Wednesday, April 14th. 6 miles. Ribchester,
A perfect Spring morning, sunshine and no wind.
Looking back I did this walk in 2019 on a similar April day https://bowlandclimber.com/2019/04/11/more-of-the-ribble-way-and-dinkley-bridge/ and on many other occasions.
We set off from the car park of the Ribchester Arms, which later today will be serving food and drink outside following the latest easing of lockdown. Some, new to us, paths lead away across fields from Stydd Lane. The signing was better than usual, a side effect of the pandemic with the farmers trying to guide all the extra walkers through their fields as safely as possible. We were intrigued by some old banking alongside Duddell Brook which seemed to have been designed to prevent flooding of some fields that would have been a natural flood plain. One wonders if this channelling of the stream goes towards the flooding that regularly occurs farther down where it meets the Ribble. Never mess with nature. I’m not sure whether the banking shows up on my photo.
The Ribble Way was joined and followed pleasantly along the river bank. There is always flood debris on this stretch but today it was mostly vegetation and wood, perhaps someone has a had done a litter pick of all the usual plastic. It is a shame that the footpath gets diverted away from the river [fishermen only!] but at least from the higher elevation there is always a panoramic view of the Ribble Valley with Pendle on guard and of course now the new Dinckley Bridge.
Mike had not visited since the new bridge was erected in 2019, hence today’s route. The previous suspension bridge was damaged beyond repair back in the floods of December 2015, Storm Frank. Its centre span was previously destroyed by flooding in 1981, but cables and parts were salvaged and the deck rebuilt. Prior to the bridges a ferry used to cross here linking Hurst Green to Dinckley and Langho.
Today the river was very low under the bridge and the sandy beaches farther downstream were accessible. We were surprised there were not more people out and about enjoying the warm sunshine. In the woods the wild garlic was coming into season reminding me that I must pick some for cooking – perfect with a poached egg. The celandines, wood anemones and sorrels were all putting on a good show.