The River Hodder from the Higher Bridge.

The roads at this end of  Longridge Fell were still closed as they damped down the forest fires so I drove to the far end and parked near Higher Hodder Bridge. My plan was a short evening walk up to Kemple End quarry for a bit of bouldering.

I always enjoy the path through the trees above the Hodder. The spring foliage on the trees cut out some of the river views. Normally I spot herons, kingfishers and dippers on this stretch but not tonight.  But I was enjoying the way so much that I ignored the intended path that would have taken me up the fell and I continued along the river.

A mother and her two children were engrossed in the river.

The path at one point climbs away from the river and I knew of the cross in the woods on this stretch, Stonyhurst Park Cross stands above the River Hodder close to the former preparatory school, Hodder Place [now apartments]. A new cross was fixed to the ancient base in 1910, and was blessed on 12 June 1910 by the Jesuit provincial, Father Sykes; the origin of the earlier monument is unknown.

[This set me thinking – I had passed the Pinfold Cross near Stockbridge yesterday and I knew of two more crosses possibly related to Stonyhurst. Saint Paulinus’ Cross near Kemple End and Cross Gills Farm Cross near the Ribble. There is some evidence that pupils of Stonyhurst would walk between the four crosses on Palm Sunday. That seemed a ready-made walk for me to follow. But looking at the map I found another unnamed cross in the woods near SD672398 and there is a cross of uncertain age in Hurst Green. Watch this space.]

Today I noticed a faint path leading up into the woods behind the cross which I followed to some steep old steps. I climbed up these higher into the trees where I found another little path heading onwards. I imagined I would be able to cut across directly to Kemple End but at the edge of the woods were barbed wire fences and ahead unknown fields with what looked like one of those glamping developments. I did have a good view of Pendle from up here above the trees before I retreated all the way back down to the cross.

I knew the accepted footpath out of the woods up lots of steps and into fields leading to Stonyhurst, this is part of the now popular Tolkien Trail.

So I found myself on the lane around the college. It was a beautiful sunny evening and I wandered on. I became a little lost again in the fields but found my way up to Kemple End, it had taken me longer than I thought to reach here. There were the usual good views, particularly to Whalley Viaduct prominent below the Nab and the Hameldon Hills in the background.

A short walk down the lane and  I was back in fields heading towards the river. Halfway down my phone rang and while I took the rather long call I found a nice grassy area in the sunshine to lie down on. Later a bit further on I was crossing the footbridge which replaced a stone clapper bridge and wanted to take a photo. I realised I’d lost my camera, probably while I’d been reclining. I  retraced my steps and then spent a good 15minutes combing the slope I’d been on before I spotted the camera.


The old clapper bridge.

I was soon back at Higher Hodder Bridge. I hadn’t really met anyone, perfect.



10 thoughts on “DISTRACTED IN THE WOODS.

  1. John Bainbridge

    It’s very interesting to follow the lines of old crosses. Used to notch up the miles across Dartmoor doing just that, inspired by William Crossing’s book on Dartmoor crosses.

  2. Michael Graeme

    That is a lovely stretch of the Holder. You’ve got me hankering for a return. Regarding the Longridge fell fire, I saw the smoke rising from that from Bolton. Incredibly dry weather, we need a good downpour and a ban on the sale of portable barbecues!

    1. bowlandclimber

      Yes, the stretch of the Hodder between the Higher and Lower bridges is delightful. Overall it is a much-underrated river.
      Not much rain has fallen.
      It seems the whole world is a light at the moment, re your latest post.

  3. Eunice

    I really like the last photo 🙂 I’m glad you found your camera – I’d hate to lose mine, I’d be totally lost without it

    1. bowlandclimber

      It’s only a cheap Praktica camera but easy to use. I was already going through in my mind what I would replace it with. In the past whilst backpacking and travelling, I’ve always gone for small and light but I wonder now as I’m spending more time on explorative day walks whether something a bit more professional would suit.
      That near loss reminds me to download my photos regularly onto the computer for safekeeping and back those up if they are important.

    1. bowlandclimber

      Yes, that is a very popular stretch from Lower Hodder to Higher Hodder Bridge. I bet your dog enjoys it.
      I should have kept to the riverside path instead of bushwacking into the forest.

  4. Pingback: THE HIDDEN CROSS. | bowlandclimber

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