I’ve set the bar high with trying to keep my feet dry in the wet weather we’ve had. But I’ve found another walk which takes me on lanes into the rough fell country between Chipping Vale and the Bowland Fells, namely Stanley Fell. There is nothing more evocative of this wild habitat at this time of year than the cries of the Curlew and the Lapwing. They were both present in voice and vision whilst in the gale-force winds unable to be photographed, but you all know what they look like.

Walking up the road there was little traffic. More hens out on the loose than cars. White railings were used on corners of country lanes to improve visibility. I turned off into the Leagram Estate and passed the dell where snowdrops were in profusion last week. The next farm has a surfeit of sheep and lambs under roof all looking very healthy, they breed BlueFaced Leicesters here..

I love these tree roots.

Lanes continue to more remote farms many now upmarket residences. Ahead is proud Parlick. I’m getting into the hills.

I come out onto a road where Saddle End Farm is up the hill, I’m not going that way today but buy a half dozen free-range eggs at the end of their lane. I wonder if anyone is up on Fairsnape in this gale.

Saddle End Farm.

Turning right I follow the last of the tarmac which leads to the remotest farm, Burnslack. A culverted stream runs alongside. I recall coming here with my young children and exploring through the concrete pipes, admittedly not in flood conditions, to emerge higher up the stream – nine out of ten for child cruelty.

The way in…

A bridleway heads into the hills where the curlew are calling. On the way, a gate hangs on across the track, not even baler twine will save this one.

There is an old ford over a lively stream, I often feel an urge to follow these waters up to their hidden source, an endless task. This is remote country, not a coronavirus insight. As I come over the watershed there are the limestone knolls of Dinkling ahead and in the background Birkett Fell and Warrington Fell. Expansive uplifting scenery.

The track drops down to Lickhurst Farm, now a complex of stone residential conversions. Below is a little valley, a motorist parked up asks me where the Forest of Bowland is – I tell him he is in it and direct him through Little Bowland to the Inn at Whitewell. An old limekiln is passed…

… and a little further a low bridge over a stream, this used to be a ford and alongside is the original stone clapper bridge. This is unique in being a single stone over 15ft long. [Now guarded by wooden handrails.] All evidence of a way of living long past.

The road goes on by that often photographed and isolated red phonebox.

I have friends living in the Higher Greystoneley farm buildings so a cup of tea is very welcome. From there another stoney bridleway drops down to a ford, with wooden footbridge, and through limestone country to my car. I drive home in the gale knowing my feet remained dry and looking forward to poaching one of those farm eggs for lunch.





    Good thinking. I have decided to put my coast infilling on hold for the moment and will be looking for some circular walks from the car in similarly sparsely populated areas. I have just emailed my book club friends suggesting cancelling our meeting next Monday but some are willing to continue – but not me. I have to go to Lancaster today for something I don’t want to put off and could easily come back and infect one of them so I am not just thinking personally about this.

    1. bowlandclimber

      Yes, it is getting awkward for those of us at risk. I’ve no hesitation in going for walks in the countryside but will avoid crowds.
      I see the Premier League have more sense than our politicians.

  2. ms6282

    Not easy keeping your feet dry and drowning in mud at the moment! But walking out on those quiet lanes or up on the moors or fells is probably the best way to “self isolate” – don’t think I could bear being stuck inside for 2 weeks myself.
    No doubt the motorist was expecting to find himself in amongst a mass of trees – but of course the original meaning of “forest”, as in Bowland, meant something else.

    1. bowlandclimber

      We seem to have quite a few good dry tracks around Longridge to avoid the muddy field paths.
      Yes he was looking for trees, I explained the derivation and hoped he found the pub.
      I should also have included in my post the fact that the fields on the Leagram Estate are marked as Chipping Lawn and the farm named Laund. The lawn or laund was a grassy area for feeding fallow deer back in the C14 -15th.

      1. ms6282

        I used to go walking round Bowland a lot at one time, but not been up there, despite living not so far away, for quite a few years. Always found it very quiet and peaceful away from the honeypots of Dunsop Bridge and Slaidburn.
        Climbed Parlick for the first time when I was 16 while camping at Waddiker, before being rushed home with appendicitis!


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