Category Archives: Longridge Fell

A SOUTHERN CIRCUIT ON LONGRIDGE FELL.


I’ve been up Longridge Fell three times this week, all from different directions. This lack of originality is partially based on my reluctance to drive far, partly on the weather [torrential rain on alternate days put boggy Fairsnape out of the question] and mainly on my slow re-acquaintance with hilly country. Anyhow it is a great little fell, the most southerly named fell in the UK with the easy to remember 350m height.

Today, Thursday 5th April, was fantastic, you couldn’t have wished for a better Spring like day. Blue skies, no wind and warmish sun [that’s that round yellow thing in the sky]. Of course the paths were still muddy and slippy but that’s par for the course at this time of year in Lancashire. A few groups were out on longer rambles and the dog strollers were making the best of the day.

I parked at Higher Hodder Bridge and  tackled the steep Birdy Brow road head on, One gains height quickly and just past Kemple End the forest track leaves the road zigzagging into the trees. I was already sweating as the morning warmed up. The forest track on a day like this reminded me of walking through Southern Spain on the GR 7 where there is much forest. I was going to say ‘wish I was there now’ but on a day like this you can’t  beat Lancashire. A hidden little path through the trees brings one out at a lovely open viewpoint with the Bowland Fells full on, the frosty Yorkshire peaks off to the East and Chipping Vale at your feet,

Higher on the fell I came across forest workers hand planting thousands of spruce saplings in rough ground that had been felled a couple of years ago. These are disease resistant ones and I will watch their growth over coming years.

Knowing that the track was blocked ahead with fallen trees I again took to smaller paths through the trees some of which are old Scots Pines, an enchanting place. I’ve been known to bivy in this secret place with the bonus of deer wandering past in the night. Further on is the ‘wall path’ leading towards the summit.  Years ago this path was hardly visible but has become more used and hence more boggy, most of the wall that ran alongside it has been now used as infill for the path.

Once out in the open the white trig point was clearly seen ahead with more stunning views of Chipping Vale and the Bowland Hills. If I had kept walking down the ridge I would have been home in an hour but I had a circuit to complete so headed south on forest roads, with Pendle Hill dominant ahead above the Ribble Valley, to come out at the road above Crowshaw Quarry where I had a bite to eat in the sunshine.

The bridle way down past Green Gore to Hurst Green is very familiar but I realised I nearly always walk it in the opposite direction. One of my favourite places is Dean Brook as it descends off the fell and through old mill placements at Hurst Green. The bridge there is a great launching pad for poo sticks.

I came out at the Almshouses which somehow were brought down from Kemple End. The Bayley Arms pub seems to be closed so I carried straight across on Smithy Lane through muddy fields and into the grounds of Stoneyhurst College.

I took the private road to Hodder Court where I picked up the popular footpath alongside the Hodder river. This is a roller coaster of a path in the trees above the river as I headed back to  Higher Hodder Bridge. A delight with the fast flowing Hodder below, emerging Wild Garlic under my feet and expectant bird song in the air.

That was 5 hours of my life well spent.

*****

 

What is happening up on Longridge Fell?

Another of my ‘whats happening?’ posts.

The day had not started well,  I’d set my alarm early, for me, so I’d get to my eagerly awaited dental appointment at 9am. I awoke feeling strange. Putting my hand out to the radio nothing happened. Pressing the light switch nothing happened. Checking my mobile twice or even thrice the time said 9.30.  9.30 where was I?  It dawned on me in the middle of an electricity cut. Not even my land line worked.  Reconnected later in the morning apologies to the dentist were due. I didn’t come round till lunchtime. By then my phone was ringing, the sun was shining and I’d arranged a walk up Longridge Fell.

Mike was recovering from a hip operation and I was keen to try my legs on rougher terrain. Mid afternoon we were parked up on the rough ground above Crowshaw Quarry.  I won’t bore you with our usual route on the forest tracks to the trig point and back.

A few things were different today…

Access onto the open fell from the forest was always by a through stile in the wall just below the trig point. Somebody, presumably, Lancashire County Council, has become disheartened by damage to the said wall and installed a metal kissing gate. Not really in keeping with a fell top but maybe more enduring.

It was wet on the way to the trig point. But we were soon at the top and greeted by a young Patterdale Terrier full of energy and inquisitiveness.

A little further on was the wooden gate which has breached the wall for years but suddenly seems to have been chewed to bits. The type of chewing seen round horse enclosures. No horses up here so we wondered deer, wild boar, beavers, yeti…  We walked on keeping a close eye behind us on the woods.

Arriving, without being chewed or worse, onto the forest road below we couldn’t believe the amount of damage from the storm a month ago. Our onward route at one point was completely obstructed by fallen trees.  I’d seen the same on Beacon Fell  a couple of weeks ago but for some reason hadn’t expected it here. Some of the trees were leaning ominously across the track but most had been completely uprooted or snapped. It will take some time with a chain saw to clear things. A way round was found.

A little further on and what is happening here …

 

We had walked through sun, rain and sleet, the road and car reached.

Nothing stays the same.

Some deep unconscious spark made me think of…

 

*****

A NOTHING DAY ON LONGRIDGE FELL.

The weather was ‘nothing’ this morning, from my house I could see a mist hanging over Longridge Fell. The exciting curling match on TV, GB v Italy, had me enthralled and delayed any outdoor activity.  As an aside a curling ice rink is being constructed up the A6, there aren’t many around and the Winter Olympics coverage should give it a boost when it opens. I hazard a guess that they had scheduled its opening to coincide better with the Olympics.

A late decision was made to get out and walk the roads at the western end of Longridge Fell. A dry circuit on tarmac but with some steeper sections than I been willing to do recently. I didn’t expect any views but wanted to build on my recovery strategy and put my hip ligaments to the test. They have been improving with recent flat walking and my resistance-band side stepping exercises. To that end I completed the circuit quite quickly and was pleased with the 700 ft height ascended. Job done.

The road goes up past the Golf Course where a little activity was taking place – the wall running alongside the road took my attention for awhile as I admired the shades of green – the road itself has suffered this winter and like most others in the area will not be repaired quickly.

The busy New Drop inn is at the cross roads, the walls of this inn carry a white cross insignia and history records it was previously known as the White Cross Inn. Why the change and I wonder what the cross signified? The road I’ve travelled is the old road to Clitheroe over Longridge Fell which avoiding the valley bottoms. Turning left I follow a straight road which I always thought was part of the Ribchester Roman Road over Longridge Fell heading for the Salter Fell road and on to Carlisle but a dotted line on the map  suggests the Roman Road was to the west of the modern road.

There was only a vague view of Beacon Fell from Jeffrey Hill where the Roman Road changed direction. More nothingness.

On the return leg back to Longridge I couldn’t resist a look into Cardwell Quarry. Climbing here was banned by the landowner a few years ago and he has refused to be persuaded otherwise. I was surprised that the rock was not completely covered in vegetation due to lack of use. The outlook from here on a summer’s evening made a visit worthwhile – maybe someday.

Down past the golf course once again and today’s modest road circuit was completed. That constitutes a ‘nothing’ day in my eyes.

***

 Did you know the Americans celebrate an annual  National Nothing Day on January 16th, [I had my timing wrong].  Monty Python characteristically  took the idea further with their Adventures of Ralph Mellish – nothing happened …..

 

FIRST WALK OF 2018 – Longridge Fell.

January 1st 2018 – I have to start somewhere.

The phone goes late in the morning and I realise my head is still heavy. The forecast shows a two hour window break in the rain.  A quick breakfast and Mike and I are parked up with scores of others on Longridge Fell. Everyone greets us and friends are encountered. Dogs are in the majority most of them small inquisitive, nonthreatening, breeds, I can cope with.

To be honest the walking was not that great,the distant Ribblesdale views limited, the forest tracks are fortunately dry and with my poles we made good progress. The detour up to the trigpoint was not taken in view of the sodden conditions. Some recent tree felling has confused me as to our whereabouts. Eventually we wind down on the right track and head back to the carpark in cold sleet at the end of the two hours weather window. Such is the nature of walking in this part of the county. At least I’ve been out on the first day of the new year. Back to the Aga and mince pies.

 

 

 

PARAPENTES OVER LONGRIDGE.

As I drove up Longridge Fell for a stroll today the sky was full of moths. Coming to terms with  the perspective I realised they were parapenters enjoying the northerly winds and presumably updrafts on that side of the fell, what do I know.  I diverted to the parking on Jeffrey Hill, Cardwell House, where they were all taking off from. There must be a busy social network between the activists who then gather at the most appropriate site, like these moths. Some were obviously beginners taking a short flight off the gentle slope to land safely a few feet down, others were soaring high and exploring further along the fell. I counted more than twenty in the air at once. Usually Parlick across the valley is busy with parapenters but today the wind conditions have brought them all here, quite a sight.

Meanwhile down below, somewhere near Chipping, comes the sound of guns murdering pheasants bred for the purpose – everyone to their own. Up here many pheasants wander freely in the woods and I spot a Roe Deer scuttling off. To stretch my legs I take a short walk along the road in the sunny November weather with the Three Peaks clearly visible as well as the Bowland Fells and Pendle in other directions.   Nothing else to report.

 

A BREATH OF FRESH AIR.

I’ve spent a couple of rather fraught days planning and booking up and coming trips and this afternoon I felt the need to break free and walk up the fell. The weather since I’ve returned from France has been atrocious but today there are blue skies in between the showers.

I park up at Cardwell House on Jeffrey Hill. The signpost at the fell gate says ‘concessionary path’ but is clearly marked on the OS map as a public footpath. My mind immediately goes into conspiracy theory mode made worse by the newly erected grouse shooting butts nearby.  Anyhow the path, concessionary or not, leads up the fell. Fields in the Vale of Chipping below are flooded. Ahead clear visibility shows Penyghent and later Ingleborough.

The best of the heather colour has gone and the ground is wet, I’ve seen worse but not necessarily in September. There is a lot of water flowing from the little spring passed on the way.

The air is fresh, north westerly. As I walk up to the trig point views open up in all directions. What a great sense of freedom up here, why don’t I do this every evening? At one time when my resolve was stronger I did.

Walking back down a different way I was pleased with new forest clearings and planting of some deciduous trees making the area more attractive.

The car park on return was quite busy yet I saw no one on the fell, strange. Less than an hour’s stroll but all that fresh air has put me in a far more positive mood. Tomorrow evening…

PASTURES NEW – a day out with Pixie.

Two experienced locals, JD and I, were taking ‘Batesieman’ and his dog Pixie for an exploratory walk over Longridge Fell. It was a perfect day, sunny and warm, with good visibility in all directions. We were lost [disorientated] in a field without a map and no obvious signage. I can’t really blame JD as he had just appeared on the scene from an earlier walk clutching a few wild strawberries, nowhere as good as the raspberries we found later, and agreed to accompany us further. For awhile I had wanted to visit Higher Deer House, marked prominently on the map. It turned out to be an unoccupied and undistinguished farmhouse in the middle of nowhere on the south side of Longridge Fell, The surrounding pastures were full of cows, calves and the occasional scary bull. This area had once been a medieval deer park on the Shireburn Estate long before the establishment of Stoneyhurst College.

We had started off walking up Longridge Fell on the track past Green Thorn Farm and onto the ridge at a clearing with great views over Bowland and also the Yorkshire Three Peaks. There has been a lot of forest clearing in the last few years because of the fungus affecting the spruce but it is amazing to see the regeneration of small trees occurring on the open ground – are these commercially viable or disease resistant? In front of us was the mighty Pendle Hill.The forest track brought us out at Kemple End where a compulsory visit to the quarry was taken, the site of Batesie and mine exploration a decade ago, the routes don’t get a lot of traffic.

Onwards through the complex of houses at Kemple End. The Almshouses built here in the 17th century were moved and reconstructed in Hurst Green after the Second World War. I think of this as an amazing endeavor and would like to know more of their history.

We had followed a sunken track which I’ve always thought of as an old sledgeway for transporting stone from the quarries but I now wonder was part of the deer park boundary. Once orientated we passed the deerhouse and wandered down to the footbridge over the hidden Dean Brook. Then up to join the bridleway to Greengore an interesting medieval hunting lodge of the Shireburn estate, noticeable are the buttresses and mullioned windows.

The bridleway continues up past Crowshaw House to arrive on the fell road where we had started.                                                                                                                                                       JD went home with his strawberries for tea.

All that remained was to show Batesie Crowshaw Quarry, the latest bouldering venue on Longridge Fell. He was impressed. Pixie wasn’t.

Here’s a map to show you where we went. A convivial afternoon stroll.