Friday, 19 November 2010

52 Walks in 2010 - Walk 42 - A Walk around Our Garden (18th November 2010)

I am so conscious that I am quite a few weeks behind with my 52 walks and not liking to be defeated I am desperate to try and catch up. So today I took a walk ........ around our garden. I know its a bit of a cop out but when needs must.

Unfortunately the garden looks pretty bleak at the moment. There are lots of leaves on the grass.

But on closer inspection there a few splashes of colour. These berries are on a Maple Tree. It is actually a bit different to your usual Maple Tree because each year one side of the tree bears red berries ...................

......... whilst the other side bears pink berries!

We assume that the nursery where the tree came from grafted two varieties together. Don't know whether this was intentional but it makes for an interesting looking tree.

Elsewhere in the garden there are the odd brightly coloured leaf like these on the Spirea Bush.

These Cyclamen where bought last weekend and are still waiting to be planted in tubs. Hopefully they will bring a bit of colour to the front of the house in the coming months.

Amazingly some of the bulbs in the garden are already starting to peep through the soil.

We have snow forecast for this part of the country towards the end of next week so either I shall be able to go for a nice snowy walk or I'll take the easy option and decide to stay inside in the warm. Hmmmm, wonder which it will be!!

Friday, 5 November 2010

Walks in 2010 - Walk 41 - The Parrot Zoo, Friskney, Lincs (29th October 2010)

Todays walk was around The Parrot Zoo (incorporating The National Parrot Sanctuary) at Friskney, Linconlnshire and was also our last walk in Lincolnshire before heading back home. The zoo is home to 1350 happy parrots and parakeets, and is the largest collection of rescued parrots in the UK

Here are a few photos of some of the inhabitants.

52 Walks in 2010 - Walk 40 - Wainfleet, Lincs (28th October 2010)

Todays walk was around the town of Wainfleet. During our walk I seemed to take a lot of photos of signs so I'll start with the village sign which shows the Magdalen College Museum (more on that later).

The main reason for our walk around the town was to visit Batemans Brewery. Batemans Brewery is one of the country’s oldest family breweries. It is based on an old windmill, dating back two centuries and overlooks the River Steeping. Definitely THE most picturesque of breweries.

Batemans was founded in 1874 by George Bateman and the Bateman family are still very much involved with the brewery. Batemans is the holder of the Regional Brewer of the Year Award 2010.

In August 2000 a Visitors Centre was opened at the brewery. Visitors can have a tour around the Victorian brewhouse, where much of the equipment is made of brass and copper as well as round the new brewhouse ........ and our course sample to beer!

Inside the old windmill the circular windmill bar stocks the championship winning Bateman’s beers. Due to the circular shape of the mill you can stand in various areas and the sound magnifies itself, Roman Auditorium style.

Besides the brewery there are other interesting places in Wainfleet like the market square with its clock tower

Between the Brewery and the Town runs a main Railway line with Wainfleet’s quaint old station
and signal box.

Barkham Street was built in 1847 for Bethlem Hospital according to the design of Sydney Smirke, their architect and named after their benefactor. A number of similar terraces stood in Southwark near Bethlem Hospital. The street is such an attraction because the city ‘Regency’ architecture is so much different to the other houses in the small town

Besides Batemans Brewery and Barkham Street the other main attraction in Wainfleet is the Magdalen College School.

Willam Patten known as William of Waynflete was born in the town in 1395. He became Bishop of Winchester and Lord Chancellor of England. Having founded the Magdalen College at Oxford he authorised the building of Magdalen College School in Wainfleet to provide scholars for the Oxford College. Originally designed to take seven boys the building was last used as a school in 1966. The impressive Grade 1 listed building now houses a museum, library and cafe. Unfortunately at the time of our visit it was closed to the public.

Thursday, 4 November 2010

52 Walks in 2010 - Walk 39 - Natureland, Skegness, Lincs (27th October 2010)

After our visit to Donna Nook beach to see the colony of Grey Seals in their natural habitat we decided to visit Skegness Natureland Seal Sanctuary. Natureland first opened in 1965 and was a place that on my childhood visits to Skegness we always went. Every year, particularly during the breeding season, seal pups are washed up on the beaches around Skegness, abandoned or separated from their mothers by the tides. The lucky ones are brought into Natureland's Seal Hospital where they are cared for and when the seal pups are fit, fat and healthy, they are returned home to the sea.

The common seal pups that were at Natureland at the time of our visit were so cute and those in the Rearing Pool looked very healthy and happy.

This next little chap looked so contented.

As well a seals, Natureland also has some other resident creatures.
The Jackass Penguins were a little shy but did venture out of their huts for a little while.

There were several very hungry ducks on the Koi Carp pond which were only too willing to gobble up the fish food before the fish could get to it.

In the Butterfly House there were beautiful butterflies. Not as many as there probably are at warmer times of the year but we still spotted a few. including some huge ones.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

52 Walks in 2010 - Walk 38 - Donna Nook Beach, Lincs (27th October 2010)

When autumn turns into winter hundreds of Grey Seals start hauling themselves onto the sand banks on the Lincolnshire coast to give birth to their pups. Donna Nook on the north-eastern coast of Lincolnshire is a seal watchers' paradise. It boasts one of the largest and most accessible breeding colonies of Grey Seals in the UK. Interestingly the reserve which is managed by the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust is also shared with the RAF's military bombing range but thankfully on the day we visited there was no bombing going on.

We arrived at the beach, parked our car and followed the many dozens of other people who had come to Donna Nook to see the seals. As we walked along the dunes in the distance we started to make out large black rock like shapes on the beach.

On getting closer it was clear to see that the rocks were the seals. There were about 100 or so on the beach and from the fenced off viewing area at the foot of the sand dunes we were able to watch them.

On rounding a corner we came across this chap just about 10-15m in front of the fence having a snooze in a pool. Seemingly oblivious to all the visitors who were watching him

Further on were more seals. I'm no seal expert but the ranger told us that they were mainly male 'bull' seals and that the majority of the female 'cows' would start arriving later that week and that by next week there would be double the number of seals on the beach as well as their pups. We did see one pup. In this next photo just behind the closest seal you can just about make out a white shape - that's the pup.

After watching the seals for a while we headed back to the car and on our way we passed a couple of huge seals having a bit of a spat. These photos were taken from about 10m from the seals.

Even Lara decided to have a go at taking some photos.

It was a lovely morning and really magical to see these wonderful creatures in the wild and up so close.

Since posting I've read the Wildlife Trusts Pupping Update and on Monday 1st November they recorded approx 176 adults present and 35 pups born to date.

Monday, 1 November 2010

52 Walks in 2010 - Walk 37 - Gibraltar Point, Lincs (25th October 2010)

Gibraltar Point National Nature Reserve covers three miles of coast from Skegness to The Wash. The reserve is recognised internationally for its important habitats and species and is managed by the Lincolnshire Wildlife Trust.

Habitats include sandy and muddy seashore, sand dunes, saltmarsh and freshwater marsh with ponds and lagoons.

After the previous night's rain there were lots of puddles, which a certain little girl was very keen to play in.

We bought a walkabout guide to the nature reserve and were able to find out about the different habits as we walked around the 3.5 mile circular route.

After quite a while we reached the beach.

Like much of Lincolnshire when the tide goes out vast mud flats remain.

From Mill Hill, the highest point on the reserve you get a great view of Fenland Lagoon which is midway between freshwater and saltwater habitats.

A large variety of plants and wildflowers grow within the reserve. The elderberries were in fruit..........

........ and also this Sea Blackthorn which is found in only a few sites in Britain but which is common at Gibraltar Point.