Category Archives: Walking.

EVEN MORE OF DINKLEY ON A FAMILY GOOD FRIDAY WALK.

The successful walk last week along the Ribble must have been at the back of my mind when some of the family pitched up on Good Friday. So after a quick lunch of soup I suggested something similar as the weather was perfect. Parking at the Marles Wood site was tricky but we luckily managed a space as someone drove away. Since last week the bluebells have moved on a touch and the ‘blue carpet’ was making an appearance in the woods.

Sales Wheel.

A steady stream of walkers made their way through the woods to and from the river at Sales Wheel, early picnickers on the banks had been testing the cold water and were now relaxing with beers – typical Brits on holiday, some will have red skin tonight.

We pressed on to the open area along the river and descended to the shingle beach for a prolonged session of enthusiastic stone skimming. Despite the abundance of perfect flat stones none made it to the opposite bank.

After some time simple stone chucking became the order of the day before a drinks stop.

We admired the new bridge and noticed the plaque from the 1951 opening of the original suspension bridge, which I’d missed last time.

Rather than walk the long way back along the opposite bank, protestations from the grandchild, we decided to head uphill to the road on this side. Looking at the 1:25,000 I spotted a track going virtually all the way without too much road walking. Of course this was not a right of way but looked inviting so we went for it. This worked well and we followed tracks of sorts all the way without obstruction except at the end emerging onto the road where the gate was locked with dire warnings to trespassers. I was particularly pleased with the route which gave magnificent views back down to the river and the bridge as well as more distant views of Hurst Green, Longridge Fell and Pendle Hill, and brought us back to the car without too much family stress – we had only covered two miles in two hours.

‘forgive us our trespasses’

 

Back to my place for beers, bagatelle and Ratatouille.

*****

MORE OF THE RIBBLE WAY AND DINKLEY BRIDGE.

Following on from  last Saturday’s walk from Hurst Green JD and I decided on a section of the Ribble Way taking in the newly opened Dinkley Bridge.

We parked at Marle Wood carpark and crossed the road away from the river into fields rising above the valley behind what was Salesbury Hall. Unfamiliar views opened up over the Ribble Valley with Longridge Fell in the background as we ascended and then suddenly Pendle was alongside us. No sooner than we were up we were down, back at Ribchester Bridge over the Ribble. We were guided alongside properties converted from the former de Tabley Arms, latterly the infamous Lodestar nightclub.

Downstream past the de Tabley.

Upstream.

Here we joined the Ribble Way which goes upstream alongside the river as you would expect but before long is diverted away from it because of anglers ‘rights’. This has been a problem for this long distance path in several places thus depriving the walker of beautiful stretches of the river, an access problem that was never resolved and I think resulting in the walk never gaining the popularity it could have. It feels a little neglected now.

The woods hereabout always have evidence of flooding, lots of twigs and logs along with lots of plastic but it is a delightful stretch nonetheless. Soon we were at Dinkley Bridge reopened after several years since flood damage, the old suspension bridge has been replaced with an elegant modern looking structure with ramps at either end for access. Hopefully it stands well above flood levels, it certainly doesn’t wobble like the old one.

I searched my photos for a picture of that suspension bridge in vain so here is one from Lancashire Life.

On the far side we rejoined the river bank for the stroll downstream which gave the best views of the bridge. We walked through fresh wild garlic, the bluebells were just starting to colour, wood sorrel, celendines and wood anemones were plentiful.   This mile alongside the river is popular because of the car park, it gives access to the shingle banks, goes through Marle Wood and looks over Sale Wheel, a whirl pool on a bend.

Long may this spring weather last.

*****

ANOTHER HURST GREEN CIRCULAR.

JD suggested a walk from Hurst Green, well actually he first suggested a circuit of Fairsnape Fell but I wasn’t feeling up to that but the day was too good to miss.

Our object today was to see if Dinkley Bridge over the Ribble was open again after a major rebuild following damage from Storm Desmond back in 2015 when flood waters buckled the upper part of the 1951 structure.   All pictures from my cheap phone.

We parked up in the village and made our way down to the magic Dean Brook. Just off the path  is a hidden rock face on which we put up a hard route 20 odd years ago, I was keen to have another look to assess any bouldering possibilities. The rock was still a bit green from the winter but there appeared to be plenty of clean rock low down, I will return to investigate.

Our route was to be circuitous to explore some unknown paths.  Searching for the first of these had us wandering into the back garden of the old hunting lodge of Greengore, we hastily retreated into the neighbouring field. Hidden stiles guided us across splendid Lancashire countryside to arrive at Higher Hud Lee Farm where an unlikely route took us through the untidy yards. On our way through we were press-ganged into helping two farmers push a car onto a low loader.

A stroll down the lane brought us to the long closed and now derelict Punch Bowl where another lane left the road heading for Bailey Hall. After a short distance we diverted to follow fields down to the thickly wooded Starling Brook and a footbridge. Once onto the next lane we were on familiar territory, or so we thought as all these lanes have a similar appearance. Strangely a small pond alongside seemed to have the remains of a speedboat embedded in it.

The Ribble Way joined us from the right and we followed the waymarks to Trough House where a diversion to the new Dinkley footbridge was made. What a splendid structure it appears though a trip to the far side would be needed for a proper view, an idea for next week. The old cantilevered structure has been  replaced. We were content to watch the Ribble flowing from the middle of the bridge. A lot of people were out and about enjoying the sunshine, many no doubt attracted by the new bridge’s opening.

The dogs at Trough House were in fine voice. Lambing Clough Lane climbed back up to Hurst Green where a wedding was in progress in The Shireburn Arms – what a day for it.

PS. The tyres on mountain bikes are getting bigger…

*****

 

SD 38. HORSFORTH TO BARWICK IN ELMET.

It would be a challenge to find green footpaths across the north of Leeds so we ate a hearty breakfast. If we weren’t doggedly following SD38 we could have used the waymarked Leeds Country Way which skirts northern Leeds. Away at 9am the morning was cool but promised a clear day. Within a street or two of our hotel we entered Meanwood Park for an interesting mile of varied park and woodland – what a good start to the day. Even the incursion into strange David Lloyd territory gave us open access across a park into Moortown where we watched but failed to photo a low flying Red Kite, what a magnificent bird – how can people shoot them out of the skies?

Meanwood Park.

Anyone for the gym?

Blackthorn in profusion.

Our next aim was Roundhay Park and we had no option but to take to the pavements weaving through quiet streets.

Classic walking territory.

The park was busy with families enjoying the warm sunshine and open spaces. Our first priority was a coffee at the Mansion House overlooking the park. A stroll through the grass down to the lower lake, here we left the crowds and climbed up through the woods to cross Leeds Golf Course out onto a lane by Cobble Hall.

Grand entry to Roundhay Park.

Expensive coffee break.

Looking back at the Mansion.

 

Across another busy road was an industrial area where we thought we may be able to creep through to Red Hall, but no such luck new building is in progress and the whole area fenced and gated. We stood around wondering about some form of trespass when only 10yds away was a signed permissive path going in our direction. We skipped along pleased with our SD38 fortune and came out the other side en route.

No way …

… but how lucky are we?

A mile and a half straight rural road looked promising on the map but turned out to be the highway from hell, our worst section of the whole trip, I suspect it was a short cut out to the A1[M].

With relief we found a footpath, time for lunch and some peace and quiet. The scenery changed becoming rolling open fields, the start of the Wolds. Our destination was Barwick in Elmet a busy little village with a cross, the largest maypole I’ve ever seen [26m], a few good-looking pubs and more importantly a bus stop to Leeds.

Barwick in Elmet.

Leeds centre on a Saturday was all a buzz and we were glad to catch the crowded train back to Skipton. Two excellent days walking across the Bradford – Leeds corridor on surprisingly green paths.  We are now over half way across our SD38 line and looking forward to rural walking to the coast.

*****

SD 38. SALTAIRE TO HORSFORTH [LEEDS]

What could have been an uninspiring day in the hinterland of Bradford and Leeds turned out to be almost a green corridor of pleasant walking. It was not difficult to keep close to our lateral line with the proviso from Sir Hugh to incorporate a visit to his primary school in Thackley.

From the rail station in Saltaire we quickly reached the Leeds – Liverpool Canal to follow it off and on throughout the morning. At first all was industrial, historically relating to the canal with some fine mill buildings brought into the 21st century.

There were a few scattered sculptures including this one which was a pun on the Salt Mill connection…Hanging on the wall of my garage is an Ellis-Briggs cycle frame, probably 40years old, so I was delighted to pass their establishment which has been building steel frames since 1936. The cycling scene was booming in the 1930’s and the other notable established builder was W.R. Baines, whose factory was based at Thackley, see above and further into the walk. Coincidentally I rode a 1950’s Baines ‘Flying Gate’ cycle for many years.

 

Some nondescript scenery followed enlivened by some dubious and unsuccessful canal boat manoeuvering, it is difficult to do a three point turn.

Climbing away from the canal on cobbled paths above railway tunnels we entered Thackley, a mixture of old stone houses and modern estates, and found Sir Hugh’s school still open and extended since his time. Up here was the local cricket club with a very challenging sloping pitch, Sir Hugh’s father had been a member.

From the map we were not sure whether we could access the canal towpath from open country but thankfully there was a bridge. Soon we were sat on a bench looking down locks near Apperley Bridge, this was a busy stretch with pedestrians but no boat movements.Crossing busy orbital roads took time unless there were lights. We switched from the canal to follow the River Aire alongside the sports grounds of Woodhouse Grove School. The river continued through remarkably rural scenery despite being close to the railway and new housing developments.

Pleasant suburbs gave us twisting streets heading for Hawksworth Park which turned out to be a wooded valley. More parkland and upmarket housing and we arrived at our excellent budget hotel for the night.

*****

LONGRIDGE FELL WANDERINGS.

A rather gloomy Longridge Fell with Pendle in the background.

I rose Phoenixlike from the ashes for a stroll on Longridge Fell. I had not been out for a month due to some chest infection or other and I wheezed my way round today. The weather was not the promised spring sunshine, in fact I wished I had donned an extra layer to cope with the cold wind.

I chose an anticlockwise circuit for some reason but before long this was denied to me by forestry work on wind-blown trees that had closed some paths. Over the last few years there has been a lot of tree felling partly due to fungal diseases attacking the spruce, and the edges of the remaining trees are susceptible to strong winds. I lost a Blue Spruce in my own garden two years ago and wonder whether I brought the disease back from the fell.

The diversions led me into parts of the forest long forgotten and rarely visited.

My favourite tree on the fell.

Approaching problems.

No further.

Deep in the hidden parts.

On the way back I enjoyed a  long open section past the trig point with decent views into Chipping Vale and across to the Bowland Hills. I met the only people I’d seen all day flying an extremely fast model glider.

The Bowland view.

What’s eating this?

The modern non-edible variety.

It was windy.

You can see from my plotted map that I walked an erratic route with some backtracking but managed 7 miles which pleased me.

*****

SD 38. OLDFIELD TO SALTAIRE.

There were several unexpected highlights on today’s walk and despite heading into the congested Aire Valley we enjoyed rural walking throughout on one of the warmest sunniest February days I remember.

Continuing our straight line walk meant once again logistics of two car parking. Sir Hugh suggested Saltaire as a finishing point so we arranged a rendezvous in the large free car park there, all went well with my journey until I became stuck in early rush hour traffic, not the best of starts for a day’s walking. With the late start and more traffic problems we drove back to our last point in the Ponden Valley.  Sir Hugh seemed to know all these intricate Pennine roads and little villages or at least the lonely Public Houses where he spent his money when living in the area as a young man. We were stunned when the lane up to our isolated parking spot was closed necessitating back tracking and finding an alternative route on what was becoming a frustrating morning.

At last we set off down a bridleway high above Ponden Reservoir only for Sir Hugh to realise he’d left his phone on the car, fortunately we hadn’t gone far. This initiated a conversation on things left behind on walks and the cut off distance where one is prepared or able to return. Poles, passports, waterproofs, cameras and particularly hats were prominent on the list. We ran into problems with unmarked, difficult to follow and blocked paths in the Oldfield area and at West House farm admitted defeat and took to the road for a while. None the less there were many interesting houses passed.

High above Ponden Reservoir.

Before he’d realised his loss.

We were concerned with our poor progress after the delayed start on what would be a long day but as often happens things suddenly improved and remained so all day. We encountered a deep gorge not apparent on the map and decided to take the old flagged path alongside down to the River Worth which was then followed for a mile or so through green fields. We reached a road at an old mill that had been restored to provide modern living accommodation. There were several pack horse type bridges on this stretch reflecting the days when the valley was thriving with small riverside mills.

On the edge of Haworth I had noticed on the map a ‘Railway Children’s Walk’. The Railway Children by Edith Nesbit, published in 1906, was set in Yorkshire and a 1970 film used The Keighley and Worth Valley Railway as a backdrop. I remember watching a BBC TV series back in the 50s. Thus Haworth’s tourism benefits from both the Bronte connection and the preserved steam railway.  We followed the lane across the Mytholmes railway tunnel made famous in the film …

… I regret now not going the extra few hundred yards to view the authentic Oakworth station featured prominently in the film. No trains today so we climbed up the steep hill to the busy Cross Roads and would you believe it – halfway up a steam train came into view way below us in the valley, bad timing. Up on the road the stone houses all bore that blackened look of the industrial past.

At Barcroft we reached high open countryside and enjoyed marching out with distant views to Bingley. In the fore ground was a prominent rocky tor, Catstones, and we speculated on the climbing possibilities and the height of the faces.

A bench below was perfect for lunch, I didn’t have the energy to ascend to the rocks. An inscription was dedicated to a Cllr. Ron Senior who pioneered a circular walk around Cullingworth, Senior Way. We felt well qualified to follow it.

We ended up just using the pavement through Harden but then entered St.Ives country park for a popular woodland walk to the edge of Bingley. The park is yet another old estate taken into council ownership providing a wide range of activities, we only skirted the edge.

A lane dropped down to bridges and fords at Beck Foot, a site of old mills, all very picturesque in the sun. An ecyclist proudly showed us his bike and extolled the virtues of battery powered leisure, not sure what it is doing for his fitness.

The River Aire, on its way into the industrial Leeds, was followed through fields to give another aspect to this day’s walk. Surprisingly rural although there was rubbish evident. A last stretch of woodland linked to the Leeds Liverpool Canal which took us into the heart of Salts Mill at Saltaire. Formerly a textile mill, now an arts centre, built by the philanthropic Sir Titus Salt in 1853, along with the adjoining Saltaire village in the hope of improving the conditions for working people. The whole complex is worthy of a day’s exploration. We found our car as the sun was setting and joined the heavy traffic home.

*****