Forget the rugged and isolated high tops of the Bowland Fells with their difficult peaty ways. This walk is for children, dogs and geriatrics like me.
Mike, or should I bestow on him a blog monicker of ‘metal Micky‘ used by his nearest and dearest after his second hip replacement, is going walking in the Canaries and is keen to get some miles under his belt. I put him off yesterday whilst I had a well-earned rest from our walk around the wells of Silverdale. No pun intended and no excuse today, I even went for an early start, so he could be home by 3pm for the televised rugby. We juggled a couple of routes and plumped for what is called locally the Little Bowland area.
A gentle start into the Leagram Estate with a peer over the wall at their extensive snowdrop dell which I managed to gain entry to last year. The fallen oak in the parkland from then has been cleared.
The farm at Chipping Lawn (lawn derived from ‘laund’, a Medieval grassy area for deer) was heaving with lambs of all ages, weaned off their mothers. The mothers can then continue to be milked for Bowland Ewes Cheese. The youngsters meanwhile suck on dummy dummies for powdered milk. That is the evolved technical face of farming today.
We move on up the fell, passing Birchen Lee where a couple are busy laying flags. They are happy to chat about the locality. I know he crafts handmade furniture from seasoned oak which I would like to see, but I’m reluctant to distract him from his labours. We move on.
I have no spare coins to buy some free-range eggs at the Saddle Side farm road end. We move on up the lane going nowhere except a couple of properties at isolated Burnslack in the bosom of Bowland. We don’t go that far but turn off on an ancient bridleway along the base of the fells to Lickhurst, another isolated group of farmsteads now being gentrified as is the norm. I could tell some stories of these farms 50 years ago when reaching them in winter was an epic journey. Let’s leave them in peace, I don’t even take a picture, but there are some on my posts somewhere if you care to look.
Let’s extend the walk and give us both a bit more exercise. So instead of following the lane down over fords we cross a little footbridge, and suddenly we are in limestone country. Coral atolls out of an ancient ocean floor, from whichever period, producing Limestone Reef Knolls. They are very obvious around here.
Dinkling Green farmsteads our are turnaround point, we could have continued over the hills to Whitewell and beyond. We are in a beautiful green bowl of meadows below the high gritstone fells and the adjacent Limestone knolls. We meet a couple who live here who expound the virtues of their natural environment, there is no denying it.
Then that iconic red phone box in the middle of nowhere. It must have been essential at one time.
We couldn’t walk past our friends’ house at Greystoneley without a knock, next thing we are seated in their kitchen enjoying conversation, coffee and cake. That’s what friends are for. They have had problems in this area with off-road vehicles.
The 3 o’clock deadline is getting closer as we continue down the bridleway, over the ford and past the giant limekiln. We opt for a hopefully quicker finish along the quiet road rather than the difficult to follow field paths.
The exercise has done us both good, I’m relaxing in the bath whilst presumably ‘metal Micky’ is watching England thrash the Italians – or are they?
This circuit is recommended for anybody wanting to explore the foothills of Bowland and its farming communities. Just follow the map.