After several pickups along the Aire Valley a full mini-bus was navigated by our driver Robert through the roads of Colne and Burnley towards Towneley Hall which lies 1.5 miles south east of the town centre. This was the group's first ever visit to this site. Like many similar industrial towns there are lots of awful modern buildings punctuated by some splendid Victorian affairs notably the two main churches.
The forecast assured us of a fine warm day. Though this wasn't inaccurate the temperature never reached the levels expected of it. Perhaps this is why we were denied the sight of many butterflies and dragonflies or is it because they have fared badly this summer?
On arrival the group made its way up to the Deer Pond, described as a Local Nature Reserve. Alas this turned out to be something of a disappointment as we saw no dragonflies or interesting waterside plants, though we did spot a heron in flight. After that we headed towards the 400 year old hall by which time many of the group were feeling like lunch was the main priority! So it was the various members decided to go their separate ways.
I along with Joan, Alice, Maddie and Vera did half the 1.8 mile 'historic woodland walk' before lunch(Walk no. 3 on the information leaflet), after which Maddie and Vera chose to go into the hall. The 5 of us took lunch on the benches outside the hall and facing the gorgeous formal garden. This is where I saw my only butterflies of the day; two Red Admirals and a few Small Whites; no Peacocks, Small Torts, Commas or Speckled Woods? Apart from ducks there was nothing else to see in the Duck Pond!
A total of 100 plants in flower that incl grasses were recorded together with 9 species of fern. Several species of fungi were spotted alongside the woodland paths, mainly on fallen tree trunks, Deer Shield, Sulphur Tuft, Ganodermas, Turkeytail, Honey Fungus, The Blusher, Amethyst Deceiver, Dead Moll's Fingers and Lumpy Bracket. We were also delighted to see Burnley's oldest tree, a 400 year old oak. Alice got a nice picture of it after a bit of scrambling through the undergrowth to get the best view.
The rest of the group either went on riverside walks or visited the hall; although our principal photographer Sue spent the day on her own hunting down photo opportunities and couldn't resist taking another picture of her favourite bird, the robin! Meanwhile Robert had retired to the mini-bus to catch up on some much needed sleep.
The best birds were seen by the riverside walkers; Lapwings & Grey Wagtail. Those members who visited the hall and its museum all said how much they had enjoyed it. I can vouch for the quality of the cakes in the Stables cafe which is where half the group spent the last half hour of the day.
The well disciplined group all returned back to the bus by the agreed time of 15:30 and thankfully no one had got themselves lost!
Many thanks to Joan for organising and leading this trip and to our driver Robert who had loyally turned up despite having endured a sleepless evening due to a domestic emergency.
See the photos here.