On our doorstep are two of the North’s great rivers, the Hodder and the Ribble. I don’t need an excuse to walk along either of them, and today I combine the two where they merge at Winkley on past Hurst Green. I park at the prominent bus stop just before the road drops down to the Lower Hodder Bridge. My previous posts on this area contain far more history and information than I’m about to give you on today’s short walk.

Hop across the road into fields and I’m on the popular Tolkien Trail and the not so popular Ribble Way. The well trodden ground shows just how popular anything to do with Tolkien has become, I estimate that 50% of people visiting Hurst Green walk the trail. Today I’m only sampling it. Soon I’m into the grounds of Winkley Hall and then become distracted by some fine bracket fungi. P1000566P1000592


Past the farm with its ancient moat, now boasting a new ‘duck house’, and there is the Winkley Oak. Today I measured the circumference of the bole, 13m which is over 40 feet. somewhere I have read that it is almost 500 years old. This tree is an old friend of mine and I am pleased to see it in fine form. P1000576P1000578P1000583

By the fishermen’s hut the River Hodder slides into the River Ribble which continues it’s stately way to the sea. It is helped on its way a little farther by the smaller Calder coming from Burnley via Whalley. This latter junction is where the Hacking Ferry boat plied its trade until the 50s. The boat house is a little farther round the bend. I have always been intrigued by the tumulus marked on the map nearby and I try a long distance shot of it. The river is in gentle mood today but flood debris in the trees shows how turbulent it can become after heavy rain. P1000584P1000593P1000597P1000588P1000594P1000601

Soon after Jumbles I’m off the regular trail and heading up the hill to Cross Gills Farm. On the way I meet the lady farmer driving her buggy and checking on her sheep which she can recognise individually. We chat about all things farming, she is uncertain as to the future now that perhaps food can be created in the laboratory. A frightening thought. I’m offered a lift in her buggy up the steep hill to her farm, but that would be cheating wouldn’t it? and I may have missed these fungi and the view over the Ribble. P1000602P1000606P1000607

Straight across the main road into Stonyhurst College land. I circle the cricket pitch with it’s lovely period pavilion. P1000613

Out past Gardener’s Cottage  onto the road  leading back to my car. Halfway along I’m accosted by a lady, doesn’t happen often, who knows me from my past. Once I recollect who she is we spend more time lamenting the demise of all things important to the fabric of our society.  That’s two conversations today reflecting on our past and our future, and I was only out for a bit of exercise. That’s how it goes around here with such lovely folk. I reach the car just as it starts raining – serendipity. And there is Pendle as ever keeping a watch over the Ribble Valley.




6 thoughts on “WHERE WATERS MEET.

  1. Michael Graeme

    Always a pleasure to see the Winkley Oak. 500 years? Imagine the history there. I’m sure Tolkien was thinking of it when he invented the talking trees in Lord of the Rings. You’re certainly a fungus aficionado now. As for the lift, I would probably have taken it just for the fun of a ride in one of those things. 🙂

  2. Eunice

    A nice walk BC though I think I would have taken up the offer of a ride just so I could add it to my list of ‘unusual’ vehicles I’ve driven or ridden in/on 🙂

  3. Helen T

    I wondered if the Winckley Oak is included in the Ancient Tree Inventory? Looking on their website I’m not sure.


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