I’m fascinated by the history of the countryside. I glean as much as I can from books, maps and the internet. The origin of names: lost houses and tracks: the local industries from way back: family trees and intrigue. So when I come across a reliable source of information to one of my regular walking areas I’m delighted. The area in question is Hurst Green and Stonyhurst and somebody has set up a Facebook page dealing with precisely that.

I was alerted to it by a comment from its author on my Stonyhurst crosses walk for which I found it difficult to obtain information. I have some catching up to do with the posts so far, but I did notice one on a waterfall on Dean Brook below Hurst Green – Raven Lumb Falls. Over the years I have scrambled up a few of the brooks coming down from Longridge Fell to the Ribchester and Hurst Green areas, but I was unaware of this location. It didn’t take me long to identify its approximate position on the OS map and this morning I set off to explore.

Hurst Green was busy with walkers, most probably following the Tolkien Trail which I did a few weeks ago. Today I set off down Lambing Clough Lane, there were certainly plenty of lambs about. At the ‘farm’ I took a public footpath, strangely unsigned, down towards Dean Brook where it is joined by Bailey Brook at a footbridge. There is an open green area here,  locally referred to as Pickleholme. I now followed the stream up into Merrick’s Wood.

Celandines and Wood Anemones were still in flower, but as a bonus the Bluebells were just coming into bloom in blue patches under the trees.

There was more water in the brook than I had expected after all this dry weather, I would have been better in wellingtons to walk directly upstream, as it was, I used precarious little tracks with an ever present risk of tumbling down the steep bank into the water.

Anyhow, I made progress until at a bend the fall came into view. The water had carved out a passage through the sandstone cliff. Care was needed boulder hopping here as I don’t think anyone would have found me if I’d had an accident. The grid reference, for anyone foolish enough to follow in my footsteps, SD 6830 3746.

What a delightful spot deep in the woods with a lively flow of water. There was some tat left by gill scramblers from Hothersall Hall. The rope was in bad condition so I removed what I could reach. I need to return when the water level is even lower to try and scramble up the falls.

I sat for half an hour and watched  a Dipper coming backwards and forwards, with grubs in its mouth, to a nest hidden in the rock. A pair of Grey Wagtails, or Yellow?  were flitting about in the stream.

What a pleasant way to spend a morning.

When I arrived back at the Shireburn Alms the beer garden, sorry dining terrace, was full of diners enjoying the sunshine and their freedom to eat out. A far cry from down below.


  1. ms6282

    Good to get out in the sunshine.
    Stonyhurst was mentioned in the Observer this morning – they’re going to have an exhibition on Thomas Becket.

    1. bowlandclimber

      That was a successful morning, will go back sometime to climb the falls and explore further.
      New compact camera, Panasonic Lumix with Leica lens and 30X zoom, lots of features for me to work out.

      1. Michael Graeme

        That’s a nice camera. I have a Lumix. They’re sharp and fast. That 30x explains the pics of the birds.

        1. bowlandclimber

          Just experimenting with the long zoom to see how far you can get away with hand held photos, the inbuilt stabilisation seems to work well enough. I could try next time delayed shutter exposure, tripods are fine but you don’t always have time for the wildlife. I’m just an amateur, spelt with a capital A. I won’t be able to match that recent photo of a Buzzard you produced.

          1. Michael Graeme

            Stabilisation is like magic these days, and I very rarely lug a tripod. It’s good to have a compact with that quality and reach.

  2. Clare Hyde

    What an adventure…and so close at hand! I love the beautiful stone bridge at the bottom of Bailey Brook and often wondered why someone went to so much trouble. Have you read ‘ The Making of the English Landscape’ WH Hoskins? …a really old book ( 1955…same as me!) but inspired me to look closely at the landscape. ( I’ve got a copy if you’d like to borrow it.)

    1. bowlandclimber

      If you mean the arched bridge where the Bailey joins Dean Brook, yes it seems over elaborate [nothing wrong with that] for the situation. I felt that it was showing signs of age and some stones had fallen from the arch.
      Considering how dry it has been there was a lot of water in the Brooks. I’ll return later in summer and try and ascend the falls.
      Have you followed the link to the Facebook site for history of Stonyhurst and Hurst Green, Calum McLennan – you may know him? The research is meticulous, and I would have thought it deserves a better medium.
      I’ve heard of Hoskins’ book but have not read it, at the moment ploughing through Nicholas Crane’s 2016 tome of the same title.
      That is a generous offer of the loan. Have you my email to contact me?

  3. shazza

    Nice to find a hidden gem in the countryside you know so well. Always good to see a Dipper. I’m never sure how to identify those similar wagtails either.

  4. Clare Hyde

    I’ve known Calum since he was a little boy …an amazing naturalist….didn’t know he was a historian too! Will look at the link. No email for you.

  5. Pingback: CICERONE’S LANCASHIRE – A REGULAR RIBBLE RAMBLE. | bowlandclimber

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