Saturday, April 24th. 7miles. Ellel.
I am just beginning to connect up with friends I’ve not seen for months. D and P had arranged a walk with Mike, and they invited me along. I mentioned I’d not visited Ellel Grange estate, close to where I was walking with Sir Hugh last week. I drove round and round looking for our rendezvous spot at Thurnham Church, is it coincidence that Denise’s walks often start at an RC Church?
The church of St Thomas and Elizabeth was consecrated in 1848 and had links with the Dalton family in nearby Thurnham Hall. In the grounds is a mausoleum for the Gillow family, well known local furniture makers, it has elaborate Egyptian columns on one side only. In front of the church is an eroded C19 cross recovered from nearby Cockerham Abbey.
Fields, thankfully now dry, were crossed towards the Ellel Estate. We detoured up a hill for a view of the Italianate hall with its towers and extensive gardens. It was built in the 1850s for an ex-mayor of Liverpool and has been recently used as a religious retreat, but see below.
Our next objective was a view of Kings Lee Chapel a Victorian gothic church designed by Joseph Hansom who also designed the impressive St. Walburge in Preston and the Hansom Cab. The church is closed and has been subject to vandalism. If I had been alone I would have been tempted to approach closer up the drive.
Apparently the whole site is for sale with plans for yet another holiday complex. Some estate buildings are already used as holiday lets. https://www.lancastervision.com/holiday-village-100-bed-hotel-and-vr-experience-plan-for-lancaster-revealed/
Onwards though Galgate we eventually left the canal by a path across a field of probably 100 cows. A hill gave us views of the bay and distant Lakeland hills. We took to the road around Condor Green where the old Stork pub is needing renovation.
The little café on the old railway line was doing good business with cyclists and walkers using the route between Glasson and Lancaster. Using the railway track bridge we crossed the creeks looking forlorn at low tide.
From the number of people we had passed we expected Glasson to be very busy, so we cut through to the canal by Christchurch. There was a little fête on, and I came away with some thick cut marmalade which has turned out to be delicious. We were now on the Glasson branch canal which links to the Lancaster canal by a series of locks. This section seemed to be popular with nesting swans.
I did a series of walks up the Lancaster Canal with D and P back in early 2018 where there is lots more information. https://bowlandclimber.com/2018/01/09/the-lancaster-canal/
We left the canal and climbed fields back to Thurnham Church from where a cavalcade of cars made their way to a nearby garden for more socially distanced but connected refreshments.