large field was full of cattle, some lovely little calves standing close to their mums, they had such bonny faces, the bulls actually took no notice of us, must be a tame breed. There were also about 6 horses, 2 fell ponies came up to be petted, a brown pony had a foal with her, it kept galloping about.

No mushrooms about yet on the moors, but one spot was full of harebells growing. Near Hellclough it looked like a snowstorm in progress, the clocks off thistles blowing everywhere.

It was a very warm day, didnt need a cardi, even though it was quite dull.

Friday, 28 July 2006



Hubby actually came out fruit picking with me yesterday aft. Think he realised I was pissed off with him for forgetting our wedding anniversary yesterday. He will learn with time no doubt.

We found a new location for raspberries and almost filled a tupperware full of them. After that I went to pluck gooseberries, but found that the shrub had been taken, either dug up for relocation, or just got rid of. Whatever, I was NOT best pleased.

On a lighter note, got a phone call last night from a member of Northern earth wanting me to help to arrange a walk around Worsthorne way. Sounds good to me.


Monday, 17 July 2006


Forgot to add yesterday what a magnet my lavender is for insects. Have been watching the dozens of bees very closely, have recorded white, and orange tailed bumble bees, carder bees, and some other sort whose type I am unfamilliar with.

Today, as well as the usual cabbage white butterflies, I saw a small tortoiseshell butterfly and a painted lady butterfly. I think they are beautiful creatures, so graceful and delicate, however, my cats think they look good enough to eat, so had to put moggies inside on more than one occassion.

Decided to hunt for more raspberries, found some at the foot of Healey Heights, and also wild strawberries. Was most pleased about that!!!! On the way back, walked round by the top field, or the village green as it is now known, and Joyce had lots of blackcurrants dangling over her fence, so quite a few of those went home with me as well. Some folk look at me in horror when I say I eat the fruit as it is, say they will be full of worms and such. I say it adds to the flavour!!! Honestly, they will pay over the odds for fresh fruit in a supermarket, yet shun fruit that comes free.

Havent heard the crickets since the council worker mowed the grass on the back field, he went too far into the nettles this time. Do hope they didnt get killed.

The bottom of Healey Heights is bright pink with rosebay willowherb at the moment, am sure there is more than last year. All this lovely hot sun seems to have made everything grow in profusion since we had the storm the other week. Tomorrow is supposed to be even hotter. Was 86 today, I put my thermometer is the sun and the mercury reached 98.

Sunday, 16 July 2006


This year my lavender bush in my front garden has excelled itself. Never have I seen it looking more purple. I still reckon it must be the largest lavender bush in Burnley outside of a public park.

Yesterday I had to rescue a grasshopper from my black cat who thought it would make a tasty snack. It hopped away into a bed of nettles on the back field.

The young deer has been sighted again early one morning, must try to get up before God and see it for myself.

Was annoyed to say the least today when I decided to go raspberry picking, some nasty person has cut all the canes level with the ground in the place I usually go to. Was only able to find a few more in a different location. There are several large cherry trees in full fruit, only trouble is I would have to be about 14 foot tall to reach them.

On a sadder note, a baby boy who was only a few weeks old died on the next street to us. His parents are little more than kids themselves but they were the proudest parents ever. Now this has happened and the whole district is in shock.

Friday, 7 July 2006


At around lunchtime was in my backyard soaking up the sun when I noticed a movement on my willow sapling. On closer inspection I found it to be a lovely green grasshopper. Its the first one Ive ever found in my backyard so I was quite pleased. About an hour later there was no sign of it, just hope one of my cats didnt eat it. Still havent found out what the mystery fly was, the nearest I could find to it on the net was some kind of north american wasp. Long way from home if it was one of those.

Tuesday, 4 July 2006


Still the hot humid weather is upon is. I love it, it means I dont have to wear a jacket or socks.My hair sticks to my back, but so what, I am not cold.

My youngest daughter heard crickets up at Clowbridge reservoir yesterday evening, so  tis not just me hearing things. Wildlife Trust come and see!!!!

Tonight was chatting outdoors with neighbours about 10pm and a thing landed on my lavender bush, wasnt a bee or a wasp and was much bigger than a hornet. I have seached in my nature books and cant find it. Was four times the size of a bee, had reddish wings in the middle. Even in Algeria I never saw anything like it. I cant think that it was a native british insect. If I find what it was I will inform you.


On sunday we had the worst thunderstorm I have known in years, It began about 2-30 by a distant rumbling which we all ignored. After about an hour we got a few raindrops, then it began to rain so I went indoors. Watched most of it thru my bedroom window, it came like a river down my frontstreet, like Niagara from the troughings, a dip in my backyard fild up and threatened to inundate my house, so I relucantly had to close my backdoor, even if it was hot and humid.

The result was we escaped the worst of it whilst Todmorden, Rossendale and Manchester got the worst. To see pics of Tod, please go to Todtalk.

Saturday, 1 July 2006


I caught the 1-27 train out of Burnley to Hebden Bridge. Today was the start of the Arts festival, so I thought I may catch one or two of the street performances. I was lucky in that there was a folk singer performing when I got there, near St Georges Square, so I sat down to eat my lunch and enjoy the music. Afterwards I thought I would go up the riverside path to Midgehole and then up to Pecket Well. Walking along Hangingroyd Lane I kept having to dodge a big blue dragonfly which was zipping about quite madly. They are beautiful creatures but rather stupid, am sure they must have bad eyesight cos they blunder straight into people.

Once I got onto the riverside walk there was still no respite from the heat and humidity, after only a short while I found I had a stitch in my side. Walking up the long flight of steps onto Midgehole Road was almost the death of me, could hear my heart pounding. Took it rather slower the rest of the way to Midgehole, saw lots of foxgloves in bloom alongside nettles and buttercups. Eventually I flopped onto a bench across from the Blue Pig ( Midgehole working mens club) and drank about half a litre of water. Decided that there was no way I was going to venture up to Pecket Well as it is a very steep incline all the way up, so I had a look from the outside at a des res that is up for sale. On the estate agents photos the garden looks huge, the reality is its quite tiny, still a lovely setting to live but you would definately need wheels. A pub but no shop within miles.Doubt if there is even a bus.

I decided to walk back by the main road, stroked a beautiful black cat with a short stump of a tail, could be a manx cross breed I think, she had the sweetest meow. Then a border collie dog came up to me to be stroked. It belonged to a Thai lady and we chatted for a while. I told her Ive a friend in Burnley married to a Thai lady, it only turned out that she was actually waiting for the same lady to visit her!!!! A few minutes later Richards car past me then he picked me up on his way back and dropped me off in the town centre. Talk about synchronicity!!!! I talk to a stranger and she knows the same folk as me.

Once back in the town I sat and watched a percushion band, they were good, think everyone was jigging around to them, then a 3some folk group. Met an American lady who was wearing a thick winter cardigan, she said folk back home had told her England is always freezing cold, so she had only brought winter clothes. I said to take her jacket off but she replied she didnt want to get skin cancer!!!! More likely she will die of heat exhaustion instead.  On the way back to the train station I thought I would snag a few cherries of somebodies tree, well I would have done but they arent even ripe yet, another tree that is 2 weeks behind last year. Something to look forward to in a couple of weeks, ripe cherries.

Got home about 5pm, house empty and cats needing to be fed.

Friday, 30 June 2006


In addition to the 4 species of grasshopper in Lancashire ( of 13 species found in Britain), we have three species of buch cricket in Lancashire which are found in a few scattered localities. These are the Bog Bush Cricket, a nationally rare species found at Winmarleigh & Cockerham Mosses. The Oak Bush Cricket is known only from woodlands in the Ribble Valley. The Roesel's Bush Cricket is found at Fleetwood. More information is in the book "Wildlife of Lancashire" publisherd by the Wildlife Trust in 2004 (available online or via bookshops). Hope this helps.
This was the response I got from emailing the Wildlife Trust in east lancs. My area is nowhere near any of these, you would have at least thought they would have shown some enthusiasm. I have discovered an area not know before to be populated with crickets, I would have thought they would have asked me for an exact location, but no, they didnt. So, its now my area, plus a few neighbours in the know, if they want to know where it is they can look for themselves. The same goes for the place that a rare specimen of orchid grows, I first found it 11 years ago and they still grow there.If I tell it to the world then it will get trampled on.Ive no doubt that they think I am a silly woman who cannot tell a cricket from a grasshopper, I spent 6 years in the middle east and I can differentiate between the 2.

Wednesday, 28 June 2006

Guess what I heard?

Tonight I stuck my head outside to see if the new moon was visible, could see plenty of stars but no moon. However, a strange sound drew me towards the back field. It was a cricket I could hear, Ive not heard one round here for many years. Even grasshoppers had become a bit of a rarity until foot and mouth disease kept everyone off the land. Now they have made a comeback and its good to hear them up on the Delph.

Was up at Trawden for the annual Pendle witch camp at the weekend, fortunately we were in a different field to last year, so no cow pats to fall in. Had a bright red fly land on me, havent any idea what it was until I have looked it up. Enjoyed listening to the curlews, they have a lovely call I think. I would have walked up to Wycollar country park on the sunday but the weather wasnt very good, quite foggy, cold and a strong wind. Will save that walk for a lovely day.

Sunday, 4 June 2006

Hebden Bridge

Me and Angela, my youngest daughter, got a lift in with a neighbour today. Spent hours looking around shops then went onto the canal towpath. As we did so, a heron that must have been on the side of the canal suddenly swooped off, we got a real close up view of it. Earlier we saw a ruddy duck on the Hebden Water amongst all the mallards, quite distinctive with its red feathers and blue beak. Stroked a siamese cat and a persian female which must have weighed about 2 stones, I had to pick her up from the middle of a road.

The laburnum trees are in full bloom and a treat for the eyes they are. This year they are 2 weeks later than last year, probably because of the cold winter lasting so long.

Wednesday, 31 May 2006

Grassington Moor

The last pic was of Grassington Moor, a place we hiked over last October but I forgot to do a write up on.


On Sunday we all met at Heber's Ghyll in Ilkley at 10am, that is 14 of us from the Northern Earth Mysteries Group. Our intention was to take a walk over Ilkey Moor. We started off by climbing up Heber's Ghyll, a very steep ravine, a stream cascading all the way from the top. There is a proper walkway with bridges over the stream, one of the most beautiful glens I have seen, reminiscent in a lot of ways of some of the Manx glens. The bluebells were out in proffusion and also ramsons, or wild garlics. It took ages it seemed to reach the top of the ravine, I think we were all gasping for breath by the time we arrived there. We climbed over a style and were then out on open moorland with panoramic views over the whole valley and Ilkley town.

Our first stop was the Swastika stone, so called because of the neolithic stone etching on it. Its a monstrous piece of rock, thankfully behind railings to protect it from vandals. The wind on the topps was freezing, was hard to believe it was the end of May, and by then we had all gotten into our jackets with hoods up. Next on line was the Noon stone, though none of us know why it is so called. After that we traversed the boundary of a conifer plantation for quite a while, I noticed that the cotton grass was flowering and that curlews, sky larks and meadow pipits were calling, also a few dandelions grew near to the path.

From up on the tops we had a wonderful clear view of Pendle Hill and also Bouldsworth peeking over the top of another hill, the early warning system "golf balls" near Blubberhouse Moor, and the Emley Moor transmitter. After a lunch stop we journeyed on downwards first to the Doubler Stones and then through a pine forest at Rivock Edge. This place is reputed to be haunted by hooded figures, unfortunately none of us saw any, but it feels quite an eerie place as nothing seems to grow there. We had to climb off the track to see Rivock Oven, a cave quite high up, a few of the more daring actually crawled through the gap in the stones. An old legend has it that if a man and a woman clamber through the gap then they will marry!!! I just did not want to chance it!!!!

Next our stop was the badger stone which is carved with neolithic art, its best seen in wet weather, luckily for us the day was dry, but unfortunate in that we couldnt make out too much of the art depicted on it.

Our final stop was a stone which had been covered in red paint a few years back, most of it has worn away, but a few patches still remain. They are mainly rune stones, we have still to find out what they mean.We follows cascades downwards and then wearily walked about 2 miles back to the descent into Heber's Ghyll.

3 days later my legs are still aching. I have done much longer walks, think it must have been all the plodding through peat bogs which caused them to ache, but at least my feet kept dry.


Friday, 19 May 2006


Have been told on a very good authority, that a female deer and her fawn have been seen just 2 minutes walk away from where I live. Last night my youngest daughter and I decided to have a look, but am afraid we didnt see either of them. I reckon they live up in the woods during the daytime, then spend the night on the place where they were seen till early morning. I am keeping the location quiet because of yobs with guns who may try to kill them. I dont even know what kind of deer they are, but I do wish I could catch a glimpse of them. We have badgers locally that Ive never seen, though I have a good inkling as to the location of their set. Foxes I have seen in broad daylight, beautiful creatures, who nevertheless create havoc for poultry owners, as I found out to my own cost a few years ago.

All of out native species are very special and should be appreciated. To eradicate even one of them would be a great loss. Ok, I dont like the thought of bears romeing our woods, or sabre tooth tigers, but I think wolves could be reintroduced, they dont pose too much of a threat to man. Also wild cats, they are supposed to be only in Scotland now, but I know for a fact that they are living in North Yorkshire, I have seen them for myself. Lovely big tabby cats with long stripey tails and broad heads.


Saw a butterfly last week Ive not seen before ever, but until I get a good image of it I wont say anymore.

Friday, 12 May 2006


Decided around midday that I would make the most of a beautiful day, so hurriedly made a few sandwiches, filled a bottle with water, then off I went. At my local farm I was admiring the lambs with their mothers, when suddenly a kestrel swooped down less than 5 yards from me, snatched up a starling in its beak, then flew off with it in the direction of Healey Heights. I hear plenty of kestrels circling around kee keeing, but Ive not seen one that close to before. Poor starling though!!! I have starlings nesting in my troughing, they come back to us every year. Hope their chicks manage to grow up without getting devoured, either by birds of prey or one of my cats. We got several presented to us last year.

Having got to the end of the farm track I decided to go up Crown Point by Woodplumpton Road rather than on the Burnley Way. Once I had reached the first cattle grid I was glad I had done so because of the sound of the skylarks. They have a wonderful song. When I was a little girl I would hear them all the time on my way to school in a morning. Sadly I only ever hear them now up on the tops. I noticed that there were still quite a few wild daffodils growing at the roadside, they have been very late flowering this year. After I had rested at the second cattle grid and had my food, I journeyed on towards Bacup Road. I was quite thrilled to both hear and see curlews as well as the skylarks and meadow pippits. Am sure I heard a grouse also but never saw it.

A long distance truck from France stopped me and asked the way to a small village called Water, just over the border into Rossendale, I couldnt help but wonder what on earth he was going to such an isolated place for. I didnt even know they had any firms there. After a short walk down Bacup Road I turned onto a dirt track that used to be for when they did opencast mining on Deerplay Moor. This is access land and there was a sign saying to keep dogs on leads as it is the lambing season. The lambs were just adorable, some very young with their umbilical cords still dangling. The ewes as ever very protective of them, calling for their offspring as soon as I approached. A short way down I climbed over a very rickety gate and petted two beautiful fell ponies that were grazing. I continued along the track until I was way up above Cliviger, could see the houses of Holme Chapel looking very tiny down in the valley. The trig point of Thievely Pike was just above me now, from here one can see far and wide on a clear day, but yesterday was too hazy, so I didnt go all the way up, instead I sat down on a huge lump of millstone grit rock. Silly me had walked all that way in sandals and by then had developed a blister underneath my right heel. I could have gone down a steep track through Buckley Wood to Holme Chapel and caught a bus back to Burnley, but I had no money with me. So, I had no alternative but to walk back the same way as I had come. That road seemed never ending, I was very tempted to hitch a lift, but common sense prevaled and I walked home, getting to the house just before 5pm. My poor foot was stinging like hell and I had also pulled a muscle in my left thigh. I will know in future to wear my hiking boots even if it is hot. This morning I could hardly walk when I got up, but I have unstiffened a bit now. lol