north east England

A cup of coffee and a rose or two

IMG_9403

It’s a damp old morning in my corner of the UK, so what better thing to do than move on to my second coffee (ok- third!) of the day and wander through some roses with you?  A few weeks back, just before the colours started to turn, I made a Sunday afternoon visit to The Gardens at Wynyard Hall. In the profusion of colour that this Autumn has been, I almost forgot all about it.

Sir John Hall bought Wynyard Hall Estate in 1987 and has turned it into a truly sumptuous venue. I was lucky enough to attend a wedding there a few years ago and the stained glass panels high in the beautifully imperious house remain a warm memory.  Many years in the planning, Sir John says that even as a boy he dreamed of owning his own rose garden. He has enlisted RHS award winning landscape architect Alistair Baldwin and rose expert Michael Marriott from David Austin Roses to help make his dream come true.

I think he probably succeeded

I think he probably succeeded

IMG_9424

The setting is a nicely weathered wall garden, and the planting is lush.  Newly opened this year, it was designed to be a rose garden for the 21st century.  It takes inspiration from the geometric order of Persian grids and the Moorish influence of a bubbling rill, crowned by the raised beds of the traditional English kitchen garden.

Of course, there are tea rooms

Of course, there are tea rooms

And a South Border to attract the butterflies

And a South Border to attract the butterflies

An old bell set high in the wall

An old bell set high in the wall

Wonderful Cosmos

Wonderful Cosmos

You can wander through to the gardens of the Grand Marquee, if there is not an event in progress.  The view sweeps down to the lake and there is still more planting to be admired.  A little old, and something new.

Not much beats an old urn

Not much beats an old urn

Delicately blushing Cosmos

Delicately blushing anemone

And thistle delight!

And thistle delight!

Set beside glorious old walls

Set beside glorious old walls

But inevitably the stars of the show are the roses.  The visitor guide lists 135 species but I am not going to attempt to name them all for you. (huge sighs of relief!)  We’ll just share a small gallery together.  I hope you enjoy them!

IMG_9345

Six word Saturday

6ws-participating-in-banner

 Come  with me, to the caves?

IMG_3069

Sometimes it’s hard to stay away from the sea.  The weather these past few days has been incredible and, as always, I was drawn like a magnet.  In Panorama I mentioned the caves shaped by the motion of the waves on our north east coast.  Today I thought I’d take you down there.

Beautiful, isn't it?

Beautiful, isn’t it?

It's a strange landscape

It’s a strange landscape, legacy of a mining past

A scramble across the rocks and we're there

A scramble across the rocks and we’re there

At high tide the caves are cut off

At high tide the caves are cut off

As the tide creeps in

As the tide creeps in

Viewed from outside they're less intimidating

Viewed from outside they’re less intimidating

Especially the 'wedding arch'!

Especially the ‘wedding arch’!

I don’t think it’s a place I would loiter on my own.  At each visit the shapes have changed a little and there is new evidence of erosion.  Just time to show you a few of the rocks in detail.  Their colours fascinate- burned by the mines and bruised by the sea!

An endless array of haggard beauty

An endless array of haggard beauty

Or a lunar playground

Or a lunar playground

They speak for themselves, don't they?

They speak for themselves, don’t they?

I hope I haven’t tried your patience this morning?  I do tend to get carried away with the camera.

You’ll be delighted to know that you can have a little rest from me next Saturday.  I’ll be in the Algarve, but I’ll try not to bring back too many photos!  Have a wonderful week ahead and please don’t forget to visit Cate at Show My Face with your six words.

See you on Monday, if you fancy a walk.

6wsButton

Jo’s Monday walk : Greatham Creek

The spy holes in the hide

The spy holes in the hide, Greatham Creek

First, a word of explanation.  For quite some time I’ve been including walks in my posts, and most of you seem to enjoy taking a stroll with me.  It occurred to me the other day (when I was out walking, of course) that I could make this a regular feature, and invite people to join in and share, if they want to.  Lots of you will have favourite walks, and I would love to hear about them.

So, let’s start with Greatham Creek.  Now, unless you’re a local, I know you will be reading this as Great Ham, but the pronunciation is, in fact, Gree Tham.  Funny old language, isn’t it?  Not long since, I took you on a wander through the snowdrops in Greatham Village.  That could well be the start point for this walk, but I am choosing to do it differently today.

Instead, we're starting at the bird hide on the Seal Sands road

Instead, we’re starting at the bird hide on the Seal Sands road

See the peep holes? Now what are they looking at?

See the peep holes? Now, what are they looking at?

This fellow, and his friends

This fellow, and his friends

You did notice that I called it Seal Sands road, didn’t you?  The area is highly industrialised, with smoke belching from chimneys on the skyline, but for a number of years this has been home to a colony of seals.  So much so that, passing by on the bus to Middlesbrough with my nose stuck in a book, I sometimes even forget to notice them.  Not today, though.

Clear and bright with just a little nip to the air, it was perfect for socialising with seals.

Now a seal might like a little privacy, and rightly so

Now a seal might like a little privacy, and rightly so

So there are opportunities to hide yourself

So there are opportunities to ‘hide’ yourself

And still get a decent view of the seals (and the industry!)

While still getting a decent view of the seals (and the industry)

There is a car park on the Seal Sands road (the A189), right by the hide.  When you’ve had enough of playing hide and seek, cross over the creek on the road bridge and follow the public footpath off to your left.  Work is currently in progress to extend the footpath on the other side of the bridge, which will lead to another hide.

Crossing the creek

Crossing the creek

Which spreads out, inland

Which spreads out, inland

And the seals carry on doing what seals do

Passing the seals, who carry on doing what seals do
As does the industry!

As does the industry!

The creek is tidal, so the water level is variable.  The number of seals basking on the sands varies too.  To be truthful, it isn’t always the weather for basking.  When the skies are leaden the whole area is very depressing.

But whenever they can, they're there

But nobody seems to have told the seals!

The patterns carved by the creek vary too

The patterns carved by the creek vary, too

Unravelling like knitting yarn

Winding off like unravelling yarn

The footpath winds around the creek

The footpath follows the creek, with occasional steps up and down

Then it veers off to the right, heading towards Greatham Village.  The fields were still a little flooded in places, after the heavy rain, but passable, with care.  I didn’t have proper walking shoes on and opted to turn back.

There is a way around, honest!

There is a way around, honestly!

The walk continues, passing the derelict Cerebos site and over the railway tracks into Greatham. The “Hope and Anchor” on the High Street is an old favourite of mine, if you need a food or drink stop.  Or you can simply retrace your steps at any point.  I was only out walking for about an hour, having come with the sole purpose of seeing the seals.

So, that’s my walk for today.  I hope you enjoyed it.  Now I’m rather hoping that I might tempt a few of you into sharing walks with me?  You can include as much or as little detail as you like.  A full walk would be great but if you want to show me just a photo or two from a walk you know, I’d be happy with that too.  My walks will mostly be in the north east of England, because that’s home, but now and then I might just stray.

If you decide to participate, please leave a link to your walk in the comments box below.  Let’s see how far we can get, shall we?  I’m really looking forward to it.