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09/03/2017

One For Sorrow at North Walney Nature Reserve

An interesting and unique art installation has appeared at North Walney Nature Reserve. 'One for Sorrow' is described by its creators, Art Gene, as a "non-civic war memorial".
During WWII, Walney Airfield was a designated Air Gunnery School and over five thousand airmen were trained there. It remained in use after the end of the war, as air-gunners were retained for post-war Bomber Command. 
The numbers 1-7, engraved with lines from the traditional nursery rhyme associated with Magpies, have been affixed above the remains of the building which once housed machinery used to raise and lower targets.







 Adjacent to the number one is a plaque bearing a touching message.
Around the other side of the wall a different style of artwork is on display.
A little further along the path, the entrance to the nature reserve has a new gate on which, from a distance, it looks as if a flock of birds has alighted. Closer inspection reveals it to be more work from Art Gene. Cast iron birds painted in army camouflage continue the military theme and a second plaque completes the tribute.
I really liked the sentiment behind this art installation. I do wish the numbers were clearly visible from the path though, rather than having to scramble up on top of the banking to get a proper look at them. Maybe that's the point; perhaps they're meant to be hidden, as the gunners were. I'm not overly keen on the birds either, but I guess that's the nature of "art"; everyone has different taste.

More information about the history of Walney Airfield here and also here. 
More information about Art Gene here.

Thanks for visiting my blog. I hope you've enjoyed the photos. 


08/03/2017

How Tun Wood

How Tun Wood, perched above a former quarry, was planted by local residents to mark the Millenium. The wood is planted with native species such as Oak, Ash, Alder and Hazel, amongst others. 
 Despite the ever present cold wind blowing off the Irish Sea, the trees are sturdy and straight. How Tun Woods is developing into a beautiful mature broad leaved woodland.
 Daffodils and Crocus carpet the floor beneath the trees.

 Some of last year's Crab Apples remain on the tree, even as this year's buds are forming.
 A circular stone dias has been placed in an open grassy area, giving views out over the Irish Sea to the west and northwards towards the Lake District.
Velvety brown Pussy Willows, shiny yellow Celandines and pink tinged Black Poplar catkins bring a welcome splash of colour and a promise of new life.
 A mossy nest from last year is revealed amongst the bare branches of a shrub. I wonder what type of bird raised its chicks in it?
A stepped path descends adjacent to the wall of the local cemetery, emerging in a grassy area popular with dog walkers. This whole area was formerly a sandstone quarry. It is thought that Cistercian monks built nearby Furness Abbey with stone from here. In later years sandstone quarried here was used in the construction of many important local buildings.

When I was a child the area was used as the local rubbish tip. We would spend hours rummaging around in there, which might sound strange to some! We made our own entertainment "in those days", let's just say. You would never know a rubbish tip had existed on the spot now though.
 The quarry is now a haven for wildlife including Green and Great Spotted Woodpeckers, Kestrels, Sparrowhawks and Foxes. Several species of pine have been planted at the base of the quarry and birdsong fills the air as you walk along the path which ascends once more to How Tun Wood.
On a clear day the Isle of Man is visible, however on this occasion there was a slight mist out to sea. The former slagbank, now a reclaimed grassy area, overlooks Walney Airfield and the Irish Sea, with its army of wind turbines.
 

 Thanks for visiting my blog. I hope you've enjoyed the photos!

08/01/2017

Ulverston Canal; a haven for nature in an industrial landscape.

There's a surprising amount of wildlife to be found near industrial sites and Ulverston Canal is a good example of this. In the past this 1.25 mile stretch of canal has been the location for many types of industry such as charcoal burning, hoop-making, shipbuilding, paper manufacturing as well as gas, chemical and rail engineering works. Nowadays most of the western side is occupied by the huge GlaxoSmithKline complex, while the path on the eastern side provides a pleasant and very popular short walk.
 
Several metal totems designed by local architectural sculptor Chris Brammall have been installed along the path, illustrating aspects of the history of the canal.

Sir John Barrow monument overlooks Ulverston from the summit of Hoad Hill, from where we have previously seen Roe Deer in the fields below. These two little beauties were barely discernable against the brown of the dead foliage behind them.
 
 
The weather alternated between cold and foggy and bright sunshine with vivid blue skies, as we headed down the canal path.
The railway line crosses the canal as it leaves Ulverston and heads towards the viaduct across Morecambe Bay.
A Kestrel swooped low over the adjoing field, bringing its prey onto the roof of a nearby barn to eat.
On the opposite side some remnants of former industrial buildings can still be seen.
  I think this Cormorant was pretending he hadn't seen the sign!
A couple of Canada Geese were keen to see if we had any food for them.
 Alder cones and catkins in the hedgerow; bullrushes along the edges of the water.
 A Buzzard watching warily from his perch near Canal Foot.
 Blackbirds, Thrushes and Fieldfares were busy stocking up on winter berries.
 Reaching the end of the footpath at Canal Foot, the remains of the former lock gates can be seen. Turning around the vast expanse of Morecambe Bay opens out in all its glory.
 Little Egrets, Wigeon and Red Breasted Merganser are among the many birds to be found on the shoreline.
 And finally... who could resist sitting here and taking in this stunning and peaceful view?

Thanks for visiting my blog. I hope you've enjoyed the photos.

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