The Witch of Woodplumpton

The boulder to the witch is located in St Annes church in Woodplumpton, Lancashire.

The Witch of Woodplumpton is the legend of a woman named Meg Shelton, she was accused of witchcraft and in 1705 she was buried in this churchyard.

The “Fylde Hag” that was Meg Shelton was accused of stealing milk and transforming herself into objects. She was seen as a nuisance to the local farmers, she would often transform herself into objects on the farm in order to avoid detection. There is one story of her changing herself into corn sacks; as the farmer noticed the sacks where there should be none, he poked them with a pitchfork. One of the bags let out a scream and changed back into the witch.

There is another story of a farmer noticing a goose in one of his fields with the cows. It’s said that from the goose bill there was milk dripping. The farmer saw the oddity in this and kicked the goose, changing it back into a bucket. Enraged at the spilling of the milk she was trying to steal Meg flew off in anger.

One of the stories around her death is said that she was crushed to death between a wall and a rolling barrel that was pushed in her direction.

Some of the other stories revolve around Meg not actually being a witch but a scorned mistress. She was said to be having an affair with the local lord of the manor with the possibility of an illicit child involved, there was cause for this lord wanting Meg out of the way.

There is also the question of why a witch would be buried on consecrated grounds.

But the tale doesn’t end at Meg’s death. After she was buried it’s said that Meg rose from the grave at least three times. Resulting in her body being buried at midnight, vertically with her head facing downwards so that if she tried to scratch her way out again she would be scratching deeper into the earth. A heavy boulder was then placed on top just for good measure.

There’s lots of folktales revolving around the boulder where Meg is buried beneath. It’s said walking around the boulder three times will make Meg appear or that if you touch the boulder it will bring you bad luck.

Apparently the spooky apparition of Meg can still be seen floating about the graveyard and an appearance of an old hag has been seen on a number of occasions.

Blessed Be )O(

Holehird Gardens

Holehird gardens is located in Windermere, Cumbria.

The area was originally owned by Thomas Hird and the gardens date back to the 17th century. The house was built in the 1860’s as a private home and is currently being used as an independent living facility.

In 1885 the walled garden was created along with the heated greenhouses. In 1897 when the Groves family moved to Holehird, the gardens continued to develop and expand which included the rock gardens and water features.

In 1945 the garden had become too expensive to maintain and it was an overgrown wasteland. Henry Leigh Groves gave the estate away to the County Council.

In 1969 the Lakeland Horticultural Society formed which immediately transformed the overgrown rock garden and grassy slopes of the orchard. By 1980 the walled garden which was being used as a tree nursery was cleared and redesigned. The abandoned greenhouses and walls were repaired as well as new paths and flower beds were created.

It wasn’t until 2001 that the woodland walk was created, the water features were restored and other areas of the land were acquired for transformation.

The walled garden has all year around plant life including a variety of colourful flowering herbaceous plants and shrubs, roses, climbers and small trees.

The south wall is the most shaded area and the east border has the most sun throughout the day. There are five island beds and this garden has something to offer all year around including fragrant plants at the north wall.

There are several glasshouses that display a range of alpines that would be difficult to grow outside in colder climates. There are more than five hundred species and the displays are often changed.

There is an old Victorian glass house that was restored in 1999 which has preserved the Victorian curve-ended glass panes. Fuchsias are grown in that one whilst the flowers, herbs and plants that are grown in the heated greenhouses are used for both the gardens and for sales in the plant sale area.

Water features in the rockery garden.

The upper garden is sprawled across the slopes with narrow pathways and winding steps.

There are seating areas along the upper gardens that offer up scenic views of lake Windermere.

Blessed Be )O(

Kirkstone Pass

The Kirkstone pass has the highest altitude of 1, 489 feet in the Lake District and is the highest pass that’s open to traffic.

It’s a steep, narrow and winding road that directly goes through the valley to connect Ambleside in Rothay to Patterdale in Ullswater.

The views from the top are breathtaking and encompass the whole valley. Close to the summit is an inn which is the third highest public house in England.

Blessed Be )O(

Trowbarrow Quarry

Trowbarrow Quarry nature reserve is located in Silverdale, Lancashire.

This piece of land was once a limestone quarry up until it ceased functioning in 1959 and it wasn’t until 1997 that Trowbarrow became a nature reserve for a variety of wildlife and plants.

The trail to the quarry starts from Storrs Lane and you have to follow the sign posts as there are many other walking routes that divert along the path.

This area has woodland, wildlife and a nice walk around the quarry but don’t walk too close to the edge as people do rock climb here and bits of rocks do fall from the top.

This massive stone is known as the “shelter stone,” it was once used by the quarry men to shelter behind when they were blasting. These days it’s used by rock climbers.

Blessed Be )O(

Wyre Estuary

The Wyre estuary is where the mouth to the Irish sea meets the river Wyre.

This country park has a tourist information centre with parking, a picnic area, a children’s play area and cafe/toilet facilities.

There are numerous walking routes around the riverside and estuary that showcase some of the best views.

This area is also a nature reserve with the land comprised of salt-marshes and mudflats it provides habitation for birds and wildlife in the area.

Always check the tide times before walking as this path goes underwater when the sea comes in and floods the river.

Blessed Be )O(

Witch Wood Grave

Witch wood is located in Lytham, St Annes, Lancashire. It’s a woodland walk on the boundary of Lytham Hall.

The woodland belonged to the Lytham estate but once the house was acquired by the trust in 1963 this derelict land was gifted by the local council to St Annes Civic Society, who is now in charge of the upkeep of the area.

The houses situated at the edge of the woodland were built on what was once land that belonged to the Lytham estate.

I went walking through these woods during spring.

The reason Witch wood has its name is because on 5th January 1888, John Talbot Clifton, the squire of Lytham hall’s favourite horse called Witch died in a riding accident through this wood. The horse was buried on the property but when the boundary of the land moved, the gravestone became situated in the middle of public land and was left as a little piece of history embedded into the local folklore.

The gravestone can be found near the edge of the woodland and can be visited by anyone.

Should you be there, you might want to be aware there is a ghost story attached to this tale. It’s said that a phantom horse gallops along the path through the wood, accompanied by the sound of stampeding hooves.

Blessed Be )O(

Rydal Water and Cave

Rydal water is a small lake in the central part of the Lake District, Cumbria.

To get to the cave you first have to walk to the lake, from there you can either take the high or low path since it’s a circular walk and it will bring you back to the other path.

Near the top are two smaller hollowed out caves in the cliff side, the top one is too high to have access to.

Going down this small path gives access to the bottom cave.

To get to the top you need to pass these caves and head up the rocky road.

Once at the top you will find the main cave.

This cave was formally known as Loughrigg Quarry, over two hundred years ago it was a working quarry and now this hollowed out cave is purely man-made from a forgotten time.

The top of this fell overlooks Rydal water.

To walk back down the opposite way you have to pass the caves and follow the trail.

The trail ended on the bottom path next to the lake.

Blessed Be )O(

Orrest Head

Orrest Head is a hill on the east side of Windermere, Cumbria.

The trail up to the summit is about a mile long, it’s very steep in some parts but there is a second path that has more ease of access.

The view from the way up.

The monument on the summit.

The scenic views from the top.

Blessed Be )O(

William Wordsworth Grave

William Wordsworth was an English Poet born on 7th April 1770 in Cockermouth, Cumbria.

Coming from a small village Wordsworth was first taught to read by his mother, followed by a small and poor school in Cockermouth, after that he attended a school for upper-class families in Penrith. After his mother’s death Wordsworth was sent to Hawkshead Grammar school.

His first published piece, Wordsworth wrote whilst he was at St John’s College, Cambridge in 1787.

Wordsworth returned to Hawkshead for the summers that he attended college and afterwards he went on a hiking tour of the Alps, also whilst visiting Italy, Switzerland and France.

Once Wordsworth had earnt enough money to pursue his career as a poet, he lived in Dorset, then Somerset. In 1798 Wordsworth spent a year living in Germany, once he returned to England, he settled back into the Lake District and married his childhood friend Mary.

In 1813 Wordsworth and his family moved to Rydal Mount, Ambleside and that’s where he spent the rest of his life.

Wordsworth died on 23rd April 1850 from pleurisy. He is buried in Grasmere.

Blessed Be )O(

John Ruskin Grave

John Ruskin was born on 8th February 1819 in London.

He was an English poet, writer, art critic, painter, social thinker, philanthropist and an influencer of the Victorian era. Ruskin had an interest for landscapes, watercolour painting and architecture, this is what led him to travel a lot.

Ruskin also wrote travel guides, having visited places such as France, Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Belgium. However, one of the places he loved most was the Lake District, Cumbria.

Family trips started in Keswick in 1824, four years later the family visited Windermere, Hawkshead and Coniston.

Ruskin was an avid conservationist and whilst at Oxford university he is said to have met Hardwicke Rawnsley. Ruskin introduced Rawnsley to Octavia Hill; the two founders of the National Trust and Ruskin is credited to have been an influence for that.

Ruskin returned to the Lake District including Keswick several more times and in 1871 he bought Brantwood near Coniston. His house was to receive visitors such as Charles Darwin.

Ruskin died on 20th January 1900 from the flu at his home and is buried in the churchyard here.

Ruskin’s grave is situated near the back and his grave is marked with a large green carved slate cross.

Some more gravestones from this quaint and pretty churchyard.

Blessed Be )O(

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