It’s a while since I’ve given you some music –
This song was in my mind, but I couldn’t remember where it came from – of course it is an Irving Berlin number, A Couple of Swells, from Easter Parade performed originally by Fred Astaire and Judy Garland way back in 1948.
So we’ll walk up the avenue
Yes we’ll walk up the avenue
And to walk up the avenue’s what we like
They were probably singing about 5th Avenue, New York, but I have the more humble Avenue in Hurst Green as my walk today.
The morning was one of those frustrating ones, all apparently too common in these days of modern technology. Attempted phone calls and online machinations. Car. insurance first, last year I paid £371 and this year they are quoting £832. Time for a change. Money Supermarket seemed easier to navigate than the popular Confused.com once you have all your information to hand. Prices came up from £450, I settled for £480 with the Bank of Scotland. Insurance is a minefield. I still need to ensure the original insurers don’t automatically charge my card – can’t get through on the phone.
On the subject of insurance my car is still away being repaired after my unfortunate run in with a wall. They said it would be ready last week, no word from them. After half an hour on the phone line I gave up.
Also, I’m still trying to ensure that repairs to my camera are carried out under the guarantee. My telephone calls to the shop are all answered by different personnel, and they never get back to me. My random poor pictures today are therefore from my ageing phone.
By now it is lunchtime and the sun is shining. Time for a short walk to keep my legs going. Bouldering is out of the question, my left arm is sore as hell from the Covid jab yesterday and my right arm equally so from the flu jab. Was it wise to have them both at the same time? The ‘Avenue’ walk appeared out of the depths of my mind. It would be on good surfaces and not too long or steep, I’m taking my physio’s advice and moderating my exercise.
The Avenue starts in Hurst Green and goes all the way to Stonyhurst College.
Depressingly the Bailey Arms pub is still closed but “open for refurbishment if a new licensee can be found”, an all too familiar story. There used to be three pubs in the village in recent memory but only the Shireburn Arms is still trading in Tolkien territory.
I walk up the Avenue, past little cottages, past the famous Almshouses, through Stonyhurst’s gates, past the spooky graveyard and the even spookier Madonna statue, Our Lady of the Avenue. I place a foot on Cromwell’s Stone and cast my eyes down the continuing Avenue all the way to the college itself. There is a lot of history around these parts, much of it covered in my many other posts on the area.
Are you still singing that song, I am?
At one time you could walk the full length of the Avenue past the fish ponds up to the college facade. Now there are closed gates and notices to make you aware there is no right of way, fair enough, but after walking up the road past the golf course towards Longridge Fell you can take advantage of a Public Path into the grounds and then directly across that very facade. Not the grandest of entrances but us commoners will have to make do.
They don’t like you taking photographs in the grounds, child protection explained the security guard the last time I was here. They can’t begrudge a photo of the exquisite St. Peter’s Church, not a child in sight. Seriously though they have probably some children boarding from very rich foreign countries, so security must be a nightmare.
I could have taken the path down through the fields past the clay pigeon shooting range, you have to ring a bell before continuing and being shot, but I wanted to keep my feet dry and avoid the slippery slopes, we have had a lot of rain if it hasn’t escaped your notice. So on I go past the observatory and gardens using the farm track. Groundsman are mowing which must be an almost continuos ongoing task on the estate to keep it up to scratch.
Round the back well out of view are a couple of soccer pitches and then the wonderfully positioned cricket square with its iconic brick pavilion and views over the Ribble Valley and Pendle.
I come out past more estate cottages to the busy Whalley Road. I could have carried on across and down to the river to join the Tolkien Trail back to Hurst Green but as I said I wanted to keep my boots clean. Having already established from Google Earth that there was a continuous footway beside the road back to the village that is what I follow.
The Shireburn Arms is open, now part of a group, James’ Places which seems to be the way these rural inns can survive. Opposite is the village green with three interesting crosses, but you will have to search for the oldest, have a look here.
A pleasant afternoon stroll on the Avenue.
And for a contrast if you like rocksteady –