Yes, when I look back to 50 years ago I remember well the walks we took along the Lancaster canal with our two young sons. The youngest on my back and the other in a buggy pushed by my wife. Happy days. Somewhere I may even have photographic evidence.

I wait in this morning for the recovery company to arrive and take away my estate car to a garage, I know not where or even care, for remedial restoration.

Later looking for somewhere flat and easy to walk in this heat I recall those far off days and decide to revisit the canal in the Barton area, west of the A6 and combine it with a little farther exploration. Parking on the narrow roads, now much busier with traffic, doesn’t come easy.

I eventually find a safe place near Moons Bridge Marina. I’m soon on the towpath which I remember as being very boggy a few winters’ ago. Today was all plain sailing, though that’s the last thing that some of the dilapidated barges moored alongside will be doing. DSC00353DSC00300

Leaving the canal at bridge 35 I take the lane leading to Bell Fold, an organic farm advertising free-range eggs, local honey and damsons. There didn’t seem to be an obvious shop, perhaps they were away for the day. As is common around farmyards there is an interesting collection of ancient and modern. Their collection of old tyres could grace The Tate. The ongoing lane must be one of the worst, I realise the muck I’m disappearing into is of animal origin rather than mud. I would imagine in winter it would be unpassable – very organic. Much, much worse than my photo portrays.  DSC00356


I’m looking for footpaths alongside Barton Beck. The bright yellow markers made it easy to follow even though the ground showed little footfall. As everywhere Himalayan Balsam is taking over, but I do like the aroma, especially on a hot day like today. The water is a little sluggish, but I spot shoals of ?minnows. DSC00315DSC00318DSC00320

I leave the field via an ornate gate onto a lane alongside the extensive grounds of Hollowforth Hall, I always admired this property without knowing anything of its history. (It is in fact grade II listed, mainly mid C19th but based on a much older farm building) There were always noisy peacocks strutting around. Over the intervening 50 years since my early visits most of the surrounding barns have been upgraded into country residences. DSC00324DSC00321DSC00326

I didn’t know whether I could use the ongoing unclassified lane leading to Park Head, but there aren’t any ‘No Access’ signs, so I walk on to reach the canal bridge where I drop down onto the towpath for the peaceful return leg. DSC00328DSC00329DSC00330


The canal has a healthy growth of a small yellow flowering water lily. Dragon flies were flitting around, but I never seem to catch them stationary for a picture, have a look at this blog for how to capture wildlife.

Along this stretch of canal one has a three arched aqueduct over Barton Brook as it winds through this rural Lancashire. I go down to explore and judging from the flood debris not a place to be after heavy rain. Farther on is an old swing bridge connecting farm tracks across the canal and then the extensive Moons Bridge Marina where I started.


DSC00364DSC00360All pure nostalgia and a pleasant way to spend a lazy summer afternoon – reassuringly not much has changed in this rural environment.



  1. Eunice

    A nice walk BC apart from ‘cow slurry lane’. I walked from Moons Bridge to Guy’s Thatched Hamlet and back three years ago, the lane by the marina isn’t the easiest for parking. My ex’s brother and sister-in-law have now got a boat moored at Moons Bridge though I’ve not seen it yet.

    1. bowlandclimber Post author

      Yes it is a nice walk with good countryside and an easy canal stretch.
      There are lots of boats in the marina. I wonder how often do they do a bit of boating (sailing is possibly the wrong term on the canal)
      “cow slurry lane” indeed.

      1. Eunice

        When they aren’t busy green laning they usually go out at least once a month, weather depending, probably more during the summer, often cruise up to Lancaster and moor up by the Waterwitch pub though they’ve been up as far as Hest Bank on a couple of occasions. I was on the Leigh branch of the Leeds/Liverpool the other day, got talking to a couple who sold their house and now live on a narrowboat, they’ve saved a fortune in household bills and if they get fed up of being where they are it’s easy enough to have a change of scenery for a while 🙂

  2. Michael Graeme

    You made the best of a hot day there with a good ramble in a part of the world I don’t know at all, so it was good to follow you around. I curtailed my own walk, yesterday, went in search of shade and water.


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