About Me

When? Started: 1993 Who? Started with staff and friends from U H S, Chester. Organiser: Martyn Harris We walk every Thursday and Saturdays, New Years day and May Day. How many walk? Walks take place as long as there are at least 2 wanting to walk on that day. More walk on a Thursday than on a Saturday. Most ever: 29. Numbers walking: 2-12, and usually about 8 mid-week and 3-4 on Saturday. Where do we walk? Saturday: Anywhere in North and Mid-Wales, Peak District, Shropshire and the Long Mynd and as far North as the Trough of Bowland. Thursday: Anywhere within about 40 miles of Chester. Type of walk: Distance: 6 – 14 miles. Climb: up to 4000’ (but usually very much less!). Those involved in 2017:- Martyn Harris, Fran Murphy, Sue and Michel Pelissier, Annie Hammond, Sue and Dave Pearson, Mike Dodd, David and Anne Savage, Celia de Mengle, Wendy and Ian Peers, Roger and Margaret Smith, Tim and Carol Dwyer, Paul Collinson, Phil Marsland, Sylvia and Dave Jenkins, Sheila McNee, Ed Meads, Elaine and John Greenhalgh.

Saturday, 31 March 2012

Wolfscote Dale and Pilsbury Castle 31st March 2012

Approaching Wolfscote Dale from Hartington.
One of the three Treecreepers seen today.
Pilsbury Castle.
Hartington ahead.
Walk stats: Distance: 11.2 miles. Climb: 974'.
Time: 4 hours 56 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.6 m.p.h. Overall average: 2.3 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn and Dave J.
The weather today was largely cloudy, but just about warm enough to be in shorts and a t-shirt. At least there was hardly any wind and only the occasional spot or two of rain.
Our bird count started well as we had superb views of a Treecreeper just as we entered Wolfscote Dale, and just a little further on a pair of Dippers. It got even better when we saw a Goldcrest and then two Grey wagtails.
Walking alongside the River Dove is always delightful in these deep limestone valleys, especially when you have the valley to yourself as we did for most of the time.
Conditions underfoot were hard and firm, absolutely no remotely muddy sections where we would normally find them.
Heading up Biggin Dale, the only bird of note was the Green woodpecker whose yaffle was heard on three occasions.
Lunch was taken on one of the many seats in the centre of Hartington village, now full of cars and people walking around. Lunch over we set off about 12-25 in the direction of Pilsbury Castle.  The only bird of note on this section was a male Wheatear, the first that we have seen on a walk this year.
The main views on the second walk were towards Longnor and the "Great white shark".
We arrived back at the car just before three, having had a superb walk in this beautiful part of the Derbyshire White Peaks".
Birds seen or heard today included: Collared dove, Blackbird, House sparrow, Blue tit, Great tit, European robin, Chiffchaff, Jackdaw, Carrion crow, Raven, Dunnock, Treecreeper, Goldcrest, Goldfinch, Common buzzard, Kestrel, Nuthatch, Green woodpecker, Dipper, Grey wagtail, Wheatear, Greenfinch, Skylark, Meadow pipit, Woodpigeon, Pied wagtail and Mallard.
As ever we enjoyed the Hartington bitter at the Wilkes Head in Leek.  They had one or two new brews on, but alas I could only sample one!

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Beyond the Ro and Moel Fferna 28th March 2012

Heading for the Ro Valley.
Emerging onto a footpath after crossing the first unfriendly "stile"!
At the wind shelter on Moel Fferna.
The Berwyns from Moel Fferna.
"I wasn't ready, I was just about to blow my nose and comb my hair!"
Walk stats: Distance: 8.9 miles. Climb: 1677'.
Time: 5 hours 1 minute. On the move walking average: 2.3 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.8 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Roger, Annie H, Phil, Dave J and Wendy.
A very select little group gathered at the lay-by near the Butterfly Man Craft Centre ready for this "delightful" walk beyond the Ro and onto Moel Fferna.
As soon as we set off the few clouds left in the sky began to disappear as the Greenfinches in the area greeted us with their call.
Birds seemed to be singing every where, and why wouldn't you sing joyfully on a glorious day like this?
Having negotiated two fences across the path, the going from then on good, even across the open moorland, that has in the past been very boggy, today was dry, making this part of the walk delightful. The moors seemed to be alive with Skylarks and Meadow pipits singing and performing above us, always sounds that gladden the heart at this time of the year.
Lunch was taken, as usual at the wind shelters on Moel Fferna, we sat in pleasant sunshine with only a gentle breeze to cool us and views that were superb, but a little on the hazy side.
It's always good to walk  on new paths, and today we managed two, one that cut the corner from the road to the Moel Fferna path and another that enabled us to walk to Glyndyfrdwy along paths above the church and avoid walking along the A5.
The bird of the day was undoubtedly a Red kite, but the beautiful sound of the Skylarks singing came a close second.
Birds seen or heard today included: Greenfinch, Mallard, Carrion crow, House sparrow, Blue tit, Great tit, Nuthatch, Dunnock, Winter wren, Meadow pipit, Skylark, Common buzzard, Coal tit, Green woodpecker, Common pheasant, Red kite, Pied wagtail, Chiffchaff, Blackbird, European robin, Woodpigeon, Black-billed magpie and Red grouse.
After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Grouse Inn at Carrog, a superb place if you can get the window seat that overlooks the river, which we did today. The Lees bitter today was OK, but not quite at its usual best!

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Walks and Dates March 2012

Updated 20th March 2012.
Congratulations to Philip and Sam Hammond
on the safe arrival of their daughter Elizabeth, born on 17/03/2012 weighing in at 8 lb 8 onz.
Congraulations to Annie on becoming a grandmother for the second time.
Thursday 1st March 2012
Greenfield Valley, Gadlys and East of Holywell.
Distance: 10-11miles. Climb:1500'.
Start: Greenfield Valley car park on the A548. Grid ref: SJ197775.
Leave Chester at 09-00 a.m.
This walk uses two complete walks and part of a third walk from Dave berry's book "Walks Around Holywell and Halkyn Mountains". This will be the first time that we will complete the whole of the Greenfield Valley walk and the short route on the Gadlys walk. It's always good to explore new routes! A reasonable amount of climb as we climb from the coast road to Holywell on two occasions.
Saturday 3rd March 2012
Another Walk On Conwy Mountain.
Distance: 9-10 miles. Climb:1800' at a guess!
Start: Long stay car park on the B5106 at Conwy. Pay and Display. Grid ref:SH781773.
Leave Chester 08-00 a.m.
This walk is taken from Carl Rogers's book "Walking in the Conwy Valley". Much of the routes as far as Conwy is the same as we have done on the last two occasions,. It goes through the harbour, follows riverside before passing the school and then climbing to Conwy Mountain along he North Wales path. The return route goes South towards Henryd. It is similar to a route we used many years ago, but appears to miss out much of the road walking. we shall see!
Thursday 8th March 2012
The Sandstone Trail - Larkton Hill to Old St Chad's Church.
Distance: 12-13 miles. Climb: 500'.
Start: Car park in the centre of Malpas behind the Post Office. Grid ref: SJ 488473.
Leave Chester at 09-00 a.m.
This is the sixth in our walks from Carl Roger's book "Circular Walks on the Sandstone Trail". Not the most inspiring sections of the Trail. It is a bit longer than we would normally do, but at least there shouldn't be too much of a climb!
Saturday 10th March 2012 
This walk has been postpone until April.
A Tale of Two Quarries and the Foothills of Moel Morfydd.
Distance:10-11 miles; Climb:2800'.
Start: Opposite Capel Hebron, Rhewl. Grid ref:SJ182449.
Leave Chester 9-00 a.m.
Two walks taken from Dave Berry's book ""Walking Around Llangollen and the Dee Valley. The two quarries walk is described as an exhilarating walk exploring the foothills and attractive South facing side valleys of the Llantysilio mountain range.
The second walk is described as a walk that explores the beautiful Dee Valley and includes passing around the head of an attractive side valley beneath Moel Morfydd, offering superb views of the Dee Valley and beyond.
This is a walk that we usually do on a Thursday, but parking is limited, so I thought it would be better to include it on the Saturday list for a change.
Thursday 15th March 2012
Barber's Hill and the Vivod Estate, Berwyn Halt and the Horseshoe Falls.
Distance: 10-11 miles.
Climb: 2000'.
Start: Llangollen long stay car park (pay and display). This is the car park that you get to by taking the first road on the right after crossing the bridge towards the centre. Grid ref: SJ214420.
Leave Chester at 9-00 a.m.
This walk combines two walks taken from Dave Berry's book "Walks Around Llangollen and the Dee Valley".
One walk takes us past Plas Newydd, the home of the "Ladies of Llangollen" before exploring the hidden wooded valleys above Llangollen. The second walk ofers delightful river, valey and canal scenery.  Hopefully the Snowdrops will still be in bloom in the church grounds at Llantysilio.
The most memorable time that we did this combination of walks was in March 2006, when there was snow on the ground. It was a glorious sunny and the sun reflecting on the snow on the trees sparkled like jewels. This was a glorious walk, hopefully to be repeated again this time round, although hopefully without any snow.
Saturday 17th March 2012
Llyn Elsi and Llyn y Parc from Betws -y coed.
Distance: 10 miles. Climb:1600' at a guess!
Start at the main car park at Betws-y-coed (near the PC). Grid ref: SH795565.
Leave Chester at 08-00 a.m.
This is a figure of eight walk that combines two walks from ar Roger's book "Walking in the Conwy Valley". He describes one of these as a moderate walk to the most famous lake around Betws-y-coed, and the other as more strenuous as it climbs steeply out of the Llugwy valley to explore the woods and lakes of the Gwydir Forest.
Thursday 22nd March 2012
The Sandstone Trail - Old St Chad's Church to Whitchurch
Distance: 12 miles. Climb: 300'.
Start: Lay-by just past the Grindley Brook Lockside  Cafe on the A41.  Next to an old mill and a telephone box. Grid ref: SJ52474286.
Leave Chester 09-00 a.m.
This is the seventh and last in our walks from Carl Roger's book "Circular Walks on the Sandstone Trail". As with the last walk, this section is another not very inspiring sections of the Trail, but at least this time we have the motivation that on completing it we will have done the whole of the trail.
Saturday 24th march 2012
Walks Around Cemaes Bay.
Distance: 10 miles. Climb:500'.
Start: Car park near the harbour in Cemaes Bay. Grid ref: SH373935.
Leave Chester 08-00 a.m.
This walk combines two walks, one of each of the books that Carl Roger has written on "Coastal Walks On Anglesey. He describes one walk as an excellent walk along a dramatic section of the coast. good paths, but one section is a little exposed an might intimidate some people. Let's hope it's a calm day and dry underfoot! The other walk heads towards the Wylfa Power Station, where there is a possible short extension to Mynydd y Wylfa.
Thursday 29th March 2012
Beyond the Ro and Moel Ferna
Distance: 9-10 mile. Climb:1500'.
Start: Lay-by next to The Butterfly Man and Craft Centre on the A5. Grid ref: SJ115436.
Leave Chester 09-00 a.m.
This walk combines one of the walks from Dave Berry's book "Walks Around Llangollen and the Dee Valley" with an extension to the summit of Moel Ferna (weather permitting). We will decide the return route on the day. We have visited Moel Ferna in all sorts of conditions, some good, some not so good, hopefully it will be a good one this time.
Saturday 31st March 2012.
Pilsbury Castle and Wolfcote Dale.
Distance: 11 miles; Climb: 1150'.

Start: Hartington Village car park (pay and display). Grid ref:SK123602.
Leave Chester 08-00 a.m.
This is one of may favourite White Peak Walks as most of you will have guessed by the number of times that it has appeared on the lists.This time we will do the Pilsbury Castle circuit first and after lunch we will visit the sylvan Beresford Dale, the open aspects of Wolfscote Dale and the wilder aspects of Biggin Dale, before retiring to the Wilkes Head for refreshments!

Saturday, 24 March 2012

A Cemaes Bay Walk 24th March 2012

Young lambs in the woods at Wylfa.
An avenue of flowering Gorse.
On the coastal path West of Cemaes Bay.
The final stretch of the coastal path from Cemaes Bay to Porth Wen.
Walk stats: distance: 10.3 miles. Climb: 1265'.
Time: 5 hours 37 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.2 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.8 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Roger, Dave J and Mike D.
What a glorious day for walking this turned out to be, wall to wall blue skies, warm sunshine and occasionally a gentle breeze to cool us. This was more like a Summer day in terms of the temperature (must have been at least 20 Celsius at times) and the crystal clear sea below us looked so inviting to enter for a swim, but alas we didn't have time!
Walking along the coast is always good, but days like this there couldn't be a better place to be walking or even better gently strolling to take in the magnificent vista and all the wonders that nature had on offer.
we started off the walk around Wylfa Head with lots of new born lambs everywhere, and later on we saw three Whimbrel and a Grey seal. Later on we saw two pairs of Red-breasted merganser, and perhaps the surprise of the day was a flock of more that a hundred Meadow pipits. Lots of bumble bees were seen too, but whether they were Buff-tailed or White-tailed was debatable!
Birds seen or heard included: Chiffchaff, European robin, Blue tit, Common blackbird, Common buzzard, Carrion crow, Raven, Red-billed chough, Song thrush, Jackdaw, Meadow pipit, Stonechat, Common starling, Grey heron, Mallard, Red-breasted merganser, Great cormorant, Kestrel, Herring gull, Black-headed gull, Lesser black-backed gull, Great black-backed gull, Fulmar, Kittiwake, Oystercatcher, Winter wren, Dunnock, Pied wagtail, Goldfinch, Canada goose, Rock dove, Collared dove, House sparrow, Chaffinch and Black-billed magpie.
For a ten mile walk we were glad to get back to the car, get changed and appreciate Mike driving us to the Britannia Inn at Halkyn.  After enjoying our Lees bitter, we were fortunate to see that the A55 was congested and were able to divert our return route to go via Mold.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Sandstone Trail: St Chads ld Church to Whitchurch 22nd March 2012

A close encounter of the toad kind.
The start/end of the Sandstone Trail, but for those in the picture it was the end!

St., Alkmund's Church, Whitchurch.
A Frenchman that escaped!
Old St Chad's Church.
Walk stats: Distance: 12.8 miles. Climb: 744'.
Time: 5 hours 54 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.5 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 2.2 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Roger, Sue and Michel, Annie H., Phil, Celia, Sylvia and Dave J. (Time and Carol did their best to join us halfway round, but a police incident in Blacon prevented them, but thankfully we met up with them in the Horse and Jockey at Grindley Brook after the walk!
Almost a perfect day for a walk, lovely blue skies, warm sunshine and hardly any wind, I could have got away with just one shirt and hanky!
Most of us had already had a walk that included the St., Chad's Old Church to Grindley Brook, so the most interesting bit for most was the section from Grindley Brook into Whitchurch.
This was in fact the best part of the walk and was more varied than the walk after lunch.
St., Alkmund's Church was an unusual design and difficult to photograph all of it (with my camera!). Michel and Celia went inside, leaving the rest of us worrying if they would disturb the service that was about to start.
Next part of the walk crossed a golf course, never ideal, but all the golfers were friendly and we didn'y have to avoid any flying balls!
Lunch was taken alongside the lock, just North of Grindley Brook Lockside Cafe (which was closed).
The walk after lunch didn't have a lot that we would remember it by, the best bit being Dave J and Sylvia meeting a friend as we passed through Tushingham.
Birds seen or heard today included: Common blackbird, Blue tit, great tit, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Pied wagtail, Black-billed magpie, Woodpigeon, Fieldfare, Common pheasant, Winter wren, Dunnock, Mallard, Coot, Wigeon, Carrion crow, Jackdaw, European robin, Canada goose, Common buzzard, Goldfinch and House sparrow.
We all saw a mating pair of Common toads, one Brimstone and two Peacock butterflies, and Dave J saw  a Stoat.
After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Horse and Jockey at Grindley Brook, where they had an impressive eight real ales (many locally brewed) on offer, one at less than 3% alcohol, always good to see.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Yet Another Great Orme Walk 17th March 2012

Looking across the Conwy Estuary towards Conwy Mountain from the path above Marine Drive.
Looking towards Anglesey from the Western slopes of the Great Orme.
Looking towards Puffin Island from the Great Orme.
Violets, the flowers that Celia spotted first!
Walk stats: Distance: 8.2 miles. Climb: 1142''.
Time: 5 hours 10 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.1 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.6 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn and Celia.
Sunshine and showers were forecast, thankfully we only had one short shower and plenty of blue skies and sunshine.
As this was the second Saturday on the run that I had walked on the Great Orme, I decided to explore a couple of paths that we hadn't used before. The first was the path that goes from behind the west Shore Marine Drive toll house and runs parallel to the road and comes out opposite the road that leads to the gunnery site. This is a superb path and is one I would recommend over just following Marine Drive.  The second new path was the waymarked path after the road that comes down from St. Tudno's Church. a good path, but I will only use it again if we want to keep the walk to less than 10 miles.  As the group gets older, that may be soon than we would like to admit!
The sea was quite calm and at times we could see the reflection of the Conwy Mountains, the blue skies and the clouds reflected, not perfectly but still very obvious. It is days like this that makes walking around and on the Great Orme such a joy and and to be thankful that you still have the ability to get there and enjoy it!
I listened to the weather forecast and opted not to wear shorts, and was a little a little peeved when Celia decided to take off her trouser legs (only the lower half of course).
Lunch was taken, quite early, just after 12-00, using the picnic tables North of the summit on Great Orme.
Thankfully it was only 10 minutes after lunch that we experienced the first and only rain shower that lasted about 15 minutes.
Birds seen and heard today included: Pied wagtail, Jackdaw, Carrion crow, Mute swan, Oystercatcher, Herring gull, Red-billed chough, House sparrow, Blue tit, Great tit, Winter wren, Chaffinch, Greenfinch, Raven, Fulmar, Meadow pipit, Skylark, Great black-backed gull, Lesser black-backed gull, Guillemot, Greenfinch, Stonechat, Blackbird, Great cormorant, European robin, Woodpigeon, Dunnock and Kittewake.
A lovely walk. I think I'm getting to like these 8 milers!
After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Britannia Inn at Halkyn, Celia with her San Miguel and me with with my Lees bitter, and of course "we" were able to watch Wales on their way to a yet another grand slam victory!

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Barber's Hill, the Vivod Estate, Berwyn Halt and the Horseshoe Falls and More15th March 2012

Waiting to visit St Collen's Church, Llangollen.
Inside St., Collen's Church, Llangollen.
The superb elaborately hammer-beam roof erected in 1530.
Dinas Bran, but I can't see Fran or Tito!
A Mandarin drake, our most unexpected bird of the day.
The Horshoe Falls.
Walk stats: 11.1 miles. Climb: 1760'.
Time; 5 hours 50 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.4 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.9 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Annie H., Gordon, Sue and Michel, Tim, Paul, Sylvia and Dave J, Fran and Tito ( after lunch). Celia made it to the car park in Llangollen, but then had to go home with her sick car, the clutch had apparently gone!
The much anticipated spells of sunshine didn't materialise, but at least it wasn't too cold and we didn't get any rain!
On this occasion I decided to see if we could go into St Collen's Church, and what a good choice it was. The carved hammer-beam roof was superb. It makes wonder do we have any craftsmen today that could produce such magnificent work.
We went past Plas Newydd, the home of the "Two Ladies of Llangollen" before heading up hill to Barber Hill. We had good views towards Dinas Bran, but they weren't exactly crystal clear!
Lunch was taken overlooking the river at Llangollen, where we met up with Fran and Tito who had earlier walke upto Dinas Bran.  It was on this section of the river that we encountered the drake Manderin duck, happily sitting only a couple of feet from the path.
The second walk didn't give much to demand that it should be repeated, but it was pleasant enough. The size and amount of tree trunks stranded on the island below the Horseshoe Falls made you realise that at times the river must be much higher than it was today.
Birds seen or heard today included: Dunnock, Song thrush, Woodpigeon, Common pheasant, House sparrow, Carrion crow, Jackdaw, Mallard, Mandarin duck, Blue tit, Great tit, Winter wren, Kestrel, Common buzzard, Pied wagtail, Common blackbird, Greenfinch, Grey heron, Nuthatch and Barnacle goose.
After walk drinks were enjoyed at the Corn Mill in Llangollen. Several went for Facers DHB (Dave's Hoppy Beer), but not everyone, Conwy Celebration Ale, a Blackberry Stout and a Pheonix brew were all sampled (only one brew per person!). Not forgetting that a pot of tea, a lime and lemonade and a J2O were also chosen drinks to refresh the tired legs.

Saturday, 10 March 2012

Another Great Orme Special 10th March 2012

Is that a seal?
Llandudno Pier from Happy Valley Gardens, Llandudno.
"That's my boy!" The only new kid seen.
Walk stats: Distance: 8.1 miles. Climb: 1440'.
Time: 4 hours 48 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.2 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.7 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn and Roger.
Another good day for walking, especially before lunch, when we experienced a lot of sunshine to compensate for the cool wind.
This route followed the footpath that lead to the gunnery site, always a good alternative to following the Marine Drive from the West shore. This approach gave us lots of opportunity to hear birds singing, especially that of the Dunnock that seemed to be every hundred yards or so as we headed towards the open access area.
Heading along the Marine Drive, past the "Rest and be Thankful" Cafe is always one of anticipation! Will we see a seal? Will we see a porpoise? on this occasion, the answer was, no!.
However we did see lots of Guillemots and a Fulmars (some already nesting).
Our greatest disappointment was find the toilets in the Happy Valley Gardens closed!
As usual, we had lunch in the cemetery near St. Tudno's church, and were fortunate enough to see a Kestrel fly past within a few feet of us, not once but several times. On one occasion, it was being mobbed by Jackdaws and a Herring gull.
After lunch, we realised that our legs were still complaining from the walk on Thursday, so decided the shortest route across the top of the Great Orme was the best option. That decision had nothing to do with the fact that we would be back at the Britannia Inn, Halkyn to se the first half of the Wales v Italy rugby match, which Wales naturally won!
Birds seen or heard today included: Mute swan, Oystercatcher, Jackdaw, Carrion crow, Raven, Pied wagtail, European robin, Meadow pipit, Red-billed chough, Fulmar, Herring gull, Great cormorant, Blue tit, Great tit, Greenfinch, Goldfinch, Woodpigeon, Common blackbird and Skylark.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Sandstone Trail - Larkton Hill to Old St Chad's Church 8th March 2012

A few of the youngish lambs seen in the fields between Malpas and Larkton Hill.
More youngsters in the fields between Larkton Hill and Old St Chad's Church.
Walk stats: Distance: 13.4 miles. Climb:861'.
Time: 6 hours 25 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.5 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 2.1 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Roger and Annie H.
A very select group today, just three of us, everyone seemed to be away. I suppose that from time to time that will happen as most of us are enjoying retirement.
Yet another almost perfect day for walking, plenty of sunshine and very little wind. I could have got a way with only one shirt, but as everyone knows, I like to change for lunch!
This isn't exactly the best section of the Sandstone Trail, but overall it was a very pleasant "stroll" through the Cheshire countryside with conditions underfoot being excellent (sections looked as though they could  very muddy if you chose the wrong day!).
Not a lot worthy of photographing on this route, but it's always good see lambs and calves in the field, reminding us of how wonderful new born animals really are.  Although I didn't see it Roger and Annie saw one lamb jump 20', it must have known it's getting late to be selected for the long jump for the 2012 Olympics!
The only other thing of note was as we approached Larkton Hill, we saw a very unusual bird, bigger than a kestrel, more like a large buzzard, but with peculiar wings and flight pattern.  We came to the conclusion that it was a "black kite", the man made variety that many a young person has enjoyed flying!
As we had lunch on the slopes of Larkton Hill with at least 7 miles to go, a text came in from the Ravazzolos. It was good to see that they were out walking he Clwydians, Moel Arthur I presume!
Birds seen or heard today included: Greenfinch, Collared dove, Woodpigeon, Jackdaw, Carrion crow, Rook, House sparrow, Blue tit, great tit, Common buzzard, Common pheasant, Common starling, Yellowhammer, European robin, Common blackbird, Great tit, Fieldfare, Greylag goose, Canada goose, Mallard, Great tit, Chaffinch and Pied wagtail. 
 We arrived back at the car, thankful that we had made it back in good time, and I for one had one knee that had been protesting every time we went over a stile in the last couple of miles!
I don't envy Roger standing up singing for for a few hours this evening.
After walk celebrations we enjoyed with an appropriate drink when we got home, our last experience in Malpas wasn't the best!

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Birds Seen or Heard in February 2012

Birds Seen or Heard in February 2012

Barnacle goose

Bar-tailed godwit

Black-billed magpie

Black-headed gull

Blue tit

Canada goose

Carrion crow

Chaffinch

Chaffinch

Coal tit

Collard dove

Collard dove

Common blackbird

Common buzzard

Common gull

Common pheasant

Common redshank

Common starling

Dipper

Dunnock

Eurasian curlew

Eurasian jay

Eurasian Jay

European robin

Feral pigeon

Fieldfare

Goldeneye

Goldfinch

Goosander

Great black-backed gull

Great cormorant

Great spotted woodpecker

Great tit

Greenfinch

Grey heron

Grey plover

Greylag goose

Herring gull

House sparrow

Jackdaw

Kestrel

Knot

Lapwing

Lesser black-backed gull

Little gull

Long-tailed tit

Mallard

Meadow pipit

Mistle thrush

Nuthatch

Oystercatcher

Pied wagtail

Purple sandpiper

Raven

Redwing

Ringed plover

Rook

Sanderling

Skylark

Song thrush

Treecreeper

Turnstone

Winter wren

Woodpigeon

Yellowhammer

Total 64

Birds Seen or Heard in January 2012

Birds Seen or Heard in January 2012

Bar-tailed godwit

Black-billed magpie

Blackbird

Black-headed gull

Blue tit

Brent goose

Bullfinch

Canada goose

Canada goose

Carrion crow

Chaffinch

Coal tit

Common blackbird

Common buzzard

Common coot

Common crossbill

Common crow

Common curlew

Common redshank

Common starling

Common teal

Curlew

Dunlin

Dunnock

Eurasian jay

European robin

Fieldfare

Goldcrest

Great black-backed gull

Great cormorant

Great tit

Green woodpecker

Greenfinch

Greenshank

Grey wagtail

Herring gull

House sparrow

Jackdaw

Kestrel

Knot

Lapwing

Long-tailed tit

Mallard

Mistle thrush

Moorhen

Moorhen

Mute swan

Nuthatch

Oystercatcher

Pied wagtail

Pintail

Raven

Red kite

Redwing

Rook

Shelduck

Siskin

Song thrush

Sparrowhawk

Tree sparrow

Wigeon

Winter wren

Woodpigeon

Monday, 5 March 2012

Tegg's Nose - Walk to the Forest 5th March 2012

Tegg's Nose from Hardingland, along Hacked Way Lane.
St Stephen's, Forest Chapel.
The Trentabank Heronry.
One of the many places to rest on the way up to Tegg's Nose.
The route to Charity Lane! (Observed from Tegg's Nose)
Walk stats: Distance: 7.0 miles. Climb: 1265'.
Time: 4 hours 4 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.2 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.7 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn and Sue Powell.
Another superb day for walking, blue skies and lots of sunshine.  However on occasions a cool wind accompanied us, particularly on the way across Tegg's Nose in the latter stages of the walk.
This was quite an up and down walk, giving many superb views, particularly towards Shutlingsloe and Croker Hill. Part of the walk was through the Forest, but only a short section made you feel you were totally surrounded by trees, and even then chinks of light came through the trees.
Talking to the Rangers at Trentabank and Tegg's Nose we learned that "Chantry Lane" on the route description was in fact Charity Lane as on the O.S. Map and "Walks 1,2 and 3" went out of use a few years ago and the walks are now colour coded instead.  Despite these mistakes on the described route we managed to find our way round, having had a very enjoyable walk.
Birds seen or heard today included: Common buzzard, Jackdaw, Carrion crow, Raven, Woodpigeon, Blue tit, Coal tit, Great tit, Great cormorant, Grey heron, Mallard, Tufted duck, Black-billed magpie, Canada goose, Common coot, Blackbird, European robin, Chaffinch, Dunnock and Great-crested grebe.
After walk celebrations included a very enjoyable meal at the Fort of Bengal in Sale.

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Another Conwy Mountain Circuit 3rd March 2012

The Great Orme from Conwy.
On top of the world.
Not really, it isn't even the top of Conwy Mountain!
A rainbow in the sky.
Possibly not my best side!
Lunch in the Sun.
This little piggy didn't budge an inch when we passed within two feet of her.
A new view of Conwy Castle.
Walk stats: Distance: 11.4 miles. Climb: 2085'.
Time: 6 hours 55 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.1 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.6 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn and Mike D.
Sunshine and showers were on the menu, and that was exactly what we got. Thankfully we had more sunshine than showers!  When the Sun was shining we would have been better off wearing shorts, but at other times we were glad that we weren't!
The whole of the Conwy Mountain section was completed in warm sunshine, and it was only after crossing the road at the Sychnant Pass that our first spell of rain kicked in. 
We headed off in our usual direction and planned to have lunch at a small wooded enclosure. This we did, and by this time we were bathed in sunshine again.
After lunch we realised that this wasn't really part of the route as described. However this little extension did give us a superb complete rainbow to enjoy and our first sighting of Red-billed choughs in 2012.
The new part of the route, looked quite tricky on the OS map, but thankfully the route descriptions were very good.
We encountered three problems on route, the need to cross two fences that were "stileless" and one case where and additional rope had been put across the field to keep horses back.
The last approach to Conwy, gave us some superb views of the Conwy Castle and its walls from the Southern side.
We arrived back at the car having had a good almost 7 hour walk.
Birds seen or heard today included: Greenfinch, Herring gull, Jackdaw, Carrion crow, Common redshank, Oystercatcher, Curlew, Mallard, Teal, Shelduck, Great tit, Chaffinch, Blackbird, Dunnock, Meadow pipit, Common buzzard, Kestrel, Red-billed chough, Raven, Great tit, Black-billed magpie, European robin, Mistle thrush, Nuthatch, Goldfinch, Common pheasant, Woodpigeon and Great tit.
After walk drinks and a meal were enjoyed at the Britannia Inn at Halkyn.  The Lees bitter and the cheese and onion pie were superb!

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Greenfield Valley, East of Holywell and More 1st March 2012

The Power of Steam - boiler sydtem at Greenfield Valley Heritage Site.
The boiler being checked and fired up ready for the first open day at Easter.
A preview of the bottling plant.
One of the many superb views across the Dee Estuary.
Heading for the Greenfield on the East side of the Valley.
Paul giving a History lesson in the abbey!
Daffodils seen on on the roadside near Panton Hall.
A must have on St David's Day!
Walk stats: Distance: 10.0 miles. Climb: 1233'.
Time: 5 hours 12 minutes. On the move walking average: 2.4 m.p.h. Overall walk average: 1.9 m.p.h.
Group: Martyn, Roger, Annie H., Phil, Paul, Celia, Sue and Dave P.
What a superb day for walking this turned out to be. Largely blue skies all day with pleasantly warm sunshine and very little wind.
The bonus of the day was at the Greenfield Valley Heritage site, where engineers were firing up the boiler and checking the system before opening officially at Easter.  They were happy to give us a little take on the system as well.  A must to visit when the whole site is operational later in the year.
Our route through the woods on the East of Holywell walk was less muddy than usual as we followed the description more closely and climbed the first set of steps that now leads to a path above the muddiest sections.
We had lunch in a children's playground, where we could take advantage of some seats. Needless to say at least one of the over sixties in the group couldn't resist the temptation to try out the challenges on offer!
Dave P also provided everyone with a celebratory drink for St David's Day (Dave P birthday).
Birds seen or heard today included: Blackbird, European robin, Common buzzard, Chaffinch, Blue tit, Great tit, common coot, Mallard, Mute swan, Little grebe, Tufted duck, Carrion crow, Jackdaw, Nuthatch, Woodpigeon, House sparrow, Dunnock, Herring gull and Black-headed gull.
We completed the walk, glad to have been able to use a few footpaths not used before, and for the first time completed the Greenfield Valley walk in its entirety.
After walk drinks were enjopyed at the Britannia Inn at Halkyn, where the Lees Bitter was in good condition.