December Walks 2015
The walk from Thurcross Reservoir in the Washburn Valley on Sunday, 29 November in strong winds, continuous rain and very wet underfoot conditions proved to be better weather than any of the four days planned for weekend walks in December. On Saturday, 5 December, dangerously high winds combined with rain led to the cancellation of the walk from Townley Park. On Saturday, 12 December, the walk from Whalley went ahead, in arguably the worst conditions ever endured on a Clitheroe Ramblers walk. Waterlogged footpaths and heavy rain all day culminated in the walk ending in a deluge and floods in Whalleyâ€™s main shopping centre! The walk from Higher Hodder bridge on the 19 December, on another day of heavy rain on already saturated ground, was also cancelled when nobody turned up. Then followed the return of the walk we had all been looking forward to, the Boxing Day walk, this year a half day walk from Pendleton. With river levels at record highs, red flood alerts, serious flooding in Whalley and Ribchester and elsewhere and numerous road closures, this too fell a victim of the weather, the third weekend walk to be cancelled in four weeks. Hopefully things can only get
Walk Report – Thurcross Reservoir ( 8 miles) on Sunday 29th November 2015
On a day that many would have thought unsuitable for a walk, Clitheroe Ramblers visited the Washburn Valley. It rained the whole time, winds were strong and it was very wet underfoot with flooding on some footpaths. Small patches of blue sky did appear near the end of the walk, the sun practically broke through the clouds and it almost but never quite managed to stop raining.
However, contrary to perceived wisdom, a bad weather day can be a good day for a walk, providing of course that you have the right clothing and footwear. Battling against nature’s elements can provide an alternative and rewarding experience. Storm cloud formations make for good photography, rivers and streams in spate, mini waterfalls everywhere, the landscape shrouded in mist makes one see things in a different perspective. And it builds up an appetite and makes you sleep well.
The walk started from the car park at the western edge of Fewston Reservoir at Blubberhouses. From the top of the wood on Greenbow Hill Road, a footpath was taken to Stake Hall Farm, then dropping down to the River Washburn, which was followed up to the bottom of Thurcross Reservoir dam. Thurcross Reservoir is the top most and newest of the four reservoirs in the Washburn Valley, being completed in 1966 after swallowing up the more or less derelict village of West End. The other three reservoirs date back to the 19th century. The impressive concrete dam is 130 feet high and holds back more than 1725 million gallons of water.
The shimmering patterns of light on the curtain of water as it rolled down from the weir provided an awesome picture of the beauty and power of water. The steps up to the top of the dam were the biggest climb of the day and a fallen tree and a mini waterfall across the path had to be negotiated. The dam was then crossed with fine views across the reservoir, waves buffeted by the wind breaking against the shore.
The reservoir walk was completed in an anti clockwise direction, descending to the shore soon after leaving the road at the north easterly end of the reservoir. The northerly fork of the reservoir was followed and a short climb led up to the edge of the moor, and then onto the end of the reservoir dropping down to cross the river and then re-ascending up to the top of the wood on the western side. The impressive ruins of Holme Field Head were passed and a permissive footpath, not shown on the ordnance survey map, led through the woods beside the reservoir to where Cappleshaw Beck crosses the road. The road was soon left behind and the path taken alongside the reservoir passing the remains of the flax mill. Lunch was taken in a sheltered spot near this point and soon afterwards the dam was reached again and the River Washburn followed along the valley back to the car park.
For those unlucky enough to have missed this delightful and exhilarating walk, it will be repeated on the 2017 programme, when the weather will almost certainly be “better” than it was today.
Grassington, Saturday, 18 July 2015
Leader James Jolly
Thirteen Clitheroe Ramblers had an enjoyable ten mile walk from Grassington in bright sunny weather. They headed north on the Dales Way, until they reached Conistone Dib, and descended through the dry limestone gorge, which is only three feet wide at the narrowest point. Leaving Conistone village, they climbed up Scot Gate Lane and Bycliffe Road to Kelber, and then on to Yarnbury, an area of disused mine shafts. Field paths were then taken to Garnshaw House before turning onto Edge Lane, and then more field paths back into Grassington.
Glasson Dock, Sunday, 12 July 2015
Leader Penny Pitty
This was a walk in three distinct sections. Ten of us set off from Glasson Basin heading along the Glasson branch of the Lancashire canal. This was easy walking on short grass along the towpath, with the occasional sighting of swans and other waterfowl.
Once we reached the main stretch of the Lancashire canal, we turned south, heading into the second section of the walk. This was mainly farmland, with the usual assortment of footbridges, gates, stiles and curious cattle. Some of the terrain was rather overgrown with long grass and brambles which seemed to grow while we walked past them, but mostly it was reasonable walking.
Sometime after midday we reached Cockerham, where some seats behind the village hall provided a convenient place for lunch. A further stretch through fields eventually brought us to Hillam Lane, which we followed to join the Lancashire Coastal Way.
This was the third landscape of the walk, with wide views to the left over Cockerham salt marsh and to our right various caravan sites and fields. It was possible to see Blackpool Tower in the distance and ahead of us was the prominent shape of Heysham Nuclear Power station. Once reaching the channel of the Lune estuary, we turned inland at Crook Farm, where the Coastal Path heads eastwards back towards Glasson Dock.
Earlier in the week, endless rain was forecast for the Sunday, but we were fortunate in that the day remained dry and the cloud at the start eventually gave way to sunshine at the end of the walk. This had brought many people to Glasson and we were happy to join them for much appreciated ice creams before setting out on the drive back to Clitheroe.
MELROSE WEEKEND - 5th - 8th June
In early June, we spent a weekend away in Melrose in the Scottish Borders, giving the opportunity for different walks and a social get-together.
The first day’s walk crossed the River Tweed for a nine mile circular walk, which included a section of the Southern Upland Way. The weather was showery with strong gusts of wind, but the walk was enjoyed by all in spite of this.
The second day was also a circular walk, following the start of St Cuthbert’s Way. (This is a 62.5 miles long walk ending at Lindisfarne). The route traversed upwards towards the “saddle” between the two main Eildon hills, and then we climbed the highest (422 metres) and steepest peak first. There was a view indicator on the top, with wonderful 360 degree views, and after a short break to appreciate this, we then descended back to the “saddle” to climb the second hill (404 metres, but a gentle climb). The views of Melrose and the surrounding area were quite spectacular. We then descended, and took a circular route along a forest track, and after a tea-shop visit for 29 thirsty Ramblers, the final leg back into Melrose passed the Leaderfoot Viaduct, and the information boards showing the discoveries made during the early nineties excavation of the Roman site of Trimontium (The Place of Three Hills) by Bradford University. The entire walk was eleven miles in lovely sunny weather.
The final day’s sunny walk began with a bus journey to Selkirk, where we were the only 28 passengers on a 26 seater bus for most of the journey! We then followed a section of the Borders Abbeys Way (a circular 64.5 mile walk covering the four ruined Borders Abbeys of Kelsoe, Jedburgh, Melrose and Dryburgh.) The nine mile route was a combination of quiet minor roads, moorland track and the Eildon Hills at Melorose were visible from about halfway. The route passed by the ancestral home of Sir Walter Scott, Abbotsford House, before descending to the river Tweed to follow river paths back to Melrose. The weekend had been extremely successful, and very much enjoyed by the group of thirty three ramblers. With the daily visits to the local pub after the walks, the large group in the teashop and the bus, we did our best to boost the local economy!!
Ilkley - Saturday 23rd May 2015
Leader David Walters
A clear day with little wind and some sunshine greeted 18 Ramblers as they set off from Ikley on a 9.5 mile walk. The walk started with a short climb from a car park just below Ilkley Moor following the Dales Way Link path to White Wells, from where there are excellent views over Ilkley and the surrounding area.
At this point the walk turned west on to the Millennium Way which follows a route along the northern edge of Ilkley Moor. Again, given the clear day there were excellent views all around.
The walk continued towards Addingham High Moor past the ‘Swastika Stone’ until the Millennium Way turns northwards to head downhill towards Addingham. Here the group stopped for lunch, perching on some large stones, which had been conveniently left from the Ice Age. Again, there were excellent views down towards Addingham and beyond towards Middleton and Beamsley. An abandoned millstone was visible in a field below.
After descending through meadowland to reach Addingham, the group stopped for a few minutes to watch a local cricket match and then joined the Dales Way to return east along the River Wharfe to Ilkley.
On reaching Ilkley the group dispersed to find suitable tea places such as Betty’s to relax after a walk much enjoyed by the whole group.
Hyndburn Clog – 2 to 4 May 2015
Leader Ben Brown
On the Saturday, 13 of us set off from Stanhill on the first leg off this 33 mile challenge walk. Some were intent on completing the whole walk but most were content just to enjoy a day or two of walking in good company through pastures, across moorland, through woodland, and alongside rivers and reservoirs. Light rain persisted for most of the first day and with plenty of ups and downs, day one seemed quite a challenge in itself. We ate lunch beside a stream in the woods near Haslingden Grane. Then there was quite a long climb up onto the top of Hog Low Pike with its trig point (383m), the actual summit being just a slight detour from the official route. We crossed Musbury Heights, dropped down between Ogden and Holden Wood Reservoirs and eventually arrived at Winfields after the best part of 7 hours.
After a lot of overnight rain, which soon cleared, the second leg was in much better conditions and seemed much easier. The route took us across the lower slopes of Great Hameldon and into the quarry bottom to Hameldon Scouts. After lunch at Childers Green, we passed Shuttleworth Hall, walked along the River Calder from Altham Bridge, passed through Read Park and eventually reached Cock Bridge, the end of stage two.
On the final day we had some glorious weather as we climbed up onto Moor Lane, walked along a narrow path through the yellow gorse to Dean Clough and Parsonage Reservoirs. After a lunch stop high above the reservoirs, we dropped down towards the canal, crossing a railway bridge over the dismantled line, which used to link Daisyfield junction with Rosegrove junction. Then over the canal bridge and a final climb up to Higher Stanhill.
Five of us completed the whole of the Hyndburn Clog and were rewarded with a Commemorative Badge and a Certificate of Achievement.
Barrowford, Saturday 4 April 2015
Leader Alison Williams
The weathermen promised us a fine day on Easter Saturday, and they were certainly proved correct. Our party of 18 ramblers set off from Barrowford in sunshine and enjoyed a walk along the canal, through Alkincoats Park, past Slipper Hill reservoir, joining the Pendle Way near Admergill for lunch. We continued to Whitehough, Roughlee, and then over the ridge and back to Barrowford.
We had superb views of Pendle Hill and Blacko Tower, and enjoyed lovely river scenery. It really felt as if spring had arrived as we watched lambs at play, and walked past primroses, daffodils and butterbur by the river. Overhead, we caught sight of a kestrel, a jay and by the stream a dipper was busy. A truly lovely day in beautiful rural surroundings.
Sabden, Saturday 11 April 2015
Leader Alison Williams
All that fine weather over Easter lulled us into thinking we could put away our winter walking gear. But no! This week, our walk around Sabden started with sleet and strong winds. Eighteen ramblers set off in a clockwise direction, circuiting the valley via Sabden Fold, Padiham Heights, Shady Walks, before crossing Sabden Brook (see photo), and returning via Wiswell Moor Houses, Wilkin Hey Farm, and Badger Wells Water. After lunch, the sun appeared and with the wind behind us, we fairly flew back. It had been a brisk gallop around the valley, with lovely views – but don’t put away the hat and gloves just yet!
Celebratory walk on the re-opening of Whalley 5 footpath, Tuesday, 24 March 2015
This was a great occasion. For the first time in over seven years Clitheroe Ramblers followed the route of the path past the Eagle at Barrow and on to cross the railway line beyond. Over 40 of us assembled opposite the Bay Horse in Barrow and walked down to join with others, including a photographer from the Clitheroe Advertiser and Times, outside the Eagle. Here a number of photos were taken, including some showing the new footpath sign. By the time we walked the newly opened stretch of path, we numbered 50.
Once into the field we had a further pause, with more photographs, and with a ceremonial addition of way marks to the new kissing gate. Norman Thorpe gave a brief account of the history of the path and the work involved in its reopening. He then led the group on a route across the fields to Brookhouse Farm; then via a field path to Mitton Road and along the Roman road to Barraclough on the Clitheroe/Whalley Road. A short stretch of road walking towards Clitheroe took us to a field path eastwards to Four Lane Ends, and then back along Worston Lane to near Clitheroe Golf Club. We took the path opposite the Golf Club, and then a right turn down to Barrow. The total distance of the walk was exactly 5 miles. Those who, for whatever reason, couldn't manage the full distance had opportunities to cut the walk short.
See the report from the Clitheroe Advertiser and Times - http://www.clitheroeadvertiser.co.uk/news/business/local-business/50-walk-barrow-path-re-opened-after-public-inquiry-1-7188098
Beamsley Beacon, Saturday 14 March 2015
Leader Ben Brown
Twelve walkers including 3 dogs set off from Ilkley on a cloudy but fine day, following the Dales Way for almost three miles to the historic church of St Peters in Addingham, where a refreshment stop was taken. Christian worship has taken place on the site of the church for over 11 centuries and the existing church, which dates from the 16th century, houses an ancient Saxon cross.
The suspension bridge over the River Wharfe was crossed and after passing West Hall a narrow sunken bridleway was followed upwards, down which flowed a stream of water following heavy overnight rain. From Beamsley Lane a short climb across the moor led to Beamsley Beacon (393m/ 1290ft), on top of which lies a large stone mound, 2 metres high and 12 metres wide – a 4500 year old bronze age burial site. Here lunch was taken in relative shelter from the cold wind.
Good numbers of red grouse were seen as the high ground was then followed for a mile and a half in a north easterly direction to the footpath junction at Little Gate (400m). A further two miles of footpath, gradually losing height across Middleton Moor in a southerly direction, and then tracks and minor roads led back to Ilkley.
The 10 mile walk with some 1050ft of ascent had taken less than 5 hours to complete.
Winter walks from Whalley
Two winter walks starting from Whalley underlined how well served we are with footpaths in our area.
Ruth Rouxel's walk from Whalley bus station, on 21 February 2015, took eighteen of us up Whalley Nab, over a rickety footbridge to Great Harwood for a coffee stop in the Memorial Park, and then past a field of Shetland ponies and over Bowley Hill to a lunch stop at Dean Clough reservoir. After lunch we continued on paths past the new wind turbines behind Carr Hall, through the golf course at Wilpshire to cross the A666 and then the railway. There was a short delay while we regrouped after temporarily losing two people, after which we followed Chapel Lane towards Old Langho, past some new wooden holiday lodges and the Black Bull inn, eventually reaching the south end of Whalley viaduct, and then back into Whalley past the Abbey.
Two weeks later Barrie Williams led a party from Spring Wood, Whalley on a route which also ascended Whalley Nab, and took in Whalley Viaduct towards the end of the walk, but otherwise covered different paths. The route stayed further east with the lunch stop outside the village hall for Billington and Lango. We then crossed the A59, and headed towards Brockhall Village and Hacking Wood, before heading back towards Whalley Viaduct. The final section of the walk took us along the river Calder, past Calderstones, and through local paths to Mitton Road, eventually following the path past the new housing development on Lawsonsteads to Spring Wood.
John of Gaunt’s Castle, Saturday 28 February 2015
Leader Ben Brown
The 10 mile walk combined a reservoir circular with a visit to the site of a medieval hunting lodge. Setting of from the car park at Blubberhouses, we followed the concessionary path along the southern shore of Fewston Reservoir and Swinsty Reservoir at the end of which we crossed the Swinsty Embankment. There were good views to the south down to Norwood Bottom and a group photo was taken looking back across the reservoir.
A refreshment stop was taken on the waters edge on the east side of the reservoir. Soon afterwards the reservoirs were left behind and a gradual ascent made to Bank End farm and Bank Slack. A red kite with its diagnostic forked tail was seen as we dropped down to the Beaver Dyke Reservoir. An easily graded path then led up to the ruins of John of Gaunt’s Castle, the site of a royal hunting lodge for the medieval park of Haverah lying within the Forest of Knaresborough. It served as a royal residence and administrative centre when John of Gaunt’s father, King Edward III, was hunting in the forest. It was acquired by John of Gaunt in 1372. Lunch was taken in the shelter of the ruins.
John of Gaunt, 1st Duke of Lancaster, the third surviving son of King Edward III, was a member of the Plantagenet family. He exercised great influence over the English throne during the minority of his nephew King Richard II. John of Gaunt’s eldest son, Henry Bolingbroke, was exiled for 10 years by Richard II, but subsequently returned from exile, and claimed his inheritance as King Henry IV.
After lunch, field paths were then followed past East End Manor and Brown Bank to the road at Bland Hill, where there was a Victorian Post Box. More field paths took us down to the causeway of Swinsty Reservoir, the point at which we had previously left the reservoir. More permissive paths were then followed along the eastern shores of Swinsty and Fewston reservoirs to get us back to the car park.
Slaidburn, Sunday 15 February 2015
Leader Penny Pitty
The group of ten walkers, plus Scott the dog, left the car park at Slaidburn and headed over the bridge and uphill to a footpath leading southward towards Broadhead Farm. This is a very quiet area, unfrequented by walkers for the most part, and, apart from car occupants, we saw virtually no signs of other people all day.
The route followed field paths towards Harrop Hall and then Harrop Lodge, at which point we turned north towards Swallow Scars. A right turn here took us to the trig point, at 283 metres. While negotiating a gate, which provided a marginally better route through a wall than a very unstable wall stile, an abandoned motor bike took Frank's fancy and he tried it out for size, if not for functionality.
After the trig point, which would have offered some excellent views if it hadn't been for the poor visibility, we headed downhill towards Greenwoods, where there was some discussion as to the route of the path and whether it had been altered at some point. The remains of a finger post was also noted.
A short stretch of road walking took us to the path through the gentrified Threap Green Farm, and its garden, to follow paths leading to an abandoned farm at Ling Hill. Here we headed westwards past various sheep, then north again over some very rough pasture, designated Access Land, to Fells. Lunch was eaten overlooking Fells, which appeared deserted. From there we followed a track to Shays, and down the drive to the minor road to Gisburn Forest. Here a steady stream of cars atopped with mountain bikes were travelling in both directions, the first sign of any other people we had encountered.
After avoiding the cars , we turned south west onto the B6478 and then took a path northwards just before Higher Stony Bank farm. The finger post which should have been there had gone, but a reconnaissance walk had provided information about the route, which led through a shiny new gate onto rough pasture, with considerable mud in places.
This final stretch of rough walking took us to Brook House Green Farm, where we turned left on the track, past Rain Gill and down to a footbridge, over Barn Gill. From here we followed a route towards Hammerton Hall and back to Slaidburn, a total of 10.6 miles in all.
The main challenge of this walk was not in the relief, which was quite gentle, but the terrain underfoot. A number of the fields were very rough grassland, just before Swallow Scars there was a very deep and steep gully to cross, and the track to Shays had been recently resurfaced with some large and recently quarried stones.
Apart from the poor visibility the weather was dry and and reasonably mild. The preceding period of dry weather meant that the amount of mud was not excessive. Sheep, some lapwings and perhaps a snape constituted the most obvious life forms apart from ourselves, and, of course, the dog.
Visit to Bournemouth, January 2015
Report by Nan Errington
A new venture to use a winter coach holiday as a base for several walks, weather permitting, proved very successful. Nineteen members and friends took the opportunity in January to visit Bournemouth on the south coast of England and had an extremely enjoyable time. Walks had been prepared in advance by Geoff Errington using the Ramblers 'Walk Britain'book, previous knowledge and advice from Bournemouth Ramblers.
Those who chose to walk covered upwards of 30 miles over three days, incorporating woodland, cliffs, beach, fields, hills and moorland, and enjoyed many splendid coastal views. There was also interesting geology in the form of Old Harry Rocks, a chalk cliff formation, and Agglestone Rock, a large sandstone boulder in an area of chalk hills, once used for pagan worship. Wildlife was plentiful, especially birds of prey near the coast; horses and ponies in the New Forest were unperturbed by passing walkers.
The rambling group travelled by bus, ferry and train to the starting points of walks; ate their lunch on a hillside, in a traditional pub and in a forest clearing; enjoyed dry and relatively mild weather ideal for walking. Meanwhile, non-walking members of the group were able to enjoy coach trips to Wimbourne Minster and Portsmouth, as well as exploring Bournemouth and Poole using the extensive network of local buses.
In the evenings the group met together for dinner and lively discussion of the day's adventures.
Turbary Road and Yordas Cave (7.5 miles) on Saturday, 3 January 2015
Leader Ben Brown
Starting from the brow of the hill on the Dent Road above Ingleton, overlooking Kingsdale, the party of 22 followed a track past Tow Scar in misty conditions to reach the Turbary Road, a grassy cart track, originally used to convey peat from the Turbary Pastures above Yordas Cave in the exercise of common rights.
A mile along the track, the unfenced chasm of Rowton Pot was reached, which pierces the limestone to a depth of 365 feet. Even more dangerous is a smaller hole with a shear drop of 235ft, 10 yards away. Great care was taken not to stand too near to the edge!
At the end of Turbary Road, a descent was made to Yordas Wood and up to the entrance of Yordas Cave, formerly a Victorian show cave, where lunch was taken. After lunch the party waited a few minutes until eyes became attuned to the blackness of the cave interior. Well equipped with torches, the exploration began as the party proceeded, descending slightly and slowly along the subterranean stream, running on a pebbly bed into the Great Hall of Yordas, an impressive 60ft high with its many natural sculpturings. Then onwards into the cave’s principal attraction, the Chapter House, a circular chamber into which cascades an elegant waterfall, this strange and beautiful scene being viewed through a remarkable open “window” in a wall of rock. Several rock climbers were at the top of the waterfall, a technically difficult rock climb.
The walk then turned south and proceeded along the Kingsdale Valley through the farm of Braida Garth, climbing gradually up to Twistleton Scar End, before descending to a good track near Twisleton Hall. A detour was then made to the bottom of Thornton Force, arguably the most spectacular of the waterfalls on the Ingleton Waterfalls walk. With a shear drop of 46ft it is the highest of the Ingleton waterfalls, the rocky cliffs forming a natural amphitheatre below a fringe of trees as the River Doe falls over a limestone crag lying on a foundation of older slate rocks. Here a stop was taken and there was time to scramble onto the ledge behind the waterfall for those who wished to do so.
The exhilarating walk finished with stunning views of Ingleborough and Whernside as the sun finally broke through the mist to reveal the hidden beauty of the valley.