Saturday, 30 April 2016

Family Outing

On Tuesday, Brian and Mary very kindly offered to take us with them on a short tour round some of the sights near Newquay. So we set off first for Padstow. The town was busy as usual, the weather obviously helping to bring people out to enjoy the harbour...
... and the views across the estuary.
Walking out of town is always a pleasure and with a little sunshine you could almost forget the chilly wind. Overlooking the scene the War Memorial marks the spot where town gives way to more open countryside.
From Padstow, we were taken to a small village which holds a special place in the affections for Brian and Mary. Polzeath is a charming little place, the name means 'Dry Creek' and it was a favourite haunt of Poet Laureate Sir John Betjeman. Not difficult to see why!
Despite the ferociously chilly wind, Malcolm and I managed to explore a little of the seafront and the cliffs.
Down on the beach, out of the wind and in the sunshine, it wasn't nearly as cold and we had time to admire the wonderfully coloured geology of the cliffs.
Then it was on to Boscastle for another stroll and some lunch. But more of that tomorrow....

Friday, 29 April 2016

Birthday Coincidence

Little did we know when we booked our few days in Newquay, that my Cousin (once removed) Brian and his wife Mary, would be there at the same time. It was Brian's 88th birthday last Sunday and Malcolm and I were invited along to their hotel for a celebratory dinner that night. All very lovely, very coincidental and also very nice to see them both.
Brian and Mary's hotel was situated on the Pentire peninsular, close to the Gannel River and it was to there that Malcolm turned our feet for a lovely walk.
Difficult to imagine that this headland was almost completely devoid of human habitation at the end of the eighteenth century. Now it is covered with houses and hotels, but the views are stunning and there is still plenty of green space. Along one footpath, Lords and Ladies were in full bloom (a little earlier than those we have on our home patch).
On our way to the Gannel River, we first took in the Gardens of Trenance Park. Everything here seemed to be in full bloom too - mostly the Tulips.
This is a lovely area of Newquay and always so beautifully kept. With a boating lake and small stream running through the park, ducks and geese are always on hand to cadge a crumb of bread. But it was the flowers which impressed most.
Tulips of every hue were blooming in the sunshine.
The whole park was as always, quite glorious.
More tomorrow.....

Thursday, 28 April 2016


Malcolm and I have been on a short trip again and returned home yesterday, from a few days in Newquay, Cornwall. The weather was a little on the chilly side to say the least, but it remained mostly dry with some sunshine. Only a cold wind took the edge off the temperatures. The wind-chill didn't put the surfers off!
The best thing about windy weather at the coast, is the effect it has on the surf and we certainly had some nice waves and 'white horses' to look at. Along the cliffs, thickets of Alexanders (Smyrnium olusatrum) were braving the chill and beginning to flower.
As usual, our walks took us out of the town and along the clifftops to Porth and the Bronze age site at Trevelgue Head.
Our walk was curtailed a little by some works being carried out at the headland, which prevented our getting onto the actual headland, but considering how windy it was, we were probably saved from being blown into the sea. The gulls, Fulmars Jackdaws and Ravens were not fussed by any of it and seemed to being having great fun, effortlessly riding the wind.
On our way there, were delighted to see several clumps of beautiful Primroses flowering bravely in the hedgerows.
Even in the cold wind, they make a wonderful display and a much needed reminder that it was in fact spring!
Much more to come over the next few days....

Wednesday, 20 April 2016


Another sunny day meant that Malcolm and I had a longer walk this morning. We set out up and over Shipley Hill as usual, taking in the Bluebells once more.
This large patch near the Nottingham Lodge, is looking better every day, especially when the is shining on them.
From these delightful Bluebells, we carried on over the hill and headed for Cinder Hill and the exercise machines which are to be found there. Malcolm felt the need to have a go at some 'pull-ups' on one of the machines, so having got that out of his system, we continued on our way, past the visitors centre and along to Meadow Farm. Then it was back to Bell Lane and through the woods towards Mapperley Reservoir taking in the view point overlooking a small wildlife pond.
This area is undergoing much improvement by the Derbyshire County Council, making it better for local wildlife and visitors alike.
Stopping for a flask of coffee at Mapperley Reservoir, we returned home via Mapperley Wood, crossing the small streams which once fed the canal system from the reservoir.
Dappled sunlight threw patches of light and shade onto the water's surface and the sound of trickling water was rather soothing. All in all, a nice morning's walk.

Monday, 18 April 2016

The Blues

Today, we had our usual longer walk around Shipley Park, along Slack Road to Mapperley Village, then up and over the hill. On Shipley Hill, the Bluebells are really beginning to show their hand and when you are lucky enough to catch them in the sunshine, their scent is starting to fill the air. These are to be found growing close to the Nottingham Lodge.
As well as the Bluebells, the Daffodils are still hanging on and although mostly getting past their best, they still cause you stop and stare. The were filling the gardens of the Derby Lodge on the other side of the hill.
Leaving the hill we encountered some fine Field Maples which are also beginning to bloom and although not so colourful, their bright green flowers are quite beautiful.
And they reward a closer look.
It's beginning to look a lot like...Spring!

Friday, 15 April 2016

Spring Things

It was a bit dull this morning, but at least it remained dry as we took a walk around the 'Farm Walk'. The Spring Lambs are still looking absolutely gorgeous but this Soay Sheep mother was keeping her lambs well away from us on the other side of the field.
Soays are particularly hardy little sheep and is physically similar to the wild ancestor of all domestic sheep. Their youngsters are adorable too.
On the road-side banks close to Head House Farm, Bluebells are beginning to show their colour as the Daffodils fade behind them.
Even on the dullest of days, Bluebells give good value...
and their colour seems to glow in the fresh green grass - even here on the dirty road-side.

Wednesday, 13 April 2016


It's Cherry Blossom time once again and this morning, as we walked along Slack Road back towards the Nutbrook Coffee Shop, one cherry in particular, caught our attention.
When viewed against a deep blue sky as we did this morning, the pale pink flowers always look their best.
Looking back a couple of days and back to Mapperley Reservoir, we were delighted to get a fairly close view of a Great-crested Grebe. Now in full breeding plumage, it's clear where they get their name from.
Their goose-like calls echo across the water's surface every time one appears from a dive looking for fish. Then of course, it's time to preen those feathers to look pristine once more.

Monday, 11 April 2016


You certainly know Spring has arrived, when the fields are full of lambs. The Derbyshire Wildlife Trust manage some of the farmland around these parts and part of that management includes the raising of sheep and highland cattle and of course, where there are sheep, there will be lambs.
These little Black-faced individuals were keeping busy at 'the milk bar', but not all were so thirsty.
Some were just happy to be frolicking in the grass.
Or snoozing dreamily by themselves.
Someone else happy to be frolicking in the great outdoors, was Malcolm!
By Mapperley Reservoir, on one of the fishing stations, he suggested a photo should be taken and who am I to argue with that?

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Sunshine Yellow

It was only a short walk this morning, despite the nice weather. So, continuing with the Spring theme, I thought I would post a few more pictures of the seasonal flowers, starting with the Daffodils in Shipley Woods. Far more numerous this year, they make quite a spectacle.
Along Slack Road too, the yellow theme is carried on, this time in the shape of the Gorse. Almost as spiky as the barbed wire fence behind it, the bushes are wreathed in flowers at the moment.
Less obvious, but no less beautiful are the Willow flowers which are also beginning to open now.
On a sunny morning, with the blue sky behind, these frothy little beauties are well worth closer examination.
All quite attractive - and so 'Spring-like'.

Friday, 8 April 2016

Black and Blue

Taking advantage of the lovely weather this morning, Malcolm and I set out for a longer walk to Osborne's Pond. On the way, we trudged up and over Shipley Hill and as we walked past the old Suffragette Wall, the sun was shining on some wonderful cushions of moss on the top.
Going by the scientific name Bryum capillare it is better known as Capillary Thread-moss and is common in the UK and can be seen all year round. The most obvious thing about this delightful little moss, has to be the reddish threads - or setae - which sprout up from the cushion and which are topped by green spore--producing capsules or sporophytes. Very attractive when looked at closely.
Further along the walk, a particularly lovely Blackthorn bush was in full bloom and enjoying the sunshine.
The first of this year's Bluebells are starting to show their colour too. Along the trails and among the leaf-litter they are gradually opening their flowers.
Still rather scarce, these pioneering little flowers are only the first of many more to come - we hope.