Wednesday, 5 May 2021

The Upper Calder Valley,Sunday 3rd May 2021.

Today,another visit further afield with Mrs R,to an area which has become a favourite for us and has some lovely scenery,cracking birding and two of the most quirky,interesting, towns or villages we have visited. 

An early start saw us travelling along the M62,bright and early for our first destination Hardcastle Crags.

This valley in Upper Calderdale,is a wooded valley along the River Hebden and contains some lovely mixed woodland along with some special birds.

Today's visit was no exception,with me finding a cracking,singing male Wood Warbler,which showed really well and relatively low down as well and i even managed to get a few pics.

Other species seen included a small colony of Grey Herons,Grey wagtails and a pair of lovely Dippers feeding their chicks at the nest.

A profusion of wild flowers included Wood Anemone,Bluebells and Wood Sorrel and the Ramsons were also just beginning to flower,with that lovely garlicky smell.

After enjoying a welcome Hot Chocolate at the 19th century Gibson Mill,which is now converted into a National Trust cafe and shop,we decided to walk up over the hill to the unique village of Heptonstall.

It was a tad tiring up the steep incline,but the reward is a village which is such an interesting place,with it's 2 churches within each other(St.Thomas A Becket & St.Thomas The Apostle) and the lovely cobbled streets.

After our enjoyable visit to Heptonstall,we walked back down the hill to the car at Hardcastle Crags.

The rest of the day was spent at Hebden Bridge,enjoying a well earned lunch and taking in the sights and sounds of the Rochdale Canal.

Woodland Scenery At Hardcastle Crags.

The River Hebden.


Singing male Wood Warbler.

Male Wood Warbler.


Dipper,Near To It's Nest.

Dipper Nest.

The 19th Century Gibson Mill.


Part Of The Famous Crags.




Some Of The Locals.

Stoodley Pike & Monument,Viewable From Heptonstall.

The Cobbled Streets Of Heptonstall.



St.Thomas Becket Church.



Mrs R.

St.Thomas The Apostle Church.



The Rochdale Canal,Hebden Bridge.









Wednesday, 28 April 2021

Brilliant Bolton Abbey......Sunday 25.04.21.

A decent forecast for today,saw Tracey and myself heading over to one of our favourite areas in the Yorkshire Dales for the day,the following is a selection of photos and a short write up of what we saw.

 We started the visit by parking just across from the Priory grounds and then headed along the lovely River Wharfe,passed the stepping stones,up to Cavendish Pavillion and then on into Stridd Woods SSSI in a loop and back to the car.

In all it was about 8 or 9 miles and obviously takes in some stunning riverside scenery and is a cracking place for birds and wildlife.

Highlights from the avian world included 8 singing male Pied Flycatcher,considerably down on previous years,but we have never visited this early,it has usually been 2 or 3 weeks later and into May,so birds are still arriving no doubt.

 Another prominent species,was Common Sandpiper and today we saw the largest number we have seen on the walk to date,this included 10 birds,with a group of 5 chasing and displaying along the river,near the Priory grounds,a real joy to watch.

Mandarin Numbers were quite good also,with 9 drakes and a female being logged along with 4 singing male Redstart(Including a bird which showed very nicely near the aquaduct),2 Dipper,Red Kite,Green Woodpecker,6 each of both Grey Wagtail and Willow Warbler and finally 2 drake Goosander.

We also saw our first Mallard ducklings of the new breeding season,with broods of 4,3,5,9 and 4 certainly having the aww factor.

Wildflowers were certainly beginning to come into their own as well,carpeting the woodland floor and included Bluebells,Wood Anemone,Dog's Mercury and the first Ramsons were just beginning to break out as well.

This really is a special place,not just for it's historic priory,but for any of my readers who love wildlife and birds it is certainly worth a visit for sure and this is my favourite river by far,with some amazing stretches between Grassington and here.

So another lovely visit to this brilliant site,we travelled home happy after our lovely day out.


The Ruins Of Bolton Priory.

The River Wharfe,From Cavendish Pavillion.



The Famous Stridd.


Red Kite Overhead.



The Aquaduct,Just Along The River From Bardon Tower.


Bluebells Carpeting The Woodland Floor.


A Fountain Dedicated To The Cavendish Family.


Bolton Priory And Its Partial Ruins.