The River Dunsop runs for only 2.3miles from the junction of its tributaries, the Brennand and the Whitendale rivers deep in the Bowland Hills, to where it enters the Hodder below Dunsop Bridge. At its head are weirs and fish ladders, trout should be heading up stream at this time of year. I’ve had a couple of forays onto the Hodder and the Lune in the last week in search of leaping fish, with no luck. My plan today is to check out the weirs at the head of the Hodder. The rain isn’t due until lunchtime, so I’m away earlyish.
Because of my troublesome heel I’m avoiding walking any distance and this is why the River Dunsop has been chosen. From the café in Dunsop Bridge there is a private road, recognised as a bridleway, conveniently running alongside the length of the river. In past times I would have cycled all the way from Longridge, but today the bike is in the back of the car until the car park is reached. The crowds of summer have gone and there are only two other cars parked up.
I pedal along happily taking in the scenery with Middle Knoll blocking the head of the valley. Despite it being a dull autumn day the situation is as dramatic as ever. The weirs I was aiming for are by the bridge at the junction of the rivers. I’ve come this way many times before and photographed it in the sunshine. Such as here.
You’ve guessed it — I saw no fish.
Not really disappointed, my chances of leaping fish were low, I cycled farther up the track to look up into the Brennand Valley which seems to go on for ever into the distance. I’ve not explored that area for some time. From the map there are possible tracks all the way to the remote Wolfhole Crag. Likewise, I then intended cycling up the right-hand track for a short distance to obtain a similar view into the Whitendale Valley, but a notice banned cycles. That is the way to more desolate moorland past the Duchy farm, which I last walked going through to Hornby on Wainwright’s Way.
It was good to be in this wonderful place even if only on the humble road low down in the valley. It was a quick turn around and a gentle ride back to the café for coffee. The larch trees turning yellow lend some colour to the scene.
For anyone wanting to sample the wildness of Bowland without the commitment, this short journey up the valley, preferably on foot, is highly recommended. You can tell I’m passionate about Bowland.
Whilst driving home for lunch the rain started in earnest. The morning had been well spent.
I remember the first time I saw Brennand, it was like I’d discovered a lost valley. I’d forgotten Wainwright did a Bowland sketchbook. I’ll look out for that.
Views like that remind me of Steinbeck’s description of the Salinas Valley in Central California.
Memories of me doing the Missing Link on Wainwright’s Way on this bit of map – a tough there and back from Dunsop Bridge to Salter Fell road. There’s lots to explore in that area.
Apart from my trip the other day I’ve often used my bike to shorten a walk up there, I know a place to hide it. Anything to shorten Whitendale.