Category Archives: Art and architecture.

SOME RIBCHESTER LANES.

                                   Icy weather.

Wednesday 6th January.     6.75 miles.      Ribchester.

As I write this the news is as depressing as I’ve known for a long time. Over a thousand deaths in UK from Covid-19 in the last 24 hours and in Washington, USA, Trump attempting to be a dictator by inciting protestors at the Capitol Building.

That’s a shame as it has been a lovely sunny day, and we enjoyed a wander around the quiet roads on the south side of Longridge Fell – one of my local ‘lanes’ walks.

Mike and I met in the empty icy car park of Ribchester Arms which of course is closed. At the start we diverted to have a look at the Stydd Almshouses and the medieval chapel. I have written about these in detail before. Basically we then  walked up Stoneygate Lane onto the fell, along a bit and then back down again on Gallows Lane.  On the way we passed residences old and new reflecting the wealth that must be present in the Ribble Valley.

The Newdrop Inn, for sale.

Huntington Hall. Early C17th.

Dutton Hall.   Early C17th.

Early C20th.

 

More modest late C17th Lower Dutton Cottages.

An unknown old chapel.

On the way we came across this witch who had crash-landed.

‘Don’t drink and fly’

Another spectacular sunset ended the afternoon.

*****

SOME GOOSNARGH LANES.

Tuesday  29th December.       4 miles.       Goosnargh.

On the news today people from London, Tier 4, are  being turned away from the Brecon Beacons which happens to be in Wales. It beggars belief and I would hope that they are fined, but it is unlikely. We are in the most serious phase of the Covid-19 crisis and people are not heeding the advice never mind the rules. January is going to be bleak.

*****

My drive today was a safe three miles for a walk on lanes out of Goosnargh for some more exercise  and vitamin D.

I could have sworn from past visits that the lane down past Middleton Hall was well surfaced but no I was mistaken, it was muddier than my trainers could cope with. I carried on regardless. The views to the Bowland Hills and Longridge Fell were from a different angle to recent ones.

Middleton Hall.

Beacon Fell and Bleasdale.

Longridge Fell.

Westfield Brook was running swiftly below the little footbridge but there were signs in the fields of recent flood levels. On the far side was a dedication bench with the quotation –  Time is precious. Waste it wisely.” Attributed to a K Bromberg.   I wish I’d thought of that, but I’ve not even read any of her sexy novels. The lane did improve as I approached Goosnargh Lodge. In a field alongside is a magnificent Cedar Of Lebanon, it deserves a better setting.

The roadside lodge to the lodge has been renovated.  I was then back onto roads all the way to Goosnargh coming  into the village alongside Bushell House. Bushell House has been running as a Charitable Trust to care for the elderly since 1743. My mother enjoyed her last few years there.

Next door was the parish church, C16th St. Mary’s. I popped my head inside and ended up in a long conversation with a long-lost friend who is a church warden. Outside is a sandstone sun dial dated 1746 and the medieval base of a cross, sadly overgrown.

Two old inns completed the scene, Bushells Arms is now a private house and The Grapes is to let.

The Bushells Arms.

The Grapes.                                                                                                                                

I’ll finish with the pubs and a shot of the late December sky.*****

DOWNHAM DIVERSIONS.

Tuesday 22nd December,      7 miles.      Downham.

Today was one of those days; not a drop of wind, easy walking and hardly anybody about. I seemed in a trance as I wandered around a familiar easy circuit. Hands in pockets walking. I was alert to birdsong and the tinkling of the becks coming off Pendle Hill.  No planes disturbed the sky. This is excellent Lancashire limestone country, and I was in no rush to pass through it, in fact I was happy to wander at will in search of new discoveries. Time stood still in this bygone landscape while the sun shone but slowly the day turned to grey.

This moody Eagle track was in my head all day, as my grandchildren would say ‘I was in the zone’

 I had parked in Worston, which is much quieter than Downham, wandered up to the splendidly isolated Little Mearley Hall and then along the northern base of a generally misty Pendle linking a series of farms. The approach to Downham via the little beck was a delight, and I looked around the village even having enough time to go up to the top road to find the C18 milestone and further on the boundary stone hidden in the wall. [but I missed ‘The Great Stone of Downham’ also in this wall] A new path has been provided here to avoid the traffic. My way back was past Worsaw End farm made famous in Whistle Down The Wind starring Hayley Mills and Alan Bates. Prominent above is Worsaw Hill, one of the many Reef Knolls in the area. On a whim I decided to climb to its summit, never having done so before. I was rewarded with good views of the Ribble Valley towards Kemple End and a birds eye view of Downham. All was quiet back in Worston. I wonder how long it will be before we are in full lockdown?

Little Mearley Hall.

Hookcliffe.

Clay House Farm.

Approaching Downham. 

A slow wander around Downham…

Village Stocks.

‘To Colne 9 Miles To Gisburn 4 Miles To Clitheroe 3 Miles’

 

Boundary stone.

Downham Hall home of the Asshetons.

Lower Hall and Church.

Heading back to Worston…

Reef knoll country.

‘Whistling down the wind’

The ‘summit’ with Pendle in the background.

Downham.

A hazy Ribble Valley.  

Worsaw Hill. 221 m

*****

*****

May I take this opportunity to wish any readers out there the best seasonal greetings.

                                          A Lancashire Reindeer.

 

 

HOGHTON’S BOTTOM AND TOWER..

 

Hoghton Tower – from their website.

Tuesday 15th December.    5.5 miles.   Hoghton.

The de Hoghton family have owned the land around here for centuries. I’ve never visited Hoghton Tower even though it is open to the public in normal times but today I walk around the area. The present house was built on its hill in the 16th century and has been added to over the years. You can read about Sir Loin elsewhere. The situation is pleasantly wooded and drops to the valley of the River Darwen on the east side, Hoghton Bottoms.  Down that side is a largely hidden quarry which provides some classic climbs but unfortunately is in the pheasant breeding and shooting grounds of the Tower, the dark side of the Tower, so access is strictly limited to a short period of the year. It was always an exciting place to visit.

I started my walk alongside the Hoghton Wesleyan chapel which  is looking rather worse from wear. I went alongside period cottages which were linked to the estate quarry and down to the railway we used to cross when going climbing, often leaving a coin to pick up on the return, suitably squashed. Today I followed the track down past the pair of old buildings, Quarry Cottages, that are becoming more and more ruinous.

Down at the bottoms the old Higher Cotton Mill has been converted into expensive housing. Ahead is the imposing viaduct carrying that Blackburn to Preston railway. Once under it the roar of the River Darwen takes over – the river is flowing fast through the gorge and the path alongside follows the former leat to the mills. I reached the weir but the low sun precluded photos head on. From there on the Darwen takes a gentler course through its glaciated valley and the mud on the path increased as I progressed. A dodgy crossing of a wooden structure, couldn’t call it a bridge, concentrated the mind. Eventually I left the river and climbed out to join the busy main road in Feniscowles. I took a path through an industrial wasteland where I remember a former paper mill, now demolished. There were in fact two paper mills – the Sun and the Star. Once through the fenced off areas I suddenly arrived at the Leeds – Liverpool canal which gave pleasant walking for a mile or so. I chose a footpath to take me back towards Hoghton, this proved to be particularly muddy. The only highlight was a large bird of prey that took off and flew past me, it wasn’t a buzzard and looked more like a red kite, but I couldn’t be sure.

Ahead was a distant view of Hoghton Tower on its hill. On my way along the road I passed the 19th century Anglican Holy Trinity Church, I looked around the graveyard for de Hoghton family tombs but found none, apparently there are memorials within the church although the family were predominantly nonconformists.  Across the road was a fine looking house, the Old Schoolhouse,  and on the roadside a shelter dated  1877 with GdeH initials. Further on was a war memorial with a fine wayside cross of limestone. The land was given by Sir James de Hoghton, whose third son was killed in 1915 and is named on the memorial. I did wonder if there had been a pinfold by the road here but could find no reference to one.

I walked up the main drive of Hoghton Tower as far as possible on the public right of way before being diverted around the estate with the rest of the commoners back to my car.

From up here there was an extensive panorama of the Bowland Hills beyond Preston. A good day to be out.

*****

BEST OF A BAD JOB – MOOR PARK.

Saturday 5th December.  1.5 miles.  Preston.

How can I put this, am I anxious or annoyed?

To start with I was anxious, Chris my son had arranged [24hours previously] to come up to Longridge at 12noon for a socially distanced walk up on the Fell. He never arrived. Phoning his house brought no reply, I know when he is on ‘nights’  he switches the phone to silent in the day. More phoning was to no avail and his mobile was switched off. At one o’clock I felt I had to investigate and drove down to Preston. His car was in the street and all his curtains drawn. No answer to my knocking on his door.

How quickly can someone die from Covid-19?  Images of police breaking down that door. I already had experienced a similar traumatic episode involving the emergency services at a friend’s house in Liverpool last year. Passers-by start looking at me suspiciously especially when I start throwing objects at his bedroom window. It took several objects clattering against the glass before a weary face appeared.

Anxiety over, I suppressed annoyance; he had slept in and was very apologetic. I thought of mentioning alarm clocks but didn’t. I marched off round the corner to get some spare keys cut whilst he surfaced and drank tea.

Sorry we are not cutting keys due to the pandemic

On my return to save the day, or was it just his face, he helpfully suggested a walk around the local park – ‘whilst I was here‘  So that is how I came to walk around Moor Park and thoroughly enjoyed it.

The last time I walked through Moor Park was when I connected most of the open spaces In Preston into one continuous trail – A Preston Ten Parks Walk  [At the time I was hoping to spark the curiosity of local walkers to follow in my footsteps, although lots have viewed the post no one has admitted to completing what I thought was an excellent outing.]

Back to this afternoon we arrived into the park at its Southern gate and walked clockwise, along with many of Preston’s residents enjoying the open space and welcome sunshine. Moor Park is Preston’s largest and oldest park, originally common land it became, in 1833, the first municipal park in the emerging Northern Industrial towns. In the mid-1860s the park enclosed some 100 acres of the moorland, landscaped by Edward Milner.  It was part of a scheme to provide work for those unemployed because of the Lancashire cotton famine. A series of walks and ‘drives’ for horses and carriages were created, including an avenue of lime trees which was known for many years as ‘the Ladies Walk’. This formed the southern boundary of the park where we came in.

On the south road are large houses now used for rooms for solicitors and doctors. Also, here is the old Park School, Preston’s grammar school for girls, opened in 1906 closed in 1969. I think it is part of the campus for Preston College now.

Passing the children’s playground there was a little café open and doing a good trade in takeaway coffees.

At the edge of the park was a granite stone [?erratic] commemorating Tom Benson’s world record In 1997  of walking the perimeter of the park, covering a total of 314 miles!

The path we took ran through sunken gardens with an ornamental grotto and rocky tunnel.

The Jeremiah Horrocks Observatory was built in time for the 1927 total eclipse of the sun. [Horrocks was a 17th century astronomer from Hoole]. The university now own it but light pollution and vibration from the busy Blackpool Road prevent it being used for serious scientific research.

In the C18/19th the park was host to horse races  and there is a starting stone still present recalling those days.

The Serpentine lake is now looking rather unloved,  The supports and gates of a demolished  bridge were constructed from Longridge stone.

On this far side there used to be open air baths, they were filled in during the early seventies. There is no sign of them now.

During WW1 a hospital for the wounded was built.  After the hospital was closed in 1919 the buildings were used as an open-air school and then a prisoner of war camp in the second world war. When it closed some of the wooden buildings were moved to the docks for the Sea Cadets Headquarters. Only the interpretation board gives a clue to its position.

On the East side of the park  is the Preston North End football ground; they were a founder member of the English Football League in 1888. Today there was a league game being played, but due to Covid-19 rules no supporters are allowed so you wouldn’t know it.

That was an hour well spent with my lovely son.

*****

 Preston Council’s amateur map is reproduced below, by all means click on it to enlarge

 

THE FYLDE AROUND GREAT ECCLESTON.

Wednesday 2nd December.  6.5 miles.  Great Eccleston.

Great Eccleston is a village in the Fylde, that often gloomy and flat area of Lancashire not known for its walking. It was mentioned in the Domesday Book so has ancestry. It is known locally for its traditional shops, good pubs, a weekly market and its annual agricultural show which incorporates tractor pulling competitions, a niche motor sport. I parked up at noon on a sunny day, one needs the bright sun on these featureless landscapes. There was a bit of a market in the main street. I noticed one of the pubs has closed. There is an old pinfold down the street.

I left by Leckonby House, named after a wealthy local who bankrupted himself and ended up In Lancaster Prison. There was a C18th dovecote strangely isolated in the next field.

The St. Annes church at Copp was a prominent landmark up the road. It was established here in 1723 halfway between Gt. Eccleston and Elswick as a chapel of ease for St. Michaels. Nearby is a local primary school and opposite the old schoolhouse. It seems odd that the school is so isolated but I suppose it followed the church originally.

Elswick down the road is another small village on the road to Blackpool famous for its ice cream parlour. Also tucked next to the United Reformed church is an old chapel with a date stone of 1671 when this area was a centre for Nonconformity. The chapel is rather plain and has a house built onto it, it is now used as a hall for the adjacent church.

It was time to take to the boggy fields just as a hail storm blew through giving rainbows over the distant Bowland Fells.

Another stretch of lanes led towards drainage and flood defences. Here I got tangled up in barbed wire fences obstructing the right of way, later contacting the local authority they already knew of the problem. Surely the fencing contractors should be made aware of the need for stiles in the appropriate places. At last, I was on the embankment and following the Wyre downstream, a popular route for dog walkers. Walking around the loop was fast and easy which was needed as the sun was beginning to set. I had time to look at the Cartford toll bridge and the adjacent pub which has been modernised since I used to drink here 40 years ago. More rainbows appeared with the passing showers.

Being back here reminded me of a rather disastrous day walking the start of the Wyre Way.

The lights were on when I arrived back in Great Eccleston’s marketplace.

*****

IN THE FOOTSTEPS OF ROMANS, AND OTHER CURIOSITIES.

Monday 23rd November.   5 miles.  Longridge.

There have been debates on the route of the Roman road from Ribchester to Lancaster and where it crosses Longridge Fell.  LIDAR technology has been used to reveal archaeological features. Using Lidar, experts now think it went on a slant past Longridge to Inglewhite and on to Catterall before heading due north.  http://www.romanroads.org/gazetteer/rib-catt.htm

You learn something new every day.

I wanted to have a look at the section coming up to Longridge, Mike was happy to join me on this simple exploration which should give us a ‘good’ short walk.

We started off at the top of Longridge above the reservoirs, walked through one of the old stone quarries and down a lane, which would have rattled with clogs in the C19th, The new housing estate on the right has probably been built on the line of the Roman road. Along here next to the reservoirs is The Corporation Arms, said to be the only pub owned by a council waterboard. Fortunately there is a pavement alongside the busy road until we could turn off and head towards a farm called Stonelands, probably parallel with the Roman Road. In a field is the Roman milestone pinpointed by  the grid ref. SD 62307/37134   [red dot on my map below spot height 111].  Its setting is not ideal next to a children’s play structure and alongside more modern carved stone gateposts. These have an inscription of PG 07, query sculptor and date?

The milestone itself is thought to have been inverted at some time, the squarish top would be more normal as a base. Apparently there was an inscription dedicated to Emperor Maximian c. 300 AD, but we could make nothing out. PS. I have just found in an online journal, Britannia,  a picture of the milestone before it was ‘replanted’, it had been found used as a gate post.

Our onward public footpath follows the line of the Roman road as far as Pinfold and in the next field the line of the agger was clearly seen although  it doesn’t show up well in my photos looking towards Ribchester. The field between The Corporation Arms and Stonelands is supposed to also show the agger well but I couldn’t make it out, though it does seem to show up on satellite images.

The agger was the raised ground dug as a base for the road, usually ‘scoop’ ditches are then apparent on either side. It is these changes in ground level that are picked up by the LIDAR surveys. On we marched.

Our next objective was Buckley Hall, Mike had worked on the adjacent farm buildings 39 years ago creating an upmarket dwelling. The hall itself is C17th but has been rebuilt over the years. The date stone originally stated 1662, belonging to the Shireburn family.

Buckley Hall Farm.

Buckley Hall.

Our next objective was Dilworth Bottoms which we used to visit regularly when friends lived there. This area is delightful Lancashire countryside with undulating fields and deep gills, the site of many mills in the past. Our proposed way seemed to be blocked at a pair of footbridges, we didn’t descend to investigate but followed another path to the immaculate Cage Mill. Following Cowley Brook we came into Dilworth Bottoms. There is a cluster of houses down here linked by fords across the stream. At one time there were several mills, cotton and bobbin, associated weaving cottages and a Smithy, all dependent on the running water. The mills have gone but the other properties have been renovated for modern living. The next stretch of path was a disaster, it looked bad going down over a ditch and then climbing what turned out to be the skipping out pile from stables above. I’ve marked it on my map with a red cross, skull and crossbones would have been better. Nobody had been this way for  years but fortunately the owner we met at the top was of good humour and showed us a way out of his property passing a green looking outside pool. There were horses and ponies everywhere. All a bit surreal. I hardly have the enthusiasm to report this Public Right Of Way obstruction to the authorities but perhaps I should.

On we marched.

Up the lane was another blast from the past. I’ve written about the Written Stone several times before. https://cryofthesedge.wordpress.com/2011/06/21/the-written-stone-of-dilworth/

The bridleway brought us back up into the village by the caravan park and our last encounter of the day. A man was reconstructing a stone wall damaged by moles undermining it. We got talking about all things local until he launched into sermon of the Methodist Faith  with some dodgy references to race and sexuality.  On we marched.

Preston in the distance.

*****

A HISTORY LESSON IN WYRESDALE.

National Library of Scotland.

Monday,   November 16th.    9miles.       Scorton/Dolphinholme.

The river Wyre takes a sinuous route between Scorton and Dolphinholme and you can see from the map many fishing lakes along the way. Years ago it would have been a different scene with leats, millraces, serving the numerous mills in the valley. My ‘guides’ for today live in the area and know an awful lot of relevant history. The last walk with Peter and Denise was a couple of winters ago when we followed and traced the Lancaster Canal from Preston to Kendal.

After driving 14 miles, within my 15mile limit, I meet up as the one other socially distanced person. We are all following the rules now, even Boris has to. Off we go along lanes close to the motorway passing the farm of a close friend, sadly departed 5 years ago, where my family of cats originated from. It is eerily deserted today.

My cats’ homeland.

We pick up the Wyre Way which seems to have changed since I walked it a few years ago. The footbridge over the motorway has been dismantled, apparently the path goes under now. The caravan site we walk through has expanded dramatically but of course nobody is allowed to stay at present. The big attraction is  the fishing lakes established from old gravel pits, stocked with carp, pike, bream, tench, roach and perch. They don’t have a sympathetic feel for a path. A better stretch alongside the Wyre brought us to a bridge that used to lead to Wyreside Hall. Further along is the old Coreless water mill with its restored wheel.

We come out into Lower Dolphinholme. Peter points out the old mill warehouse, now apartments. The road down to the bridge used to come to a ford and when it was built up the doors to the cottages became smaller and smaller. The mill manager’s and mill owner’s houses are prominent and there is a redundant gaslight on the corner. The large mill here was originally for worsted manufacture and was one of the first mills to have its own gas works to light the mill and village.  Apparently behind the private walls is evidence of the gas containers. Peter knew all about this but for you a good history is really worth consulting – https://historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1466557

 

 

Diminishing doors.

Mill owner’s House.

 

As we leave the village I’m taken on a slight detour to visit the flue and chimney up the hill. It was built as a dual structure one for the gas and one for the steam from the updated mill.

We were going up  Waggoners Lane an obvious reference to the mill’s transport and then into Tinkers Lane, another reference to the past. This led past Belvidere House with its unusual hexagonal attached tower. Up here we were on the edge of the Bowland Hills and sheep were the only animals in the fields, subsistence farming. We came to a crossroads at Street where the Roman Road from Ribchester to Galgate was supposed to have run.

Now back onto paths alongside becks and fishing lakes. We saw a roe deer pirouette across a stream and vanish into the woods. It was muddy going. We skirted the grounds of Wyreside Hall, a large C18 pile which seems to be undergoing renovations/extensions – maybe a hotel or wedding venue? The local couple we met leading a thoroughbred racing horse didn’t know what was afoot.

The grounds of a farm and barn complex felt unwelcoming – high walls and vicious barking dogs. Coming out onto a road we parted company with Denise who took the direct route home to hopefully put the kettle on., I wanted to go through the grounds of Wyresdale Park which I had noted on my recent visit to Nicky Nook and Peter was all too ready to give me some more history. The hall was the work of  Lancaster architect Paley in the mid C19, better known for his churches, in a Gothic Revival design and over the years has been adapted to its present state as a recreational facility. Cafés, craft centres, camping pods, weddings, playgrounds and fishing are all on offer or at least they normally would be. I couldn’t see the hall but know where to drive through in future for a peep.

Wyresdale Park’s photo.

We strolled through Scorton with its iconic motorway spire. There once was a large cotton mill here, and we could see the line of the millrace now in a modern development. It was easier to walk along the road for a while rather than the soggy fields. I was then shown the lodges for the mill at Cleveley Bridge. We then followed the line of another mill race coming from the Wyre some distance away. Apparently in the early years of the C20 there used to be a series of commercial fisheries along here with water siphoned off the mill race. I had no idea where I was but soon we were climbing up to Shireshead, past the little chapel, now a recording studio, and along the lane for that cup of tea.

 

*****

ANOTHER SIDE TO STOCKS.

Thursday 12th November.  6.5 miles.  Slaidburn.

My vitamin D is topped up as I’ve been in sunshine most of the day, a bonus for November and I made sure I got away a little earlier so that I would finish before dark. During the current lockdown I have imposed upon myself a maximum distance of 15 miles [30 minutes] car travel for the purpose of subsequent exercise, I hope that is reasonable particularly into the sparsely populated countryside north and east of me. Today I travelled a shade over 13 miles to Slaidburn. I had been expecting to park outside the village because it has been so popular recently but on arrival the car park was virtually empty. I’d joined some of those red dashed lines on the map to give a circuit to the east of Stocks Reservoir I hadn’t walked before.

Yesterday was Armistice Day and the memorial was appropriately decorated.

From the old bridge over Croasdale Brook I headed out towards Hammerton Hall.

An incident happened here many years ago but is still fresh in my memory. Alan and I were returning from a circuit of Stocks Reservoir and chatting away, arrived at the ford leading straight to a farm in the village. Without consulting the map we just waded through maybe a foot of water knowing we had dry gear in the car. The farmer was leaning on his gate watching us but said nothing until we were well through. A voice then boomed out “you can’t come this way, it’s not the path. It’s on the other side”  Sure enough we should have stayed on the far bank down to the bridge. He showed no compassion so back we trudged through the river certain we could hear faint chuckling.

Over an even older and graceful Holmehead Bridge, past the falls on Barn Gill.

And there was Hammerton Hall on a prominent position above the River Hodder.  It is a large three-gabled Elizabeth house [1600] standing on the site of a 12th century house and incorporating parts of it. Its south facade gives a fine display of mullioned windows. Once the home of the  Hamerton family, a wealthy medieval family who are reputed to have been able to ride from Slaidburn to York (approx. 50 miles) on their own land!
Unfortunately, they lost most of their wealth and power when Sir Stephen de Hamerton joined Abbot Paslew of Whalley in the Pilgrimage of Grace of 1536. This was a protest against Henry VIII’s proposed dissolution of the monasteries. Sir Stephen was executed for treason in 1537.

My arrival at the next farm, Black House, coincided with a window cleaner, for some reason I found it incongruous that he would be out in such a remote spot. We exchanged pleasantries, he was from Colne and had a large rural area to cover. Farmers down country lanes are vulnerable to theft, and he has taken years to build up their confidence. He went on to talk about churches that he works on, for free, again I never really considered the cleaning of all that stained-glass. I walked on whistling George Formby’s favourite – ‘When I’m cleaning windows’

Along the elevated farm lane I had good views of Stocks Reservoir and Bowland Knotts behind although this wasn’t the purpose of the day.

At the end of the farm lane I came out onto tarmac opposite the small Dalehead Chapel. When the reservoir was constructed back in the 30s Stocks-in-Bowland village was engulfed, On the lake bed are remains of cottages, shops, an inn and a school but the church of St. James was dismantled and rebuilt here above the waters on the edge of Gisburn Forest. I sat on the church steps enjoying the sun.

It was easy to walk past my turn off into the forest, so I had to double back along the road to find it. I plunged into the woods for a short distance but then followed a farm track past a barn down to another isolated farm Brook House Green. The usual collection of huts and rubbish surrounded an interesting house with a date stone of 1761.

 

I always meant to put the engine back in…

I’ll gloss over the next half mile of pathless, reedy and boggy ground to arrive at Higher Stony Bank, another 17th century house. Along the road a man was exercising his large Irish Wolfhound on his own rough plantation. He, not the dog, was eager to chat about how he had bought the land and was planting it up with wild flowers and trees. “Best view in Bowland“…

Asking where I was from and where I was going he also said he had bought Pikefield Plantation, my next destination. This is a  group of trees on a prominent hill in the heart of this countryside. His parents ashes were up there and as his mother had been an archaeologist he had constructed a tumulus. What will future historians make of that? I often do wonder about people who leave litter in the countryside but this had me baffled…

The way back to Slaidburn was complicated through small fields with awkward stiles and poor waymarking. I battled on. Slaidburn remained hidden in the folds of the hills until the last moments.

How much can you get from a 6-mile walk?

*****

RADHOLME and BROWSHOLME.

Tuesday,  10th November.   6.5 miles.  Browsholme.

My road to Whitewell was closed, so I hurriedly chose another route. I was on the way to complete another interesting looking walk from my bumper book of Bowland Walks by Jack Keighley. I found a different parking spot on the circuit which also meant I avoided some unnecessary climbing in and out of Whitewell. There was no reason to include Whitewell as I’m already well acquainted with it. It was nearly 12noon when I set off across the fields where there are some limestone craglets  and an old limekiln. When my children were small we used to come here for a scramble about. The views of the Bowland hills are not so good today.

The first farm was Radholme Laund. I got chatting to the farmer in the yard, and he told me that at one time Matthew Brown breweries leased it and spread their brewing wastes on the land. Matthew Brown started in Preston in 1830 and moved to Blackburn in 1927. In 1984, they acquired Theakston but were eventually bought out in 1991 by Scottish and Newcastle. I well remember their Lyon Ales and many local pubs were tied to them. Radholme goes back to the Domesday Book and was originally a hunting lodge, Laund usually denotes a deer park.  A large area of Bowland was set aside for deer hunting until farming took over in the C16-17th. The present house was built in the C19th and has an impressive southern facade.

Boggy fields took me down past woods which had lost most of their leaves. Longridge Fell was always in the background. The cattle are now all in their winter quarters [the best place for them did I hear you say?] at Higher Lees Farm.  Then I was in and out of a stream before coming out onto the familiar road at Middle Lees. I crossed the course of the Roman Road and followed the farm lane to the cluster of houses at Lees House. I already knew the awkward path going steeply down to a hidden footbridge over Mill Brook and then steeply up the rough ground on the other side where I disturbed pheasants galore. Sheep pastures were climbed to the barking dogs of Micklehurst. I met the farmer who talked of  Covid-19 and the fate of local pubs. Most of these hill farmers must live an isolated life and yet are happy, nay keen to engage in topical conversations  I missed the path further on and ended up with more road walking than necessary. Until now the day had been bright but I seemed to enter low mist and drizzle and yet behind me Longridge Fell and the Ribble valley were in brightness.

I entered the drive of Browsholme Hall by its elaborate gatehouse but saw nothing of the Jacobean house still occupied by the Parker family who were the ancestral owners since 1507. Most of the land I’ve been walking on today at one time was part of their estate.  I’ve added a photo of the hall courtesy of visitlancashire.com As I made my way went up the fields Pendle came into view, I was heading towards the prominent Browsholme Spire. It is said that its castellated folly was built as a landmark for shooters on the nearby rough fells. It has been adorned with satellite communication dishes in recent years no doubt earning rent from telephone companies. A case of selling one’s soul. On a good day up here the Yorkshire fells are seen but today it was just the rather murky local Bowland Hills. At the bottom of the hill in the trees a sulphur spa is marked on the map, so I searched it out but was disappointed  to find only a boggy spring with the water only faintly tasting of sulphur.

Crossing over that Roman Road once more I took the lane to Crimpton with its seven hand loom upper windows. After the reformation a wooden image of Our Lady Of White Well was brought to the isolated Crimpton for safety. Hence, the farm was well known to Roman Catholics as ‘Our Lady Of The Fells’. I found a seat for a snack looking out over Birkett Fell with Mellor Knoll and the Bowland Hills behind. I knew the next stretch through the forest was muddy and awkward but I couldn’t believe my eyes, most of the trees had been cut down and a machine was clearing up. The operator was able to grab a tree trunk in the machine’s claws, whizz it through stripping the branches and then cut it to length and place in a pile. Unbelievable – lift, strip, chop all in one go.

The day was getting on with all these distractions and I wanted to search out some caves in the limestone on the way back to my car. First was Hell Hole in a fenced off copse. There seemed to be two dangerous open deep shafts and a low cave entrance all connected to the same stream system.

Further on over more barbed wire was Whitewell Cave at the base of a rocky outcrop, a small stream disappeared underground leaving a dry cave entrance that would worth a crawl with a torch. There is another pothole down the road but that will have to wait for some other time.

By now it was almost dark, there was no sunset just a little light out to the coast, but I had only a short distance to go up the road.

Another shortish walk with plenty of new interest for me. I’ve just realised I never saw another walker – a perfect lockdown walk.

 

*****

ANOTHER HURST GREEN CIRCULAR.

Monday 9th November.  4.75 miles.    Stonyhurst.

In the current Lockdown one is able to meet one other person outside and travel a reasonable distance for exercise. So today I phone Mike and suggest meeting him up on Longridge Fell, I have a circuit in mind that will avoid squelchy fields and take us on some unknown lanes thus fulfilling one of my Lockdown commitments to find something new on each outing.  For Mike’s sake, he lost his wife to Dementia 2 months ago, it might have been better to have a jolly party of friends along, but we live in strange times so today it has to be me. We manage to park on the crowded lane, who would ever have thought that parking up here would become a problem. I chat away as we wander the quiet lanes down to Stonyhurst. Familiar landmarks are passed – the Pinfold Cross, Chapel, the college ponds, the long drive, Cromwell’s stone, the Virgin Mary statue,  graveyard, the Almshouses, the Bailey Arms [closed]. I’ve illustrated and written about all these many times.

Cromwell’s Stone.

Instead of our usual route up the Dean Brook valley we followed the lane down to Dean Bridge deep in the gorge almost under the rest of Hurst Green. I’m sure some houses down here must have been mills long ago. A steep pull up Shire Lane, some expensive looking houses in Ribble Valley’s executive belt, I’m only a little envious., Then a very pleasant  section of hedged track to the late C17th hunting lodge of Greengore. I have photographed the North and East sides many times but today I have lifted a  photo from the internet of the hidden south side.

The south aspect.

We were soon back at the cars just as the clouds gathered and it started raining for the rest of the afternoon. Just another rather sad day.

*****

WEATHER WINDOW ON A LONGRIDGE MISCELLANEA.

Sunday November 1st.  6.5miles.   Longridge.

Hurricane Zeta is chasing Storm Aiden across the British Isles this weekend. I get out this morning for a couple of hour’s exercise between the two.

My last post predicted or prayed for another lockdown, well Boris appeared on TV last night and announced one. I’m not getting into a debate about the why’s, when’s and how’s of our country’s attempt to deal with the virus. There will be plenty of time for that.

No, my walk today is probably going to be a regular one as we are told to stay home – but get exercise, no mention of distance travelled from home for said exercise, another fuzzy rule. So I walk from my doorstep. The diggers are having a Sunday rest on the latest building site coming to Longridge. Down past more new housing, then the cricket pitch and I’m in the countryside. Unusually ‘Mile Lane’ is empty of pedestrians, last lockdown it was busy most of the days with the good folk of Longridge taking their daily perambulation.

A delightful little lane along the track of the old quarry railway leads through bushes to the park. I have a painting of it on a sunny day by a local artist hanging upstairs.

The park is a magnet for dog walkers. There seems to have been an increase in canine ownership during the pandemic, unless I’m imagining it.

From Higher Road a track goes around the back of the old Quarryman’s Arms……and then through the quarries and down past the reservoirs, more new housing to the right, onto Lower Lane. Along here I spend time chatting, at a distance, to friends I haven’t seen for a while. I walk past one of my former homes, can’t believe it was so large. For the record…

Down by the church, a rather flooded Happy Alley, and round more reservoirs I come to Pinfold Lane. A pinfold was an enclosure for cattle or sheep that had strayed. The animals would be restrained in the pinfold until the owner redeemed them – normally by paying a small fine. Pinfolds were found in towns and villages from, at least, the Middle Ages onwards. I don’t know the site of this pinfold but it may have been at the end of the lane, here there is a benchmark and a substantial ancient cross base.

I stopped to put on my waterproofs as the first drops of rain were felt, but I was home before it became heavy. There was no temptation to save thousands buying a new house.

So in the coming lockdown weeks this little excursion, or variations on it, will probably be my go-to walk. Is ‘go-to’ an American expression? I don’t really like it and should have changed it to ‘regular’. I will no doubt come across other interesting Longridge titbits as time goes on.

*****

AN AFTERNOON AROUND BARNACRE.

Monday 26th Oct.  5.5miles.  Barnacre.

I was kicking myself by lunchtime today. The forecast was for rain but there was hardly any and now the sun was shining. Could easily have had a meet up with friends for a day’s walk. My new boots haven’t arrived yet, tomorrow?, so walking in trainers I need to stay on dry ground which is difficult around here at the moment. A cursory look at the map and I had inspiration for a quick afternoon’s outing on lanes around Barnacre, a rural area to the south and east of Garstang.

In less than half an hour’s drive I’m parked by another deserted looking pub, the Kenlis Arms.  originally  an 1856 hunting lodge,

The walk itself is on quiet lanes on the edge of the Bowland Hills passing a few farms and lots of sheep.

White sheep of the family.

My first real  objective is the Church of All Saints, yet another designed by Austin and Paley of Lancaster, 1905. Set in a peaceful woodland area its red roof stands out across the fields and its tower is castle-like. A lane takes me down to cross the motorway and main railway line.

Forge Lane passes the old forge where the family are splitting logs with a hired machine, looks great fun.

The lane continues down to a ford on the swollen Wyre but fortunately there is a nearby footbridge. This whole low-lying area is part of the local flood defences when water can be diverted into the fields to reduce the flow downstream. I walk through the Millennium Green past the hydraulic weirs for controlling the flow of the Wyre. It must be quite a sight to see the floodplain filling up. I’ve been this way before on The Wyre Way.

Millennium Green with a misty Nicky Nook in the background.

A diversion into Garstang’s High Street highlights several interesting buildings.

The old grammar school, C18th.

The old Town Hall. 1760.

I walk over the twin arched bridge on the Wyre and a little later drop down to the Lancaster Canal for about a mile of quiet towpath back to my car.

Garstang Castle.

A walk snatched from nothing and dry feet at the end of it.

*****

 

A BIT OF COUNTRYSIDE NORTH OF BOLTON BY BOWLAND.

I had to check the map this morning to ensure I wasn’t straying out of Lancashire on today’s walk, we are in Covid-19 Tier 3 after all. An extra mile and I would have been in Yorkshire but I don’t think anyone would have known.

Another route out of Jack Keighley’s Bowland walking guide taking me into the farmlands north of Bowland-by-Bowland. I have walked from B-by-B many times but this route promised some good riverside tracks unknown to me and probably unknown to any as I discovered.

After my recent rather long-winded posts I hope this will be more concise, it all depends on what I find.

There is a little car park in the village next to the bridge and surprisingly I was the first in this morning. I went south for a short while towards Sawley passing a sandstone cross base isolated in a field, I’m not far from Sawley Abbey. The last time I approached Bolton Peel from a different direction I had to ford the beck, so I was a little apprehensive of what I would face today after heavy rain. To my delight there was a footbridge alongside the ford, and I was soon up to the road at Bolton Peel. This is a sturdy C17th farmhouse with a preaching cross in front of it. From the original Peel family came Sir Robert Peel, he of police fame. There was nobody about this morning, so I had a sneaky peek into the adjacent barn with its cruck roof beams.

Now heading north I used a path by a lively beck into the little hamlet of Holden. There were some impressive waterfalls deep in the gorge. I have been visiting Holden Clough Nursery for years but now in younger hands it has become a thriving garden centre. Plants are still at the heart of the business, but they run a café and shop which I hoped would be open.  On with my mask and through the gift shop, I got their first brew of the day. The first time I’ve been in a café for 7 months – maybe the last.

Across the road is the exquisite Broxup House.

I knew the next stretch from a previous walk. It starts through the narrowest of gaps.  I was soon passing the C17th Hungril Farm and its posh barn conversion neighbour.

The next farm along was equally expensively renovated and yet round the back was the ubiquitous rubbish ‘waiting for Godot’

Muddy fields took me higher to the road at Broad Ing. Up here was expansive rolling farming lands with views to Pendle [in cloud] and Weets Hill. My heading photo depicts the scene and if you click to enlarge and look closely flocks of Lapwings or Redwings, perhaps both, can be made out above the trees. They were a common sight today.

Climbing higher I arrived in the farmyard of Wittons where a few waymarks wouldn’t have gone amiss. I blundered on into the next valley where some delicate barbed wire climbing was needed on the steep pull up to an old barn. Round the corner was an arrow pointing down a better route, one at the bottom pointing up would have been useful.

From Lower Flass my guide [admittedly 25years old] describes a permissive path alongside Monubent Beck, just follow the ‘white arrows’. A Right of Way took me down to a footbridge and it then climbed the hillside away from the beck. The permissive path was nowhere to be seen, so I just set off close to the water imagining I was on a track. A stile appeared and the odd footbridge but in between was jungle. It was obvious that nobody comes this way any more, there were certainly no white arrows. I was more concerned I might get shot if there was a pheasant shoot on. A bonus was that I glimpsed several roe deer running off through the trees. Every time I came to a stile I was emboldened to go further.

Eventually after this interesting trespassing section I came out the far end onto a road which I recognised from our cut through way to Settle and the limestone crags. By the bridge the Monubent Beck joined into Skirden Beck. This group of houses around the bridge is called Forest Becks and on foot I was able to see them better than when driving through. A lot of them have had recent facelifts.

A little further on the road I also Had a closer look at Stoop Lane house, 1703.

A familiar path above Skirden Beck led me straight back to my car at the bridge. I didn’t explore the village of B-by-B as I have covered it in a previous post.

*****

AMBLING AROUND ABBEYSTEAD.

*****

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The green area on the above map is the County of Lancashire which as you may well know has, as of this last weekend, gone into the highest Covid-19 restrictions – Tier 3.  So my wanderings in the foreseeable future will be solely in the Red Rose County. There are far worse places to be. As it happens I was already planning to visit Abbeystead today for a walk plucked out of Jack Keighley’s  Cicerone ‘Walks in the Forest of Bowland’  guide which seemed to have several points of interest. I’ve been following quite a few from this guide in the last weeks and have been impressed by their quality. The forecast is for cloud so a low level walk suits.

*****

I arrived at the carpark at 12noon to find it full, I’d half expected that. Fortunately a couple of early birds were just finishing their walk so I grabbed their spot. The River Wyre has two initial tributaries, The Marshaw and The Tarnbrook. I started my walk alongside the latter and soon came to the former. My curiosity had me bashing through the undergrowth to find the confluence of the two – a Dr. Livingstone experience. The two small streams meet and soon the River Wyre takes on a more majestic flow. Satisfied I go back to where I had started, it’s going to one of those days.

Marshaw Wyre bridge.

Meeting of the Waters

The Wyre flows on.

I took some photos of these large plants growing profusely along the banks – I don’t know their name? I thought the leaves were too large for Japanese Knot weed but I’m not so sure now.

My path left the Wyre Way and shot up some steep stone steps which kept on going. Eventually fields followed to come out onto the road at Hawthornthwaite with the fell road heading across to the Trough of Bowland just above me. All around were the Bowland Fells looking a bit dismal today.

The mole catcher has been working overtime.

A farm track took me past Marl House and then into open fields with no obvious track. For this walk the guide states “A somewhat complex route requiring careful reference to map and directions”  Well I was soon searching for the next stile and essential footbridge across a formidable little gorge, Cam Brook. Walking up and down my GPS didn’t seem to be helping. I persisted with my search and finally found a new looking bridge across but not where shown on my map. Anyhow, I was across and climbing fairly new steps but at the top where I should have gone right to an old mill a new pheasant fencing blocked my way and shepherding me upwards. I tried an open space in a hollow but at its end a high gate. I could see no path continuing, so I decided to head for a barn shown on the map and follow the track from there.   As I walked on I spotted three walkers coming the other way towards where I should have been. After pleasantries with them, I set forth or was that back, determined to find the mill ruins. After a couple of stiles I came across them in the woods, sad reminders of a bygone time. It had been a water driven cotton spinning mill until destroyed by fire in 1848. Associated workers’ cottages were disappearing nearby. That hollow I had been walking in half an hour ago was in fact the old empty mill pond.

Satisfied I returned to pass again the cheerful three sat on a log having lunch.

Last of the summer wine.

Now I knew where I was going – Little Catshaw 1763 and Catshaw Hall 1678. I passed through here before with Sir Hugh on our straight line walk from Longridge to Arnside in November 2018.

Little Catshaw.

Catshaw Hall.

The steep track led down over a sparkling side stream and to the Wyre in its heavily wooded valley. A sturdy bridge was crossed before stone steps went straight up the opposite hill to Lentworth Hall. These tracks must be centuries old linking farms and maybe going to the church where I was heading.

More stone steps.

A gate at the top of a field, suitably full of sheep, admitted me into the churchyard of Christ Church, The Shepherds’ Church.  [The gate has its own story which I thought was a joke at first] The church dates back to the C14th but was rebuilt in 1733 and a spire added to its tower later.  Its stained-glass windows depict Biblical shepherd scenes, these would have been better appreciated from the interior but it was locked. In the porch are rows of hooks supposedly for visiting shepherds to hang their crooks. Above the door is an old inscription –  ‘O ye shepherds hear the word of the Lord

I found a bench to sit on for lunch, it was 2.30 after all.  Next to me was a war memorial with a thought-provoking inscription perhaps aimed at the agricultural soldier.

My next objective was a Friends Meeting House and Quaker burial ground up the hill at Brook House. As well as the meeting house there had been a school and schoolmasters house in this little complex of buildings, now residential conversions. The graveyard with its simple uniform headstones was accessible and was a very calming place. Apparently the Friends Meeting House In Lancaster has use of it but there didn’t appear to be many recent burials.

I was now quite high on the northern flanks of the Wyre Valley but views were limited by the weather. More fields took me past Chapel House Farm with its barking dogs and over a rickety stile to the road at Summers House.

Then a walk across rough country in worsening light to Grizedale Bridge over the Tarnbrook Wyre. A cart track was followed back to Stoops Bridge.

Grizedale Bridge.

Stoops Bridge.

Before I got my car I had a wander into Abbeystead  itself. All the C19th buildings are now part of the Duke of Westminster’s vast estate and built in an Elizabethan style. The big house is hidden from view. The hamlet is named after an Abbey founded here in the C12th by Cistercian monks from Furness. It didn’t last long and was soon abandoned.

All I needed was a bit of sunshine to bring out the Autumn colours.

 

*****

THE CROOK OF LUNE.

Crook of Lune, looking towards Hornby Castle

Crook of Lune, looking towards Hornby Castle.     JMWTurner.  1816-18.        Courtauld Inst.

*****

The Crook of Lune – no this is not a historical crime story.

It is a bend in the river,  a visual station of the C19th artistic elite,  a rather whimsical painting by the celebrated J M W Turner and a popular visitor destination with a nearby carpark and picnic places.

It is a special place I’ve never really been to. I’ve walked past on several longer routes using the abandoned railway but without realising the significance and beauty of the place. Today I intended to do it justice.

Continuing this morning’s walk instead of returning to the car I pick up a path going down through the woods to follow the north bank of the Lune towards Halton. There is a large weir and on this bank is a small turbine house delivering community hydroelectric power. A digital screen gives a potted history of the area and the development of this new way of harnessing the Lune’s power. At times that can be overpowering and not long after it was operative the whole site was severely flooded, fortunately with no serious damage to the turbines. Incorporated into the building is a fish ladder with an automatic counting sensor. There are no signs today of the salmon for which the Lune is famous but this would be a good place to watch them swimming up water in the next few weeks. There is a long history of mills and forges on this site and there are still signs of early weirs and wharfs.https://i0.wp.com/www.ministry-of-information.co.uk/blog1/0602/images/180206-05.jpg

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The mills developed further in the C19th, stretching down the Lune to Halton, but were eventually demolished in the 60s. Only one remained and has been developed as a community space.  https://haltonmill.org.uk/about-the-mill/industrial-history/https://haltonmill.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/mill-building-exterior.jpg

Alongside on the site is a section of interesting looking community housing.  https://cohousing.org.uk/case-study/lancaster-cohousing/ – worth a read.

A stretch of modern housing units is walked through before I reach the old bridge taking me back across the Lune. This bridge has an unusual history…

This brings me out on the line of the track of the Lancaster – Wennington railway, closed in 1966,  at the renovated Halton Station platform. I join the cyclists and walkers heading back up the Lune. It was from the undergrowth near here that Sir Hugh and I emerged one day on our straight line route having traversed the private Quernmore Estate. Today it would have been easy today to miss the footpath leaving the railway to follow the bank of the Lune. Across the way I could see where I had been not long ago. Then my riverside path took me onto new ground as I started looping the Lune. I passed under the first railway viaduct and a  great stretch of river followed before I started going around the Crook itself. Simply stunning. Apparently the view Turner painted was from further up the hill behind me.

I sat for a while in the memorial park watching the river flow by. And then I walked around the loop to the road bridge. This bridge, with its decorative balustrades, was designed by Paley, 1883, who normally did churches. I didn’t cross it but continued to the easterly railway bridge, identical to the westerly,  where I picked up the cycleway to cross back to the carpark.

From the bridge I get a last view back up the Lune satisfied with today’s walk completing the loop around the ‘Crook’

*****

 

 

THE LUNE AT AUGHTON.

This was the first half of a walk from the Crook Of Lune Car park. There was so much of interest that I’m posting in two halves.

Feeling generous, I paid a pound to park all day at ‘The Crook of Lune Car Park and Picnic Site’.

I’ve a walk planned up the Lune to Aughton and then back on higher ground. I have to give Sir Hugh credit for suggesting this route and I’m doing it while he is ‘hors de combat’.

The Autumnal mist is just lifting from the valley as I set off through green fields. A couple of dog walkers have beaten me to it. The river flows gently beside me,

I pass a weir and in some places there is a rushing of water round eddy pools.

Ahead is the bridge carrying the Thirlmere Aqueduct in giant pipes on its way to Manchester, unusually for waterboard bridges it also provides a foot crossing. Next I’m in an ancient forest; oaks, beeches, birches and ash. It once provided charcoal for iron smelting but is now a nature reserve managed by the Lancashire Wildlife Trust. The path does a roller coaster through the trees before depositing me on a green beach. There is a gulch ahead which I don’t fancy jumping. Sir Hugh had already said the large loop of the Lune here was boring, so I decide to go straight across the neck of the isthmus. That works OK although I don’t see much more of the river. Ingleborough is just coming out of the mist. Across the Lune is smoke from the Claughton brick factory  which I wrote about a few  weeks ago. As I’m keeping fairly local my walks all seem to be linking up with each other. I’m soon at the large agricultural barn marked on the map. More interesting is the cottage being upgraded a little further on before the steep hill up into Aughton. It  is  steep and brings me out at a miniature village green with a few cottages. The next steep stretch brings me to the higher part of the village where I go in search of the church marked on the map with the old school house next door. A bench in the sun is perfect for lunch. Walking up the minor lanes is a joy with Ingleborough behind, distant Lakes across the bay and closer at hand across the Lune are Caton Moor wind turbines with the Bowland Hills behind. I seem to be on a cycle route judging from the number of cyclists passing by, all with a cheery wave. A local dog walker passes the time of day and explains the different pronunciations of Aughton – orton. ayton, eighton. Take your choice.

The lane steepens heading back down towards the Lune. A herd of sheep are being brought up the road by sheep dogs, as soon as their job is done they can’t wait to jump on the back of the quad bike. The large house at Halton Park was a surprise. From here I can see the C18th cotton mill at Caton, originally powered by the Lune and later steam driven, now converted for residential use. The bridges on the Lune where my car is parked show up well, the surrounding trees taking on Autumn colours. Part two to follow.

*****

NEWTON AND SLAIDBURN.

                                                     The Hodder between Newton and Slaidburn.

A short walk was all I needed today.

I’m always driving through these two villages, so I thought it was time to visit in more detail. During this Covid-19 pandemic everyone seems to be out and about. All the car-parks are overflowing and the honey spots overwhelmed, I’ve usually kept well clear but today I had to park up in Newton. Mea culpa.  I found a safe spot outside the village but noticed some thoughtless blocking of farmers’ gates etc.

I first wandered around the olde worlde hamlet of Newton – in – Bowland.

Georgian Newton Hall.

Salisbury Hall.

John Brabbins Old School. 1757.

Old school 1842.

Old reading room. Late C18th.

United Reformed Church. 1887.

 

Then I was ready to start the riverside walk to Slaidburn. The River Hodder.

Ahead was the limestone bluff above Dunhow Hall.

There are cliff faces up there in the trees and I had time to climb up and explore. On closer acquaintance the rock was overhanging and compact, not much scope for my style of climbing, i.e.  too hard. Whilst I was up here I explored further and came out into meadows on top of the hill with good views towards Slaidburn. I wandered down to re-join the path near the gatehouse and then walked into Slaidburn on a short stretch of busy road. The 15th century St. Andrew’s Church turned out to be open, I had never visited it but read of rich internal features. Most of the interior was taped off, so I only had a glimpse of the elaborate screen, Norman font, box pews and pulpit. Outside there was a sundial from 1796 and a shaft of a Medieval Cross.

Next door was the Old Grammar School founded in 1717 and still in use as a village school.

Rows of 16/17 C cottages lead into the village and there in front of you is The Hark to Bounty pub.

The inn’s name is from the sound of the C19th Squire’s dog, Bounty.

At the top of the steps was the old courtroom of the district. On the outside of the iron rail the lower steps  were used for horse mounting.

The war memorial is on an island and an old Wesleyan Chapel has been restored.

Chapel Street.

The café on the village green was doing a roaring trade from passing travellers. Some impressive motorbikes were on display.

Leaving the hubbub I climbed away from the bridge and crossed into fields heading over into the Easington valley I’d been in a few days ago. The weather conditions today were much pleasanter with clear views of Easington Fell.

At Broadhead Farm I chatted to the farmer as he selected lambs to go to auction.

Following Easington Brook…… I came to the impressive Easington Manor House once again. Easington hamlet was as quiet as normal. Onwards through fields by Easington Brook to join the Hodder and a path back to the elegant Newton Bridge. And that was just a short walk.

*****

EASINGTON AND HARROP.

                                                                             Misty Easington Fell.

Two places hidden away in Bowland. I’ve driven through Easington but don’t remember end of the road Harrop Fold.

I planned to include Easington Fell into the round so I parked up at the top of the Waddington Fell road. I was the only car there on a misty morning and I hoped visibility would improve – it didn’t.

By the road side up here is Walloper Well.    Jessica Lofthouse (1976) described the place.

In the days of horse and pedestrian traffic none passed Walloper Well without stopping  to ‘quaff the clear crystal.’  Long ago, hill men, hunters, forest wardens and farmers off to Clitheroe markets and fairs, pedlars, lead miners from the nearby workings, all met here.  The name is thought-provoking. Why Walloper? From a word meaning a ‘fresh bubbling spring’, which this is, fresh from the moorside into stone troughs.  Age, wartime army practice and vandalism of 1974 made renewal of the trough necessary, but the flow has been constant.  One must drink, just as one throws pennies into the Roman fountain, to ensure one comes back again.”

So nothing to do with the frequently told story [very nonPC]  about the old man and his wife

Today there is no flowing water, I don’t know if this is the permanent situation.

After that disappointment I set off across the fell and immediately lost the path, if there ever was one. The ground was rough, what I call reedy walking, and you never knew if your feet would hit land or water.

Haircap Moss.

Persistence paid off and I spotted a cairn from where vague trods aimed to the barn shown on the map. From the hillside I could just make out Newton-in-Bowland, Easington and Dunnow Hall.

I was now on pleasant grasslands though this meant a herd of cows with accompanying bull. I was rather circumspect as was he. A teacher has just been killed near Richmond by cows.

Anyhow I arrived in to Easington unscathed and had time to look at the four dwellings making up the hamlet. The most interesting appeared to be the Manor House.

The Manor House.

I now followed the diminutive Easington Brook for a mile or so passing Broadhead Farm to Harrop Hall. On my approach to the latter the farmer shooed his herd of cows plus a large bull across the field for me to pass, a service I don’t normally receive. I realised at the remote Hall that I had visited before with a friend from Grindleton maybe 40 years ago to collect two kittens, Bonnie and Barnie I subsequently christened them. They were an adventurous pair climbing in through upper windows of my house and even venturing to the pub on the corner where customers fed them and returned them at closing time.

Harrop Hall.

Harrop Lodge was next, another building with interesting features including a Venetian window in the gable end and other bits of architecture.

Barn window.

Wall niche.

This stone footbridge took me into the wrong field from which it was difficult to extricate myself.At Harrop Gate I came out onto a little road through an isolated metal kissing gate.

200 yards up this road was Harrop Chapel with benches outside for my lunch stop. The chapel was built in the early 1820’s and has been in continual use since. It ceased to be Methodist in 1969 and now holds Evangelical services.

Refreshed I strolled up the road to the hamlet of Harrop Fold, only half a dozen neat dwellings. Of particular note is a large white house , an original C17th Lancashire Longhouse which provided accommodation for the family at one end and the livestock at the other. On the other side is the Manor House of a similar age.

So far the walking had been very rural but now I headed back up the fell past a barn and into Grindleton Fell Forest where my troubles started. The paths didn’t go where I thought they should and didn’t correspond to my map.  The trees limited visibility and the mist descended. I walked in many directions without finding my intended onward route. I was glad to hit upon a track heading out of the forest to join a lane prominent on the map. It was now easy to follow across the fell until I came out onto open moor once more. Up here the views back down to the Ribble Valley must be stunning on a clear day. Ahead of me was the vague outline of Waddington Fell with its mast acting as a beacon to aim for. By now it was cold and damp and I was glad to reach my car. I’d clocked up 10 miles.