CICERONE’S LANCASHIRE – Rufford and Mere Sands.

Another day, another walk. I was liable to miss the best of this sunny day as I procrastinated in bed with coffee and news feeds on the Ukraine disaster. I feel ashamed to be British as we turn away refugees at our border, Priti Patel is not my favourite politician. I would be all too happy to offer up a couple of my rooms for the most needy, as have done hundreds of Germans. Bugger Brexit and Boris and Putin.

To salvage the day and my mental state, I pick up that volume of Lancashire Walks published by Cicerone. What about 6 miles from Rufford, visiting a nature reserve I had no knowledge of despite being a supporter of Lancs Wildlife Trust.

I park up next to Rufford St. Mary’s Church, which is open to the public today. When I was last here, I learnt of the choir in the past accompanied by musical instruments, including a bassoon played by a Richard Alty. Apparently, the said bassoon is preserved in a case in the church. I was disappointed that I could not find it.

My next disappointment is that I did not visit the NT Rufford Old Hall; instead, as the day was slipping by, I set off along the Leeds Liverpool Canal and looked across to the hall which had a fantastic display of purple blue crocuses in their grounds.

I stretched my legs along the busy towpath, with flat fields all around. To the east, Winter Hill and Great Hill were prominent, but Longridge Fell looked a long way off. Soon I was heading inland and along Sandy Lane. All straight lines and winter fields.

In a yard of lorries, the owner talks of high fuel prices and a lack of drivers. Boris, Brexit and Putin again. He has an awful lot of money tied up in those vehicles.

My entry into Mere Sands Reserve was by the back door over a little footbridge. I hung my binoculars around my neck to look professional. In Medieval times, the whole area was part of Martin Mere. Attempts to drain it commenced in the C17th, and it was planted up as woodland as part of the Rufford Hall Estate. In 1958, it was sold for sand extraction which created the lakes and in 1982 sold to Lancashire Wildlife Trust for a nominal fee, thus creating the reserve we see today. The path winds around the back of the mere, where a hide looks out onto the waters. There are ducks and geese in the distance. Farther on, I came across a couple hand feeding the robins. Coots are diving. All part of a busy little reserve. The café was too busy for my patience, so I carried on to the far end of the reserve. My only criticism is that there were not many places where you get near enough to the water. Oh, and the adjoining roads sound like Silverstone with all the Sunday racers, very distracting.

The abandoned observation post above is of unknown vintage. I found a path alongside a dyke which leads me through the fringes of Rufford, somehow Venice came to mind. And then I’m back on the canal, which has been drained for this stretch, along past the Marina, and I was back into the village. The Hall had already closed, some other time.

What a pleasant way to spend a sunny Sunday afternoon. Another thumbs up to my new Cicerone guide.

19 thoughts on “CICERONE’S LANCASHIRE – Rufford and Mere Sands.

  1. Michael Graeme

    A good one. Definitely my neck of the woods that, but I’ve never done that loop. Agree with you about the reserve at Mere Sands, a bit more access to the waterside would improve it, though I suppose they’d say it’s better for the birds that way.

    1. bowlandclimber Post author

      I realised I was trespassing on your ground, a nice part of the country. So different from Bowland.
      Incidently, I drove back through Croston enroute to the motorway. Never been there before – it looks a fascinating village to explore.

      1. Michael Graeme

        Yes, Croston’s a good place to live, though a little flat for someone born nearer the West Pennines. Best not explored on a Friday or a Saturday night though. 🙂👍

      2. Michael Graeme

        Yes, Croston’s a decent place to live. Best not explored on a Friday or a Saturday night though.

  2. teabeestrips

    We did exactly the same route when we were living in Manchester. We did stop to visit Rufford manor at the same time. It is a nice walk. The reserve is great to watch the birds.

  3. Martin Banfield

    Nice one BC, I’m looking forward to doing some of these Lancashire walks, many of which will be a different take on familiar places.

  4. shazza

    That looks like a beautiful area. We are in the Lancashire wildlife trust too but rarely get to the out of the Clitheroe reserves. Looks like lots of water fowl there, is it near Martin Mere?


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