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.

We moved on. The day promised more sunny and warm weather. Along a farm track D and P commented on a new house that wasn’t here a couple of years ago when they last passed.

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.

We left the estate over their balustraded canal bridge and had a pleasant stroll along the Lancaster Canal.

At the junction with the Glasson canal we took a break outside the lockkeeper’s cottage on a suitable bench. D unexpectedly produced four sandwich buns out of a hat for us.

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.

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.




  1. Eunice

    A lovely walk, especially along the canals. I love the Gothic church, it looks so unusual and I’d be very tempted to take a closer look – I hope it’s left alone when the proposed holiday village is developed. I’m curious about you walking through that field of cows – you hear about so many cow attacks these days. Didn’t they bother you?

    1. bowlandclimber

      I’m becoming more and more wary of cattle in the fields. I come from a farming family and several relatives in the past were injured or killed by bulls. So I will hardly ever walk through a field shared by a bull, no matter which breed,
      Cows are normally just inquisitive and milking herds usually more interested in grazing. But frisky bullocks are another thing – best avoided. Every year a handful of walkers are killed by cows, they are big heavy beasts.
      In your case with dogs that only aggravates cows especially with young calves.
      I didn’t say in my post that we stopped and watched another four ramblers cross the field safely before we committed ourselves.
      If in doubt – stay out.

      1. Eunice

        A very sensible last sentence BC. There’s very often a couple of dozen in a field near here and at one time it wouldn’t have bothered me to walk through there, albeit round the edge, but now I don’t, and I certainly wouldn’t walk through a field of cows if the dogs were with me – no point tempting trouble if it can be avoided.

  2. shazza

    Although I’ve passed through Glasson it is somewhere I’ve never stopped and had a looked round. I would love to see the swans. Although I come from a farming family I too am a bit wary of walking through cows now, definitely won’t walk through any lively young bulls. I wasn’t bothered when I was younger though. If the females are quietly grazing like yours though, you should be ok.

    1. bowlandclimber

      Glasson is worth a visit – old harbour, marina, canal, ice cream fish and chips,
      Cockerham Abbey is atmospheric on the coast. Oh, so many places to visit!
      There were several swans nesting on that stretch of canal.


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