On the way back from the Lake District at the beginning of the week, a stop at Sizergh Castle on the right just before you get to the M6.
The house was shut on the day.
But the gardens were open. There's a new 'stumpery' under construction:
And there were lots of spring flowers to cheer up an overcast February day...
There's a lake:
And there are hawfinches - one of our rarest birds. They feed on the ground for an hour or two after daybreak, oftentimes amongst the hornbeam trees next to the car park. We were lucky and had one pointed out to us by a National Trust ranger. This hawfinch was perched at the top of a tall tree surveying most of Cumbria from where s/he was sitting, I think. Larger than I expected [about the size of a small thrush] with a short, thick-set beak, it was wonderful to see one for the first time as the rain set in and, slowly, my binoculars began to mist up.