Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Staffordshire Wildlife Trust, Wolseley Bridge

Sunday we took family over to the Staffordshire Wildlife Trust at Wolsesly Bridge, for a couple of hours.

Shortly after arriving we enjoyed a heavy shower so we had two options; either head for the cover of the buildings or head for the gazebo in the grounds and wait for the rain to pass.

Wolseley bridge has easy walks around three lakes

with willow art

board walks

and dead hedges

here are some of the views of the lakes

 River Trent

towering structural Gunnera

Cedar of Lebanon,

The Sensory Garden
a lovely place to stop and sit, look, taste, smell, listen and touch, with herbs, water features and more

Puff balls and other fungi

Ice House

Oh yes and some wildlife!

Monday, 23 August 2010

Bosherston lily ponds to Broad Haven

Last full day in Pembrokeshire, so we chose to spend the day around Bosherston and Broad Haven. It had been a few years since our last visit to these tranquil lakes and it was good to get back there. The lakes were created between 1780 and 1860 by flooding three narrow limestone valleys on the Stackpole Estate and today they are managed by the National Trust.
We parked at Bosherston and walked along the ponds to Broad Haven

This is what the ponds are famed for;  lilies

I have never seen the water level so low in some places weed could be seen hanging from branches a good couple of metres above the water.

It was a cloudy day so unfortunately we didn't see any dragonflies, we did however have a very close encounter with this young robin.

If you get to the ponds in the early morning when it is quiet, there is a good chance of seeing otter, we didn't!
We did though see this adult coot with it's young.

There is a great view point at the top of a rocky hill looking down over one of the lakes.

 We stayed here for a while and watched these Mute Swans.

OK posturing over now lets have a dip!

Apparently a fisherman had a broken his ankle while fishing off the rocks at Broad Haven  The Air Ambulance arrived at the scene just as we were starting our walk, by the time we arrived at the view point the helicopter was airlifting the man to hospital.

Continuing our walk, in places the path was lined with marjoram

While walking along the path to Broad Haven we noticed that many of the hazels had grown with this unusual bark, not sure what has caused this.

Broad Haven

We chose not to walk along beach but opted for the walk through the dunes to Broad Haven Car park

evening primrose

the path led through this mass of brambles and old mans beard

Made it!
 looking back across the dunes to the lily ponds

Then along the sunken lane back to Bosherston

so many interesting plants to look at in the hedgerows! including this toadflax

Finished off with a lunch at St Govans Inn sat outside in the rain with the dog:)

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Stackpole and Barafundle

Day 2 of our visit to Pembrokeshire, saw Mr S and daughter leave early with their sea kayaks,
My instructions were to wait for the boys to get up and meet up for lunch. I finally gave up waiting and woke boys up!
Our arrival at Stackpole Quay coincided with the return of Mr S and daughter from their morning paddle.

As our cakes from the cafe at Stackpole the day before had been so nice we decided to buy our sandwiches from there for our lunch- what a huge disappointment they were; dry bread and really tough beef!  We struggled through our sandwiches while watching brave young folk jump off the quay. They were having great fun, although it looked to me as though sometimes they were only missing the wall with centimetres to spare. One young girl spent a good hour running up to the end of the quay but not managing to pluck up the courage to jump, even with the encouragement of her Mum from the beach and her Dad went up and dived (not too gracefully) off, to show her how it could be done. By the time we left the beach she had quite a few people standing watching and willing her to jump, but we had to make a move and head towards Barafundle Bay.

As we were waving Mr S and daughter off Mr S informed me that there were cattle on the cliff walk but the other side of the electric fence so I will be fine. The reason he told me this is because I am not great in a field of cows, having had a couple of bad experiences with them in the past including a time on a cliff on the Isle of Skye when we had to climb down cliff to take evasive action from a very protective Mummy cow!

So sons, dog and I set off to coast path to Barafundle while Mr S and daughter got back into their kayaks.
walking up to the top of the path  we past another group of people watching the young girl on the harbour wall and then a couple of minutes later a loud cheer came from the direction of the harbour, the girl had managed it hurray!
Our enjoyment of the moment was very short lived as within seconds, a couple of cows were running straight at us, we were in a procession of people all walking towards Barafundle, including lots of young families, arms were being waved around to encourage the cows to change direction, the a couple more cows ran towards us followed by what seemed like a hundred, the cows were desperately trying to change direction, One of my sons was holding onto dog lead tight but as my dog has been known to wriggle out of collar when it all gets to exciting for her I grabbed hold of her collar to try and keep her calm, other son who was on crutches with a badly sprained heel also had hold of dogs collar and as the cows kept coming and pushing us further back, people were still frantically waving arms, the cows were followed by the farmer on his quad bike who was herding all the cows towards the farm, then it happened, son who had hold of lead backed into the electric fence, the shock went through him down lead through dog and through both me and my other son who still had hold of dogs collar, then another gentleman who had helped keep cows away from us also touched wire, all in all a very shocking time. By the time I had gained my composure the cattle and farmer were back at farm, so no photo's I'm afraid!

With feet and trousers covered in cow muck we continued along the path to Barafundle.

It really is a beautiful beach and we have been visiting it every year for well over twenty years, we have never had such a traumatic walk to get there before and hopefully we won't have again.

I was still traumatised by the cows when we met up with Mr S and daughter at Barafundle, so I decided to continue walking along the coastal path for a while instead of just sitting on the beach.

Sea Holly,

A lovely walk up through the wood to the cliff tops.

Lords and ladies or cuckoo pint

Carline thistle.


Birdsfoot-trefoil  or bacon and eggs

I watched as Mr S and son kayaked back to Stackpole to collect sons swim wear which had been left in car and was now needed as he was covered in muck.

Then I continued my walk along the cliffs, the Pembrokeshire coastline is really quite spectacular!

OK! ponies, I think I have had enough of animals today,

Time to return to my family at Barafundle now I have calmed down,

 relax on the sand  and enjoy the views.

Caldy island

before our much more relaxed walk back to the car!
What a day!