Saturday, May 23, 2015

Hawksmoor Woods

It was the most beautiful weather for walking this morning.

 The air was warm and still
The on/off rain we'd experienced over the last few days seemed to have drifted away.  There was no visible sun but you sensed it was there behind the clouds just waiting to appear later in the day.

Hawksmoor Woods can be found just off the B5417 road from Cheadle close to the village of Oakamoor.  We set off along the designated path as it wound its way down into the valley.

There were lots of lovely wildflowers along the way

I wonder if any of you can help me identify the plant above, I can't find anything like it in my book on Wild Flowers.

Harebells, I think - edit 24/5/15 - they are in fact white blue bells thanks AJ and Sue for letting me know.  I did wonder about which they were.


Bluebells

Red Campion

We'd been told that there are green woodpeckers in this wood and spotted fly catchers too.  We did see what we thought was a red start and various tree creepers and a nuthatch or two.  We heard a woodpecker but never saw it.

After a while we decided to follow one of the paths leading down into the valley and then further up into the wood.

This route took us right up to the edge of the woods

from where we followed the path along the edge of the fields

This is part of the ancient woodland that is so popular with artists and photographers.

This field of yellow rapeseed flowers stretched for acres - its glowing colour compensating for the lack of sunshine.

In the distance you can see the little town of Cheadle and the spire of St Giles' church famous for its elaborate Gothic Revival interior and known both locally and nationally as Pugin's Gem.  I'll take you inside in a later post.

Back under the trees we made our way on the circular route

Catching shimmering glimpses of birds flitting and calling in the branches above

We had been walking for over an hour when we finally made our way back to the car park.

This is a wonderful walk and we'd like to go back again in the autumn to see how it changes through the seasons.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Lincoln Castle

I've been meaning to write this post for ages and have only just got round to it.  At the end of April on our wedding anniversary (36 years) we decided to visit Lincoln and see what they had done to the Castle since our last visit many years ago.  We were grateful to Louise who very generously gave us her return tickets to both the castle and cathedral.  You may remember that I featured some photos of the cathedral in one of my Five on Friday posts.

We decided to visit the Castle first so after we had parked the car, which was surprisingly quite easy, we made our way to the entrance.  I hadn't been into the Castle grounds since the 1980s and early 1990s when a friend of ours was curator there and we used to meet up with her and her husband at the Christmas Market and eat in the Wig and Mitre just at the top of steep hill.


As it was still a bit chilly we decided to look around inside first.  The main part of the exhibitions are in the old Victorian Prison building.  The Magna Carta exhibition was fascinating especially the film in the little film theatre but no photos were allowed in there so I can't show you anything.  The staff were very friendly and helpful all the way round.  We went into the female (below) and then the male (above) sides of the prison.

Inside the cells were interpretations of what life would have been like for the prisoners and some of their individual stories were told.

The stories were told on information panels but also by interactive means

short films projected onto the cell walls

and computer touch screen graphics and information.  You can, if you wish, dress up as one of the prisoners or one of the staff.

 In the prison chapel the prisoners were kept separate so they couldn't communicate with each other

After our prison visit it was time to do what I'd most been looking forward to which was walk around the castle walls.  It had got a little warmer and the sun was out but the wind was quite brisk as we ascended the modern, spiral staircase to reach the walls.

 The views were amazing! 

 We spent ages just gazing and absorbing the atmosphere.  I was listening to one of their information tapes too as I walked around but kept pausing it to take in the views.

 As I said in my previous post I love all the 'higgldy piggldy' roof tops in this part of the city

 The walls are quite easy to walk around with numbered stopping point for the commentary.

More roofscapes, I love the tiles and chimney pots.

 The grassy area is where the early prison building was sited before the later one was built.

Halfway round and a view back to the observatory tower

In the distance is Ellis' Mill built in 1798 on the site of an earlier mill.  It is just behind the Museum of  Lincolnshire Life which I featured in an earlier post.

We made our way around the walls, finding interesting views both inside the walls and out.

On the left of the photo above is the 1820s Crown Court and former debtor's prison now the new Heritage skills centre

On the home stretch now - within the walls of the Lucy tower under the trees are the graves of prisoners who were hanged here - just marked by their initials. A bit spooky but quite sad too.

The back of the Victorian Prison

Up to the Observatory tower and right up to the top - this got to my knees a little and the wind was quite robust up here so we didn't stay long.

Back to the entrance and a look in the shop where Paul bought a lovely book on Medieval cookery which is fascinating.  The we decided to have lunch in the cafe just sandwiches and coffee but they were very tasty and well presented.


After lunch we set out to visit the Cathedral but that is another story.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Five on Friday

Joining in this week with  Amy at Love Made my Home and Five on Friday.  Click on the link at the bottom of this post to find others who are joining in too.

The world has gone yellow again.  We drove over to Castleton yesterday and the roadsides were yellow with dandelions and so were many fields.  So I thought I'd share five photos of lovely seasonal and yellow plants and flowers that we've seen whilst we've been out and about this week.

1. Tulips and primroses


2.  Meadows and verges full of dandelions


3.  Marsh Marigolds or Kingcups

4. Gorse

5. Cowslips

I have a busy day ahead today so I'll pop by and visit your Five on Friday posts later on.

Have a lovely weekend

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Pink

I love these blossom trees

The sheer blowsy magic of them

After the last few dark and uncertain days

They were bright, cheerful and full of hope

I'm sure that underneath they felt warmer too

Beneath their overloaded boughs it felt safe and secure 

I felt detached from the  myriad of unsettling thoughts in my mind

The sun was gently peering through the pink blooms

Making me feel glad to be alive - easing, for just a short while, the helplessness and concern I've felt for what the future might hold.

No matter what happens we will still have beauty in the world to ease our cares and enrich our minds.