Springwater Park: The clear up

Well, this poor blog has been much neglected of late. A combination of factors has led to my lack of action, not least of which has been preparing myself for a new job which starts imminently.

I’ve been at the park just as often as usual though, and have a huge backlog of photos to get through, so any posts I manage at the moment are likely to be more photos than word.

I thought I’d mark my return with an update on Springwater Park, one of the most commented on parks featured on this blog. The pipeline works which have prevented access to some parts of the park are happily now complete, so I thought it was time to check out how the park is looking now the lorries have gone.

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised to find little trace of the work. The scenes above are from the affected area on the path down from the entrance on Radcliffe New Road – apart from the butterfly which was spotted down nearer the river.

Has anyone else visited this area of Springwater Park since the works have finished? What do you think of the clear up?

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Good beach guide

The Marine Conservation Society has today launched its latest guide to the best UK beaches in terms of water quality.

I’m delighted to see that Formby, our local favourite gets the thumbs up from the MCS. There’s a great search facility on their website and I found some other north west beaches that I may well check out if it ever stops raining around here. Not only is there information on water quality, but lots of other useful stuff, such as nearby facilities, accessibility and what activities the beach is suitable for.

A brilliant resource for lovers of the outdoors.

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Lynton and Lynmouth

I’m pleased with this photo but I can’t really claim any credit for it. The view from the top of the cliff railway in Lynton is so beautiful and the weather was so clear when we visited, that it was just a case of point and click. No editing required except for popping a little frame around it.

Lynton and Lynmouth are what you might describe as “officially quaint”. Lynmouth is all thatched cottages, with a river running down past the fudge shops, harbour and rocky beach into the sea. There’s a lovely playground next to a putting green in Lynmouth, where you can push your nipper on a swing whilst gazing out over the coastline.

The funicular railway takes you up an incredibly steep cliff to Lynton. You have to pause at the top to take in the view. It doesn’t even look real, it’s almost as if someone painted a backdrop, in the manner of a mural on the wall of a 70s Italian restaurant.

If you’re in Devon I’d say Lynton and Lynmouth are worth a visit for the cliff railway and that view alone!

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Tunnels beaches, Ilfracombe

As beaches go, they don’t come much quirkier than Tunnels beaches in Ilfracombe. Welsh miners dug through the cliffs in the 1820s to provide access to the beaches here, and a tidal pool provides the opportunity for safer swimming.

It was a bit brisk when we visited, so I didn’t swim in the tidal pool, but the rockpools here are fantastic for clambering round with your fishing net and bucket.

Because Tunnels beaches are privately owned, there is a small fee for entry which feels a bit odd, but I’d say it’s worth it for a unique experience.

Just by the entrance is a lovely cafe, with a playground and indoor playhut. We’d spotted this and returned on another day when it rained. £2 gave CJ one hour to play whilst we had a brew. Can’t say fairer.

I’d recommend Tunnels beaches come rain or shine or, as more commonly happens in the UK, mildy miserable greyness.

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Woolacombe beach

A smooth, flat curve of sand stretches out in front of you in Woolacombe, like an oversized running track. Or maybe that’s just the way my mind works; I wished I had my running gear with me when we visited. The most strenuous excercise I got was jogging to the shore with my daughter so that we could watch the surfers getting to grips with the waves which are so renowned in these parts.

Unfortunately, the weather was disappointing when we visited Woolacombe. A morning of rain didn’t put the surfers off – they’re going to get wet anyway I suppose. We, on the other hand, took the opportunity to have a mooch around the many surfy type shops in the little town and get some ice cream a healthy snack.

Even a miserable day can’t dim the beauty of Woolacombe beach though, and an advantage of the lack of sun was a much quieter beach than you’d get on a sunny afternoon. Sometimes it’s nice to trade the sun on your face for some space around you – until we got too cold that is!

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Combe Martin beach

We’ve been on our travels again this time to North Devon, staying just above the beautiful Combe Martin beach . When I say above, I really mean it; see those white dots perched far up on the cliffs in the middle of the photo? That’s where we stayed, nestled against a fence with a sign on saying “Warning – cliff edge”. The slightly scary element of our location was compensated for by going to bed to only the sound of the wind, the sea and a hooting owl.

We stayed at the John Fowler Sandaway Beach site. Lovely and quiet, ideal for families and with a heated outdoor pool which we had a couple of dips in.

The beach at Combe Martin is brilliant for rockpooling, with rocks either side of the beach at low tide and a path around the cliffs with rockpools either side. Tidal ranges are extreme here and it would be easy to get cut off, so it’s worth getting hold of tide timetables. We picked up a tourist leaflet with one in from our caravan site, and there’s a tourist office just by the beach in Combe Martin.

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Blue Monday: The Irwell Valley Trail

What better way to spend the Easter Bank Holiday weekend than a mooch along this former railway line, seeking out the spectacular views of bluebells tumbling down the steep banks at the sides of the path. It’s not just bluebells on display here, but pink and red campion, celandine, cow parsley and a wealth of birds and butterflies.

The trail extends from the bridge next to Asda in Radcliffe to the footbridge over the M60 into Philips park. If you want to see the best of the bluebells, you can park in one of two carparks on Ringley Road; there is one marked “Outwoods Country Park” and another smaller one just before this, as you travel from Whitefield. Come out of either carpark, turn right, follow the footpath along the side of Ringley Road, past Ringley Car Sales, and head down the steep path marked “Wood Street Station”. At the bottom of the path turn right and head under the bridge.


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