Fool’s Day in Brigsteer Woods

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There was a time when I considered the limestone hills of Furness – Hampsfell, Whitbarrow, Yewbarrow, Cartmell Fell and Scout Scar – this little snippet of the White Peak, overshadowed by the higher hills of the neighbouring Lake District, to be my weekend stomping ground. These days there are more calls on my time, and when I do head away from home for a walk, I tend to follow the crowds to the Lakes or the Dales.

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I do still occasionally get to Brigsteer Woods, especially at this time of year to see the daffodils which crowd the woodland floor. But I ought to come more often, it’s only a 20 minute drive from home.

The daffs are probably near the end of their flowering period, but there’s plenty of other things to see…

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The Bluebells are starting to flower.

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There’s plenty of Wood Anemones too.

I walked past a patch of brambles and a host of insects lifted and hovered briefly before apparently going back to their sunbathing. At first I took them for Honeybees, but they were Drone Flies I think, or most of them were; a hoverfly which imitates a bee.

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Almost every bramble leaf seemed to have a resident fly.

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In fact, I soon realised, every suitable spot was occupied. It was like being on a busy beach in midsummer.

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They weren’t all hoverflies, I did spot a marmalade coloured bee, I suspect a Tawny Mining Bee, but wasn’t fast enough to get the photograph which might have confirmed that fact.

Once again, there were Chiff-Chaffs, merrily chiff-chaffing, and this time I did even manage a picture, although not a great one…

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And another Roe Deer buck, which was calm enough to stand and stare at me for long enough for me to take a few snaps.

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Through the trees I could see the shimmer of what I took to be light reflected on water. The Lyth valley has had problems with flooding in the past, but surely the weather hasn’t been that bad of late?

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I’d forgotten reading about the creation of a new wetland and a hide by the National Trust team from the Sizergh Estate.

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Mute Swan

As luck would have it, the sole occupant of the hide was one of that National Trust team, watching the mere patiently through a sizeable telescope. He told me that these swans, over the back of the new wetland…

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…were Whopper Swans, although given the quality of my photograph, I think I shall have to take his word for it.

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Two squabbling Coots briefly raised a cacophony.

I liked the view across the pools to distant cloud-cloaked Lakeland hills…

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Little Egret.

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Whitbarrow Scar.

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Scout Scar.

The dike behind the hide was fringed with a very verdant crop of Ramsons, or Wild Garlic.

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And growing in the dike, I think that this vigorous plant may be Celery-leaved Buttercup…

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Violets.

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More Ash flowers.

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Blackthorn blossom.

The hedge here was thronged with birds, Great Tits, Blue Tits and a pair of Jays but they led me and my camera on a merry, fruitless dance.

Park End Farm had a small orchard of what I took to be the Damsons for which the Lyth Valley was once famous.

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From Park End Farm, I climbed up to Wells Garth. Which gave me a different view of both Park End Moss and Whitbarrow Scar.

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A bird of prey hovered overhead.

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From the outline and the colours, I assume that it’s a male Kestrel, although at first glance I thought it was something larger.

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Yellow Archangel.

From Wells Garth a number of options present themselves. A favourite of mine used to be to continue from here on to Scout Scar. You could also climb up to the tiny Helsington Church. But I needed to take the most direct route back.

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Kent Estuary, Arnside Knott and Whitbarrow Scar.

Friends had bought me a ticket for an am-dram production of Up Pompeii!. And a very enjoyable fest of innuendo, double entendres and unadulterated smut it was too. Titter ye not.

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Fool’s Day in Brigsteer Woods

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