Our object today was to see if Dinkley Bridge over the Ribble was open again after a major rebuild following damage from Storm Desmond back in 2015 when flood waters buckled the upper part of the 1951 structure. All pictures from my cheap phone.
We parked up in the village and made our way down to the magic Dean Brook. Just off the path is a hidden rock face on which we put up a hard route 20 odd years ago, I was keen to have another look to assess any bouldering possibilities. The rock was still a bit green from the winter but there appeared to be plenty of clean rock low down, I will return to investigate.
Our route was to be circuitous to explore some unknown paths. Searching for the first of these had us wandering into the back garden of the old hunting lodge of Greengore, we hastily retreated into the neighbouring field. Hidden stiles guided us across splendid Lancashire countryside to arrive at Higher Hud Lee Farm where an unlikely route took us through the untidy yards. On our way through we were press-ganged into helping two farmers push a car onto a low loader.
A stroll down the lane brought us to the long closed and now derelict Punch Bowl where another lane left the road heading for Bailey Hall. After a short distance we diverted to follow fields down to the thickly wooded Starling Brook and a footbridge. Once onto the next lane we were on familiar territory, or so we thought as all these lanes have a similar appearance. Strangely a small pond alongside seemed to have the remains of a speedboat embedded in it.
The Ribble Way joined us from the right and we followed the waymarks to Trough House where a diversion to the new Dinkley footbridge was made. What a splendid structure it appears though a trip to the far side would be needed for a proper view, an idea for next week. The old cantilevered structure has been replaced. We were content to watch the Ribble flowing from the middle of the bridge. A lot of people were out and about enjoying the sunshine, many no doubt attracted by the new bridge’s opening.
The dogs at Trough House were in fine voice. Lambing Clough Lane climbed back up to Hurst Green where a wedding was in progress in The Shireburn Arms – what a day for it.