Category Archives: Lancashire.

SD 38. INSKIP TO LONGRIDGE.

This is long distance walking in easy stages designed for winter exercise. Todays stage actually finishes in Longridge, my home town, which is convenient for me if not for Sir Hugh who has to travel from Arnside, but it was his idea in the first place. At least today we meet up in the agreed destination, a good start. We are walking by 9.30 on a clear sunny morning with a strong cold wind at our heals. There must have been a lot of rain last night judging by the pools on the road – an ominous sign. We take to footpaths as soon as we can and end up in deep mud similar to where we left off last week. The stiles around Singletons Farm are virtually impassable, blocked by hawthorn, but we push through.Crossing a field we are confronted by the next stile leading into a lake, no way we can go that way so we retreat and hit the minor lane to Cuddy Hill [sounds Scottish] and the well-known Plough Inn. After all the frustating obstacles I was ready for a drink but of course they hadn’t opened. Eventually we find the onward path and emerge onto a lane which took us over a canal. In the past we have both walked the The Black and White, Lancaster Canal.    but we didn’t recognise the location,

We were on the A6 for a short distance before crossing over onto tracks to end up in fields,  navigational errors had us back tracking to reach Jepps Lane. The A6 seemed like the transition from the flat floodplain of The Fylde to the pleasant countryside of the Ribble Valley. The wind by now had intensified and many of Sir Hugh’s pearls of wisdom were lost. I had never been down the lane to Barton Old Hall before but it conveniently crossed the motorway for us. The Old Hall was hidden behind trees and the cluster of houses and conversions at the hall were rather depressing.

I think we were deterred from the actual path through the properties but still found ourselves in rolling countryside alongside the proverbial babbling brooks. Time passed as we weaved our way through the pleasant Lancashire countryside. The Bowland Fells rose in the background and ahead was a glimpse of Longridge Fell.

 

We passed the stately Goosnargh Lodge, joined some local routes and reached Goosnargh Mill, not the best of conversions.

I was now on home ground and confidently marched across fields finding hidden stiles until we reached one that was in such a dangerous state we had to retreat yet again and find an alternative way. Worse was to come as what had been open fields was divided up by permanent electric fencing, the sort used for equine enclosures, with no regard for any public rights of way. Attempts at crawling under on the wet ground were not pleasant so we took to dismantling the top wires to step over, there was fortunately no electric current. Reports to LCC  are on their way. A rather sour note towards the end of the day.

He who dares – SAS training.

Just before Longridge we passed Sea View cottages,  and yes you could just about see back to the coast where we had started SD 38.The road into Longridge is now surrounded on all sides by new housing developments, the Fell can just be glimpsed above the roofs. It is no longer the attractive, honest, little town that I moved to all those years ago.

 

 

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A MISTY BEACON FELL.

Normally I can see Beacon Fell from my house – but not this morning. A freezing mist hung over the landscape. Not to be deterred I wanted to walk up there and back, in deference to the weather and my late start I took the car some part way. I know these footpaths well as I often do this walk or a variation, it is in fact the first section of my Longridge Skyline Walk.

The snow was disappearing from the fields as I set off. Soon I was walking through the first of several developments where an original farmhouse with its surrounding barns has morphed into an expensive looking ‘hamlet’. This one is based around Higher Barker.

Familiar field paths [I didn’t need a map today] lead to the Cross Keys Inn where holiday type units have been built around the site, none ready for occupation in what is a speculative development. The Cross Keys was a farm-cum-basic pub run by brothers and known affectionately and ironically by locals as The Dorchester. What of its future?

The lane ahead is always soggy and today was no exception. I could hear a woodpecker in the trees of Whitechapel.

The sun was trying to break through the mist as I crossed fields to Crombleholme Fold another group of houses old and new. The sheep were surprised to see me emerging from the gloom.

Still no view of Beacon Fell which I knew was looming up above me.  The trees were soon reached and as I entered them a small herd of Roe Deer passed in front of me seconds after taking this picture.

The car park at the visitor centre was virtually empty and I was the only one in the cafe where I enjoyed a good coffee. To reach the summit I followed the latest version of the walking snake, this one is expertly crafted from stone so should be more durable than the previous wooden sculpture.

I had the summit to myself with tantalising glimpses of Parlick and Fairsnape Fells through the mists.

A newish path, there are many since the storms of last year, and a concessionary bridleway through deciduos plantings took me out of the park.

A field footpath led me down to the fishing lake/holiday homes of Woodfold, another development which seems to be enlarging every time I pass this way. Do these places go under the planning radar?

My next aim was Barnsfold Farm environs where more sympathetic conversions were carried out decades ago.

Then it was muddy fields to Bullsnape Hall and back to my car just as the sun finally burst through. The final stile was a challenge.

An enjoyable day from nothing.

*****

WINTER ARRIVES ON MY DAILY WALK.

 

The moon was still bright and large while I was having my reviving first coffee, always the best of the day.

Overnight an inch of snow had softly fallen and now in the morning sunshine all was glistening white, time for that short walk before going out for lunch. I try to put in a few miles most days even if it is only my  daily walk cum shopping trip.

Out past the white cricket pitch and up the lane with views to the Bowland Fells, rabbits had been out much sooner than I.

Fields take me onto the toe of Longridge Fell, around the icy reservoir road with views to Beacon Fell.

I arrive for a peep into Craig Y Longridge. Despite the snow the rock was in perfect condition in the sunshine and if I hadn’t other appointments I would have been tempted back later for some bouldering.

I was soon down through the town, a quick supermarket dash and home for a second coffee. Oh and the lunch at The White Bull in Gisburn was excellent, I think I had worked up an appetite.

*****

SD38. SINGLETON TO INSKIP.

The night before I arrange with Sir Hugh  where to meet up for our next stretch along northing SD 38 . I’m sat waiting at New Hall whilst he is sat waiting at Cuddy Hill a mile and a half away, a misunderstanding compounded by the wrong mobile numbers. Redfaces and ‘mea culpa’ all round. Once communications are re-established we drive to Singleton to start walking later than we had planned. By now there is a glimpse of sunshine.

Singleton is an interesting village with an old PO, several lodges and halls, picturesque cottages, a fire engine shed and a Parish Church. The estate was developed from 1853 onwards by the Miller family, wealthy cotton manufacturers working  with the Horrocks family in Preston. The estate is now held in trust and appears well maintained. There are permissive paths through the estate but we lack the maps to use them.

At Singleton Hall’s South Lodge the original gates bear the initials of Thomas Horrocks Miller and on the gate posts ‘Demi Wolves’ taken from the Miller coat of arms.

The old PO.

Lodge gates.

A Demi Wolf.

The timber-framed fire engine house is nearby, it has decorated plastered walls and a louvred bell tower. The engine was horse-drawn and before a fire could be attended the horse had to rounded up in the adjacent field. 

Estate cottages lined the lane and worshippers were leaving the church as we passed.

Thistleton, Elswick and Inskip villages were visited in turn. Not far off is the site of Cuadrilla’s controversial fracking wells and the local feeling is demonstrated by all the anti posters.

Does fracking cause earthquakes?

Todays walking was easy through fields but we lost count of the high awkward styles and muddy farm tracks.

The farms we passed were a mixture of traditional working and modernised for rich commuters. The stangest was an old thatched cottage with a very modern residence built within yards of it. Strange, who would want to do that?

Everywhere were ponds, former marl pits, that look as though they are used for fishing and duck shooting.

Elswick is known for the Bond’s ice cream shop, now more of a restaurant.

Inskip is known for RNAS Inskip, a former forces base and airfield. It is now used as a military high frequency radio transmitting station and the antennae can be seen for miles in this flat landscape.

The last farmyard was the worst for muck just before we reached the car. Jolly Japes.

Maybe you would be advised to read Sir Hugh’s account of the day. http://conradwalks.blogspot.com/

*****

 

SKIPTON TO LONGRIDGE 2 – winter sunshine.

Barnoldswick to Chatburn.

Late sunshine under Pendle.

In Gisburn churchyard hidden in the long grass is the grave of Francis Duckworth, 1862 – 1941.  One of my recent diversions has been searching for significant gravestones with the help of a book by Elizabeth Ashworth – Lancashire Who Lies Beneath? and I’d recently found his. He is remembered as the composer of the hymn tune ‘Rimington’. Have a listen –

https://hymnary.org/hymn/SCM/56

We had found a bench in Stoppers Lane for lunch opposite the Rimington Memorial Institute and on a nearby row of cottages I noticed this plaque –

 

JD [now aka Doug} the Pieman and myself had started outside a Rolls Royce factory in Barnoldswick and wandered indirectly through the mill streets as close as possible to our Skipton to Longridge line. It was a perfect sunny winter’s morning.Until the 1974 local government reorganisation historic ‘Barlick’ was in West Yorkshire, as several of the other villages visited today. The rivalry/frienship between the two roses counties is continued today and highlighted on some benches in town. We spent the morning navigating fields and lanes past both old and renovated farmsteads, through the hamlet of Howgill and into the scattered Rimington village. We were in close proximity to streams which eventually become Swanside Beck that joins the Ribble near Sawley.

To the northeast were Ingleborough and Penyghent and to the northwest Longridge Fell, Beacon Fell and Fairsnape.

After lunch using back lanes we seemed to avoid one of Rimington’s famous features – Cosgrove’s fashion shop. We dropped down to Ings Beck and Downham Mill.Soon the Ings Beck Joined Swanside Beck and we were alongside the familiar packhorse bridge. The next bridge we were on was that high one crossing the A59…… from where there was our last view of distant Ingleborough before we stroll down into Chatburn before the sun sets.

*****

SD38. BLACKPOOL TO SINGLETON.

Lunch time, Poulton-le-Fylde suburbia and we are sat in reclining chairs in someone’s front garden,  This followed a trip by Sir Hugh depositing himself into the middle of the road with no serious injury but blood [as well as egg] on his face. It all looked dramatic to passing motorists who came to our aid and one particularly kind lady took us into her property for tea and sympathy. Spare glasses fitted and he was ready to continue on our walk along latitude SD38.

The day had started in a rather gloomy and wind swept Blackpool where we picked up the 38 at North Shore. There is nothing to recommend British seaside resorts in winter. Sir Hugh had a new hat that kept blowing away until he stuffed it into his rucksack and donned a more suitable beanie. At the start is a striking statue to our emergency services which I’d seen before on a trip along this promenade. 

 

 

Northing SD 38                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                  

We passed rows of basic guest houses, probably full of ‘social housing clients’ and then followed the pavement alongside a not too busy road out to Warbreck where the Ministry of Pensions and whatever else has an office. A colleague of mine worked here for many years in some secret role to entrap fraudsters.

Branching into housing estates we weaved around crescents and groves. You think that they could have created pleasanter address names than Block 50 although some of the street names had a familiar ring.

We were heading for a green space shown on the map and eventually a path was reached along the edge of the estate. I’d soon collected a fair amount of dog excrement on my boots although a responsible owner with two rescue German Shepherds was interesting to chat to. One of the dogs had cigarette burns inflicted upon it when he intervened but both dogs were now even-tempered. The border of the estate was a disgrace with every form of rubbish you could imagine thrown into the ditch, the mind boggles. Green fields took us into the outskirts of Poulton where the housing improved but the navigation was complicated by dead ends.

After our ‘sedate lunch break’ we headed into the countryside [for how long] with cows, hens and sheep.

Unfortunately our way further on was blocked at a closed level crossing and we diverted onto the busy main road and then had to negotiate a complex industrial estate which I didn’t think we would emerge from. Eventually we squeezed between groaning industries into the countryside.The country fields here are all recycled marshland and the draining ditches define the fields although the drainage is not always good.All day I’d been looking unsuccessfully for signs of spring, catkins etc but near a farm I saw my first lambs of the year.

We finished in Singleton just as the rain started so beat a quick retreat to the car, it looks an interesting village so will delve further when we resume the SD38.

*****

SKIPTON TO LONGRIDGE 1 – another straight line.

Skipton to Barnoldswick.Following on from the success of the straight line from Longridge to Arnside completed with Sir Hugh at the end of last year I have persuadedthe piemana resident of Skipton to undertake a similar scheme between our respective abodes.

The Pieman.

He is a lifelong friend, possibly blood related though I tend to ignore that, with whom I’ve shared many backpacking trips throughout Europe but recently we have not been able to meet up as much as required. So this was a good opportunity to get 2019 off on a better note. Thus I was drinking coffee in his house in Skipton early this morning before setting off on what could only be described as a drab day.

My local guide takes us across Aireville Park, where I used to play as a child, over the Leeds Liverpool Canal and out of town through an industrial estate with some interesting relics awaiting restoration.

Airedale Park.

We crept under a main road and crossed the placid River Aire on an old track into Carleton. This essential bridge for our route was just within the mile either side of our arbitrary straight line  The C19 mill in the village was originally for cotton-spinning but I remember buying carpets there in the 70s, apparently it is now luxury apartments.

Carleton.

Today we didn’t visit the village but took to unmarked footpaths through green drumlin fields. I have to concede that satellite tracking maps were a great help in navigating this section. We were going parallel to a disused railway [Skipton to Colne] and eventually we found ourselves walking along it for convenience until stopped by vegetation.Possibly we touched on a Roman Road leading to Elslack where there was a fort. Our priority was to find a picnic bench and there right in the middle of the hamlet was one in some sort of memorial garden. Having put his instant coffee powder into a cup he looked for the flask containing the hot water, unfortunately it was on the worktop back in Skipton. I had hot apple tea in my flask so he ended up with a strange brew.

We walked past the C15 Elsack Hall but at a discreet distance and then along the abandoned railway into Thornton-in-Craven joining the Pennine Way for a short stretch. The village has interesting old houses but no shop or pub and the heavy traffic deterred us from lingering.

Tree planted for the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth.

?Millenium Clock.

On the edge of the village are Almshouses built for poor women, there is not much of that charity evident today.

By the church a sign guided us to a Holy Well in the grounds, dating from Saxon times it is covered by an octagonal structure erected in 1764 by the rector.

On a short stretch of golf course we joined The Pendle Way. It weaved around a church and graveyard where every grave was decorated with flowers, presumably from Christmas.

Rolls Royce have a large presence in Barnoldswick and we passed one of their factories before joining the Leeds – Liverpool Canal for the final stretch into town. My overall impression today was of green fields and a rich historical background.

*****