Two experienced locals, JD and I, were taking ‘Batesieman’ and his dog Pixie for an exploratory walk over Longridge Fell. It was a perfect day, sunny and warm, with good visibility in all directions. We were lost [disorientated] in a field without a map and no obvious signage. I can’t really blame JD as he had just appeared on the scene from an earlier walk clutching a few wild strawberries, nowhere as good as the raspberries we found later, and agreed to accompany us further. For a while, I had wanted to visit Higher Deer House, marked prominently on the map. It turned out to be an unoccupied and undistinguished farmhouse in the middle of nowhere on the south side of Longridge Fell, The surrounding pastures were full of cows, calves and the occasional scary bull. This area had once been a medieval deer park on the Shireburn Estate long before the establishment of Stoneyhurst College.
We had started off walking up Longridge Fell on the track past Green Thorn Farm and onto the ridge at a clearing with great views over Bowland and also the Yorkshire Three Peaks. There has been a lot of forest clearing in the last few years because of the fungus affecting the spruce but it is amazing to see the regeneration of small trees occurring on the open ground – are these commercially viable or disease-resistant? In front of us was the mighty Pendle Hill. The forest track brought us out at Kemple End where a compulsory visit to the quarry was taken, the site of Batesie and mine exploration a decade ago, the routes don’t get a lot of traffic.
Onwards through the complex of houses at Kemple End. The Almshouses built here in the 17th century were moved and reconstructed in Hurst Green after the Second World War. I think of this as an amazing endeavour and would like to know more of their history.
We had followed a sunken track which I’ve always thought of like an old sledgeway for transporting stone from the quarries but I now wonder was part of the deer park boundary. Once orientated we passed the deerhouse and wandered down to the footbridge over the hidden Dean Brook. Then up to join the bridleway to Greengore an interesting medieval hunting lodge of the Shireburn estate, noticeable are the buttresses and mullioned windows.
The bridleway continues up past Crowshaw House to arrive on the fell road where we had started. JD went home with his strawberries for tea.
Here’s a map to show you where we went. A convivial afternoon stroll.