My Monday walk this week is split into two halves, visiting two different parts of the same area but on two separate days two weeks apart. First was St. Annes, a place I go to quite often; Michael had a day off from work so he came with me and once I’d parked up near our favourite cafe we went our separate ways, arranging to meet back there for a meal later on. Walking through the promenade gardens, where I discovered that the water in the waterfall was now blue, I made my way to Ashton Gardens just a couple of streets back from the sea front.
When I got to the side entrance to the park I was surprised to see that since my visit there last July the flowering shrubs and bushes near the pavilion café had all been drastically cut down. It really opened up the whole area but to me it was too open; lined by flowering shrubs the pathways had looked really attractive before, now the whole place just looked bare.
Past the sunken garden and through the rose garden I came to where the meandering waterway was crossed at various points by stepping stones and a bridge, and set back just off the path I found a large clump of daffodils and some other yellow flowers – not being a gardener I don’t know what they were but they looked pretty.
Now while I much prefer wandering round parks and gardens when the leaves are on the trees there’s something to be said for the trees in Ashton Gardens currently being bare. The various features of the waterway are completely visible instead of some of them being obscured by overhanging branches and that part of the gardens looks just as attractive now as it does later in the year.
Leaving Ashton Gardens by the main entrance I made my way back to the sea front, this time walking along the promenade instead of through the gardens. The earlier high tide had retreated and far beyond the end of the pier a lone man and his dog walked out to the ruined landing jetty. In spite of the glorious sunshine there was a very chilly wind blowing so it was good to finally meet Michael back in the welcome warmth of the café for a good meal and a hot milky coffee before driving back home.
The second part of my walk was done just yesterday in a part of Lytham I’ve often thought of exploring but up to now, for whatever reason, I never have. A few years ago I’d found out that on the southern outskirts, and obscured from the main road by a high bank, was a creek where various yachts and other pleasure craft were moored so being on my own this time it was a good opportunity to take a look.
Leaving the van in a nearby Macdonald’s car park I crossed the main road to a footpath which would take me along the side of the creek however I soon realised I was on the wrong side; the creek itself was separated from the path by a large fenced off boatyard and storage area which extended for quite a distance and there was no way I could get through. The grassy path eventually took me through a pleasant sparsely wooded area to another creek, narrow and very muddy, with just a couple of fishing boats moored at the end of a wooden jetty and a yacht tipped over on its side, presumably the result of the recent storms. To be honest this place wasn’t particularly attractive but maybe it would look better with more water in it.
I’d climbed down the bank to get closer shots of the boats and as I climbed back up again I saw something which amused me enough to take a photo; sticking up out of the grass was the top of a green welly. The boot itself was firmly wedged several inches down so I can only assume that someone had put their foot into what had once been very soft ground and couldn’t get it out again, meaning they had to leave the welly behind.
The path turned inland and took me along the bank of the creek, which narrowed to little more than a muddy channel with a dead end, to a quiet lane which eventually emerged onto the main road a good quarter of a mile from where I started. I still hadn’t found the creek I was originally looking for so I walked all the way back along the road, past the start of the path I’d followed and one of the boatyard buildings to where I found a stile leading to a second path – this was more like it, I was now on the right side of the creek. Just like the first creek it was very muddy at low tide but it was a much more attractive place so I had a very pleasant walk along the bank before retracing my steps back to the van.
Knowing that my favourite café at St. Annes would now be closed I’d brought my own supplies but a Macdonald’s car park wasn’t the best of places for a picnic so I drove round to the quiet lane I’d walked along earlier and parked up by the high bank of the first creek. With coffee brewed on my camping stove, a sandwich, a couple of slices of cherry pie and a view of some lovely daffodils on the bank in front of me I had a lovely half hour in the van before my next bit of exploration.
Leaving the van in the lane I went up onto the main road and walked right along to East Beach and the start of Lytham Green before turning onto the coastal path and heading back in the opposite direction. Looking out to sea I could just see the mast of a sunken yacht in one of the estuary channels; I’ve seen a photo of this on another blog and at high tide it’s almost completely covered in water.
The path took me down a few steps onto the beach, skirting the rear car park of a large modern office building, then a few more steps took me up onto another very pleasant green backed by large, and probably expensive, balconied houses on a recently built estate. Here was another casualty of February’s storms, a boat stuck in a tiny creek with its stern well and truly buried in the mud and its cabin roof partially smashed by a large tree trunk washed up on top of it.
At the end of the green I came to the beginning of the first muddy creek I’d seen, actually looking a bit more attractive than it was further along, and across the salt marsh was the ‘golf ball’ radar tower and buildings of the BAE Systems aerodrome at Warton. The path turned inland there and took me round the edge of the housing estate, bringing me out close to the main road and not far from the lane where I’d left the van. Although the sun had earlier been warm enough for me to dispense with my usual jacket and just wear my lightweight tracksuit zip top a chilly breeze was now starting to blow – I’d satisfied my curiosity about the creeks and the boats and had a picnic in the van, now it was time to go back home.
As I got to within just a few miles from home the sun was getting lower in the sky, casting its late afternoon glow across the moorland so I couldn’t resist pulling into a lay-by and getting my final shot of the day. With very little traffic on what can usually be quite a busy road it was fairly quiet just then so I spent several minutes just sitting in the van and gazing at the view in front of me.
Back home, and with a coffee at hand, I made a start on downloading my photos and choosing which ones to put on here. I may have been on my own for Mother’s Day but I’d had a lovely afternoon out, and the very nature of where I walked meant that I saw hardly anyone which, even without the current crisis, suits me just fine.