Tag Archives: Longridge Fell


20231130_135009xThe temperature is hovering just above zero, but we must be under a high pressure there is no wind and the sun is shining. Perfect. I don’t carry a camera for these two days, I’m trying out my new phone.

Wednesday I join that walking group who put up with my irregular appearances. I’m not really a walking group type of person, a miserable old bugger and proud of it. The meeting place is strangely the Capitol Centre in south Preston. Perhaps the whole thing is a subterfuge for some Christmas Shopping. But no, once we all assembled we are marched off into no man’s land of Walton-le-dale and Lower Penwortham. Old railways and tram tracks wander through light woodland and surprisingly green fields. I keep seeing cycleway signs, so I must look them up for further exploration, there is no such thing as a wasted walk. The talk generally is about the state of the nation in particular the NHS, we are all of an age when most are afflicted.


On our way.


Cheeky chap.


Safely back at the shops

Time passes quickly, I have no idea where I have been but the leader sensibly hands out a map of our route for perusal later.  P1010908

The highlight of these walks is the pub lunch at the end. Today it is Hunters. Being smart I looked up their website the night before and memorised their own map of  the locality. So once we were back in the car I proudly said I knew the way. We all seemed to drive off indifferent directions. Ten minutes later we realised there was no pub at our destination. Out with the phone to plot another route, this time putting in the name of the road – Hennel Lane. Another ten minutes and we were parking up in what appeared to be tacky family fun road house. It was, but the food was ok and they had some decent beers. Should I tell them of their website error or just let other people find out the hard way as we did. You can see the two sites on the map below, take your pick.Capture


Thursday, another day of frost and sun. The usual procrastinating and I end up with a walk up Longridge Fell, nothing wrong with that. I realise I have not had my breakfast which is a bit strange. Being on my own I can dawdle and take pictures of frozen grasses. 20231130_131451

When I set off there are few cars in the carpark but later in the afternoon it is quite busy, dog walkers mainly taking advantage of the good weather. I take my usual route contouring the lower fell – the ‘panorama route’ I call it because of the views over Chipping Vale and the background Bowland Fells of Fair Snape and Totridge. I walk up to the trig point on Spire Hill. The boggy areas are semi frozen making life easier but still giving way on the wetter sections. I have the place to myself, there is not a sound or a drop of wind. The three Yorkshire peaks are clear in the distance, I head back down through the trees first and then reverse my upward route. I meet a mountain biker making the best of the conditions.P101089720231130_134954


A lady is setting up her easel to sketch the scenery in front of her. Unashamedly I interrupt her saying ” I wish I could do that”. She is very modest and replies she struggles to produce anything worthwhile. I’m sure she is underplaying her talents. I find out the name of the gallery in Ribchester where she exhibits and promise to visit. 20231130_142518

A little farther on I meet a friend who spends his time photographing wild life, particularly birds. He is out to see the barn owls that quarter the fellside most evening. I should come up tomorrow to do the same as there is also a short eared owl about. His camera is a foot longer than mine. What envy? 20231130_131355

Two contrasting walks!

Lets hope for more days like this and the winter will feel much shorter.



By now you will know that if I just say ‘the fell’ I’m referring to Longridge Fell. However there is a new restaurant in town simply called Fell – not been yet, rather pricy. Saving it for a special occasion. 

I was going to get my hair cut when a phone call came from the ‘slate poem lady’, Clare, wondering if I fancied a walk up the fell as the day was perfect. Of course I did.

We were accompanied by Zola, an Australian Kelpie. This breed, possibly descended from our Collies  are working dogs and need a lot of exercise. Whilst we walked three or four miles I think she did ten. There was a moment of panic when a Roe Deer bounded out of the trees and shot across the heather, Zola picked up the scent and was off. Fortunately cheese snacks dragged her back.

We had already taken a slightly different route up the fell because the paragliders* in the sky were spooking the dog. Normally they are launching themselves off Parlick across the valley, but occasionally if the winds change they congregate up here, using  the steep scarp for launching. P1000620

It all looked very exciting and the views from up there must be great but I was happy to keep my feet on the ground. Some of that ground was very boggy today but we made it to the trig point, yes we could see Ingleborough and Pen-Y-Ghent and the Hodder Valley spread below us, the sky was so clear, before we disappeared into the woods. I love this passage down the tunnel of light. P1000631

A bit of boggy walking, more boggy than I had expected, sorry, on past the tree that I christened ‘It’s Grim Up North’ years ago.P1060060 (2)

Back at the road I took a hidden track into Cowley Brook Plantation for some further circular exploration. We found some unidentified fungi and peered into the deep hole in the ground, Sweden Quarry. After some awkward bracken bashing we were again on the road not far from our parked cars, the paragliders were still enjoying the updraft.. The sun shining bright, these are the autumn days to be enjoyed and praised.


* I hesitated to put up a picture of a paraglider. Three Palestinian PEACE protesters have been arrested in London for displaying such an image – apparently now associated with the dreadful Hamas invasion of Israel. Three women deny showing pictures in support of Hamas – BBC News


What strange times we live in.

Next time I will get a photo of Zola.



To misquote Laura Kuenssberg. Morning, come with me. I’m not going to go easy on you, but I’ll be fair. Shall we get on with it? Here we go.

If I have an hour to spare for exercise or some time between rain showers I inevitably end up doing a circuit in a nearby woodland. I’ve been up there  three times this week, no matter the weather, it’s different every time. Far better than walking around the roads or wet fields. It might be worth your while bringing boots or wellies as at this time of year there are some wet areas, nothing serious. Parking is easy, about 10 minutes out of town, some of you may know it.

Through the gate and a track heads straight on into the new plantation. A way through has been created by dog walkers and perhaps myself. It winds between the newly planted deciduous trees and the regrowth of conifers since part of the wood was felled several years ago. It is good to watch the growth year by year of these trees. I do wonder though, without thinning, the conifers may outstrip the planted oaks, beech, birch, mountain ash and hollies. It is the strong oily odours of the conifers that endure as you push your way through.


The bracken is dying off and the heathers a dull brown too. Autumn colour is just starting in the trees. Flowers are replaced by different varieties of fungi, I wish I could identify more of them. There is always bird song up here but the bees and butterflies have gone for the year.P1000234


Onwards the path reaches two isolated, tall, dead trunks from the original forestry. They stand like two sentinels spearing the sky, a good marker for a faint path going right and climbing the hillside, again winding its way between trees. Higher the track is easier to follow now the bracken is dying back and eventually comes out on the rim of a deep quarry, a large hole in the ground, filling up with water at this time of year. Time for a break, look back down over the plantation and the Ribble Valley, check out the quarry for bird life. There are deer up here too.P1000239


Heading back down look out for a right branching path traversing through the new plantation below the sombre remaining Spruce. More twist and turns and one comes to a tumble down wall, evidence of fields before the forest was planted by the water board of the time. A wide track/forest break leads straight on into an ever darkening environment. Death pervades the atmosphere. Yes, these forests were a bleak monoculture aimed solely at timber production. P1000246P1000245

You may find a stone cairn which is the junction for heading back down through the trees, many of which appear dead, to the forest track and greenery. There is a sawn off stump here, and I often place a pebble on it only to find next time it’s gone. ‘Anti cairn’ walkers or some animal in the night. P1000249P1000250

Take a right and follow the wide track, sharing it with a stream which tends to drain along it halfway. At the end there is light as one emerges into the felled plantation. P1000253P1000254P1000256

A swerve  right and then a dink left down the hillside. There are some wet patches along here, but eventually you hop across a ditch and reach the lower path by the brook. This week it has been lively and could be heard long before it was reached. P1000259P1000261

Walk up the slope alongside the brook, again easier now the bracken is dying back. Another wall is met and a bit of a scramble down to a side stream waterfall where a miniature causeway has appeared in recent years. I always add a stone to it when I pass. The flow of water will probably wash them all away this winter. P1000263



For a brief moment you come out onto the open hillside where barn owls quarter at dusk. Higher up alongside the water there has been extensive tree planting. But we don’t go that way, instead we hop across a wall back into the original forest. There are different fungi on this stretch, yellowish ones that are quickly eaten, by slugs? The way onwards is clear but to either side is primeval swamp. The gales of the last couple of years have caused devastation, but it will all rot away given time, wonderful for diversification of the environment. Don’t stray from the path. P1000268P1000270



And then you are back at the road. P1000276

Two kilometres of discovery, reflection and peace.

Take your time and enjoy all it has to offer, it’s good for the soul.

Hope you spot something new and maybe go around the other way next time – it’s different.




It’s a while since I’ve given you some music –

This song was in my mind, but I couldn’t remember where it came from – of course it is an Irving Berlin number, A Couple of Swells, from Easter Parade performed originally by Fred Astaire and Judy Garland way back in 1948. 

So we’ll walk up the avenue
Yes we’ll walk up the avenue
And to walk up the avenue’s what we like

They were probably singing about 5th Avenue, New York, but I have the more humble Avenue in Hurst Green as my walk today. 

The morning was one of those frustrating ones, all apparently too common in these days of modern technology. Attempted phone calls and online machinations. Car.  insurance first, last year I paid £371 and this year they are quoting £832. Time for a change. Money Supermarket seemed easier to navigate than the popular Confused.com once you have all your information to hand. Prices came up from £450, I settled for £480 with the Bank of Scotland. Insurance is a minefield. I still need to ensure the original insurers don’t automatically charge my card – can’t get through on the phone.

On the subject of insurance my car is still away being repaired after my unfortunate run in with a wall. They said it would be ready last week, no word from them. After half an hour on the phone line I gave up.

Also, I’m still trying to ensure that repairs to my camera are carried out under the guarantee. My telephone calls to the shop are all answered by different personnel, and they never get back to me. My random poor pictures today are therefore from my ageing phone.

By now it is lunchtime and the sun is shining. Time for a short walk to keep my legs going. Bouldering is out of the question, my left arm is sore as hell from the Covid jab yesterday and my right arm equally so from the flu jab. Was it wise to have them both at the same time? The ‘Avenue’ walk appeared out of the depths of my mind. It would be on good surfaces and not too long or steep, I’m taking my physio’s advice and moderating my exercise. 

The Avenue starts in Hurst Green and goes all the way to Stonyhurst College. CaptureHurst Green

Depressingly the Bailey Arms pub is still closed but “open for refurbishment if a new licensee can be found”, an all too familiar story. There used to be three pubs in the village in recent memory but only the Shireburn Arms is still trading in Tolkien territory. DSC00569

I walk up the Avenue, past little cottages, past the famous Almshouses, through Stonyhurst’s gates, past the spooky graveyard and the even spookier Madonna statue, Our Lady of the Avenue. I place a foot on Cromwell’s Stone and cast my eyes down the continuing Avenue all the way to the college itself. There is a lot of history around these parts, much of it covered in my many other posts on the area. DSC00514DSC00515DSC00521DSC00523

Are you still singing that song, I am?

At one time you could walk the full length of the Avenue past the fish ponds up to the college facade. Now there are closed gates and notices to make you aware there is no right of way, fair enough, but after walking up the road past the golf course towards Longridge Fell you can take advantage of a Public Path into the grounds and then directly across that very facade. Not the grandest of entrances but us commoners will have to make do. DSC00526DSC00535

They don’t like you taking photographs in the grounds, child protection explained the security guard the last time I was here. They can’t begrudge a photo of the exquisite St. Peter’s Church, not a child in sight. Seriously though they have probably some children boarding from very rich foreign countries, so security must be a nightmare. DSC00537

I could have taken the path down through the fields past the clay pigeon shooting range, you have to ring a bell before continuing and being shot, but I wanted to keep my feet dry and avoid the slippery slopes, we have had a lot of rain if it hasn’t escaped your notice. So on I go past the observatory and gardens using the farm track. Groundsman are mowing which must be an almost continuos ongoing task  on the estate to keep it up to scratch.

Round the back well out of view are a couple of soccer pitches and then the wonderfully positioned cricket square with its iconic brick pavilion and views over the Ribble Valley and Pendle. DSC00555DSC00557DSC00562

I come out past more estate cottages to the busy Whalley Road. I could have carried on across and down to the river to join the Tolkien Trail back to Hurst Green but as I said I wanted to keep my boots clean. Having already established from Google Earth that there was a continuous footway beside the road back to the village that is what I follow.

The Shireburn Arms is open, now part of a group, James’ Places which seems to be the way these rural inns can survive. Opposite is the village green with three interesting crosses, but you will have to search for the oldest, have a look here.

A pleasant afternoon stroll on the Avenue. 

And for a contrast if you like rocksteady – 




I had arranged to meet Rod for a few climbs up at Kemple End, the quarry at the far end of Longridge Fell. Originally I had suggested it to him as a good option for afternoon shade in our mini heatwave last week. That didn’t seem to work out, so we found ourselves up there this morning instead – a good option for morning sun.

Autumn was in the air and the grass had a heavy dew, but the bracken was dying back which made access along the quarry rim somewhat easier. We backed up the top belays on the way in and scrambled down to the base. The rock was in perfect condition despite recent rain. 


I have been asked to rewrite the section on Kemple for the up-and-coming, maybe in a couple of years, latest Lancashire climbing  guide book. (On my bookshelves I have about five or six previous editions going back decades, all a little dog-eared) Hence, I was wanting Rod to re-climb a few routes to get an overall grade consensus, particularly where there has been some recent rock re-arrangements. Another climber’assessment can clarify your own jaundiced view.

I thought Rod’s sack looked rather small, I’d brought the rope and gear, and sure enough when he delved into it no rock shoes or harness came out. Probably on the kitchen table back home, it’s easily done. No problem I contrived a makeshift harness, and he thought he could manage in his stiff hiking boots. After all we had started our climbing days in ordinary boots, dedicated rock shoes had only just started to appear on the market, from France originally. My climbing shoes would most likely not have fit anyhow.

The first climb, Ribbled, went well, even I managed it with my dodgy ligaments confirming its easyish HVD grade. Birdy Brow has lost its flake and is no longer feasible, so we put a rope down Bird on the Wing, its replacement. This has a few reachy starting moves made worse by Rod’s boots, but he persevered and got up thinking it about VS 4c.

We sit and have a break in the sun, an owl is hooting somewhere in the hidden quarry bowl. There is the hum of bees around the brambles and heather. All very peaceful. All part of the climbing day.

Then over to Great Expectations, one of my favourites here. Another steep start brings you to a shallow sloping ledge in the middle of the wall, use this to somehow make farther progress. It wasn’t to be today. Rod’s boots skidding on the blank wall where rock boots would have just smeared. A potentially good day’s climbing marred by the wrong boots.


                             Not so ‘Great Expectations’ in big boots.



I’m idly looking at the OS map for something new on my home ground. I’m only looking for a few gentle miles and I think I have spotted a footpath I’ve not knowingly been on before, however unlikely that seems. The weather is on the change, and it has been raining this morning, I bide my time until after lunch.

Being lazy I drive my car to the top of the village to start the walk rather than tramp the streets. There is parking next to Craig Y bouldering venue, part of the defunct Green Bank Quarry complex, The BMC secured Craig Y whilst the rest of the site has been developed into a housing estate. Passing through it is a bridleway leading to an ancient sunken lane, Written Stone Lane, did some of the quarried stone exit this way?  Today I wander down it coming out near the site of the Written Stone about which I’ve visited many times before and linked to   The Written Stone of Dilworth  for a detailed history. DSC00431DSC00436DSC00437

On across the road to go down a quiet lane to where my ‘new’ path should be found on the right. There is no sign, but I know I’m in the correct place. Ahead doesn’t look very inviting – farm buildings and all the usual associated junk. I wonder whether the way will be blocked, but no after having to open one gate styles start appearing in the field boundaries, although I doubt few come this way. In the fields there are several small ponds probably Marl Pits originally,they are teeming with Mallard families.DSC00439DSC00440DSC00441



At one point a fishing lake has been created in Page Brook, here footpath signs are more evident taking you through and away from the private lake. All very civilised.DSC00446DSC00447DSC00448

I recognise Stonelands Farm in the distance from a different walk done three years ago. I am still none the wiser as to the origins of the carved stones, although the rounded one is definitely Roman. DSC00452DSC00457DSC00459

Crossing carefully the road on the bad bend by The Corporation Arms, one of many local pubs that did not survive lockdown and the continuing financial restraints. DSC00460

Soon off the busy road the Tan Yard track is taken back up into the quarries, what must Longridge have been like when they were all working. The caravan site is enlarging, and I notice some of the permanent vans have extensive views across the Ribble Valley – not a bad place to live. Pendle always manages to pop its head up. Himalayan Balsam is doing its best to obliterate the final stretch of path.DSC00462



The rain starts just as I arrive back at the car. That has been a pleasant afternoon’s outing, a new path found and plenty of interest along the way, all on the very edge of town. .

CaptureWritten Stone.

HEATHER – and other things.


Mid-August already. I’m losing this year somehow. I head up the fell for a short afternoon amble but find a grouse shoot taking place on Gannow Fell. Not the big ‘driven’ affair with lots of beaters, butts and toffs, but the ‘walked-up’ variety. A few guns walk up the fell hoping to flush out the grouse. To be honest I rarely see a grouse on this patch of fell and talking to one of the helpers they haven’t had a good session. No sympathy there from me.

I fall back on the haven that is Cowley Brook Plantation. I’ve mentioned it before as a pleasant place to walk around. An old plantation owned by United Utilities who cut some of the timber a few years ago and planted more mixed woodland species. At the same time they have opened up access to the public and paths have developed within it. I like the idea of spontaneous path generation, not all of them going anywhere in particular,that is part of the charm of the place. It’s good to watch the development of the different trees as the years come by. Normally the place is alive with birdsong, but today all is quiet, perhaps the guns from across the way have frightened them. At least the brook is gurgling away. P1020138


Mountain Ash.



Oh, I forget, I titled this post ‘heather’ because of the sudden blooming of the fells up here. Most of the heather flowering at this time of the year, in various shades of purple, is Calluna vulgaris. One can smell the semi sweet musty aroma from the roadside. In another week or so there will be a haze of pollen blowing across the land. Get out and enjoy it while you can – providing they are not grouse shooting.



It may have passed your notice that Alison Rose, the NW Bank CEO, resigned recently as a result of  ‘a serious error’ relating to leaking Nigel Farage’s account. Yet today I read that she will still be paid a £2.3 million compensation package. Maybe it is time to change banks – any suggestions?

This seems to be a recurring theme. Business managers, multi nationals and politicians profiting from their negligence at the cost to Joe Public. You and me.

My short walk has failed to put me in a good mood. Every thing should be beautiful.


P1020116 (2)

It is a month since I have done a ‘long walk’. Health issues combined with all that heat kept me in doors. I’ve only managed a few walks of a couple of miles or so, enjoyable nonetheless in their own rights. Tomorrow I hope to take up the cudgel of another possibly strenuous Cicerone’s Lancashire walk. So I had better have a gentle warmer up to get my legs back into shape.

From my header photo you can see that the hawthorn flower has given way to the elderberry.

Juggling with the weather I need to get going before the afternoon rain comes in, our gardens need it. (it never arrived)

Let’s keep it simple and walk up the lanes from the village onto Longridge Fell. I’m only out for the exercise after all. Park at the little reservoir, Upper Dilworth, stop to watch the female tufted duck with her brood and then a brisk walk-up past the golf course onto Jeffery Hill. I can’t resist a look into Cardwell Quarry to see if the barn owl is still there. A couple of weeks ago I looked in and took a hurried photo of the roost which showed up the owl’s legs but nothing more! Today nothing at all. I sat for a while taking in the view over Chipping Vale and remembering all those summer evenings climbing up here with Longridge mates. It’s banned now due to some unfortunate contretemps between the landowner and some selfish youths. It doesn’t take much to destroy all the goodwill built up in the past. P1020112P1020115P1020128P1020130


Two weeks ago – spot the legs.

Close by here the Roman Road was thought to have come up from Ribchester before a turn to head through the hills towards Newton, and then over to Lancaster. It is marked on the OS map, and today I can make out the line of it just below the modern road. P1020119

P1020132 (2)

Surprisingly there is only one car parked up on Jeffrey Hill where the walk-up onto Longridge Fell starts. I never meet the occupants. Taking the ‘balcony path’ along to the spring and then heading towards the ridge, it is bone dry. I am tempted to carry on up to the trig point, but sense tells me to go easy and besides I can see rain coming in across the Fylde Coast. Back down alongside the wall, past the ‘grim up north’ tree. 



Straight across and alongside the upper trees of Cowley Brook Plantation. This plantation is becoming a favourite of mine for an evening stroll, and today I cut down through it meeting up with the brook where it disappears under the road. P1020137P1020138P1020140P1020143

This road takes me eventually, there are lots of ups and downs, back to the village, passing the lower side of the manicured golf course this time.



Job done, now let’s see what the forecast is for tomorrow.

CaptureLOngridge Fell.



The heat goes on, we somehow have avoided the thunderstorms rattling around the North West. Lethargy is the order of the day. But there is a breeze from the east, so some solace may be found up on the far end of Longridge Fell. Not again I hear you say that’s the third time in a week up there, but I’ve approached  from three different but well-used directions.  The lethargy prevents me going farther afield and the heat limits my delicate body’s distance and exertion. And anyhow I like my local fell. 

When I moved to Longridge over 50 years ago few people used the fell for recreation. The forest tracks were constructed, but I don’t think the public were encouraged onto the land. I remember the spruce trees looked relatively young, as was I at the time. A few public footpaths criss-crossed the once open fell sides which must have been planted up in the late 60s to 70s. The 7th Edition, One inch to the mile, map of 1969 shows only a few scattered plantations with no forestry tracks. There was a way up from Jeffry (Jeffrey) Hill to the trig point, then 1148 feet (now350 m) but few went farther along the ridge. This involved for  the most part delicate, muddy and pathless walking between the young trees. 

CaptureLOngridge fell 1964

Compare with the modern map.

CaptureLongridge fell

Over the years, thanks to intrepid walkers, a path developed along the ridge from the trig point all the way to Kemple End where the fell drops steeply to the Hodder. This was mainly in the new forest planting and could be very muddy in the winter. Mountain Bikers started using the forestry tracks and signage eventually appeared on the public right of ways. Old walls started to crumble but were still good orientation points. It has now become a popular walking and cycling destination. But come full circle and some areas are being harvested and the devastation that that brings can often wipe out the unofficial paths that had developed. On top of that recent storms have brought down many trees and affected paths can be difficult or impossible to follow. Clearance is for some reason slow paced. 

My planned walk today would complete a trilogy of routes up Longridge Fell, from the West, South and now East. I would be walking some of those ‘unofficial’ paths and encountering both forestry and storm damage.

From the rough parking at Kemple End the main forest road traverses the fell, but I want to see how the little path in the trees to the north had survived. Starting on the left, SD 689406, down the road from the parking. The path looks well-used and the few trees that had blown down seem to have been cleared, all very promising. Buzzards circle overhead and blue butterflies flit around my feet. There is not much breeze although most of the time I’m in the shade. Steady progress uphill. At the first junction I know I could go left and regain the main forest road, but I go right to keep to the ridge. The path narrows and is enclosed in the trees, I recognise familiar landmarks. Before long though it comes up against some forestry work from a couple of years ago, a large area of felled trees on the northern scarp. People have escaped back left to the forest road. and that’s what I do. After 200 m on that road I spot an orange arrow on a tree at the edge of the destruction, is this a way back to the original path? After some haphazard wandering through orange dotted trees I give up and escape into the felled area onto a track of sorts used by logging vehicles. It leads me in the right direction westwards close to where the old path ran and if people use it will become an established way. Somewhere at the end where it joins with a forest road, more felling here, used to be a viewpoint (Sam’s View, I never found out who Sam was) but with new growth on the scarp it is no more. All in all a right mess. The latest OS map no longer tells the truth.


A good start.



Pushing on.



The old way through the trees on the ridge…



…soon disappeared in forestry devastation.



New trees have already been planted.



Orange hope?


Sam’s view?

I don’t feel like tackling the still obstructed way up to the trig point so simply follow an established path down to the forest road. I turn left and saunter back down to the car with the bulk of Pendle ahead. 


No farther.


Escape path.


The main road.


Proud Pendle.

Last year there was a good crop of orchids along here but nothing to show at present. The Bird’s Foot Trefoil, Mouse-ear Hawkweed and ‘Fox and Cubs’ are all flowering.  What delightful traditional countryside names.

You may wonder why I’ve not yet included a route onto the fell from the north, well have a look at those contours. Longridge Fell is a ‘cuesta’ with a steep escarpment to the north and a gentle slope to the south. I have come up from the north many times but any ascent at the moment would be punishing in the heat. I will leave it to you to plan your own way up those footpaths from the Chipping side. 

I fear for the fells as we have had no rain for weeks. One careless cigarette or a disposable barbecue, the weapon of choice for moorland fires, and we will be loosing a valuable habitat once more. Go careful out there.


  Capture Kemple End..JPG



Latest ESRI.



20230610_150136 (2)

Every fell has an easy and hence popular way up it. The Victorians talked of ‘Tourist Routes’ up the Lakeland Fells, I have a copy of a 1960s Baddeley’s Lake District, a Ward Lock Red Guide aimed at the new tourist who wanted to explore the fells without any serious mountaineering. Wainwright popularised the fells, but give him his due he did seek out the less populated ways. A trade route or tourist way is the most frequently used route for ascending and descending a hill or mountain. Farther afield the term the “Yak Route” was used for climbing Mount Everest on a commercial expedition, you have seen the pictures of the queues on the South Col.

Well I’m not in the Himalayas or even the Lakes but on the humble Longridge Fell. I’ve been up it three times this week already, it’s in my backyard so to speak, trying to build up my fitness again after an enforced lay-off. There are three main entry points for climbing the fell. a path from Jeffrey Hill car park, my usual way. The forest track up from the lower fell road parking above Crowshaw. And the forest track from Kemple End at the far end of the fell road. Judging from the amount of cars parked up the middle option is the favourite, a simple march up the made up and wide forestry track.

So that was my option today,the hottest of the year so far. Despite my stating this to be the most popular way there were very few people about. Too hot for most and down in Longridge it was field day. Field days years ago were a community gathering, my children on many a themed float. A family day out. Nowadays, it has become a bit of a rebel rouser with the riot police usually in evidence later in the day. One to be avoided. English society has taken a downturn in the last decade. 

That links me into the ‘trade route’ up Longridge Fell. I almost changed the title of this post to ‘the irresponsible dog walkers’ route. I came across a dozen discarded dog poo bags within the first hundred yards from the road. And there were more sporadically as the track gained height. Trying to be impartial, who do these people, it’s not the dogs, think will clear up the mess? Not a good start to my walk. 20230610_150200

The shade I had hoped for was lacking due to recent forestry operations but once on the open ridge there was a cooling easterly. Before long I plunged back into the trees for the tricky section through windblown trees from the ‘beast from the east’, was it really 2018? Nothing much has been done to restore the path, in fact due to exposure more trees have come down since then. I’m beginning to know the best way through now. 20230610_151350




Onwards down a track through naturally regenerating forest from harvesting a decade or so ago. I love this stretch past some of my favourite oak and beech trees. Although one of the ageing giants has fallen. 20230610_15591820230610_16061320230610_16064820230610_160955

If you know it there is a shady path back avoiding walking on the road. 20230610_145421

So a trade route up but a more adventurous way back down. Plenty of variety in three miles. Did I take any photos on my phone?  Just a few. I was glad I had some water to drink back at the car. It may thunder tonight, I hope it will. in fact, it is right now.


Longridge Fell.



                                                                      A wet Longridge Fell.

…dry by eleven.

This piece of optimism is presumably based on the weather in NW Britain, where early-morning rain could mean it has been raining all night. The front producing it may then blow through giving way to fine weather later in the day, though not necessarily by eleven. It had certainly been raining most of the night when I awoke this morning at six, and it still was at nine. A couple of coffees, a poached egg and the crossword later I wondered about getting out. I wasn’t in a rush, just going local, so let’s give it to twelve to be certain.

My previous foolproof method of forecasting the day involved looking out of my bedroom window. If I couldn’t see Longridge Fell it was raining, if I could see the fell it was going to rain. Such is life up here. But now Barratt’s have built some ghastly houses in front of me, so I can’t see the fell at all. What does that say about the weather?

Parked up at Jeffrey Hill to do my usual short round on this end of Longridge Fell. Why not incorporate a litter pick whilst I’m at it, haven’t done one for a few weeks and after Easter I expect a good collection. The clouds over Bowland still suggest rain but is that some brightness behind me coming in from the coast on the strong winds? We can but hope, and anyway I’m fully waterproofed.


Rain in the Trough of Bowland. 


Behind me brightening across the Fylde?

To my surprise, or should that be pleasure, there is very little litter heading up to the trig point. I suspect someone else is helping out. Apart from the phantom orange peeler all I find is the usual d** p** b**s, no surprise there. It is also no surprise to see, in the distance I’m afraid, a couple walking with their dogs off the lead. There are signs everywhere suggesting this is not a good idea due to ground nesting birds at this time of year. Tell me if I am becoming pedantic.P1000352

I splash on through the bogs, we have had a lot of rain, to the trig point, Bowland remains  gloomy. The wind is behind me but still has a cold bite to it. Families coming the other way are frozen, and the children look miserable. They have the time to thank me for my  litter efforts. Whenever I meet people whilst I’m in litter clearing mode, a conspicuous bag and a grabber, they all say they should do the same – if only 5% did that would be a success. P1000344

Approaching the edge of the woods I’m surrounded by a dozen barking dogs. All loose and followed not that closely behind by a couple of ‘professional’ dog walkers. I stand my ground, I’m getting more confident with the canine species these days – there are so many of them. Pleasantries over I suggest that on the fell the dogs should be on lead. Of course their guardians have come from a different direction and claim there were no warning notices. We walk along together, and I explain about ground nesting birds – lapwings, curlews, skylarks, grouse, plovers etc in this area. The dogs are a delight to watch as they know their way and jockey for front position. A diverse selection of breeds all getting on together. I begin to wonder that as they are staying on this side of the wall and not transgressing onto the open fell I may have been a little harsh on their human friends. Dog walking has become big business these days as people who bought dogs for companionship now need to go back to work. We part company as they go off down the forest track. Out of interest later in the day I drive round to their point of access onto the fell and there are no signs warning of ground nesting birds. Fair enough. P1000349

I’m soon back on the road and the weather, as prophesised, is improving  so I incorporate a loop around Cowling Brook Plantation. I had noticed some litter starting to appear in this woodland of late. There wasn’t much to be honest but my d** p** b**s  total now was above a dozen. I enjoy my ventures into this plantation and feel the need to preserve it. There is so much unidentified bird song in the trees today. It would be good to come here with a proper birder and learn to recognise the calls. Any offers?

The little Cowling Brook coming down from Gannow Fell is in full lively flow heading to Knowle Green where it used to power the bobbin and cotton mills. P1000355

On the short stretch up the road into the strong wind the carrier bag was getting heavier, and I was in danger of repetitive strain injury from the trigger on my grabber. P1000357

The sun was shining once back at the car and indeed we have just had an almost good red sunset. Red Sky at night  Shepherd’s delight, another ancient folk law.  A red sky sunset tells us the worst of the weather has now eased, with higher pressure and improving weather approaching from the west for the following day. Red skies appearing when dust and small particles are trapped in the atmosphere by the important  high pressure.


What will tomorrow bring?




P1000193I have a few ideas for some hilly walks now the weather has improved, but they would involve travelling on the busy Easter roads, so I manage to procrastinate the morning away. Let’s just stay local and have a wander up Longridge Fell checking out a few bird habitats at the same time. I’m keen to see the Great Crested Grebes performing their mating dance on the little reservoir at the top of the village. This is where I park my car. Craig Y Longridge is busy with climbers.

As I’m putting my boots on along come JD and his friend Danny. In a couple  of weeks they are off to do a pilgrimage walk through Portugal to Santiago de Compostella and are out for a brisk training walk. May I join you I ask? Yes as long as you can keep up with us. All very friendly. They set off at speed up the road, my ‘un’fitness showing. I let them do the talking whilst I try to get my breath back. Fortunately there is soon a rest break whilst they remove clothing layers, the day is hotting up along with their pace. They stuff their clothes onto rucksacks which they are carrying for training purposes.

Now into rhythm I begin to enjoy the walk as we  climb up onto Longridge Fell, my original destination. There are daffodils and primroses along the verge and bird song in the air. Young lambs play in the fields. Aren’t we lucky to have this on our doorstep?

Instead of following their intended route up the lane to the kennels I take them off on a track through the fields, past the little reservoir, on by the long abandoned quarries and just below the expensive farm conversion to meet up with the lane leading to the plantations. They claim they had never been that way before, but I doubt their memories. They stop on the ridge for a drink, I suck on an orange. Then along the balcony path above Chipping Vale to the crowded parking on Jeffrey. The first people we had met all afternoon.

We have a quick look into Cardwell Quarry where JD and I used to climb years ago as I had seen a barn owl there the other day. We see a couple of small falcons fly out – ?merlins. In the corner I spot the barn owl, get a hurried long shot (photographically I hasten to add) before it sees us and flies out – what a wonderful bird. Now I know where it roosts I creep in another day and try and get some better images. JD is surprised to see the amount of significant rock fall that has occurred over the years. Quarries are inherently unstable, one just hopes that you are not hanging on when the rock decides to part company. Anyway climbing is banned here ever since some unruly and aggressive behaviour towards the farmer from some youths partying in there. I only hope they weren’t climbers, not that it makes any difference to the ban.

It’s all downhill on the road back to Longridge past the golf course. As part of their training they feel obliged to call in for a drink. We sit on the sunny balcony enjoying a beer whilst the golfers go over their good and bad shots of the day. All very pleasant. Resisting the temptation to stay longer we are soon back into town. I had had my walk up the fell in slightly different circumstances to those envisaged and thoroughly enjoyed the banter. It has turned out a very Good Friday after all.  I’m envious of their upcoming peregrination.

A pot-pourri of images :-


A Great Crested Grebe.  


A busy Craig Y Longridge.


A couple of pilgrims.


A Million pounds. 


A busy Jeffrey car park.  


A distant Barn Owl. 


A lot of recent rock fall.


CaptureLongridge Fell.


DSC00304This week I have been alternating short walks and flat cycle rides with nothing of note to report. Everything came to a standstill yesterday with the collision of cold winds from the north with a front from the south. Amber warning. My son cancelled a lunchtime visit from Manchester and I watched the snowflakes falling in the afternoon. During the night things must have turned nasty as today I woke to a couple of inches of snow. (The radio told of far worse conditions in the Pennines) It was interesting to try and identify the  tracks across my back garden, one doesn’t know what transpires in the night. Something I should resolve either with sitting up into the wee hours or more likely installing a motion detecting camera.

By mid-morning the sun had appeared and traffic started using my road. Time to get out and about. The tossed coin said walk. So I did. A brand-new pair of lightweight boots had arrived in the post. Helly Hansen and looking perfect for summer walking – right let’s try them out in some snow. Living in Longridge I am lucky to be able to walk from my doorstep into the open countryside or as I did today up onto the fell. The route on roads was one of my regular runs way back then. I knew it would give me good Bowland views with the minimum of hassle.

Once out of the village ‘Forty Acre Lane’ gave me those promised views. I’m not sure which side the ‘forty acres’ are on but never mind the vista across Chipping Vale to the hills is uplifting. The snow on the south slopes was visibly melting as I walked but showed up the features of the Parlick, Fairsnape and Totridge Fells in great detail. Virtually no cars passed me, the road was just thawing enough for them. There were still drifts in the gateways. The golf course was closed, perhaps prematurely as the afternoon was perfect.

DSC00306 DSC00305


The usual crowd of cars was parked up at Jeffrey Hill. From up here the northern slopes of Pendle Hill were plastered with snow – they usually have it worse in East Lancashire. I was in two minds to take to the fells with the rest of them and visit Spire Hill, instead keeping to the road but no sooner had I decided this I was tempted off into Cowley Brook Plantation. My favourite getaway place. It was a joy to tread virgin snow through the trees. Silence was everywhere except for those little birds singing unseen. DSC00310

Back out on the lower road I trudged back along the switchbacks to Longridge as the temperature started to fall again. The roadside gorse was a brilliant yellow.DSC00302

How good that sunshine must have done for my endomorphins.


CaptureLongifdge fell


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Trying to spread my diminishing physical  ‘talents’ around – walking, cycling and climbing. today after a miserable week of wheeziness and coughing I made the effort to drive up to Craig Y Longridge not that it is very far. Would it be a step too far? Possibly.

I’ve been coming here for years, far too many. I’m probably four times the age of the young dudes who come from afar to test their strength and skills on one of England’s premier bouldering venues.  This strenuous training crag (more correctly a quarry) is fortunately on my doorstep. Every spring I am determined to get strong again.

I’m surprised by the number of people here today, but it is dry with a glimpse of the sun and temperatures nudging above 6 degrees. We all climb in hope. The colourful crowd is mainly one group from Lancaster. All a friendly lot. Whilst they hurl themselves at desperate overhanging problems I slouch off to the easier far end where I can play around on some familiar traverses. I’m only feeling my way back to fitness but as I climb that old buzz kicks in, and I start to enjoy myself and pull off some  smart moves. But not for long – the strength soon runs out. Still, there is time to chat with the others, passing the time of day and reflecting on past days and crags. They tolerate my reminisces, I only hope time will be memorable for them too.

Well satisfied. I can but try.


New school bouldering.



I was actually in Cowley Brook woodland that is on the fell road below Geoffrey Hill. As I entered through the small pedestrian gate I could hear and then see a small flock of common crossbills high up the Scots pine”   Grimsargh Wildlife Forum. 21 February at 15.22.

Having read that this morning and not having seen a Crosshill for years I was parked up by the plantation after lunch. I entered through the same small gate and wandered into the pines. I could hear what I thought were Crossbills somewhere in the depths…

♫ Red Crossbill – song / call / voice / sound. (british-birdsongs.uk)

…but I could not see them. I wandered up and down the plantation just above the brook, stopped and listened, scanned with my binoculars – but not a sighting. I completed a loop around the plantation, still hearing them in places, I concluded that I’m not very good at bird spotting, swallowed my pride and disappointedly headed back.


As I was walking around I was disappointed to see that it has been necessary for United Utilities to display on several trees notices reminding dog owners to remove their dog’s mess. That is despite large notices at the entrance gate advising on sensible conduct. It struck me that if they, the dog owners, don’t heed this then the additional signs will have little effect. What a shame that this little wild life area is suffering from urban park mentality and that the ‘wildness’ is being polluted, in my opinion, by additional signage.DSC00164

Back at the gate I had my third disappointment- a great pile of rubbish, overwhelmingly dog poo bags. Perhaps these had been collected by someone, but why not bag them and remove them from the site. On the gate are some bin liners for people to deposit their poo bags (Why not take them home in the first place?) and maybe one of these had burst or been damaged by animals – there are deer, foxes and crows about. Whatever, it is a right mess for someone to clear up – presumably United Utilities. I don’t know how frequently the warden visits. All very unsatisfactory.


I may return tomorrow on my quest to spot a Crossbill, but by then they could be anywhere in the forests on Longridge Fell.


DSC00142I may have used this title for a post in the past. Whilst fellow bloggers are exploring Manchester, White Nancy, Covid and Wildlife crimes I’m content with a walk around my local lanes. After my drubbing, is that a word, the other day on the Guild Wheel cycle route contentment is the prime objective. I live on the edge of the countryside, but only just with all the new developments, so for many walks I don’t need my car – just set off from the front door.

The road out of the village past the cricket ground is far busier than I ever remember it, a speedway to Chipping. That is why for my cycling these days I prefer the off-road routes. Anyhow, I’m walking today. Storm Otto blew itself out here in the morning and now the sun is shining. As I was saying the road is busy and after a stretch where the footpath ends I resort to evasive action crossing and recrossing to have a straight view of the traffic and hopefully them me. All along are views of the Bowland Hills tempting me to the north. Past that archetypal country inn.


Is that a Kestrel in the tree?


I survive to where I turn up a side lane heading for Longridge Fell. Those white railings, sited on corners for better through visibility, are slowly disappearing – a rural crime.

DSC00148I stop to talk to a farmer about the winters we never have these days. (tempting fate I know). Along comes a car which stops to reveal a dog walking friend fresh off the fell and heading for a nearby farm café, a good catch up ensures. I’m then admiring the hedge layering skills along the way and am lucky enough to come across the skilled labourer himself. A chain saw now makes the labour easier, but he has to be careful with the final close cut. A bill hook finishes off the branch severing, leaving a slender life giving, bent over, horizontal, stem for further growth. The whole process is to keep the hawthorn hedge thick at the base and stock proof in the future.  He seems happy in his work and as he says ” jobs a goodun”





There is a steep hill ahead of me but I have no problem which is reassuring after my last outing mentioned above. (my Covid test was negative by the way)  On the way up my mind wanders to future projects – Simon Armitage’s Stanza Stones, finishing off my Cicerone series, getting back on the rock, visiting friends afar not seen since before the lockdown and dare I hope getting back to the Canary Islands. Dreams. Inshallah.

DSC00156 (2)

I scan the reservoir for grebes, but the water is too rough today, I’m hoping to catch them in their courting display this year after last year being entertained by the chicks being carried on their mother’s back. DSC00157

Down through the housing estates and I call in at JD’s for a welcome coffee and plans. A ghostly barn owl quarters across the remaining fields in front of his house. He alerts me to this signage along the road which I had not noticed before – see me after school.

DSC00159Not bad for a local walk of 5 miles.




Ignoring the title of my last post I’m up here again, doing it the easy way from Cardwell House , on Jeffrey Hill. And definitely staying out of the trees this time.

All part of my irregular three-mile litter picking circuit. I have been a bit lax recently and not kept up to my original monthly round. But no matter, the plethora of the Covid lock-down years has passed. There is room to park, though there are few takers this misty damp afternoon. There are always good pickings in the first hundred yards or so. I ignore the underpants in the car park and concentrate on the dog poo bags, a record today of 13, 10 of them full. The only person I meet is a dog walker, hopefully a responsible one as I bite my tongue and don’t grumble about the mess. By the way green doggy bags are no more environmentally friendlier than black ones – take them home, please. Rant over.DSC03114

I keep to my plan  – up to the summit, good pickings here as usual, cross over and come back down alongside the wall to the road. Cola cans outnumber Lucozade, for a change. The odd glove or hat, a helium balloon, Cadbury’s chocolate the favourite. One glass beer bottle.


I hope that if the fell looks clean people will be less inclined to drop their rubbish. Is there any evidence for this? This is my bit of fell after all, not that I want you to think I’m over obsessive about its cleanliness. (can you be over obsessive?) Once on the short stretch of road there is more to contend with. Some I will leave for the ‘council’ to deal with. Was it part of an organised litter pickup to be collected later or more likely a deliberate drive out and dump mentality? I’d better just stick to the fell.


By the time I was back at the car my bag was overflowing and feeling decidedly heavy. Job done.


“What do you think of it so far?”  was one of Eric Morecambe’s catchphrases – and the reply from somewhere offstage – RUBBISH.



Up on Longridge Fell we were doing OK until the guide, walk no 23 of Mark Sutcliffe’s book, said to take a jink right in the trees. We already had jinked right awhile back as the fallen trees from last year’s storm Eunice?, blocked our tracks. But others had come this way recently, in fact quite a path had developed. We bushwhacked on. For once, I wasn’t the leader, Phreerunner was running but not as phree as he thought.

When Martin (aka Phreerunner) had included in his Friday walks Longridge Fell I couldn’t refuse to accompany him. I secretly knew the problems ahead but didn’t want to spoil the fun, it’s not Cicerones fault. I thought it a good idea to bring JD into the mix for some local support.

We had left Hurst Green alongside the delightful Dean Brook with its bobbin making history. The stream bed was carved by the water into Daliesque shapes. Resisting the urge to take another photo of Greengore we move on and across fields I don’t usually travel. Lanes and then a boggy path brought us out onto the top ridge where a simple stroll led to the summit trig point, 350 m. The light on the Bowland Hills was flitting from one area to another, but the three peaks never put in a show. Time for coffee and snacks.


Shireburn Alms Houses.



The onward path disappears into a dark plantation, and already we start meeting obstructions. When I was up here early last year I found it impossible to make safe progress. It was slightly better today as Martin forged forward bent double to avoid the branches. We made it through to more open ground and then found with the use of our phones a path going in the right direction. It is fairly chaotic up here at present, a shame that the forestry workers can’t spare a day with a couple of chain saws to clear a way.


As we left Hurst Green earlier this morning we passed the Shireburn Alms Houses and I related as to how they were originally built higher up on the fell in the earlyC18th and subsequently moved stone by stone down into the village around 1946. Well now we were above their original site on the fell next to the ‘blue lagoon’ reservoir. It wasn’t blue today in the rather dull conditions. The foundations can still be seen if one looks around, we didn’t.

Across the road, over a wall and down some fields, the directions lacked clarity here. We ended up in someone’s garden with a couple of wild eyed dogs snapping at our heels. We escaped and found our way down a ravine, the correct stile now visible behind us. It always amazes me, and I’ve said it too many times, that landowners don’t put signage up through their property and maintain the stiles – it’s not asking too much. If you buy a country property you will be well aware of any rights of way coming through it. Time to start issuing fines, I know that will never happen.

We skirted around Stoneyhurst School, admiring the architecture and the long stately drive. I think this was all new for Martin, and I shall be interested in his write-up for the walk on his blog. Soup and rolls back at Chez BC completed an excellent ‘Friday Walk’  May meet up again when he moves his troops to Silverdale in a couple of weeks time, or should I make the effort and travel down to Cheshire for somewhere new?


I didn’t take many photos, it was all too familiar, or so I thought, and we were busy chatting. There is a better report here.


tempsniphurst green



I came across this temporary CCTV installation on my walk across the fields this morning. Notice how blue the sky is.DSC02927

Placed in a field next to tracks leading to isolated farms and a back way into Ferraris Country Hotel. Four solar-powered cameras pointing around the compass. Have there been recent burglaries or fly tipping? I am sure it’s not to watch the animals or ramblers. Further enquiries are needed.

I was out for a short brisk walk in the countryside behind my house, there had been overnight light snow which always gives a different atmosphere to the familiar, making the fells look higher and more majestic. There was a satisfying crunch underfoot, mine were the only footprints. Though there were prints of rabbits, hare, deer, and the odd bird who had passed by earlier. The snow was rapidly melting in the fields but compacting to an icy danger on the lanes.


The Bowland Fells.

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Longridge Fell.

                                                                                                                                                          Soon I was heading up an icy Mile Lane back into the village for a bit of shopping.DSC02933

The remaining snow had a rosy glow in tonight’s Turneresque sunset.



Capturegill bridge.



Woke up, fell out of bedDragged a comb across my headFound my way downstairs and drank a cupAnd looking up, I noticed I was lateFound my coat and grabbed my hatMade the bus in seconds flat.

Lennon and McCartney. 1967.

Fast-forward 56 years and I almost missed the bus today and the chance of a walk above Chipping. I was lounging in bed with my second coffee of the day, struggling with The Times Crossword. A little hungover from our family’s delayed Xmas/New Year celebrations taken yesterday. My prize present was a bottle of malt.

The forecast was for showers off and on all day. Why do we listen to these updated seaweed predictions? I see out of the corner of my bloodshot eye, from the injury not the whisky, blue skies over all my new neighbours’ new houses.  Looking closer all seems good out there.

Made the bus in seconds flat. The stop is handily placed on the corner of my road, and I was soon in Chipping. All part of my intent to make more use of public transport this year.

The walk I quickly improvised is on good surfaces but virtually traffic free and takes you in a circle to the base of the Bowland Hills and back. I’ve described it most recently here and there in more detail.

The sky was blue, there was no wind and the views seemed clearer than usual. Into the grounds of Legram Hall I was on a private road threading its way past farms and sheep country to the open fells, although I wouldn’t be tackling them today. Too early for the snowdrop display I strolled onwards with frequent looks back across the ancient deer park to the dark side of Longridge Fell and the sunnier Pendle. I’d put some loose change into my pocket so that I could purchase free-range eggs from the honesty box of Saddle End Farm – alas there were none left. We are in the middle of Avian Flu and there seems to be a shortage of eggs everywhere. Are the hens on strike with the rest of the country?DSC02704

Skipping on, down the lane past mills and old foundries. This was an industrial landscape not so long ago. Now there is a Lancashire cheese factory and the remainder of Kirk Mill.



My ‘find of the day’ was some steps in front of the Chair Work’s cottages. I’ve never noticed them before, but they lead down directly into Chipping Brook, which had powered the mills. For what purpose? Washing place for the cottagers, connected with the cotton era for cleansing the fabrics – I’ve no idea, please help.


I had time for a coffee in the wonderful Cobbled Corner Cafe before catching the 2.30 bus home.