Spring comes to the Jumbles

My Monday walk this time was done in April a week after my last Monday walk and just three days after the quarry walk – with the continuing good weather I’ve been averaging three long walks every week. The first part of the walk was a reverse of last week’s  – through the avenues, down the lane past the stables where I once worked, through the woodland and up the steep path to the farm, then once I reached the main road a short distance along and under a railway bridge took me to the long and very pleasant semi-rural lane leading to the Jumbles reservoir.
The name Jumbles first appeared in the 19th century and is a variation of the word ‘dumbles’, a northern term for a ravine-like valley with wooded sides where a fast flowing stream tumbles down. At the north end of the reservoir is the old quarry, flooded when the reservoir was constructed in the late 1960s, and beyond it there is indeed a narrow wooded valley with a stream flowing through it and into the quarry.
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About halfway along the lane a gate on the right led to a path which took me down to Ousel Nest Meadows. Ousel is the old English name for the blackbird and it’s possible that in the past its cousin the Ring Ousel may have nested in the area, giving the meadows their name. As I walked towards the bottom of the meadow a flash of white caught my eye as a bird took off from somewhere and landed in a tree over on my left; I couldn’t tell what sort of bird it was as it was so far in the tree I could hardly see it so I pointed the camera, zoomed in and hoped for the best. It turned out to be a jay, quite a cute looking little thing and the first one I’ve ever actually seen.
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At the bottom of the meadow the path turned to the right, going steadily downhill until I came to the first of four bridges. This took me across Bradshaw Brook past the reservoir outflow and the steep bank of the dam and at the far side a long flight of steep steps and a winding path on their right went up to the top of the hillside.
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After crossing the bridge on previous occasions I’ve always gone straight up the steps but this time I decided to take the slightly easier way up the hill and use the winding path, and I was rewarded by discovering something I never knew was there. Just off the second bend in the path was a small overgrown quarry which wasn’t visible from the steps; a short narrow path led into it so I just had to take a look.
It wasn’t a big place and the quarry faces weren’t very high. Several parts had trees growing straight out of them and at one point I could hear running water; it was coming from deep within one of the quarry faces so there must have been an underground stream running through and down to the brook. It was a strange little place and it was nice to have found it but I didn’t really want to linger too long.
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Leaving the quarry behind I continued up the winding path to the top of the hill and came out at the car park. This was a place which, even on a weekday, would usually have several cars parked there so it seemed strange to see it empty and deserted.
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At the far side of the car park was the closed up café and information centre with the outside picnic benches just as deserted as the car park itself. Directly across the water were a bungalow and big house, both with gardens which had been landscaped by my partner several years ago. Back then the owners of the bungalow, who I knew very well, also owned the reservoir dam and I would sometimes take a short cut across it if I didn’t want to walk all the way round.
With the continuing dry sunny weather the level of the reservoir was lower than usual and a bit farther on from the café I came across a couple of places where I could leave the path and go down to small stony beaches by the water’s edge to get some photos, shots which I wouldn’t normally be able to get.

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A few yards farther on from the second beach a concrete bridge spanned a small offshoot to the main reservoir and set on the grass just off the far end of the bridge was a picnic bench with access down to another small beach just behind it.
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Back on the path and through a tree shaded area I passed the part of the reservoir designated as a wildlife area; with the water level being low it was possible to see the natural barrier which kept it separate from the rest of the reservoir, and just across the water and set sideways on was a row of four stone cottages with attractive gardens.
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The reservoir narrowed there and up ahead on the other side I could see something red and yellow partly obscured by foliage – I couldn’t tell what it was but I didn’t remember seeing it before. Soon I came to the bridge near the old quarry but instead of crossing over I took the path past the quarry and along the riverside until I came to a waterfall, though I resisted the temptation to explore farther and returned to the bridge.
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At the far side of the bridge I discovered what the red and yellow thing was – a recently installed board with a water safety device, though looking at the instructions to access it and use it made me think that whoever needed to be saved could possibly have drowned before it could be of any use.
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From the bridge the path wound its way through another tree shaded area and came out close to a small private fishing lake and the stone cottages, with a small parking area, concrete slipway and a pleasant picnic/fishing area by the waterside. Several ducks were sunning themselves in the picnic area though all but one took off into the water as soon as they saw Poppie. Along with the usual mallards and swans was one white duck with red eyes and a very odd shaped head, I hadn’t a clue what it was but later information told me it was a Muscovy duck.
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Past the picnic area the fourth and last bridge took me over a narrow creek with the path leading past the grounds of Jumbles Sailing Club and through another tree shaded area with more places where I could get down to the water’s edge and take another few photos.
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Back through the trees for a short distance and the path veered away from the reservoir, opening out and running between hedges on one side and the high fence and stone wall enclosing the gardens of the big house I could see from across the water. Near the end of the path was a very attractive timber-built barn erected only within the last few years; it replaced a huge and ugly green corrugated metal barn where my partner and I used to keep and work on our vintage tractors. I don’t know what the new place is used for but it looks much nicer than the old one.
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Just past the barn the path came out onto the lane and I was heading back in the direction of the main road, and just before the gate leading to Ousel Nest Meadows I spotted some lovely bright flowers in the grounds of one of the three large Ousel’s Nest houses. Not far from the end of the lane another lane joined it on the right and in the small triangle between the two was a tree surrounded by a hotch-potch of colourful flowers and foliage worth a couple of shots.
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Those were to be my last photos of the walk; it had been a long one this time, 7.2 miles from home and back. It was nice to see the Jumbles area coming alive in the fine spring sunshine, I’d got some good photos and even found somewhere I didn’t know existed, so my afternoon had been very enjoyable and worthwhile.

 

23 thoughts on “Spring comes to the Jumbles

  1. Another stunning walk that proves Lancashire is a beautiful county to explore. I have heard of Jumbles Reservoir of course ( probably through your blog) and it’s interesting to know how it got it’s unusual name. Well done on the jay photo! Have been trying to get a picture of one for years, they always seem to laugh at me then fly off. I have had more luck with kingfishers! Fab post
    X

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    1. You should come over and do the walk yourself sometime Sharon, it really is a nice one especially in spring. It seems I have as much luck with kingfishers as you do with jays, although to be honest I’ve never yet seen a kingfisher to photograph one. I got really lucky with the jay, a few seconds earlier or later and I would have missed it.

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  2. Just caught this in time to slip it into today’s, Eunice, because I’m not sure how much longer I’ll continue. A lovely walk, I agree. Spring has been kind to you this year. Funnily enough we were at a local reservoir yesterday, checking water levels, but I haven’t had time to look at the photos yet. Stay well, and happy! 🙂 🙂

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    1. And likewise to you Jo 🙂 After all the interminably wet weather we had through last autumn and winter and into early March it’s been lovely to have all this sunshine. Spring has certainly sprung, although the last few days have been on the dull side – hopefully the sun will be back soon though 🙂

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  3. Well, this is delightful. I’ve so often walked the Jumbles with my daughter, who lives in Bradshaw. I’ll be sure to tell her why the Jumbles is so called, as she says she doesn’t know.

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    1. It was a lovely walk that day, and if you’ve been round the Jumbles yourself you’ll be in familiar territory – and you can now educate your daughter as to where the name comes from 🙂

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  4. Such a wonderful walk over seven miles, it looks really pleasant. A lovely photo of the jay. I see what you mean about the throwline, it’d be very frustrating to have to read the instructions before needing it.
    We’re being blessed with some beautiful weather for your walks, Poppie will be loving it.

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    1. We’ve had a few dull days since the end of last week so I haven’t been too far over the weekend – I’ll be back out again though as soon as the sun comes back. I assume that the new-fangled safety device is locked away to stop it being vandalised but it seems a bit of a rigmarole to access it and use it – the quarry has always been a popular, though dangerous, place to swim so I hope no-one ever needs it. Getting the photo of the jay made my day as I’d never seen one before – I really got lucky there 🙂

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  5. Another beautiful walk, thank you for sharing it. How lovely to see that Jay – we used to have them at our old house and a pair in the woods next door would bring their young to our peanut feeder. Never see them now, we are just a bit too far north 😞

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  6. It’s a lovely walk although I don’t often do it all the way from home – the beginning of the lane is close to my morning job so I usually drive to work and do the walk from there. Seeing the Jay was a lovely surprise – to be honest I didn’t know what it was until I looked it up when I got home as I’d never seen one before. So cute looking and pretty, I’m glad I managed to get the photo 🙂

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  7. Your bit of Lancashire is looking great.
    The water was certainly low in Jumbles.
    You could have waited ages to take a photo of a Jay and there all within a second you have a good shot! Lucky you.

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  8. To be honest I wouldn’t know where to look for a jay if I really wanted to find one – I only noticed that one as I saw the flash of white as it flew over ahead of me, and even then I didn’t know what it was until I got home and looked it up. I’ve known the water in the Jumbles be a bit lower than that on some occasions – oddly enough there was one year, I think probably in the late 90s, when the place dried up so much my partner and I walked along the bottom of part of it and I photographed the remains of the old works which used to be there, but I’ve never been able to find any reference anywhere to that time.

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  9. What a lovely walk & I do like the name Jumbles. Your photos are delightful & I really felt like I was tagging along. The secret quarry is something I’d really like & glad you caught your Jay (we don’t have them here), & also the beautiful floral display. Thank you, take care, stay safe & huggles.

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  10. I’m glad you enjoyed the walk Susan, it’s always been a nice one on a sunny day but this was made extra special by seeing the jay. Since doing this one I’ve found out about somewhere else in the Jumbles area which I wasn’t aware of – we’re having a few dull days just now but as soon as the sun comes back I’ll be off exploring again. I hope you’re doing okay over there, stay safe 🙂

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  11. Living in those cottages would be idyllic, lovely and quiet with great views but they are a long way from the nearest shop. The Jumbles walk is one I’ve done many times over the years but it was nice to discover something new this time 🙂

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  12. The tractor thing is quite a long story – maybe if I can find some photos I’ll write about them sometime. It’s a little-known fact that I could drive a tractor before I could ever drive a car 🙂 We had three, not in the best condition when we got them but we stripped them down, rebuilt them, painted them in the correct colours and used to exhibit them at tractor rallies and country shows, also we did tractor runs and one year transported Father Christmas to a local supermarket 🙂 I was always happy with my hair tied back, overalls on and wielding a power tool or a paintbrush 🙂 🙂

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  13. What a lovely walk with so much interest. It’s good to discover something new that you didn’t know was there, just goes to show that as much as we think we know a place, there’s always more to see. What luck with the jay, such beautiful birds.

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  14. It’s a really nice walk round there and I certainly got lucky seeing the jay. Since then, and thanks to a random internet photo and Google maps, I’ve discovered somewhere else in the same area so I’m just about to go out and explore it now 🙂

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  15. Lovely photos Eunice 👍. We used to get a pair of Jay’s in our tiny back garden in Didsbury, they’re beautiful birds, and very very clever. 😊

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  16. I was lucky to get the shot of the jay, the tree wasn’t exactly close and the bird was so far in it I couldn’t tell what it was so I just pointed the camera and hoped for the best. To be honest I always thought jays were like magpies, just black and white, so I was surprised when I saw the shot then looked on the internet to see what it was.

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