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?

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About Silverdale

Buckstones Jump

Buckstones Jump

When we were walking by the stream in the Elan valley, and S was itching for a swim, I made a solemn promise: “If the sun shines, I’ll take you to a pool I know which is perfect for a swim.”

This wasn’t entirely honest. But – “If the sun shines, I’ll take you to a pool which I’ve seen on the telly and looked up on the internet, and often examined on the map and which I suspect is probably at least okay for a swim.” – doesn’t have the same authoritative tone, nor the desirable implication that I, the grizzled hill veteran, have an encyclopaedic first-hand knowledge of all the Lake District has to offer.

So – the main feature of the day would be a wild-swim. But first we had to get there. We made an attempt last summer which was foiled by full car-parks, so I’d bustled B and S out of the house reasonably early and we stuck the car in an almost empty Pelter Bridge car-park at about nine thirty. (I’d had in mind my friend CJ’s maxim about Lake District car parks being empty before ten and over-flowing almost immediately after – it’s an excellent rule-of-thumb.)

Rydal Hall 

Whilst we were all very much focused on the prospects of a swim, and to be honest, slightly concerned by the chilly air-temperature, the walk held several other delights in store for us. In fact, for a day out with two relatively small boys, this proved to be almost a perfect route.

First of all, they were very taken by the formal gardens of Rydal Hall. These days the Hall is a Christian Conference Centre, but visitors seem to be positively encouraged to wander at will around the gardens and the grounds. So we did. The boys enjoyed hunting out the various sculptures which dot the gardens. Then we went to have a gander at The Grot…

The Grot 

A summer house built to enable early tourists to view the Lower Falls on Rydal Beck through the security of an intervening window.

Low Falls 

There was an awful lot less water coming over the falls than there had been on my last visit.

In the woods behind the hall, this curious structure…..

The Game Larder 

….is a game larder apparently. With the addition of some sculptures it looked like a shrine you might expect to come across deep in a jungle somewhere Eastern and exotic.

Tree trunk art 

We were all enchanted by the sculptures which are dotted around the woods. The work, for the most part I think, of the designer Dianne Standen, they had me day-dreaming about stig-of-the-dump types living in harmony with the woods and leaving subtle traces with the things they had made. In the end, I only managed to drag the boys away by promising we would have another more extensive look on our way down.

We followed Rydal Beck for a while (cross the footbridge and take the path on the right bank) to a bridge which has a fall beneath it…..

Rydal Beck waterfall 

…slightly odd photo I know. It’s taken from the bridge, looking down on the stream and the waterfall. I’ve included it because I was intrigued by the metal ladder on the left-hand side. It brought back old memories of pot-holes with fixed ladders (couldn’t tell you where, because I don’t remember). Why is it there, do you think?

If you want to follow our route (and why wouldn’t you?), cross the bridge and look for a gate in the wall. Go through that and turn right on the track – that will take you to a stile above Buckstones Jump.

We left the track however, to get back to the beck. In the trees near the stream we heard an insistent, but thin piping which I thought might be nestlings calling for food. I was wrong. We scanned the trees and ….there: a pair of redstarts! I’ve never seen them before. I think my excitement communicated itself to the boys, or at least to S, who was hopping about, jumping into my legs and pulling on my shirt, none of which particularly assisted my attempts to get a photo.

Redstart 

The light wasn’t great either. So, it’s a pretty appalling picture….but – look at the colour of the thing! I had to pinch myself just to be sure that I wasn’t back in those Eastern jungles again. It just seems too exotic for a British hillside.

Now that we knew what to listen for, we heard several more redstarts as we followed the stream. My bird-book gives the call as ‘a soft, whistled upslurred huit’. I hope I will know it if I hear it again.

S is not entirely sold on walking as yet, and Buckstones Jump didn’t come any too soon for either of us. I was slightly surprised to find we had it to ourselves, although a heap of plastic bottles were gently smouldering over the blackened remnants of a fire.

Buckstones Jump II 

We had a bit of a swim. Then explored a little downstream, then had one more swim before eating our lunch. The pool is very deep, and cold, and the boys struggled a bit with the temperature of the water. In the case of S, this was despite the fact that he was wearing a wet-suit.

Another larger, family party arrived shortly after we did and, as we finished our lunch, two more parties arrived. One group of four changed into swimming costumes, swam once across the pool, then got out and changed again. They must have been in the water for less than a minute. I suppose it was pretty cold.

Buckstones Jump from above 

Buckstones Jump from above.

The natural 'dam' 

The rocks behind the left-hand side of the pool act almost like a natural dam: the stream turns and runs along behind the wall of rock, before slipping into a narrow cascade…

The cascade 

The sunshine we’d had earlier had rather deserted us, and at times the sky had looked a little threatening, but now gaps began to appear again in the clouds, and golden patches of sunlight on the hillsides.

Rydal Beck 

By the time we set-off down the track, the sun was shining on us again.

View down to Windermere 

View down to Windermere.

Our route down provided us with many diversions fascinating to small boys. Boulders to clamber on….

Bouldering 

Bluebells to admire….

More bluebells 

Fallen trees…..

Ooh - did you break it...? 

With tiny, interesting….what?…inside.

Eggs? Spider eggs? 

There was a spider nearby. Maybe these were spider’s eggs. Anyone have any idea?

And whilst we doing a nature quiz, a digression: the boys dug this out of one of our flower-beds and we’d all like to know what it is…..

A...grub? 

Anyway, back to our walk. We stopped a while to admire High Falls…

High Falls 

And some more, smaller falls below those. Medium falls?….

Falls below High Falls - Medium Falls? 

There’s a heavenly looking campsite tucked away in the woods here, with yurts and a playground which nobody was using. Well, not until we arrived anyway. A large oak by the playground had a small garden growing in its crook: ferns, a small rhododendron, and a not insubstantial rowan tree.

More art 

The boys got their leisurely look at the sculptures in the woods.

Still more art 

I particularly approved of these bookcases and hanging books….

Woodland bookshelves 

Sapling helix 

There’s a cafe in the Hall gardens and we stopped there for a drink. Although it was now really quite warm by local standards, S insisted that he was still chilled from his swim, and polished off a huge hot chocolate with all the trimmings – marshmallows, cream and a flake.

Hot chocolate face

Chocolate moustache.

I settled for tea and B wanted a cold drink.

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There was more art to be admired….

Art in the formal garden 

….in the formal gardens…

Rydal Hall and garden

…which were designed by Thomas Mawson, a Lancaster architect whose gardens I think I might start to ‘bag’. Now does anybody produce a list? a logbook? Hmmm.

Back at Pelter Bridge, a strategically placed ice-cream van relieved me of the last few pennies in my wallet. Well, it would have been rude not to.

A resounding success. We’ll do that again!

Buckstones Jump

A Game of Two Halves

Rydal Hall Gardens

Manicured lawns, crocket hoops , mist lifting from a forested hillside. Last days of the Raj? Well, no: a wet weekend in the Lake District. The formal gardens belong to Rydal Hall, which we had walked to from our temporary residence at the Traveller’s Rest just outside Grasmere. ‘We’ was a motley collection of old friends, getting together for what is becoming a fixture in our calendar – the Adults Only Weekend. Not as racy as it sounds, just that for this weekend we palm our kids off on grandparents, whereas our Christmas Youth Hostel Party, Spring Bank Holiday Camping Weekend and LLyn Peninsula Holiday ,which are all also annual traditions, are decidedly family affairs.

We’d left the Traveller’s Rest in rain and our route had taken us steeply up to a misty Alcock Tarn and along the corpse road from White Moss to Rydal. It was still raining when we reached Rydal Hall and thanks to my leaky coat I was thoroughly soaked. I was happy to repair to the cafe there, which has had a makeover since my last visit, for tea, cake and delicious soup.

Rydal Hall

When we came out of the cafe it was possible to imagine that the forecast afternoon improvement in the weather was finally beginning to materialise, and since visitors seem to be welcome to wander around, we did exactly that. Rydal Hall is a Christian retreat and conference centre, belonging to the diocese of Carlisle. The house is 19th Century and is listed, but it was the gardens which intrigued me. They were designed, in 1909, by Thomas Mawson who seems to have crept up on me over a long period of time and has lodged himself in my consciousness.

Rydal Hall

There’s a fine Georgian building almost across the road from where I work which has a small green plaque alerting the passing pedestrian that the building once housed the offices of Thomas Mawson. Mawson also designed other lake District gardens which we’ve visited in the past: Holehird, Brockholes and Holker Hall. The garden at Hazelwood Hall in Silverdale is another of his designs.

Rydal beck, very full of water on this occasion…

Rydal Beck

…races through the grounds of the hall and past the formal gardens to…

Lower falls and the Grot 

…the Lower Falls which have apparently been the subject of paintings by both John Constable and Joseph Wright of Derby. The little stone building is ‘The Grot’ built in 1694 and one of the viewing stations built to provide a frame around a picturesque view for tourists when visiting this area was becoming fashionable.

The Shandy Sherpa and GM had already abandoned us long before to sample the delights of scrambling in a beck in spate, now TBH and JS formed another splinter group taking on the tat shops of Grasmere. After carefully explaining the route to them, I watched them head off in the direction of Ambleside before reluctantly handing them my map.

This left The Adopted Yorkshire Man in charge of the navigation and, true to form, he found the steepest hillside he could to drag us up. I suppose I should just be grateful that there was almost a hint of a path through the shoulder-high dripping-wet bracken.

At least things were at last genuinely beginning to brighten up…

Wansfell 

An apparent clump of white flowers on the slope ahead…

Grass with water-drops>

…turned out to be grass thoroughly decorated with water-droplets.

Grass with water-drops 2 

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Any excuse now to stop for a photograph was gratefully received, I think that these colourful seeds belong to a rush, but further than that I couldn’t speculate.

An old bomber thundered overhead and soon after we had reached a small top with expansive views.

Nab Scar and Heron Pike 

Nab Scar and Heron Pike.

Lanty Scar Tea Break 

Tea and butties on Lanty Scar.

From Lanty Scar it was a surprisingly long walk to the top of Loughrigg, although I suppose we didn’t take the most direct route. Loughrigg is a relatively small hill, not even as high as Alcock tarn where we had been earlier.

From the top…

Loughrigg Summit 

..most of the party made a fairly hasty retreat, but the AYM and I lingered, despite the chilly breeze, to play name that peak and to watch the play of light across the hills and valleys.

Langdale from Loughrigg 

Langdale.

Lingmoor from Loughrigg 

Lingmoor.

Grasmere

Grasmere.

We doubled back down Loughrigg terrace so that we could pick-up the lake-shore path. I was surprised to see that the yellow saxifrage which TBH and I saw earlier in the year, was still flowering. From there it was an easy stroll, in the last of the light, back to the pub.

A Game of Two Halves