The Wells of Silverdale

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There’s something very satisfying about a hand drawn map, don’t you think? This one is from a leaflet; one from my collection of leaflets detailing local walks, which I have acquired over the years and keep filed away on a shelf. I dug it out because I wanted to compare it with this map…

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Which is from ‘Old Silverdale’ by Rod J. Ireland, which I bought last week, a little birthday present to myself, and which I’ve been poring over ever since. This map shows more wells than the first. At some point, I shall have to see if I can find any trace of the additional wells shown. But on this occasion I contented myself with following the route shown in the leaflet.

 

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Cheery Dandelions.

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Cheery Celandines.

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Elmslack Well.

Yes, I realise that it’s actually a bin. But I’m told that it’s on the site of the old well.

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Inman’s Road.

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Not wells, I know, but these tanks formerly collected and supplied water to Hill House, now the Woodlands pub, so they seem relevant. Mains water arrived in the area in 1938 (there’s still no mains sewers). Until then the wells would obviously have been important. Also many houses had tanks on the roof which collected rain water.

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This photo is the best I managed from a satisfyingly close encounter with ‘the British bird of paradise‘, or more prosaically, a Jay. The Jay moved from branch to branch, but unusually, stayed in sight and not too far away. Sadly, never long enough for me to get any half decent photos.

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This squirrel was more obliging.

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Wood Anemones.

The Toothwort beside Inman’s Road is much taller than it was, but already beginning to look a bit tatty and past its best.

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More Wood Anemones.

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Chaffinch.

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Dogslack Well.

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Comma butterfly.

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Bank Well.

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The light was stunning and making everything look gorgeous.

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Coot chick.

Well, almost everything. This is the kind of face that only a mother could love, surely?

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Lambert’s Meadow.

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I like to think that this is a Raven, sitting atop a very tall tree, regally surveying the meadow and the surrounding woodland. But none of the photos show the shaggy throat which is supposed to make it easy to distinguish between Ravens and Crows. So, I’m not sure.

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Burton Well

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The pond at Woodwell.

There are newts at Woodwell. We hardly ever see them. But today, not only did I see one, but I managed to train my camera on it…

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Blast!

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Golden Saxifrage.

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Woodwell.

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The Ramsons in Bottom’s Wood are looking particularly verdant, but no sign yet of any flowers. On the verge of Cove Road, near to the Cove, the flowers are already on display. The flowers always seem to appear there first.

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Cherry blossom.

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Jackdaw.

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Song Thrush.

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Nuthatch.

On the Lots there were Starlings and Pied Wagtails foraging on the ground.

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Crow – the second evening in a row when a crow has been perched on this branch.

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Pied Wagtail.

It was one of those magical days when lots of birds seemed content to sit still and be photographed. Lots, but not all. The Buzzards were flying above the small copse above the Cove. I watched them through the trees as, once again, they both flew in to perch on a tree at the far side of the wood. This time it was the same tree in which a Tawny Owl obligingly posed for a photo one evening some years ago. They were tantalisingly close, maybe I could get some good photos?

But when I switched on my camera, what did I notice, much closer to hand…

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…a pair of Nuthatches.

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Since I learned to recognise the slightly monotonous song of Nuthatches, I’ve come to realise how very common they are in this area. And I spot them much more often than I used to. As a boy, these were an exotic rarity to me, and fortunately their ubiquity has done nothing to reduce the thrill I still feel when I see them.

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One of the pair sat and pruned itself for quite some time and I took lots of photos before eventually turning my attention back to the tree where the Buzzards…

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…were no longer perched.

I scanned other trees for a while, and then, just as I reluctantly gave up on the idea of seeing the Buzzards again, there they were, not in a tree, but in the adjacent field, one on the ground and the other sat on a dry-stone wall, and showing to much better advantage than before. But before I took any photos, they were off again.

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Starling.

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Bullfinch.

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Morecambe Bay.

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Blackbird – in almost the same spot as the night before.

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Five for silver.

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It was getting a bit dark for bird photos at this point, but this Goldfinch was behaving in a way which I’ve noticed a couple of times recently; it was singing, swivelling sharply through ninety degrees singing again, then back and so on. The precision of it seemed quite aggressive, but at the same time, pretty comical.

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The leaflet says that this walk is ‘about four miles’, but although I’d skipped the out and back to Bard’s Well on the shore, The Move App was telling me that I’d walked five miles. And despite the Jay, the Newt and the Buzzards all evading my camera, this had been a very satisfying five miles.

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The Wells of Silverdale

About Silverdale

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So, as mentioned in my previous post, towards the end of September there was a local history weekend in Silverdale. There were talks, guided walks and several generous people had opened their houses and/or gardens up for nosy people to have a gander at.

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We took the opportunity to climb Lindeth Tower again. There’s a photo, and a little bit about the tower and it’s connection to Elizabeth Gaskell, in the post about our previous visit, here.

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This….

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…is a rather imperfect view of Hazelwood Hall. It’s a Victorian mansion with a later Thomas Mawson designed garden.

This…

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…is the Limes. The interesting story here being this….

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…spite wall, built alongside the The Limes when it was new, by the owners of the older, adjacent house who objected to the proximity of the new house overlooking their house and gardens.

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Alan’s garage, down on Shore Road, I think somebody told us that this building is listed. It looks like it’s listing in this photo, but I suspect that’s my fault.

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These are the fishermen’s cottages, down by the ‘beach’. The one at the far end was the first one built, and was originally a bath house where the guests of what is now the Silverdale Hotel, but which was at the time the Britannia Hotel, if my memory serves me right, could bathe in the waters of Morecambe Bay without exposing themselves to the local weather, or the local hoi polloi.

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This washed-up fish was tiny, perhaps a remnant of the shoals we had seen in the channels on our previous stroll.

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When the rest of the family decided that they had had enough history and fresh air for one day, I extended the walk a little around the shore to The Cove.

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Taking in a minor trod which I haven’t noticed before, and which wends it’s way up into the trees on the cliff behind The Cove.

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Sunday found us down at Grey Walls…..

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Like Hazelwood Hall, and seemingly most of the other larger properties in the village, this once belonged to the Sharp family, in fact it was built for them. Recently, it’s been Ridgeway School, but was sold, I believe in three lots. The reason for our visit was the walled garden within the grounds.

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There’s a house within it and the new owners, keen gardeners, are restoring the garden, which had become overgrown. It’s another Thomas Mawson design.

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We really enjoyed having a nose around.

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The feature which elicited the most comment and conversation was this tree…

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…which has a very strong scent of popcorn or candy-floss, depending on who you asked to describe it. It also had many small fruits…

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One opinion offered was that it is a Judas tree, others felt a Strawberry tree was closer to the mark. I don’t know. Anybody think they can give a definitive answer?

About Silverdale

Boundary Riding

Mike's Beating The Bounds Pic

from the Mike Moon Postcard Collection

Another get together of outdoor bloggers? Could be – note the beards and soft-shell fabrics.

Actually it takes us back to where this blog began almost three years ago – with the idea of beating the bounds. This, according to the flag held by the man on the left (who looks like the Skegness Jolly Farmer),

…is from the Silverdale Boundary Riding of 1895 (I think, the last digit of the year is hard to read).

2011 is a bicentennial year for Silverdale. There have been homes and farms here for much longer than 200 years, but the significance of 1811 (I think) is that that was when Silverdale became a parish in it’s own right. Many events are planned to celebrate that anniversary, one of which is a beating the bounds walk. I can’t imagine that there will be such a fine display of facial hair this year, but hopefully I will be there to document the event.

Some of the men are barefoot, and it looks as though the assembled men and boys are stood on sand/mud rather than grass. When I first moved to Silverdale there was an extensive grassy foreshore. Photographs in Brain Evans excellent guide to the area show that foreshore extending further South along the coast than it did when I knew it. Now it has almost entirely gone. Apparently the channel of the Kent moves back and forth across the estuary in a cyclical fashion. At present Grange has a foreshore. In time that too will disappear and ours will return.

Thanks to Mike for sending me the photo and prompting this post.

Boundary Riding