All through February I was hoping to go to Lytham Hall to see the snowdrops – I went last year and was well impressed – but the continually wet and windy weather has made sure I didn’t get there, however the forecast for that area yesterday promised some sunshine in the afternoon so at lunchtime I took a chance and set off with Poppie for the Fylde coast. It was indeed sunny when I got there, in fact it had been sunny all the way from home, but sadly the snowdrops were all but over. The vast carpets of pretty little white flowers which had so impressed me last year were decidedly threadbare and dull but the grounds are so nice it was still worth having a walk round.
Since my visit there last year I’d found out that somewhere in the woodland was a small lake with the remains of an old ruined boathouse which was worth a photo so I went in search of it, only to find what had been the boathouse was looking rather less than photogenic. It seemed to be undergoing some restoration as it was cordoned off from the footpath – although I didn’t let that stop me, I just walked round the open end of the barrier to get the shots I wanted.
Next came a walk round the fishing lake known as Curtains Pond; no boathouse there but more open and attractive than the first lake. From there I went to the courtyard where there was an attractive corner with plants for sale; I was hoping to buy some snowdrops but there were none in evidence and the only person I could ask was deep in a long conversation with two other ladies. I hung around for a while but there was no sign of an end to their conversation and I didn’t want to interrupt so I photographed some very colourful flowers then took myself off elsewhere.
It was nice to see that since my visit a year ago the scaffolding which had surrounded a large part of the Hall at the time had gone so I was able to take a photo of the entire front of the building, then after a short wander round the grounds closest to the Hall I retired to the dog friendly cafe for coffee and cake which, incidentally, was very nice.
Without venturing deeper into the woodland and risking getting muddy wet feet I decided to call it a day and make tracks for home once I came out of the café. Walking back to the car park my eye was caught by a flash of colour just visible among the trees and when I went to check it out I found a large rhododendron, more of a tree than a bush, in the early stages of blooming. The first day of March seems to be very early for something like that, especially with all the recent bad weather – maybe the Fylde coast and the Lytham Hall woodland has a milder climate than here at home.
Driving along the long private road from the Hall I stopped briefly to get a shot of the waterlogged parkland on the other side of the fence then continued past the station and through the town centre to the promenade where I decided to do something I’ve meant to do for a long while but haven’t done.
Finding a free roadside parking space I left the van and went for a walk along Lytham green to the windmill, first passing the church of St. John the Divine. The church was built in 1848/49 and was paid for by public subscription, with the land having been donated by the Clifton family of Lytham Hall. The windmill was built in 1805 and was designed for grinding wheat and oats to make flour or bran; it was gutted by fire in 1919 but two years later the owner donated it to the town and it was restored, then in 1951 it was given a Grade ll listing.
Next to the windmill is the old lifeboat house, originally built in 1852. It’s now a museum and on display at the top of the nearby slipway are two anchors which were caught off the Southport coast in the trawl net of a Fleetwood fishing boat in the 1980s; they were restored in 2013 by Fylde Borough Council and various volunteer groups.
Those were to be my last shots of the afternoon. The grounds of Lytham Hall had been quite sheltered but on the green there was a bitterly cold gale force wind blowing; time to head home and stay in the warm indoors for the rest of the day.