Brockhole Gardens

Brockhole is a garden and activity centre in Windermere, Cumbria.

Brockhole is advertised as a house and gardens, I want to state for anyone thinking of going this is not a house in the traditional sense. When I think of a house, it’s usually a stately home or a historic hall or something along those lines of history but inside this house is just a cafe, restaurant, gift shop and art gallery.

A great portion of Brockhole is aimed at children as it has a large variety of different outdoor play areas and zip wires. There’s also archery, clay pigeon shooting, mini golf, orienteering, nature trails and a craft centre.

However, if your only goal is going for an afternoon walk this place is also for you. Brockhole includes a large garden and woodland area with plenty of path, trails and beautiful scenery.

Brockhole is situated on the lakeside, a short walk will take you down to the water where boat rides are available.

I took a walk along the trail at the edge of the water.

The mini golf course and the trail with all the information boards is centered around the theme of Beatrix Potter.

Blessed Be )O(

Lancaster Canal

This is my walk along a short stretch of the Lancaster canal at Bilsborrow.

I started my walk from Guy’s Thatched Hamlet and went directly along the canal to Barton Grange.

You can find our walk around the river Brock here.

Blessed Be )O(

Greenhalgh Castle

Greenhalgh castle is located in Garstang, Lancashire.

Sadly the castle is now nothing more than ruins, it’s very derelict and unsafe. Unfortunately the ruins are not accessible as its located on private land which is owned by a farmer.

Greenhalgh castle was built in 1490 by Thomas Stanley, 1st Earl of Derby. He was an English nobleman and politician who helped defeat Richard III at the Battle of Bosworth in 1485. Stanley who assisted his stepson Henry Tudor with this defeat was gifted the land around Garstang for his participation.

Stanley who had a firm grip over the North-West of England wanted to protect that dominance and in order to provide defence for his estates, Greenhalgh castle was built.

The castle is said to be rectangular, built on raise ground with a tower on each corner. The entrance is believed to have been on the east side with a moat surrounding the castle on the lower part of the ground.

Stanley died in Lathom, 1504 and was buried at the family chapel in Burscough priory, near Ormskirk, Lancashire.

The history for the castle doesn’t end there…

Over two hundred years later and the land is now owned by James Stanley, 7th Earl of Derby. He is a royalist and support of Charles I. During the English civil war Greenhalgh castle was garrisoned and was one of the last two Royalist strongholds to be sieged by Oliver Cromwell’s forces in 1644, the other one was Latham. After a lengthy battle of almost a year, the castle surrendered in 1645 and therefore to prevent the castle from being used by military personnel again it was partially demolish.

Thereafter the castle was left to crumble and deteriorate away. By the late 1600’s only the lower portion of one tower remained and the local farming community decided to build and incorporate the remaining stones into their houses. These stones can still be seen today.

Built 1694.

Blessed Be )O(

Brock Valley Nature Trail

Brock Valley (also known as Brock Bottom) is a picnic site and nature trail not far from Beacon Fell near Garstang, Lancashire.

There’s a relatively sizeable (free) car park which is open from 8am – 6pm daily, picnic benches but no bins (remember to take your rubbish home!) There’s also no public toilets, however the walk here is only about a couple of hours anyway. Dogs are welcome.

The pathway is alongside the Winsnape Brook, also known as the river Brock which flows from the outskirts of Preston and joins the sea at the river Wyre.

The other side of the pathway is woodland.

There’s some steep hills and bridges to cross along the path to be taken.

The trail is very beautiful and scenic.

It was a crisp, autumn’s day when I went and the cold afternoon sun was beaming through the trees.

Blessed Be )O(

My Samhain 2018

This Samhain I decided to have another quiet one without doing a mini-haunt and definitely no running back and forth to answer the door to trick or treaters.

As always, every Samhain I surround myself with pumpkins and carving them is always the best bit.

Since I wouldn’t be doing the full decorations for everyone else this year, I decided to take a stroll around the village to see if anyone else had gotten into the spirit of Samhain.

Once I got home, then I decorated the porch with a few decorations.

As darkness began to descend it was time to get cosy in the back garden and light all the pumpkins.

By the time Samhain had come around, the scarecrow had got a new head.

Last year’s Samhain.

It wouldn’t be Samhain without sitting by the fire.

Blessed Be )O(

My Mabon 2018

My yearly tradition for Mabon is pumpkin carving and scarecrow making.

This year wasn’t any different as this is what I love to do but the scarecrow did get a big pumpkin head.

2017’s Mabon is here.

It wouldn’t be a celebration without a fire. Darker evenings means the fire starts early in the afternoon.

For me there’s always something nostalgic about straw, pumpkins, candlelight and fire.

Blessed Be )O(

Biskey Howe Viewpoint

Biskey Howe is a landmark viewpoint in Bowness-on-Windermere in Cumbria.

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It’s a short walk up a steep hill to the highest point of the town.

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The very top of the viewpoint overlooks lake Windermere and the respective town.

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The view from the top is stunning and well worth a trip up.

I was fortunate enough to walk up here on a late winter’s afternoon and so I had watched the low-lying sun setting off into the distance.

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Being a night person rather than a morning I much prefer sunsets rather than sunrises. I cannot get enough of these beauties and this is definitely a memory I won’t forget in a long time.

Blessed Be )O(

A Witchy Birthday 2017

I can’t deny I love having my birthday a couple of days after Samhain. Being able to have pumpkins on my birthday is like the best thing ever for me.

Not forgetting to mention the cosy dark nights by the outdoor fire and the irresistible charm of the smoky air. I don’t think there’s anything about autumn that I don’t like, especially since my birthday is stuck between Samhain and Bonfire night.

Being such an empath and sensitive person I easily pick up on emotions and vibes around me. I definitely feel like being born right at the cusp on the Witches New Year and the thin veil of Samhain has influenced me on some really deep and spiritual level to be the person I am today.

After a really relaxing and cleansing Samhain, which you can read about here, the rest of the week kept getting better and better.

The day after Samhain I decided to take a trip out in the afternoon up to Beacon Fell which is not too far away from where I live.

The view from the top is pretty breathtaking as it is but with the late afternoon autumn sun slowly setting it made the view from the top even more incredible.

The weather has been terrible lately, lots of cloud, dark skies and rain. I feel like I was very lucky to see a break in the sky where the sun was shining through. It was definitely another peaceful, thoughtful moment that made me think this is a day I won’t forget in a hurry.

On the 2nd for my birthday I wanted to take a trip up to one of my favourite places ever. I always go here every year usually around Samhain time.

The small village of Newchurch in Pendle, which is at the foot of Pendle Hill and is home to the witches.

There’s a lot of energy that comes from around this place and a great many people come to visit Pendle Hill at Samhain time to celebrate the witches.

You can usually find carved pumpkins scattered about this local area in abundance. A lot of tradition and superstition still holds for both the residents and visitors. I love trying to spot all the pumpkins whilst commuting to the village.

The funny thing was this time I actually joked about randomly finding a pumpkin out in the fields or near the hill but I thought there’s no way a pumpkin would find its way out into the middle of nowhere.

Yeah… apparently I was wrong because I found this one sat on a wall, just on its lonesome, in the middle of nowhere. Maybe one of the local residents placed it here or someone brought it with them who was travelling up Pendle Hill on Samhain.

I also came across this pumpkin scarecrow in the village of Chatburn just before Pendle Hill. I love how small villages always keep up traditions and have a sense of community spirit when it comes to celebrations. The old ways are most often found in the untouched places.

When I got home I had another lovely evening sat outside by the warm fire and the glow of the pumpkins.

I can say this has been the best week I’ve had in a long time. I made the most of the dry autumn days and sat around the outdoor fire pit at least four times this week.

I was fortunate enough to witness the late afternoon sunsets and beautiful red skies that embraced autumn, then I ended the week with the most magical full moon that was very clear and bright in the sky.

There was a lot of high energy in the crisp autumn breeze leaving me feeling very cleansed and recharged this week, now I’m looking forward to using that energy to start some new projects.

Blessed Be )O(

My Samhain 2017

Once autumn arrives, I know my favourite festival won’t be too far behind. I love to go all out at Samhain but this year felt different.

I usually decorate and go all spooky on Halloween, which you can find last year’s display here.

So, the week before Halloween I started to get all the boxes of decorations out and was preparing the gazebo for the mini-haunt as I always have at least eighty people come trick or treating here and I like to put on some fun for them.

Then somehow getting caught up in life, horrible winds and rain meant that not much had been decorated yet and I had a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach that I didn’t want to go to all the trouble this year. I just didn’t have the time to get all the decorations up and I didn’t even know why most of the pumpkins hadn’t been carved yet as that’s something I do at least a week before. Something was feeling rather off for me on a personal level, I am usually well-organised and don’t leave things to last minute. I always trust my gut instinct, it has never let me down so I decided to take a different path to celebrate Samhain this year.

I transformed the back garden into a cosy place with candles and pumpkins because pumpkins are the best bit about Samhain. Of course, my Mabon tradition of making a scarecrow was there in the background with his pumpkin head watching over me.

I still decorated up the front porch for the trick or treaters.

I think I had more people than ever come visit me and to do something different I offered them up some wickedly popcorn straight from my cauldron.

My partner not wanting to miss out on the fun still dressed up and was ready to scare the kids who came to the door. He looked pretty awesome this year and there were plenty of people who asked to take a photo with him.

I think this year was all about a spiritual journey for me, something I needed to do. To take a step back, stop, relax and to embrace what Samhain truly represents.

For me I had found my way back to Samhain rather than celebrating Halloween and I had definitely made the right choice to listen to my instincts.

With a spooky feeling in the air, there are plenty of unseen forces having an influence when the veil is at the thinnest, it’s wise to listen to those spiritual elements that help guide us on the right path in life.

Sitting by the fire with all the pumpkins around gave me the chance to reflect on life and decide on some changes.

I really think the spirit of Samhain had a big influence on me this year, there was something out there that was guiding me towards looking at the bigger picture in life and it worked.

Samhain is called the Witches New Year for a reason, it’s time to start a fresh. A new beginning and a new opportunity to change things.

I know this year was definitely the best Samhain I’ve celebrated and it couldn’t be passed by without roasting some chestnuts on the fire.

Life goes by too fast. Stop once in a while to reflect on whether you are truly happy in life and if not then change something. Always be true to yourself, no matter if people don’t understand your spirituality or path in life. They don’t have to understand, they have their journey and you have yours.

I find Samhain to be the most important teaching Sabbat of the year. You can learn about life, death and all the mysteries in between here.

Blessed Be )O(

Howick House of Terror 2017

Last year I went to visit this haunted house walk-through for the first time and was amazed at how someone had completely transformed their home for Halloween.

This year I really enjoyed going back and was surprised to see that this year had a completely new theme.

This year’s theme was “Freddie’s Freak Show.” Unlike last year’s zombie theme, this Halloween was to scare you with clowns.

This family opened up their transformed home and went all out with the scare factor – which started in the queue. You guessed IT. Who is the scariest clown of them all?

The front garden started off with a pallet construction walkway, lots of scarecrows, clowns, pumpkins and straw. Some of these props are truly awesome.

I almost can’t believe how they use these props once and then change around the next year. Their dedication and true love for this shows in the way they want to make sure people have fun and to be scared by something new every year.

Luckily enough I remembered to take a couple of videos this year and here they are.

This place is only open for three days over Halloween, so definitely take the chance to visit if you can.

We went on the first night this year and there was a camera crew here for a feature on “This Morning” on Halloween. If you saw that then you would have seen a peek of me in the queue. It seems this place is getting lots of well-deserved attention this year from the media. I for one, am looking forward to next year already.

You can find last year’s blog post on Howick here.

Blessed Be )O(

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