After our visit to Roeburndale last year I promised myself a return visit this spring. I chose the bank holiday weekend, thinking that even then this would be a quiet spot – and it was.
No map for this walk – you can find it here, on a helpful leaflet, one of many about Lancashire walks stored on this website. We followed the walk as described, except we walked the big loop anticlockwise.
The leaflet mentions parking by Bridge House Farm tearoom, which now seems to be part of a garden centre. TBH and I (the kids were terrorising their grandparents for the weekend) couldn’t resist a leisurely start with a pot of tea, and a cherry scone for TBH, in the dappled sunlight on the decking by the river. Very civilised. If you find yourself in the area, the lunches looked very appetising too.
More by luck than judgement, we’d timed our visit to perfection. Not only was the sun shining, but the bluebells in Outhwaite Wood looked and smelled absolutely stunning. Dotted about amongst them were early purple orchids too,
The gorse too was throwing off a heady aroma, redolent of coconut. The woods were busy with birdsong.
The route takes advantage of a permission path which is way-marked with small green discs, each decorated with a white silhouette of a deer’s head.
This damselfly had me confused, but I’m almost certain that it’s a female large red damselfly, which are apparently quite varied in their markings. This one is green on it’s abdomen rather than the more usual black, but the yellow stripes and red banding are right. The British Dragonfly website was helpful, although…
Can be found in almost any freshwater habitat but rarely on fast-flowing rivers or streams.
…has me a little concerned, since I would say that the Roeburn is best described as fast-flowing.
In places the carpet of bluebells gave way to the broad leaves and white stars of ramsons; and the sweet smell of the Hyacinthoides non-scripta was over-whelmed by a pungent waft of garlic.
The path climbs to the top edge of the wood, where we found a sunny spot for a picnic.
The path then drops down to cross the river on a footbridge.
This was where I brought the kids last year. There was a family party here on this occasion too, some paddling in the river, most sunning themselves on the bank. They didn’t seem to be under-attack in the way that we had been almost exactly a year ago.
We left the woods here, and crossed the river…
…by Barkin Bridge.
A bright flash of white and a strident song from nearby trees alerted me to the presence of….
…a male pied flycatcher.
I was half hoping to see a redstart, which are also found in these woods apparently, but that will have to wait for another time.
By the tiny Roeburndale chapel we turned to head across rough and reedy pastures, past a couple of broken eggshells (whether they were evidence of a family triumph or tragedy I’m not sure)…..
…to a tributary stream named both Pedder Gill and Goodber Beck on my map.
The return journey, above Roeburndale, was enlivened by the spectacular escapades of stunting lapwings..
…and the burbling calls and swift low flights of curlews.
A number of very substantial barns…
,,,both near and far….
What’s that on the horizon?
Which was fortunate, because parts of it were tediously wet and boggy. Next time I think I’ll try the path on the west side, on the slopes of Caton Moor. Or, I could go up to the access land and climb to the top of Caton Moor…..
Further exploration is called for!
We’d started late that day and were very late back. I was quite proud of the chowder which I threw together with some smoked mackerel which was languishing in the fridge, some prawns frozen in a lump at the bottom of a freezer draw and various odds and ends of veg. Which is my cheesy way of working in a link to today’s Food Programme (see what I did there?). I’m not generally a fan, but caught it in the car and found it very thought provoking. It featured an interview with Michael Pollan about his latest book ‘Cooked’ which received a rave review in the Guardian this weekend. If you have half an hour to spare I recommend listening to it.
It certainly galvanised me today. When I got home, I picked up the kids from school and then got them to make tea. B barbecued some chicken drumsticks and some lamb chops, A made potato salad and tomato salad and S washed and dressed some ‘cabbage’ (lettuce to you and I) with a dressing he’d made himself, and was also generally helpful. (‘I think I did the most jobs’ as he modestly put it.) Yes I helped them. And, no, A didn’t lop off any fingers when she was chopping spuds and B didn’t burn himself (or the meat). I think they had a real sense of achievement. And they subsequently ate things they would otherwise have just poked suspiciously and moved around their plates.
It wasn’t their first experience of cooking. It certainly isn’t going to be their last.
Nothing to do with walking, I know. But expect more rambling off message. Possibly. Or not
Andy and I were talking about TED talks just the other day. Here’s one by Michael Pollan about a plant’s eye view of Darwinism: