In a post last week I mentioned I’d wandered into Cowley Brook plantation coming off Longridge Fell. I didn’t mention that I had met a friend walking her dog there. She comes regularly to exercise the dog in an enclosed space with no sheep. Apparently others do the same, hence the reason I’d often seen cars parked here. Today I came back, on her recommendation, to explore the area in more detail, that’s the sort of thing I do in lockdown. The land owned by United Utilities has recently had trees cut down and new ones planted. They have opened it up for recreation without any path improvements, just some simple environmental advice.
I choose a newly trodden path through the mature trees alongside the little brook, it took me down the hill and into a more open area. Most of the newly planted are deciduous but firs are cropping up from seeds in the ground, It was good to see a kestrel hovering overhead. Keeping going alongside the water until a gate into a small water catchment area which led to the Old Clitheroe Road. The stream disappears under the road here. I have passed this way many times wondering about access up the stream, deer are a common sight in this valley. Signs suggested they didn’t want people in the works’ area, maybe I had gone too far.
Pleased with myself for finding this link up I retraced my steps back into the new plantation heading for the top edge where I entered the mature dark forest and made my own path back up the fell. At one point I jumped out of my skin as a hound, Baskerville size, came hurtling through the trees with no sign of an owner. There had been more cars parked when I arrived, so I presume it was from one of those – never to be seen again.
I progressed up the hill towards a fenced off quarry in the felled area. I profess to having prior knowledge here. Years ago when this hole in the ground was surrounded by trees I would climb the stone wall into these woods and disappear into the hidden quarry for some esoteric bouldering on its dark damp walls. The other day I came across some photos and a guide I had written – it slowly reverted to nature but gave me entertainment and exercise for a couple of years before I moved on elsewhere. Simple joys that have been derived from the outdoors throughout my life. And here I am again peering into its depths.
Picking my way through the new plantation I head back to my car just as my friend appears exercising her dog. She must come most days. We reminisce about past times and friends. Years ago I sold my house to her parents; I hadn’t found another one at the time, so I stayed on in a flat above the garage, the arrangement suited both parties, rumours of ‘ménage à trois’ circulated in the village. The lady I’m talking to today would have been 4 or 5yrs at the time but remembers it well. She is now a talented artist and does a lot of good work with schools, community groups and underprivileged youths. I’ll give her a plug with a photo of her van.
I have not shown my erratic wanderings on the map below, just an outline of the woodland. It will be interesting to see how this woodland haven develops.