Winter Walks 2013-14
Even in the dark winter months, Clitheroe Ramblers maintain their regular programme of walks, regardless of the weather. For the weekend walks of about 10 miles, this can be challenging, with limited hours of daylight. Fortunately, we live in an area with abundant options for walks within the local area, so little time need be used for travelling to destinations further afield.
A nine strong group enjoyed a walk starting from Edisford Bridge car park on midwinter day, 21 December, skirting the foot of Pendle Hill and returning via Worsaw Hill and the Ribble Way, with Chatburn providing a convenient location for lunch en route. Earlier in December, a dozen ramblers set out from the car park at Barley, and headed past the outdoor centre at White Hough to the trig point on Stang Top Moor before descending to the attractive valley of Admergill. From there, they turned north-westward and walked over Rimington and Twiston Moors, to return past Black Moss Reservoirs to Barley.
Prior to Christmas, 40 group members enjoyed Christmas lunch at the Edisford Bridge Hotel, with the majority taking part in a pre-lunch walk to Mitton, returning via the Ribble Way.
The lower slopes of Pendle Hill featured again on the first weekend walk of the New Year. Eleven ramblers set out north-eastward from Spring Wood, Whalley, along the bottom of Wiswell Moor to the Nick of Pendle. They then dropped down via Churn Clough Reservoir to Dean Farm in the Sabden Valley. The final stretch was uphill to Height Side and down towards Read to complete the circuit via New Hall and Read Old Bridge to Spring Wood.
On the last weekend in January, a very small group braved the wind, rain and mud on a walk from Chipping, heading north as far as New Laund farm, then turning westward, returning via Park Gate and Chipping Lawn. The wet atmosphere and the sight of a mature tree with many ferns growing on its branches momentarily gave the feeling we were walking through a rainforest.
The midweek Tuesday walks have maintained their popularity with over 20 participants on most occasions during December and January.
Walks planned for February are in areas somewhat further afield, including Entwistle Reservoir, Grassington, Settle and Lancaster.
Full details can be found on the website at www.clitheroeramblers.co.uk or on leaflets available from Clitheroe library.
Walk Date: 26h October 2013
Leader: Geoff Errington
In spite of recent downpours a reasonably dry underfoot loop around Stocks Reservoir was undertaken by 9 ramblers. We steadily ascended from Slaidburn via Myttons and Croasdale House to Copped Hill Clough. A drop down to cross the Hodder and back up to New House for lunch - most of the ascent being completed. Our return journey took us back to Slaidburn via The Causeway, Brook Green House, Rain Gill and Hammerton Hall. Overall, 10miles and 1500 feet of ascent.
Walk Date: 19th October 2013
Leader: Brian Williams
Thirteen ramblers assembled on the main car park in Grassington. The drive from Clitheroe had been through intermittent rain, but now it was raining steadily with low cloud and very poor visibility
Undaunted they descended from the car park to the River Wharfe, a left turn was made and the group headed south east on the Dales Way for approximately 2 miles. Just before the suspension bridge a left turn was made to head towards Hebden. When pausing to regroup waterproofs were removed and not used again. It was a very mild day for mid October. On reaching Hebden the B6265 was crossed and a coffee break taken at a convenient bench and wall.
After the break the ascent of Scar Top began, rising steadily at first but ending with a steep, but thankfully short climb. Visibility continued to improve as they walked along Mossy Moor passing the reservoir and making the gradual descent to Hebden Beck, which was crossed using the stepping stones. A slight detour was made and lunch was taken on some convenient rocks.
Following lunch the route then took them through the disused lead mine workings to Yarnbury. Having crossed the road they progressed in a north westerly direction, rising gently to the high point of the day at Kelber, 1407 feet/429m. At the junction with the Bycliffe Road path they followed down, enjoying superb views, until it crossed the Dales Way at the top of Conistone Dib.The river was then followed to Whitehough and a footpath taken through the woods from the Outdoor Centre and the Pendle Way was followed to Roughlee and Roughlee Hall, the alleged home of Alice Nutter, who was found guilty of witchcraft and attending a Witches Sabbath. The road was then followed alongside the river through the village passing a statue to commemorate Alice Nutter and then past a waterfall. After crossing the bridge, a footpath was taken continuing alongside the river to reach Whitehough Bridge, from where a short climb up to the road to Heys Lane and a walk through Boothman Wood brought the party back to Barley.
There was a brief pause for drinks here as it was still almost three miles to Grassington. The final leg saw the group following the Dales Way, with a slight alteration to the route near the end, back to the car park. The walk ended in bright sunshine. An added bonus was that on this stage three falconers were met, two men and a woman, each with a Harris Hawk on their arm. They were more than happy to talk and have their splendid birds admired.
Walk Date: 15th October 2013
Leader: John Webb
The Tuesday walk this week started at Chapeltown, south of Darwen, and passed the ancient building of Turton Towers, now a museum with cafe and childrens area. On to Jumbles Reservoir and Country Park where a coffee break was enjoyed at the picnic tables there. This group of twenty Clitheroe Ramblers with their leader John Webb continued through fields uphill to the small village of Affetside. Lunch was taken here at the attractive and newly-constructed village green, complete with garden seats, rocks, water, fish and sunshine. The walk continued to more moorland terrain before descending to Turton Bottoms and following the river to the cars at Chapeltown. What a good day !
Walk Date: September 21st 2013
Leader: A Jolly
Sefton Coastal Path Walk (Part 2)
Last year we walked the first half of this coastal path from Waterloo in Liverpool, north to the Nature Reserve at Formby, as part of our Coast for Most weekend. We decided to put the second half on this years programme, covering the path from north of Southport, back down to Formby, so that we would have covered the whole 22 miles.
Five of us parked at Freshfield station and got the train to Southport, and then there was a short bus journey to Crossens where the footpath started. We covered about two miles away from the coastal road on field paths, and then joined the promenade for about three miles, having lunch near the pier where Ben thought he would test out the gym equipment!
We continued parallel to the coast, along grassy and sandy tracks, before crossing the coastal road. We then walked along the edge of the woods at Ainsdale Nature Reserve, keeping parallel to the railway line for a while, before heading off along the beautiful wooded Fishermans Path to the sand dunes and the beach.
We strolled along the sand, finding many starfish and razor shells as the tide was out. Ice creams were then purchased, before we walked up from the beach, back to Freshfield Station. The weather had been good, with some afternoon sunshine.
Walk Date: 7-10th June 2013
Leader: A Jolly
Windermere Weekend Away
Thirty seven of us enjoyed another good weekend away in Windermere, and were fortunate to have wonderful sunny weather. We stayed at the Windermere Hotel, and arranged walks for all four days. There was a short walk from Ings on Friday led by Frank, and on Saturday we walked in the Hawkshead area, getting the bus there from Windermere, and walking back, using the car ferry halfway through the walk, which was led by Geoff.
On Sunday Frank again led us, and we climbed Wansfell from Ambleside, and then walked back to Windermere, via Troutbeck, Dubbs Reservoir and Orrest Head. On Monday, Frank and Josie led another walk from Ings, before setting off for home. Many thanks to the leaders, who stepped in to help out with James's walks for the weekend.
Walk Date: 4th-6th May 2013
Leader: B Brown
Over the bank holiday weekend, Clitheroe Ramblers completed the Hodder Way, for the most part in sunny weather, experiencing outstanding views along the way.
The walk commences at Cross of Greet, follows the course of the river from its source in the moorlands near the head of the valley to its meeting with the Ribble, a distance of just over 27 miles. The route was devised by Clitheroe Ramblers and officially opened by Jane Donnelly, the chairman of the local group in 2006P, when the inaugural walk took place. The idea was born on the realisation that the source of the Hodder had become accessible to walkers, following the passing of the Countryside and Rights of Way Act 2000, which came into effect locally in September 2004.
25 ramblers set off on the first stage, following the infant Hodder down from the gathering grounds on the high fells into Stocks Reservoir. Then along the eastern shore of the reservoir and on into Slaidburn, losing over 1000ft of height in the process.
On the second day, 20 took part on the middle Hodder section following the river bank from Slaidburn to Newton. Two swing bridges were crossed as the river meandered on its way to Dunsop Bridge. Then onto Burholme Bridge, Whitewell, Stakes and Doeford Bridge.
On the final day 19 left Doeford Bridge on the lower Hodder section. They continued through the ancient natural woodlands of Limes Wood and Paper Mill Wood, over the Roman bridge high above Mill Brook, up Aigden Clough, along the river from Higher Hodder Bridge to Cromwell's Bridge at Lower Hodder. Then onto Winkley Hall and down to the waters edge at Hodder Foot, where the Hodder merges with the Ribble.
Here the ramblers were able to dip their boots in the two rivers, take photographs and have a final refreshment stop. The 11 walkers, who had completed the whole walk were presented with a commemorative Hodder Way badge.
The walkers then continued on their way along the Ribble for a further two and a half miles to reach Hurst Green.
Walk Date: 9th February 2013
Leader: B Brown
Hawthornthwaite Fell Top
15 members of Clitheroe Ramblers experienced some challenging wintry conditions on a 9 mile walk over Hawthornthwaite Fell, a little explored area of the southern Bowland fells.
Starting from Abbeystead, a climb through Hinberry Wood and across fields brought the party onto the back road between Marshaw and Wyresdale. After passing the drive to Fellside Farm, a shooting track was taken up the side of Catshaw Greave. The gradient of the track steepened sharply and a breather and coffee stop was taken before reaching the top of the track, which is just above Pig ’s Face.
Climbing beyond this point into the mist, a faint path through a light covering of snow on the ground was soon lost, but eventually the boundary fence was reached to the north of Greave Clough Head. Treacherous peat hags covered in snow and thin ice slowed progress as the boundary fence was followed in a north easterly direction. Good numbers of Red Grouse were seen along the way, but the only other sign of life was a few animal tracks.
Something of a drama then occurred, when one of the group found his legs locked in the semi frozen peat bog and was unable to extricate himself. After some time and a good deal of effort, two of the strongest male members managed to pull him out.
The summit of Hawthornthwaite Fell was reached soon after this. Here the ordnance survey trig point mounted on a pillar of stone lay on the ground, as the peat on which it had become marooned over a number of years had finally eroded away altogether. Peat represents the remains of moorland vegetation, which has been deposited on the Bowland Fells since the last ice age some 14,000 years ago. Regeneration of heather to combat the erosion of the peat is now taking places and there were a large number of sacks containing heather scattered about, which had been dropped off near the summit by helicopter.
It was now snowing and too cold a spot for lunch, so the party continued alongside the fence towards Black Clough Head until a waymarked post indicated the way down to Black Clough track. This proved to be the most difficult part of the route to navigate as the marker posts were too far apart to be seen in the mist. One was found lying on the ground but was firmly knocked back into the ground using a flat piece of stone. The posts became easier to find as the route descended to the top of the Black Clough track, where a belated lunch was taken.
The track led down to the road and the Wyre Way was then followed back to Abbeystead.
Walk Date: 20th January 2013
Leader: P Pitty
Following The Ladybird Trail
An extended version of a local trail provided an interesting and appropriate walk for Clitheroe Ramblers on a cold January Sunday. The Ladybird Trail itself is 8 miles long and links various locations in Hyndburn, but the walk included an additional section at the start.
The eleven members of the group set out from the Heys Lane Industrial Estate in Great Harwood and headed north to cross the A680 and follow Mill Lane past Brownsills and Red House Farm to the A678. Almost immediately the walkers entered the Millennium Baby Woodland, which was planted in 2002 to celebrate Millennium year born Hyndburn babies. Here picnic tables provided a convenient place for a coffee break. Afterwards, paths through two fields brought the route to the Ladybird Trail itself, and the group spotted the first wooden ladybird marker.
The walk then followed the Trail through Clayton-le-Moors, Oakenshaw, Dunkenhalgh Park and under the M65 southwards to the Leeds and Liverpool canal towpath on the edge of Oswaldtwistle. From that point, the Trail follows the canal towpath back through Rishton to Great Harwood. The Aspen Colliery Coke Ovens near Church provided a good lunch location, and the dry weather meant the shelter they would have afforded from rain was not needed. Locally there are known as the 'Fairy Caves'. After lunch, the towpath took the group north again to cross the M65 on the Clifton aqueduct. The final stretch of the Trail led eastwards, partly following the route of the disused Padiham to Blackburn railway, back to the start. A short diversion was made to look at the ancient hamlet of Tottleworth.
The Trail was refurbished by the PROSPECTS Foundation and a leaflet is available, including online, which provides historical information about landmarks on the route and also wildlife which might be sighted. It also shows optional sections and which stretches are suitable for wheelchair and pushchair use. See www.clitheroeramblers.co.uk for information about past and future walks on the Clitheroe Ramblers walk programme.
Walk Date: 1st January 2013
Leader: B Brown
Walking with Witches
On New Year's Day Clitheroe Ramblers explored the story of the Pendle Witches on a figure of eight, 8 mile walking trail linking the villages of Newchurch and Roughlee.
Setting off from Barley towards Barley Green in the best weather of the Christmas period, mostly dry with a few sunny periods, the adrenalin was soon flowing as they ascended the sodden hillside on the south of the village before dropping down to Newchurch. Here the "Eye of God" painted on the side of the church tower to ward off evil looked down at the walkers. In the graveyard Chattox had stolen teeth from skulls dug out of the graves and by the porch lay the "witches grave" inscribed with the name "Nutter".
The next stop was at FaughÂ’s quarry, where Demdike claimed to have met the devil and in return for her soul was promised everything she desired. The "wizard of the stone pit", a quarrymans carving in the rock was found after a careful search in the quarry. The route then led onto Moss End Farm, the home of two more witches, John and Jane Bullock, who were responsible for the death of Jane Deyne. A black cat brushed against a broomstick in the farmyard adding to the eeriness of the atmosphere. Then to Bull Hole Farm, the home of John Nutter, two of whose cows died, one said to have been bewitched by Demdike and the other by her rival matriarch Chattox. A climb back up to Wellhead Road was then made to reach Saddlers farm (now Sheikinah Christian Centre), a possible site of Demdike’s home.
On reaching Drivers Height Farm, the party ascended steeply to the top of Driver Height, the highest point of the walk with superb views of the Pendle massif. A descent was then made to the dam on Upper Ogden reservoir and lunch taken close to this point. A good track then led down past Lower Ogden reservoir back to Barley.
The river was then followed to Whitehough and a footpath taken through the woods from the Outdoor Centre and the Pendle Way was followed to Roughlee and Roughlee Hall, the alleged home of Alice Nutter, who was found guilty of witchcraft and attending a Witches Sabbath. The road was then followed alongside the river through the village passing a statue to commemorate Alice Nutter and then past a waterfall. After crossing the bridge, a footpath was taken continuing alongside the river to reach Whitehough Bridge, from where a short climb up to the road to Heys Lane and a walk through Boothman Wood brought the party back to Barley.