Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Bolton Abbey

Last Saturday we were up early to go to Bolton Abbey for a long walk, the weather was a long way from the sun and warmth of Easter the week before. Raincoats and boots were in order instead! We parked up by Barden bridge and walked through the little woods, over the aqueduct, through Strid woods to the pavillion and back up the other side of the river to Barden, we walked about 6 miles I think.

A Little Owl was our first exciting spot as we drove along the country roads, I just love seeing Owls, it doesn't happen often, which probably makes it more of a joy?!

Straight away the birds were everywhere, Song and Mistle Thrush, a GS Woodpecker flying overhead, a Kingfisher flew down the river and two Common Sandpipers were on the rocks. A Willow Warbler was singing too and we saw the first of many Mallard chicks.

Common Sandpiper


Song Thrush

More Mallard chicks on their way in the not too distant future!

The smell of wild garlic followed us through the woods, it's such a strong smell and seems much nicer than the garlic we buy. A Curlew was just heading over the hill in the field next to the woods and a little further along an Oystercatcher was heading the same way. Three Oystercatchers were flying about making a lot of noise. Lots of Sand Martins and a few Swallows were skimming the water by the banks the Sand Martins nest in.  A couple of Red-legged Partridge were in the field over the river.

Distant Curlew


Into the Strid woods and it was raining quite heavily by now though there was some shelter from the trees, The woods were full of Bluebells. I think the rain must have put off the Pied Flycatchers as although they are back in the woods we didn't see a single one and we looked hard! A pause for a snack in the hut at the top of the woods, seed is put out regularly around the hut, I think just by people who visit often, we had brought a little with us so we sat and watched the birds for a while.


Chiffchaff (I think, it refused to sing!)




Blackcap and Chiffchaff were singing as we walked down towards the Pavilion, having a bit of a drama on the way when my daughters boots laces somehow got tangled and she went flying onto the floor! Thank goodness I carry plenty of wipes and tissues, she was a little muddy and bruised but soon back on her feet. We stopped for a cuppa at the Pavilion to warm us up a little.

A male Goosander was on the river here and further along we found a female asleep on a rock. Grey and Pied Wagtails were all along the river, we did only spot two Dippers today, unusual for here. The Common Sandpipers though lived up to their name, i've never seen so many here, they were often flying, chasing each other around,  their loud call an instant giveaway. We also saw several Mandarin ducks, only one female though, who had already paired up. Other birds spotted include Greylag Geese, Black-headed and Lesser Black-backed Gull, Heron and a single Moorhen.


Male Goosander


Pied Wagtail


Common Sandpiper

Female Goosander

Mandarin, male and female

We stopped again to have a little lunch at the hut overlooking the Strid, again the birds were hopping around right in front.

Coal Tit



Blue Tit

Back near Barden bridge and the car, a Sandpiper was stood on a tree branch, not something i've seen them do before!

A few other photos from the walk

Not bad for a wet miserable day really!


  1. You had a great walk, Pam. It is interesting that I have only ever seen wild Mandarin in Britain, despite several visits to Asia. There can be little more spectacular among waterfowl, but our own Wood Duck perhaps gives it a run for its money.

    1. It's a stunning bird - male and female both! The population here is definitely on the increase.

  2. What a super walk. The scent of wild garlic, the bluebells and the sound of a curlew - how wonderful! The mandarin ducks are very attractive aren't they?:)

    1. All a good combination for a walk :)

  3. That's a lovely place to walk, I always see a good variety of birds when I walk there too!

    1. It is, it's a favourite but I don't go anywhere near as often as i'd like!

  4. A lovely selection of photos and a super walk. I am very envious you have such a great place to walk fairly near - we walked to the Strid when we were in Yorkshire a few years ago and it is a beautiful area. I love the smell of wild garlic (and bluebells). There is a walk we do most years where there is a lot of the former and you can smell it as soon as you get out of the car even though the display is several hundred yards away!

    1. Thanks :) It is a beautiful place, i'm glad you've visited before. The smell is something else isn't it, so lovely!

  5. Sounds like you had a lovely walk, and your photos are lovely too! How lucky you are to come across a Little Owl... I've never seen one!