JD and I make the best of this lovely late September weather on another section of Lancashire’s loveliest river. We find paths under the Bowland Hills that neither of us have traversed.
We leave a quiet Dunsop Bridge at 10am and walk the familiar track lined with giant redwoods to Thorneyholme Hall and then head upstream through fields next to the Hodder. The grass is wet hinting that the cold nights of Autumn have arrived. A fisherman appears and instantly recognises JD from their mutual BAE Systems workplace. Pleasantries are passed, and we wish him success at catching a trout.
Across the river we spy the Sugar Loaf hill, a limestone knoll which has been quarried for the kiln below. It is said that at one time a gibbet stood on its summit. I keep meaning to go and have a closer look.
The road is reached at Boarsden Farm, and we walk along it for 1/4 mile leaving the river, there is no traffic. A footpath cuts up the fields past the largely unseen Heaning Farm. Some soggy fields later we pop out onto a tarmacked road only to acutely turn back into fields leading to Gamble Hole Farm. Just above it is a large hole formed when a cave system collapsed. We are in limestone country and there are several sinkholes in the next large field. There is also a bull with his cattle, so we keep the other side of barbed wire and exit eventually into the aptly named Bull Lane. Lunch is taken in the warm sunshine and I decide to alter our route. Over the wall I’ve spotted a series of paths along the base of Burn Fell, so we backtrack a little to walk up a minor road before heading to Burn House Farm and its barking dogs. This farm is at the back of beyond with amazing views to Pen y Ghent, the Easington/Waddington fells and all the familiar Bowland fells surrounding the Trough road.
Our track contours the base of Burn Fell and there is a memorial to several WW2 aircraft crashes in the vicinity. I visited one on Burn Fell last year.
A delightful interlude takes us into trees and a hidden clough. Eventually we arrive at Beatrix Farm which was on my original route. This has been a stock rearing centre since the C13th and was once a busy hamlet with its own market. There are traces of grassed-over foundations of long vanished dwellings but I’m not sure we recognise any. Ahead Totridge Fell and Mellor Knoll increasingly dominate the scene. Bowland at its best. Chatting away we soon reach Wood End Farm with its diversified herds and then Dunsop Bridge. There is not enough social distancing available in the café for tea and cake.
An excellent round on paths new to us alongside the Hodder and some remoter farms of Bowland.