Brock Valley (also known as Brock Bottom) is a picnic site and nature trail not far from Beacon Fell near Garstang, Lancashire.
There’s a relatively sizeable (free) car park which is open from 8am – 6pm daily, picnic benches but no bins (Remember to take your rubbish home!) There’s also no public toilets, however the walk here is only about a couple of hours anyway. Dogs are welcome.
The pathway is alongside the Winsnape Brook, also known as the river Brock which flows from the outskirts of Preston and joins the sea at the river Wyre.
The other side of the pathway is woodland.
There’s some steep hills and bridges to cross along the path to be taken.
The trail is very beautiful and scenic.
It was a crisp, Autumn’s day when we went and the cold afternoon sun was beaming through the trees.
I can’t deny I love having my birthday a couple of days after Samhain. Being able to have pumpkins on my birthday is like the best thing ever for me.
Not forgetting to mention the cosy dark nights by the outdoor fire and the irresistible charm of the smoky air. I don’t think there’s anything about Autumn that I don’t like, especially since my birthday is stuck between Samhain and Bonfire night.
Being such an empath and sensitive person I easily pick up on emotions and vibes around me. I definitely feel like being born right at the cusp on the Witches New Year and the thin veil of Samhain has influenced me on some really deep and spiritual level to be the person I am today.
After a really relaxing and cleansing Samhain, which you can read about here, the rest of the week kept getting better and better. Of course it helped that my partner was back in England with me for that week.
The day after Samhain we decided to take a trip out in the afternoon up to Beacon Fell which is not too far away from where I live.
The view from the top is pretty breathtaking as it is but with the late afternoon Autumn sun slowly setting it made the view from the top even more incredible.
The weather has been terrible lately, lots of cloud, dark skies and rain. I feel like we were very lucky to see a break in the sky where the sun was shining through. It was definitely another peaceful, thoughtful moment that made me think this is a day I won’t forget in a hurry.
On the 2nd for my birthday I wanted to take a trip up to one of my favourite places ever. I always go here every year usually around Samhain time.
The small village of Newchurch in Pendle, which is at the foot of Pendle Hill and is home to the witches.
There’s a lot of energy that comes from around this place and a great many people come to visit Pendle Hill at Samhain time to celebrate the witches.
You can usually find carved pumpkins scattered about this local area in abundance. A lot of tradition and superstition still holds for both the residents and visitors. I love trying to spot all the pumpkins whilst commuting to the village.
The funny thing was this time we actually joked about randomly finding a pumpkin out in the fields or near the hill but I was like there’s no way a pumpkin would find its way out into the middle of nowhere.
Yeah… apparently I was wrong because we found this one sat on a wall, just on its lonesome, in the middle of nowhere. Maybe one of the local residents placed it here or someone brought it with them who was travelling up Pendle Hill on Samhain.
We also came across this pumpkin scarecrow in the village of Chatburn just before Pendle Hill. I love how small villages always keep up traditions and have a sense of community spirit when it comes to celebrations. The old ways are most often found in the untouched places.
When we got home we had another lovely evening sat outside by the warm fire and the glow of the pumpkins.
I can say this has been the best week I’ve had in a long time. We made the most of the dry Autumn days and sat around the outdoor firepit at least four times this week.
We were fortunate enough to witness the late afternoon sunsets and beautifuls red skies that embraced Autumn and then we ended the week with the most magical full moon that was very clear and bright in the sky.
There was a lot of high energy in the crisp Autumn breeze leaving me feeling very cleansed and recharged this week and now I’m looking forward to using that energy to start some new projects.
Once Autumn arrives, I know my favourite festival won’t be too far behind. I love to go all out at Samhain, but this year felt different.
I usually decorate and go all spooky on Halloween, which you can find last year’s display here.
So, the week before Halloween I started to get all the boxes of decorations out and was preparing the gazebo for the mini-haunt, as we always have at least eighty people come trick or treating here and we like to put on some fun for them.
Then somehow getting caught up in life, horrible winds and rain meant that not much had been decorated yet and I had a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach that I didn’t want to go to all the trouble this year. I just didn’t have the time to get all the decorations up and I don’t even know why most of the pumpkins hadn’t been carved yet, as that’s something we do at least a week before. Something was feeling rather off for me on a personal level, as I am usually well-organised and don’t leave things to last minute. I always trust my gut instinct, it has never let me down so I decided to take a different path to celebrate Samhain this year.
I transformed the back garden into a cosy place with candles and pumpkins because pumpkins are the best bit about Samhain. Of course our Mabon tradition of making a scarecrow was there in the background with his pumpkin head, watching over us.
We still decorated up the front porch for the trick or treaters.
I think we had more people than ever come visit us and to do something different we offered them up some wickedly popcorn this year straight from my cauldron.
My partner not wanting to miss out on the fun, still dressed up and was ready to scare the kids who came to the door. He looked pretty awesome this year and there were plenty of people who asked to take a photo with him.
I think this year was all about a spiritual journey for me, something I needed to do. To take a step back, stop and relax and to embrace what Samhain truly represents.
For me I had found my way back to Samhain rather than celebrating Halloween and I had definitely made the right choice to listen to my instincts.
With a spooky feeling in the air, there are plenty of unseen forces having an influence when the veil is at the thinnest and it’s wise to listen to those spiritual elements that help guide us on the right path in life.
Sitting by the fire with all the pumpkins around gave me the chance to reflect on life and decide on some changes.
I really think the spirit of Samhain had a big influence on me this year, there was something out there that was guiding me towards looking at the bigger picture in life and it worked.
Samhain is called the Witches New Year for a reason, it’s time to start a fresh. A new beginning and a new chance to change things.
I know this year was definitely the best Samhain I’ve celebrated and it couldn’t be passed by without roasting some chestnuts on the fire.
Life goes by too fast. Stop once in a while to reflect on whether you are truly happy in life and if not then change something. Always be true to yourself, no matter if people don’t understand your spirituality or path in life. They don’t have to understand, they have their journey and you have yours.
I find Samhain to be the most important teaching Sabbat of the year. You can learn about life, death and all the mysteries in between here.
Last year we went to visit this haunted house walk-through for the first time and was amazed at how someone had completely transformed their home for Halloween.
This year we really enjoyed going back and was surprised to see that this year had a completely new theme.
This year’s theme was “Freddie’s Freak Show”. Unlike last year’s zombie theme, this Halloween was to scare you with clowns.
This family open up their transformed home and go all out with the scare factor – which starts in the queue. You guessed IT. Who is the scariest clown of them all?
The front garden starts off with a pallet construction walkway, lots of scarecrows, clowns, pumpkins and straw. Some of these props are truly awesome.
I almost can’t believe how they use these props once and then change around the next year. Their dedications and true love for this shows in the way they want to make sure people have fun and to be scared by something new every year.
Luckily enough I remembered to take a couple of videos this year and here they are.
This place is only open for three days over Halloween, so definitely take the chance to visit if you can.
We went on the first night this year and there were a camera crew here for a feature on “This Morning” on Halloween. If you saw that then you would have seen a peek of me in the queue. It seems this place is getting lots of well-deserved attention this year from the media. I for one, am looking forward to next year already.
You can find last year’s blog post on Howick here.
My favourite time of the year is upon us once again. I love Autumn and it seems to have snuck up on me pretty quick this year. It might be because this Summer has been filled with sparse hot days and mostly rain showers, making it hard to differentiate between when Summer really ended and Autumn began.
But the pumpkins have arrived, the leaves have started to fall and suddenly the cold and dark days have engulfed us, so that makes it time for Mabon.
Mabon wouldn’t be a celebration without an outdoor fire. This year we sat out in the garden all afternoon by the fire and in the evening we were joined with the spirit of the harvest by having a cider.
My partner who is Dutch, spent the week before Mabon in England and so we celebrated together a little earlier than the Equinox.
I love the fact, even though he’s not Pagan, he always joins in and celebrates with me. Can you believe until he met me, my partner had never carved a pumpkin before and now he always loves to do it.
Our yearly Mabon ritual also consists of making a scarecrow with a pumpkin head. For anyone wanting to make one, these are pretty easy to do. All you need is some old clothes, straw, string and a wooden frame to hang it from.
If you haven’t checked out last year’s Mabon, it’s here.
How ever you celebrated Mabon, I hope you had fun!