Wednesday, 16 May 2007

Spring Days on the Riverbank

The River Ribble and riverside Green Belt in Penwortham and Preston has erupted in all its Spring glory... and we've spent more time down by the river than sitting indoors blogging it!

If you fancy spending a day on the riverbank, see Ribble Events...

From February onwards, when the trees were bare and the scene from Penwortham Old Bridge at low tide was still very wintry, even in the unseasonably warm sunshine...



...and in March the Penwortham riverbank, and meadows and woodlands seen across the sparkling Ribble waters from Avenham and Miller Parks still wore their winter aspect...



... but by April the trees lining the river are definately springing forth, marking much more of a colourful contrast with the huge amount of rich brown silts flowing downriver to feed the Ribble Estuary's mudflats and saltmarsh - and the vast numbers of birds beginning to breed there.



Throughout March and April the buds burst out all along the river and in the woods alongside...



...until the end of April finds the trees suddenly rich with all shades of green, the riverside allotments on Penwortham Holme suddenly shooting leaves and new growth to repay all that hard work (although the hardest work is now beginning!), and football becomes a much more pleasurable activity to both play and support in the warm Spring sunshine (but especially if your team is winning!)




The River Ribble endlessly passes by, and it is a deep pleasure to spend time by the river, every season, every weather, every stage of the tide. Whether low tide, high tide, or somewhere inbetween, the Ribble is ever-changing, depending on the weather, the light, the amount of water running downriver or coming up with the tide, and the amount of silts the Ribble's waters take with them.

Here, it is a very low tide in April, due to the unseasonably low rainfall in early to mid-Spring (which the wet and cold weather appears to be making up for now in May!). The sunlight shines through the waters and shows the beautiful patterns of the riverbed below the Tram Bridge and the lightly flowing silts making their way downstream in the warm Spring sunshine...



... so warm, indeed, that spending time by the river includes messing about on the water - regardless of where the tide happens to be as the Ribble has been navigated for hundreds - indeed thousands - of years, and all without recourse to a barrage. These leisurely anglers are happy to lounge in the beautiful late April sunshine at low tide inbetween Penwortham Holme and Broadgate... probably waiting for the tide to come in and carry them gently back upriver again rather than spend too much energy rowing!



Nothing can beat the sound of the Ribble's waters racing over the stones and rivermud at low tide...



...unless it's coupled with the sounds of the birds singing in the meadows and woodlands alongside as May brings blossom, rich greens of every shade, and the birds in full voice... BLISS....



The Ribble's riverside Green Belt and floodplain areas are a beautiful and irreplaceable habitat for birds, insects, mammals, flowers, trees, grasses, and local people!


There are some fabulous trees along the Ribble, bordering the riverside meadows, and throughout the many copses and woodlands here, not just the famous Elms along the Tram route and along the river's edge through Miller Park, but Beech and Oak, Willow and Plane, Rowan and Poplar...


The famous Elms lining the old Tram route through Penwortham to Lostock Hall.


May brings full Spring growth in Avenham and Penwortham, its full glory reflected in the waters of high tide: the macrocosmic view...

...and the microcosmic...

Bluebells in riverside woodlands in Penwortham...


Ribwort Plantain on the riverbanks...


White Clover...

and Red...


plus...

Forget-me-nots on the Penwortham riverbank...


Red Campion nearby...


...and a Speckled Wood butterfly on an Oak sapling.


The May Blossom on the Hawthorn is as thick as snow...


...and Birds-Foot Trefoil shines out in the meadows.



The lush greenery of the riverside trees is reflected in the still waters of high tide whether near...


...or afar.

Low tide looks equally glorious...


...the light and the Ribble's waters ever-changing...



...showing beauty wherever you look, whether from Penwortham towards the Tram Bridge and Avenham at low tide...



...or from Avenham and Miller Parks towards the Penwortham riverbank as high tide recedes...



...and on the river itself, low tide brings a wealth of wildlife...



...eager to feed in the Ribble's rich mudflats...



...and the evening light reflected in the Ribble's waters has its own beauty - but it's a pity the newly-returned screaming Swifts are way too fast for my camera as they swoop low over the water catching their tiny-winged supper -

- and the returning House Martins scoop beakfuls of riverbed mud at low tide to reconstruct their nests for this Spring's broods under our eaves.



Spring has returned to the Ribble.

And all the while, through all seasons, all weathers, and all tides, an ancient face winks from the Ribble riverbed beneath Penwortham Old Bridge...



Contact savetheribble@tiscali.co.uk

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Great photos - we SO love the Ribble and this whole area. Who needs to sit in a car and spend hours on the motorway when we have all this on our doorstep. We walk all day here, me and the pooch, it keeps us both fit and sane. For the sake of what is good in the world, let it be.

Pete & Joe

Emma said...

I'm happy to say your post was featured in today's edition of the Simply Delightful! Carnival! http://treehousejukebox.wordpress.com/2007/06/12/simply-delightful-carnival-2/