Saturday, 26th June. 6 miles. Whalley.
We hadn’t intended to explore Whalley, as the walk that Mike had found written up in a booklet only skirted the village, but on a whim, we parked near the Abbey. I have visited Whalley many times, most recently on my Lancashire Monastic Walk The C13th Parish Church has always been closed when I’ve passed by but this morning we were in luck, and I was able to view the elaborately carved stalls in the chancel. They date from about 1430, and came out of Whalley Abbey after the dissolution. The misericord carvings under the seats represented all manner of everyday subjects. There were several cage pews usually belonging to one family for prayer but also near the door a churchwarden’s pew seating eight. The stained-glass windows were resplendent in the bright sunshine.
Back outside we couldn’t resist the jam and chutney sale for church funds, I came away with some lovely marmalade which we took back to the car. An hour had passed and we hadn’t even reached the start of the walk. We decided against visiting the Abbey.
Cutting down the side of the abbey brought us into a mews development based on an old corn mill, we were to pass the weir and mill race on the River Calder shortly. This whole area was inundated in the Boxing Day floods of 2015…
Down a pleasant street of cottages, all with immaculate gardens, and we were en route. There was very little water in the river today, it’s hard to believe its destructive power. Crossing a road, we entered a field which has been taken over by mountain bike tracks and jumps, they look great fun for the youngsters.
It took patience to cross the busy A671 road to reach a path up the golf course. Above the course, steep fields continued with good views back to Whalley Nab and Kemple End. No sooner were we up than the guide had us perversely coming back down again. We were not very impressed with the guide’s vague instructions. Young bullocks blocked our way, hens free ranged and horses followed us. More fields (“aim for a bush”) and then we were in the manicured grounds of Read Hall. Mike recollected a bumpy landing in a hot air balloon here, but he obviously survived.
An old lane took us down to pass a busy little garden centre, we smelt coffee and were drawn in but queues and Covid regulations suggested a long wait, so we escaped without spending any money.
The path onwards followed the banks of the Calder until we climbed out of the valley to pick up an ancient packhorse track heading towards the Abbey.
This went around rather than over Whalley Nab and to be honest we didn’t get the best of views down to Whalley. A lovely day for a walk through beautiful English countryside, but as I said the guide was poor, we could have and should have devised a far better round ourselves.
There is more satisfaction in devising one’s own walk – the outcome of course is uncertain as you well know having been put to the test with some of my inventions recently.
That church is well above average.
We were more compromised by the guide book’s vague descriptions than anything you could have invented.
The church is one of the most interesting in the north, I didn’t do it justice in a short post.
Did you have a look in when you were in Whalley that day I dropped you off on Wainwright’s Way?
I remember those floods. They nearly had me as well.
Were you caught up in them? You will have to tell the story.
You prompted me to have a read back to those floods. I live in Croston, which was especially prone to flooding, until they built the defences at Ulnes Walton, which seem to have been effective (touch wood). The Boxing Day 2015 floods were especially memorable though. We thought the whole village was going under, and so did the national press who descended upon us with morbid glee.
I’m looking forward to following along on your new adventure. By the way, I sneaked into your neck of the woods again yesterday and had a very sweaty wander up Fairsnape.
Will check out your past posts on the flooding.
I am interested to see how you tackled Fairsnape.
Someone has been carving little wooden wrens and putting them around Whalley. I have seen them on Facebook but not in real life, they are quite tiny..
Didn’t see any – but wasn’t looking.
Any idea why wrens?
Not sure really, but there is a Facebook group called Whalley Wren walkabouts , where you can post if you spot one.
Whalley, its church and abbey are all on my Must Visit list. ☺
The church is not always open, worth visiting along with the Abbey