Thursday, 27 August 2015

Another August walk in the Ribble Valley

      Earlier in the month we walked to the Black Bull. Today, in total contrast, we will be walking to the White Bull.
    I've parked my car  at Dinkley and I'm walking down Kenyon lane towards the River Ribble. You can just see Dinkley Hall at the bottom of the lane. It's a grade 11 listed building which was originally a timber framed building and built around 1600, but it's now encased in sandstone and partly rendered.  It boasts impressive arched oak beams and has been sympathetically converted to modern living, it's currently on the market for £1.3 million should you require a desirable residence by the river. How's that for estate agent speak, have I sold it to you?

The hedges are full of greater bindweed at this time of the year, and have been since June. Only the British would class such a beautiful climber as a weed. If it were called a clematis instead of bindweed it would be sold in garden centres in  pots and supported on bamboo canes for about £6 a pop. It scrambles through everything for support and is one of those plants which is impossible to eradicate, as the slightest bit of root left in the ground and it will re-appear. But why would you want to eradicate it?

    I noticed this butterfly on one of the flowers, it's a meadow brown. Not the most attractive of butterflies I must admit, but I decided to see how many varieties of butterflies I could spot. on my walk Apparently butterfly numbers are in serious decline due to a loss of habitat. Buddleia's are a favourite food plant for many adult butterflies, while nettles are an essential food plant for the caterpillars of many different varieties. Perhaps we should all turn a small corner of our gardens over to these food plants to preserve these beautiful insects before they are lost to us forever. 
      A few years ago, at this time of the year, I would have been in my garden with a book and a beer, and I would be sitting among clouds of butterflies of all persuasions. I still grow buddlia's, but a public footpath which  flanks my house, has been cleared of nettles to allow access to walkers and the butterfly numbers have dropped dramatically
     Here are a few more varieties which I spotted, or at least the ones I managed to photograph. Have you ever chased butterflies around a field waiting for them to land, and then open their wings and pose for a photograph?

PAINTED LADY                    PEACOCK                         SMALL HEATH                                                                                
In our July walk we crossed the suspension bridge on our journey from Marles Wood to Hurst Green, and I explained that the bridge replaced the ferryman back in the 1950's. Today we must cross it again as we need to be on the opposite side of the river to walk along the river bank to Ribchester.

 We must leave the river bank, as it's too steep and dense with woodland, and cross a field of sheep, with the bridge visible in the background. We are following a public footpath, which is part of the Ribble way, and must pass through a wooded area. Another footbridge straddles a stream which feeds into the river. It may look a little rustic in comparison to the suspension bridge, but it appears picturesque  in the dappled shade, don't you think?. 

Back on the  river bank for about half a mile and we reach the road bridge which takes the traffic in and out of Ribchester. This Jacobean house is close to the bridge and on the outskirts of Ribchester. It's not exactly on our journey but it can be seen from where we stand on the bridge. I remember  Ribble Valley Borough Council putting it up for sale for just £1 in the 1970's. Why didn't you snap it up? I hear you ask. Well it was in a dreadful condition and any potential buyer had to prove that they had the wherewithal to bring it up to the required standard of preservation. I didn't.

     We've  arrived in Ribchester and I've had to miss out so many things that I photographed along the way.  Ribchester is built on the site of a Roman fort. Every town or city with a reference to chester, was once a Roman fort, and the most elaborate  Roman helmet ever discovered was found by two small boys while playing in the river at Ribchester. It's now in the British Museum in London, but a copy takes pride of place in Ribchester's Roman museum. 
     Tony Robinson visited the village a few years ago to excavate for the television programme Time Team.  Because the whole of the Roman fort is buried beneath the village, they had to dig in peoples gardens to discover the layout of the fort. Some of the foundations, found in communal areas of the village, have been left exposed for visitors to see, with explanations as to what the visitor is looking at.
     The pillars holding up the portico of the pub, which was once a coaching inn, as you can see by the addition of stables at the far end of the building, are said to be excavated Roman pillars, and used in the construction of the pub way back  in 1707.

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