Category Archives: walking

Bolsover Castle

The UK continues to have a very blustery start to 2020. I went to this castle during a break in the weather and on a day I didn’t have anything else to do. I have family in Derby and on the journey there I always noticed signs for Bolsover Castle. Every time we passed the signs I would ask…have you been there? The answer was always no. So, seeing as I had nothing to do, no funds, and an English Heritage membership, I decided to go. Free for me.

Getting there was very easy, but the carpark was full and flooded, even on a work day. I would not like to visit on a sunny weekend. In retrospect, I think the entry price on the day I went was quite high. I am glad I got to go as part of the membership. If there had been a horse demonstration or event then I think it is reasonable considering the parking is free. But on the day I went there was nothing happening within the grounds.

The castle itself is gorgeous and you can wander almost every part of it. There is an audio tour, but I chose not to listen to that this time. The castle is fairly close to me so I will visit again.

The first place I explored was the riding house, as I stated there were no horses on the day I visited, hence the reason I will go back. It seems you have to book in advance.

Then I wandered around the outside and the walls. You could see all the way to the snow on top of the Peak District and the closer New Bolsover Model Village.

Then I wandered the inside. Just to note there are no lifts, it is a castle after all. The stairs are not steep, but there are lots of them.

There are lots of rooms to explore, each is sparse, but there is something to see in in each. I like the little things, such as the way the floor in the kitchen has been worn away by water. Things like that help you imagine a room full of cooks, fire, and steam

Next I wandered the grounds, garden, and wall. The garden is quite small but there are nooks and a liaison room. Again, these help you imagine life in medieval times.

I enjoyed the day out here, it wasn’t busy and there was lots to explore. The staff were very friendly, asking where I was from and why I had decide to visit. They said most people do what I did and one day just decided to go after seeing the signs on the way to somewhere else. Which is a shame as it deserves to be a place you visit all for itself. Go along and find out the interesting history of the place, you might even see a ghost.

Cholera Momument grounds Sheffield

I visited this place today. I thought I would mention it as it is part of the ‘green link‘, which is a cycle way in Sheffield. I hadn’t intended to go to the park and once there I was intrigued by the history of the place. You can read an in-depth history here. Basically around 1832 there was an outbreak of cholera in England, and it reached Sheffield by the middle of the year. There were over 400 deaths and those bodies had to go somewhere, there weren’t enough spaces in local churches. This space was used as a burial ground and a monument erected a couple of years later.

Today it is a nice peaceful park over looking Sheffield. It has great views of the skyline and is a good walk. I suspect it would be a hard cycle for me though.

If you do visit Sheffield try going out of the back of the station rather than the front. I didn’t even know this area existed and it is very interesting to wander around.

Conisbrough Castle

Another day, another castle. There are quite a few in the UK after all. This one is part ruin and part restored, hence you have to pay a small fee to get into this one.

The car park also has to be paid for and can only be done so via an app or by calling someone and handing over your credit card details. The app was a pain to set up as my bank decided it was fraud so I had to do some extra steps to get it to work. But I did manage…all for a £1 fee, friggin annoying. After I figured it all out, I was leaving the parking lot when another couple came in and struggled like I did. In the end I added their car to my app and they paid me.

Anyway, on with the castle. It looked great from the bottom of the hill.

View from near the car park.

There is a visitors center at the entrance, along with a small museum and shop.

Once a ticket has been purchased you are free to wander around. To be fair, it did seem like a bit of an honour system as there was nobody checking tickets at the entrance to the castle.

Around the grounds are plaques with information about the place.

You can read all you want about the castle at this website, and this one. Plus I also found this one while searching for information about the castle, and the writer has a book out about women in medieval history. Might be an interesting read.

I had a wander around the grounds, while deciding if I should climb the keep.

Hmm, knee pain, castle, knee, castle, I do live nearby, I could come back later, fitter. Sod it, I am going up.

While climbing the keep there are a few wooden floors with rooms off to the sides to explore. And a dungeon type thing with loads of coins at the bottom.

At the top of the tower you get great views of the local area, including Conisbrough Viaduct. This amazing structure is now a cycle path and part of the Trans Pennine Trail and I intend to cycle over it at some point.

Oh and did you know “Coningsburgh Castle” in the Sir Walter Scott novel, Ivanhoe, was based on Conisbrough Castle. Cool.

Then it was back to the car via a small park, Coronation Park, which maybe should be renamed memorial park.

And that’s it, a short day out. It didn’t take long to explore the area. But another castle visited this year.

Victoria Tower, Castle Hill and Almondbury.

I wasn’t assigned a job today so instead of staying inside I decided to go for a trundle. Usually on days like this I would drive to the Lake District for a walk. But recently I have thinking more about exploring places closer by, it saves on petrol. This means places that don’t usually make me curious. Today I decided to explore Huddersfield, Victoria Tower in particular. That link has all the history you could possibly need so I won’t be adding more here.

Victoria Tower is situated on the top of a hill and can be seen for miles. It also has no protection from wind and it was blowing a fair breeze when I was there. I hadn’t noticed any wind at the bottom of the hill so I can imagine on a truly windy day, it could lift you off the ground. This article mentions the site is used for kite flying quite often, I can see why.

The basket is a beacon that can be lit to warn people of “things” for miles and miles or as a celebration.

On a fairly non-windy day, when the sun shines, this place would be great for a picnic, but not a bbq as they are not allowed. The views are incredible as are the dry stone walls.

The village below the tower is Almondbury. It is a typical looking Yorkshire village if you are from these parts, but if you are not then you will probably be fairly amazed. For me there were a few interesting sights, but the most impressive was Wormald’s Hall. It is one of only six surviving Tudor buildings in the Huddersfield area.

And the most unexpected sight was the blue police box, the Tardis.

And finally, on this link you will see some amazing photos of the tower. The day I visited was windy and dull, so I used my processing skills and apps to make this 🙂

Sometimes exploring your own backyard is worthwhile. Gosh, it is nice to have this in your backyard.

Visiting Manchester and The John Rylands Library

This week has been a school holiday so I decided to take a wander around Manchester on a rainy day.

I had always wanted to visit The John Rylands Library, so a rainy day seemed a perfect time to sit in a library. Growing up, I used to live next to a reference library and often spent an afternoon in there looking at the animal books. I was nine years old at the time, a lone child in an adult library with not a picture book on site. I am sure that would attract attention nowadays. But in the late 80s, it wasn’t an issue as long as I was well behaved. That experience gave me a love of libraries, warm and safe I suppose.

I didn’t go to read any books, though they do have an extensive collection from the last 500 years. If you do want to read anything you have to contact them in advance due to the rarity of their collection. The main attraction for me was the historic reading room. I took a book with me and my phone. I spend some time reading and updating my diary. The wooden chairs weren’t the most comfortable, so I didn’t stay as long as I planned. But look at the surroundings…

The next location I visited was just up the road, Manchester Cathedral. I don’t have any photos of the inside due to their photography policy. Like Doncaster Minster which I visited recently, you have to pay for a photography permit. Maybe it is a church thing, but I find it unconducive to modern society. Ask people to follow a code of conduct, ask people not to photo certain areas, but to ask people to buy a permit incites conflict. Like it or not people love using their phones to remind themselves of the places they visit. Asking people to pay for a permit upfront means you have to police that policy, having people watching for surreptitious uses of the phone or camera. Then confronting anyone who has not read the notice or understands English signage. It also hinders promotion. I went to the library because of the photos I saw online, so do thousands of others. The permit is just £1 so is it really worth the effort? Anyway rant over and here is the outside of the cathedral.

The inside is quite nice with different types of rocks used in its construction.

Next to the cathedral was a glorious looking pub with a sign outside saying PIES. That sounded nice, I do love a good pie.

The Old Wellington is the oldest building of its kind in Manchester, being established in 1552. It was damaged in 1996 by the IRA bombing of the city. Amazingly, the police managed to evacuate 80,000 people that Saturday from a shopping area. Although there were some injuries, nobody was killed. Being that it was the biggest blast on mainland Britain, it is an unbelievable statistic…and they did it in less than an hour.

Anyway back to the Wellington, it was repaired but eventually moved to this new location, just 300 metres from its original space. It is next to an equally impressive oyster bar. As you can see from the photos, the pie was awesome and reasonably priced too.

I had a smashing day and recommend a rainy day in Manchester to one and all.

Bingley Five Rises Locks

Today the weather was awful, but I decided to go out anyway. I said I would take my father to the five rises locks in Bingley, but we didn’t know if it would be suitable for an electric buggy. So I decided to go alone first to check it out.

The locks are part of the Leeds Liverpool canal.

Built in 1774 the locks are wider, steeper and deeper than any other in the UK. They are a feat of engineering and are one of the seven wonders of the waterways. I have a feeling I might visit the other 6 at some point.

This day was rainy and very windy. Though cold, there was a plus…a constant rainbow.

The path was rough, but it would be accessible for a good buggy. It would be a bumpy ride, but doable. The worst part being the access path from Canal Road.

But it would be worth it. The area is a haven for wildlife. On the day I went I saw a kingfisher, a long-tailed tit, and deer.

But of course, the main attractions are the locks and the canal boats. There are 5 locks at the top and 3 further down the path.

But be careful, there are many dog walkers. Luckily most abide by the rules and all I saw were friendly.

And keep your eyes peeled for the wildlife to.

And finally, here is an aerial view I found online.

Doncaster Town Trail

The weather has been quite mild recently considering the time of year, but that has been tempered by wind and clouds. Today I decided I wanted to do something, anything. But something easy. I knew my local train station had direct trains to Doncaster. It is not somewhere I have ever had the urge to visit so that was where I decided to go.

A quick look at the train times reminded me of the current Northern Rail situation, strikes every Saturday. So even if I could get there, I would not be able to get back. That left a 45-minute car drive, which was not a problem really. So off I popped, with no preconceived ideas or knowledge of Doncaster.

Upon arrival, I just wandered about. My first impressions were good. I saw some street art near the car park and then a pavement level trail of the town’s history.

And then I saw a tourist information office and shop. Really?? In Doncaster?? I had better look inside. Wow, what a lot of information and a town trail map for sale, only 50p! I bought one and grabbed a few other pamphlets and items from the office. There was a great free book on the history of Doncaster.

The town trail has a blurb about what the walk was trying to achieve. The walk takes you along a Roman road, down the main street, to the oldest building, the market area, showing the various aspects of the town’s development. At the end it says the town has a poor record of preserving its listed building, they seem to be trying to change that. What has also changed is the attitude toward new buildings. The pamphlet states that “post-war development added little to the townscape.” The market area and ongoing building work seem to be trying to rectify this.

The first place I visited on the trail was Saint George’s Church or Doncaster Minster.

I don’t have any photos of the inside as you had to pay £3 for the honour. Never mind, you can do a virtual tour of the church via their website. It captures more than I ever could.

Though I visited all the sites on the trail, I didn’t take photos of all of them. You can see all the stops through the links provided. Here are the rest of the photos I did take.

I really enjoyed the walk and think it would be lovely on a nicer day, maybe in spring or summer. Doncaster’s rejuvenation period is interesting to witness. The loss of the local high street is an issue for many places in the UK, but here the council and Civic Trust seem to be actively working to improve the area. I will definitely visit Doncaster again. I am interested to see how the markets will look after they are completed.