For the first time in a long while, I’ve uploaded photos to my Flickr photostream. These are mostly from various days out since August last year.
Speke Hall is a National Trust property on the edge of Liverpool – indeed, it’s next to the runway of Liverpool John Lennon Airport. It’s a Tudor manor house surrounded by well-kept gardens, which include a maze, a discovery trail and play areas. It’s just over and hour’s drive for us, and this was our second visit – our first was in winter 2019. Flickr album link.
York Gate Garden
Sowerby Bridge Rushbearing
Rushbearing is an annual tradition that takes place in Sowerby Bridge every year – normally the first weekend in September. Historically, it was the delivery of rushes to the various local churches; whilst this still happens in a ceremonial capacity, the parade also calls at many local pubs, and has various Morris and traditional dancing troupes joining in each year. Other communities in the Pennines have similar rituals. Flickr album link.
Hare Hill Garden
Most towns and cities have had some kind of art trail, where they produce a series of white fibreglass models, have local artists and community groups paint them, and then place them around on a trail for visitors to follow. Birmingham had Cow Parade, Hull had Larkin with Toads, Liverpool had Superlambananas, Bristol had Gromit, and in September and October 2022, Kirklees, the metropolitan district including Huddersfield, Dewsbury, Holmfirth and Mirfield, had Snowdogs. We went to have a look at some of those around Huddersfield – here’s a link to the Flickr album showing a few of them.
Yorkshire Wildlife Park
The Yorkshire Wildlife Park is the largest zoo that’s close to us, being on the east side of Doncaster, and we had day tickets gifted to us last Christmas. This was a relatively short visit, as we were with friends who also had kids. Being a newer zoo, the zoo doesn’t have a huge variety of animals but those that it does have are afforded very large enclosures, and there are very good photography opportunities. It has the UK’s largest collection of polar bears, and a large pride of lions that were re-homed from a cramped zoo in Romania. Flickr album link.
Castle Howard Christmas
Yes, it’s another National Trust property – Dunham Massey, near Altrincham to the south west of Manchester. This was our second visit; both times we’ve been in the winter, as it has excellent winter gardens. I advise getting there early; both times we’ve arrived in the afternoon and it’s been a struggle to get parked, even in winter. I didn’t actually take any photos of the house this time, but we did find out more about it as we went on the walking tour of the grounds. It’s notable as the property was mostly vacant for the 19th century, and so unlike many other stately homes, its grounds weren’t reshaped by the likes of Capability Brown. Flickr album link.
The Manchester Museum is based at the University of Manchester, and this year re-opened after a multi-year refurbishment and extension project. It’s one of our favourite museums, with a wide variety of exhibits, and very accessible for children. Our favourite part is the vivarium, which, despite it being a museum, has live exhibits – mainly frogs and lizards. Flickr album link.
Over in Lancashire, we had a day out at Martin Mere, a wetland area managed by the Wildfowl and Wetland Trust. The site is in two parts; one part has a visitor centre and some captive species of birds including flamingoes (and some otters), but the remaining three quarters of the site is home to wild birds. A large, enclosed bird hide lets you see the main lake in the mere, and it’s worth popping by when the staff spread bird seed out as literally thousands of aquatic birds descend – including hooper swans, if you visit at the right time of year. When we visited, part of the site was closed off due to Avian Flu but hopefully it will be open in full now. There were also a number of Lego models of birds, but we went on the last day. Flickr album link.
We’re on National Trust property again, although not so far afield – Hardcastle Crags sits just north of Hebden Bridge and is our closest site. In the middle of the site is Gibson Mill, which is open as a museum, café and shop, and is completely off grid – there’s no mains electricity, gas, water or sewerage. Its drinking water is filtered from the water, and it has composting toilets. Meanwhile solar panels and a hydroelectric motor provide electricity, and a wood burning stove provides heat. As we’ve recently invested in solar panels, I was quite interested to see how they were managing; when we visited, an additional generator was behind the back of the mill and they were unable to sell hot food. Flickr album link.
Manor Heath Park
Manor Heath Park is one of Halifax’s public parks, and recently it has re-opened its walled garden and Jungle Experience, an indoor butterfly house with tropical plants. These photos were all taken on my iPhone 13 Mini, as it wasn’t a planned trip and I didn’t have my usual camera (Canon EOS 70D) with me. Flickr album link.
York Castle Museum
One of York’s better established museums, the Castle Museum is also one of my favourites, but I’d not visited since 2009. It includes Kirkgate, a recreated street of shops, and part of the old York jail which counted Dick Turpin as one of its more famous inmates. We whizzed around in a couple of hours thanks to a somewhat disinterested seven-year-old but you can probably spend longer. Flickr album link.
On the edge of York is Murton Park, which incorporates the Yorkshire Museum of Farming and the remaining stub of the Derwent Valley Light Railway. It’s a bit of mix of different things – as well as animals and lots of farm machinery, there’s a Viking village (which a re-enactment society were using) and a model Roman fort, which was being used by an American Cowboy re-enactment society. We last visited in 2018 and there’s clearly been an effort to expand the range of activities for kids, which is nice. Flickr album link.
That’s about 9 months of photos uploaded. I still need to do some tagging on a few images, but please enjoy. I am trying to use Flickr more, even though it’s not got the same community feel that it did in the early days. I understand its new owners, Smugmug, are trying their best but are up against a lot of technical debt – indeed, some parts of the site appear unchanged in the nearly 20 years that I’ve been a member.