October: Waiting For Autumn!

October itself has almost felt like two separate months, with the first couple of weeks being reminiscent of summer with just a sprinkle of autumn on the horizon, and then the downpours of rain and miserable weather to put us in our place! Mind you, I always think the grey skies really bring out the colours in the leaves transitioning for winter and whether I'm able to head out for walks or just going about my day to day life, my day is always that bit brighter when I spot an amber tree standing proud amongst the evergreens!

At the beginning of the month I was still on my holiday leave from work for my birthday break away, so I decided to make the most of my free time whilst the lovely sunshine was sticking around! On one of these days we decided to head to Silverdale, somewhere I haven't explored in great depth, and on our way there we kept pulling off to the side of the road to have a wander down the small patches of beaches scattered in between the road and along the mouth of the sea. I loved these little coves, the sand looked clean underneath my feet and lots of the rock formations were perfect for perching on and looking across the sea, taking in both the Lancashire and Cumbrian coastline from a different angle. After our stop offs, we reached the main streets of Silverdale, and we decided to head towards Jenny Brown's Point, taking each footpath as it comes. After wandering down a little farm track, we headed into Jack Scout near where the Limekiln was hidden by trees and bushes. We wandered along the top paths of Jack Scout, with the sea sparkling in the gaps where leaves had already begun to fall from the tree branches, some of which crunched underneath our feet as we meandered along. Eventually the path came out onto the small single track road which led down towards Jenny Brown's Point, the road was elevated higher than the sandy patches and rugged rock faces so we were able to spot the footpaths along the shore clearly from here, allowing us to take the coastal route back towards Jack Scout and the main village of Silverdale.

Upon reaching the end of the road, we decided to walk back along the edge of the sea and explore the small patches of beach or rocky shores that we had seen from the roadside. After wandering a short distance along the shore which forms Jenny Brown's Point, we wandered along the remains of the Walduck's Wall which was standing out against the slight waves created by the sea. We continued along the shore where the path permitted, spotting several hidden viewpoints tucked away between rocky outcrops or bushes still displaying summer colours before ending back at Jack Scout. We decided to meander through this area, exploring the pathways we had walked past earlier that day and again we were delighted to find several more viewpoints tucked away in this area. I think these viewpoints are fantastic as you can have a tiny part of this beautiful area to yourselves, and they are organised in such a way that all of them appear to be both quiet and private. We didn't manage to explore all the footpaths, but our unprompted route did give us a good variety of coastal paths and trails between the foliage resting upon the rolling terrain of Jack Scout. It may have taken me a while to discover the beauty of Silverdale, but it won't take me long to return!

Another day of my week off work was spent exploring Farleton Knott, a place which I haven't visited in years so it was nice to go back here - especially as I've usually visited in spring or summer as opposed to autumn! The rain was also due to come in the next day, so I wanted to go somewhere which would be quiet from many people but with plenty of views and interesting things to see along the walk. The top of Farleton is a mix of limestone pavements with large cracks or crevices separating the sections into boulders and soft green grass which the sheep keep trimmed back, so this makes it a varied walk. I also enjoy seeing the various types of trees along the Knott which have been shaped by the wind over the years, so the twists and turns in their branches really catch your eye, especially when the trees are resting above a dip in the terrain. You don't really notice the up and down of the fell top beneath your feet as you walk, especially if you are jumping across the large gaps in the limestone pavements - which is pretty fun to do! Eventually we came to a crossroads of public footpaths, each taking you in a different direction with views across three counties: Cumbria, Lancashire & Ingleborough could be seen in the distance marking the Yorkshire Dales - all equally as stunning as each other! At this crossroads, I noticed a National Trust sign marking the route for 'Holme Park Fell' - I recalled seeing this sign on our first walk along here, but we made our way towards the Knott instead - so we decided to have a wander along here instead!

Holme Park Fell had a similar terrain to the neighbouring Farleton, but the paths were much smaller in between the jagged rocks and the shrubbery sprouted between these in a much wilder fashion than those along the footpath we had just taken. We wandered along in the same direction as the path leading to the highest point of Farleton Knott, and soon approached the intersection of two footpaths. Still in the mood to explore somewhere new, we decided to turn left as opposed to heading back to Farleton Knott and see where this path would take us! ....Turns out this path eventually became a thin track, leading you extremely close to the edge of the limestone pavements which dropped down towards the quarry and the farmland below. This certainly made the walk that bit more interesting as usually we would have taken the higher pathway, although I imagine if there had been a stronger breeze that day we wouldn't have dared take that path! It was only a small distance against the edge before it opened up into a open pasture similar to those leading onto Farleton Knott. This part still had lots of limestone in the ground, but there was also much more wildlife growing as they were sheltered from the winds, a few bright summer flowers could still be seen, hiding near holly bushes bearing fresh berries and creating a lovely juxtaposition of the seasons. As we made our way back up the field in which our walk started, we could see several footpaths leading across the Holme Park Fell section, so I would love to return to explore these paths one day soon!

I had recently bought a map of around my town and the neighbouring greenery, and one day I felt like exploring somewhere new but local to me, so I decided to see what I could spot on the map. I noticed that there were footpaths discretely marked out in amongst the thick trees that rest below Scout Scar and gathers the small hamlet of Brigsteer, so I set off in hope of autumn foliage and summer skies! There was a little path through the wood leading from the bottom end of Brigsteer towards Scout Scar looming just above the tops of the trees, sometimes it disappeared from view due to its lack of use, but in parts it was clear as day, winding around the trees laid before me. Parts of this woodland had quite a thick overhead canopy and the ground had the occasional fallen down tree or large boulders which had previous part of the Scar for you to maneuver as you meandered. When the wooded areas got a bit much underfoot,there were plenty of paths through the areas where the trees were sparsely rooted and you were able to get some of the warm(ish) autumn sunshine on your face too. There is a variety of trees here, and the silver birches in particular caught my eye as they stood out against the evergreen trees that formed their background, and the auburn bracken creating the carpet.

After leaving the woodland, we entered into a small green pasture before heading back into a small chunk of woodland, with Scout Scar more prominent above the treetops. This woodland was formed of smaller, wider branched trees than that I had previously walked, but it had a softer and more welcoming feeling to it as I meandered through, with the occasional leaf crunching underneath my boots. This woodland was listed on the map as 'Honeybee woods' and it was truly as delightful as it sounded, I followed a path-less-travelled which took me around the outside of the woodland before looping back towards the main path. This was the perfect place to perch on an old tree lying on the ground and stop for a brew, with the scent of summer still faintly to be caught in the wind. After leaving the woodland to the farmland underneath Scout Scar, I could see a path leading directly to the Scar which I am intrigued to walk as I've never spotted a path down that side of Scout Scar, although I probably wouldn't have looked due to it being quite a drop down! In general these little woodlands were a delight to wander through, and it is such a beautiful, well maintained area hidden in plain sight!

When the forecast began to turn this month, any walks that I would do would be decided on that day due to the unpredictable weather of Northern England (you'll always get rain, but how much and how heavy is the question!). One day the weather forecast was much better than previously predicted for that afternoon, so my mum and I decided to try and get out, even just for a little while. We fancied exploring some more coastal areas, and I had heard about Middleton Sands being home to a large stretch of beach. When we arrived there the tide was just leaving, but we could see in the currents how far the sands stretched at certain times of day. We slowly walked up one direction of the shore before turning back to walk beyond the otherside of the car park, and already the tide had retreated quite far back. We wandered along looking in the crevices between the sand banks and the small pools of seawater that remained to see if we could spot any sea life or cute shells left on the shore. The other side of the car park was home to much more greenery, with were significant cracks in the ground which were fun to jump across. We didn't mind that we had come at the wrong tidal time, but this is a place we are excited to visit on an overcast, somewhat windy day as it always makes the sea feel that bit more dramatic!

Despite only visiting a couple of weeks earlier, I couldn't resist another trip to Silverdale on a dry but overcast Sunday! On my drive back earlier in the month I had seen several footpath signs and patches of National Trust areas resting along the road and I couldn't wait to explore them! There were several more cars and people in general wandering about than our last visit, but we managed to find a good parking spot near the top of Heald Brow and the start of the coastal path. We didn't have a strong plan in mind, but rather wanted to see where the day took us, so we followed the footpath sign into the unknown. This footpath took us along green pastures, with the sea slowly beginning to appear on the horizon above the treelines with each step we took. Upon reaching the end of Heald Brow, the path took a steep decline down towards the coast, and we were glad that we didn't have to clamber up this route, especially as it was quite in muddy in places due to the weather and frequent footfall in the area. Upon reaching the bottom, we were greeted by a long stretch of sea and no visible footpath as it was an extremely high tide that day. Not wanting to clamber back up that steep hill, we decided to have a bit of an adventure and make our way around the flooded shore via the overgrown trees and bushes on the coastal top. In hindsight this was not the best idea to do when wearing thick winter scarves and hats, as these clung to every branch or bramble it could find, and when they let go of them the stick always seemed to make contact with your skin! Still, minus a few scratches and the odd nettle sting, we made it to the otherside of the shore and found a quiet spot by the high water to eat lunch and watch the waves slowly retreating back to sea.

After stopping for lunch, the main coastal path had returned to sight which meant we had a bramble-free route for the next section of our walk. Soon this path brought us out at the Candlestick residing at Jenny Brown's Point, something which we had missed on our last visit so it was nice to discover something new! The tide was still extremely high in this area and Walduck's Wall which we had walked along last time we visited couldn't be seen due to the water coverage. The high tide added a lot of drama to the rocky coastline, the gradual movement of the waters edge drew your eyes towards hidden coves between the rocks and areas where usually there would be pebbled beaches. Eventually we arrived back at Jack Scout, and decided to go in search for the Giant's Chair which was something we had also missed on our last visit. After wandering for a little while, I noticed a path leading up the hill which looked like it would open up to a fantastic view over Morecambe Bay and detoured up it. Sure enough, The Giant's Chair was hidden behind the foliage at the top of the hill, and it had stunning views over both Lancashire and Cumbria. We sat here, having a quick brew to keep us warm from the slight nip in the air before making our way along the routes on Jack Scout that looked less travelled.

When wandering back along the road to the car, we spotted a National Trust signpost beside a footpath leading to Woodwell Cliff, which was a woodland with an amber carpet stretching for what felt like miles. We took the higher path along here, wandering in between the trees before coming out into a green area near Silverdale Green and the wooded area of Sharp's Lot. After looping back onto ourselves, we reentered Woodwell Cliff, but took the lower path through the woodland this time which led us to a tiny pond and a small water feature falling down the blunt rockface which carried the other footpath above our head. As the day was getting on and the better weather was behind us, we decided to stop by the pond and finish our flasks before going back home. Silverdale is without a doubt a hidden beauty, its nice to see how well looked after its natural areas are and that these areas are open to the public. I honestly cannot wait to find what else this beautiful place has to offer!

Hoping that you all have a safe November, whatever may come our way!