A snowy walk to Smithills Hall

Since my walk on New Year’s Day the weather locally has been constantly cloudy, grey, wet and dreary, certainly not nice enough to get out and about with the camera, however since the snow arrived early last week we have had four days of lovely blue sky and sunshine so a couple of days ago I took myself off for a short-ish walk to Smithills Hall, not too far from home and an easy walk if I don’t have a lot of time or want to be too energetic. My route, as on my previous walk to the Hall, took me across the local park and through Smithills Wood with its bare trees being in complete contrast to the last time, although there was still plenty of greenery and autumn colour around.
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The edge of the park
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This copse hides a small pond
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The far side of the park
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Smithills Wood
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Raveden Brook
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This time, instead of going from the wood up onto the lane I crossed the little stone bridge and followed the path which took me straight into the gardens of the Hall. Since discovering the 1873 grave of Little Bess on my last visit I’ve tried all avenues to find any information about the little dog but come up with nothing other than that she belonged to the Ainsworth family who lived at the Hall at that time. Someone from the Friends of Smithills Hall group did contact me in reply to my query but couldn’t give me any information other than the grave isn’t tended by any members of the group as I first thought, so it would seem that the flowers and decorations on it must have been left by a mystery dog lover.
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The snowy grave of Little Bess
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Smithills Hall through the trees
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Monument and terraced gardens
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Scented garden, east wing
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East wing and chapel
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The hidden lake, more exposed now the trees are bare
I spent quite some time wandering round the grounds but even though the sun was shining it was still bitterly cold and wandering rather than proper walking wasn’t keeping me warm, so after taking the photo of the lake I made my way out onto the lane and headed for home, going through the nearby farm yard rather than back through the wood.
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Raveden Brook from the lane
By the time I’d reached the bottom end of the park the sun had disappeared and the sky was looking rather heavy – if it was going to snow again I’d rather be indoors before it did, so although I’d had an enjoyable walk I was glad to be on my way back home.
I’m linking this with Jo’s latest Monday WalkΒ where this week she takes us on a boat ride to the Algarve island of Culatra, where the sunny weather is just the thing to bring a bright start to the week.
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25 thoughts on “A snowy walk to Smithills Hall

  1. I’m envious of so many of my blogpals being able to walk out to a beautiful trail, unlike us, who have to get in the car these days to find any countryside that is free of housing. Four years ago we could at least traipse along some farmland & see cows, sheep & green paddocks, but in that time it has all been cut up for a “huge” housing estate. I think Smithills(good name) Hall looks very elegant in it’s black & white style. The gardens must look lovely in Spring. Thanks for sharing & take care.

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    1. I feel so lucky to live on the northern outskirts of my town as I’m only a ten minute walk from some lovely countryside and moorland. Smithills itself is a suburb on the lower slopes of the West Pennine Moors and the name derives from two Old English words meaning ‘smooth’ and ‘hill’. Smithills Hall dates back to the 14th century and is one of the oldest manor houses in north west England – it has a very interesting history and you can read more about it in this post –
      https://mousehouselife.wordpress.com/2018/10/13/smithills-hall-some-local-history-and-a-few-memories/

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    1. A complete contrast to your sunny beaches Jo – I’d swap here for there any day πŸ™‚ There’s been some light rain here on and off since late afternoon yesterday so the snow is going gradually – roll on spring and summer. Have a good week yourself πŸ™‚

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    1. What a coincidence that your daughter lives here – if you don’t mind me asking, which area? Smithills Hall is certainly worth a visit, and it’s also free to go inside and look round – it’s open on Wednesday, Thursday & Friday 10am-4pm, Sunday & Bank holiday Mondays noon till 4pm πŸ™‚

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  2. Lovely walk, I agree, when it is chilly, walking briskly is best, meandering and taking photographs is a surefire way of cooling down. There is a small grave on Dartmoor in Devon, for Kitty Jay, that no one admits to tending, but it always had flowers and is well kept. There are songs and stories about Kitty. When we saw it years ago, a little hand tied posy was resting on the stone. Beautiful photos – love the trees.

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    1. I’ve never heard of Kitty Jay, her grave sounds really sweet so I shall do a bit of Googling later. The bare trees on my walk were in complete contrast to their autumn colours and their summer finery but still very lovely πŸ™‚

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  3. Lovely photos and it all looks so pretty with the snow. You certainly had much more snow than we had here, hardly worth my taking any photos. It’s nice that some anonymous person looks after the grave of Little Bess, have you any idea how old the grave is? It has been nice to walk in the cold air with blue sky and no wind or rain but like you I’m always glad to be back home to the warmth.

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  4. Little Bess’s grave is dated January 1873. It was your comment on my last post about the Hall which prompted me to find out what breed of dog she was and how she died but all my research came up with nothing – although the archives mention various members of the family who lived there at the time there’s no mention at all of Little Bess. It’s nice that someone has left flowers and decorations there though, and to be honest I’m very tempted to take some brick acid and a brush with me next time I go, to see if I can clean up the headstone as the inscription is now very hard to read.

    It was a very pretty walk and it didn’t snow again after all, in fact the sun came out again later on, but I was still glad to be back home πŸ™‚

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  5. Snow may look pretty on pictures but I’d prefer not to have it. It’s all gone from here now thank goodness, some overnight rain and a rise in today’s temperature has seen to that. It was a photo opportunity not to be missed the other day though πŸ™‚

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    1. You remember correctly Anabel, I featured Smithills Hall in three posts last year. Although I’ve walked through the wood in snow before that’s the first time I’ve been to the hall in snowy weather so I’m quite pleased with how the photos turned out.

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  6. They probably are the first ones you’ve seen Susie – I think the last snow photos I took locally were back in early 2010. We don’t really get much snow round here like we did years ago, and what we do get has usually gone again in a couple of days – I tend to stay out of it as much as I can but with the recent sunshine it was a photo opportunity not to be missed πŸ™‚

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  7. I’m not really too keen on snow but the sunshine and blue sky that day were too good to miss. The wood looked really pretty with the bare trees against a dusting of snow so even though it was cold I’m glad I went out.

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  8. What a lovely place to walk in the snow, despite the frigid weather! I love the dusting of snow everywhere. At least the paths look clear. We’ve had a lot of snow here too, but it takes forever for the paths to clear, especially in the woods.

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  9. The woods are part of the extensive land belonging to the Hall, which is owned by the council and partially managed by volunteers from the Friends of Smithills Hall group, so I think maybe they cleared the paths through the woods. The lane would have been cleared by the local farmer as the nearby farm is what we call an ‘open’ farm, ie it’s a working dairy farm but open to visitors and it’s a very popular local attraction. Pavements in residential streets have been a very slippery nightmare though, but thankfully the snow has gone now and they are all clear again. It was a lovely walk that day and looking at the photos I took I’m glad I went even if it was cold πŸ™‚

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  10. This walk looks lovely in the snow. Snow makes all walks look even more picturesque. I wonder if we will get anymore this Winter. I don’t think I’ve been getting any notifications for your posts recently. Anyway glad to see you back on my reader. πŸ™‚

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  11. It’s a nice walk at any time but the snow made it look much prettier. I’m not that keen on snow but the day was too nice to waste – I don’t want any more snow though 😦 I don’t know why you’ve not been getting notifications of my posts as I’ve had notifications of yours – maybe WordPress has been having a funny turn πŸ™‚

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