Well it's been a manic week but more about that later. Today I have a day trip to tell you about from my hols at the end of August. Having joined Lancashire Wildlife Trust after taking part in 30 Days Wild, I thought it would be good to visit one of their reserves, though you don't have to be a member to visit. A look at the handbook showed me Mere Sands Wood near Rufford where there's also a National Trust property. By a stroke of luck there was also a garden centre nearby which accepted the gift card I'd been given for my birthday. It was clearly fate!
Off we set to explore. It's had a varied history being part of a lake to start with, drained for agricultural use and then quarried for sand before being returned to nature. You can see more of its history on the board above.
There's a path which takes you around the perimeter of the current lake. It looks the picture of tranquility but at this stage it most definitely wasn't! The start of the walk adjoins a kennels and the mutts never stopped barking. Thankfully, the noise fades as you wander deeper into the reserve.
At various points there are hides to look out over the water. Nothing of any excitement during our visit: mallards, coots and Canada geese mainly. Annoyingly, a friend went last week and saw a kingfisher!! I've never seen one and it's on my bucket list :( Sigh, maybe next time.
Back to the walk...
A lovely example of Chicken of the woods.
And here's another lovely Chicken in the woods :)
Sometimes you could see out over the neighbouring farmland: in this case, potato fields.
I would have liked to climb up the tower hide but it was all locked up :(
To be honest, up to this point I'd found it a bit dull. There's a fixed path and signs asking you not to wander off it so exploring was rather limited.
Until we reached the meadow. And then there were flowers and insects galore. Most of it fenced off but enough to provide some interest.
Even the wooden deer looked perkier!
A pleasant way to spend an hour. I'd visit again if I was in the area but don't think I'd make a special effort. Much better to visit one of their bigger reserves like Brockholes.
Anyway, only a short hop up the road is Rufford Old Hall so we decided to stop by. You can see more photos from a previous visit here.
There was an art class taking place at the front of the hall.
The Great Hall is my favourite part and always worth a look. It dates from the 1500s and the screen is thought to be the most intact version to have survived. William Shakespeare is believed to have performed in this Hall as a young man.
Apparently it was very unusual to have angel carvings in the roof. This was taken through a peep hole from the main part of the house.
We didn't linger in the house though as it was so bright and warm outside.
I marvelled over the size of the onions in the vegetable garden.
And envied them their apple harvest.
And who could resist ticking off a '50 things to do when you're way older than 11 3/4'!
Straight after posting this, I'll be off to visit your blogs. I've barely been near the computer this week as I've been out most evenings. Tuesday was walking with my yoga group - our last walk before the class starts up again. Wednesday was quilt group. And Thursday was my new evening class. Yes, I've taken up belly dancing! Six of us from the yoga class, who've also walked together all summer, have joined. It was the first one this week and what a laugh! You get to wear a jingly scarf and waft a large piece of chiffon around. Coordination is optional. What's not to love? It's early days but I think it might be my new favourite thing :)
Today is a housework/food shopping/washing day with hopefully some me time squeezed in. Tomorrow me and Chickpea are off on a coach trip to Llandudno with my parents. Oh, I do like to be beside the seaside! Enjoy your weekend whatever you have planned. x