Skelmersdale Rambling Club




Strenuous Leader: Rowland Nock   Distance: approx. 12.5 miles
We will initially trend south over Arnside Knott to Arnside Tower, enjoying glorious views of Morecambe Bay. We then head towards the railway line, circumnavigating both Middlebarrow and Eaves Woods to arrive at the iconic "Pepper Pot" for lunch and again enjoy the views. Well! With a name like that it just seemed the obvious place to stop!

Descending into Silverdale we will connect with the beautifully scenic "Lancashire Coastal Way" back to Arnside, Hopefully for our usual tea and tiffin!

I would just mention that the short initial return coastal section from Silverdale is on the shore and is dependent upon the tide, but this can be avoided if necessary. Please also bear in mind that we are walking on limestone terrain which can be slippery when wet, so take extra care!

Moderate Leader: Leo and Jean Keenan   Distance: 8 miles
We leave Arnside following the rocky shoreline (tide permitting) towards New Barns. From here we follow the coastal path to Far Arnside. We go through Holgates caravan park to arrive in Silverdale for our lunch stop. After lunch we make our return journey to Arnside via Eaves Wood, Middlebarrow Plain, passing Arnside Tower and then up and over Arnside Knott with lovely views of the estuary all the way.
Leisurely Leader: Hazel Anderton and Ruth Melling   Distance: 7 miles
We start along the promenade and beach to New Barns. Through one caravan park and then round the headland on a cliff top walk, with lovely views across the estuary, to Far Arnside. Be aware if you do not like height the path is close to the cliff edge in one or two short stretches. We then go through another caravan park (possible toilet and coffee stop if make a small purchase in the shop) before walking past Arnside Tower and up through the woods to Arnside Knott. Wonderful views across the estuary again, before coming back along the promenade to Arnside.
Easy Leader: Lydia Ashton and Philomena Walker   Distance: 5.0 miles
The walk starts off along the same route as the others, along the promenade, around the bay and along the cliff top walk. The walk starts the return back to Arnside through an area called Heathwaite and then skirts round the bottom of Arnside Knott. If it is a nice day and people wish there will be the option of going up to the top of the Knott.


Still popular today, Arnside, where the River Kent enters Morecambe Bay, was especially so in the 19th century when pleasure boats would arrive from Morecambe and Fleetwood, and barges plied the river, carrying coal and limestone. Then it was a busy little port in the county of Westmorland (and the county's only link with the sea), but one that succumbed as more accessible places robbed it of its trade. Before the 19th century, Arnside was only a small village, part of the parish of Beetham, and without its own graveyard, which meant that the dead had to be carried to Beetham for burial. The church of St James, built by Miles Thompson of Kendal, is late Victorian, enlarged in 1884, 1905 and 1914.

Now Arnside is a modest sized, unspoilt holiday resort of limestone-built houses and cottages. Arnside was originally a port for the mills of Milnthorpe, four miles north-east. It was also a base for fishermen who gathered cockles from the sands. Horses and carts would wind their way over the glistening wet sands as the tide receded and the fishermen would rake vigorously until the water rose to the surface, bringing with it a harvest of cockles which were boiled, then transported to the market. In addition flukes, flounders and shrimps are plentiful in the bay and trade is still carried on today, although tractors have replaced the horse and cart.

The area around north Lancashire and southern Cumbria is dotted with limestone hills rising to just over 400 feet: Warton Crag, Whitbarrow Scar, Hutton Roof, Arnside Knott and many others. Below these hills lie quiet villages built from the local stone: Yealand Conyers, Burton, Hutton, Levens, Arnside and Silverdale to mention just a few. It is a walkers' paradise. There are many well marked paths and evidences of wild life and local history.

The estuary is a haven for coastal birds, and the surrounding countryside contains a wealth of flora and fauna, including deer, red squirrels, foxes and badgers, while anglers fish the fast-flowing estuarial waters for eels and flounders. Leighton Moss, the bird sanctuary, has recently featured on BBC's Autumn Watch.

Arnside Knott stands above the village to the south, with distant views of the Cumbrian fells. Access is by rights of way only, although it has been in National Trust ownership since it was given anonymously in 1946. The Knott is surrounded by wooded hills, heathland and salt marshes that have done much to secure for Arnside, and its neighbouring village of Silverdale in Lancashire, the designation of an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty.

The village owes much to the coming of the railway during the 19th century. A splendid viaduct, originally built by the Furness Railway Company, connects Arnside with the north bank of the Kent, a service that today provides a vital and invaluable link between Lancashire and the towns and villages of Furness (which once belonged to Lancashire).

The ruined remains of Arnside Tower stand in a wide valley to the south of Arnside Knott. It is a large pele tower, thought to have been constructed in the 15th century as a defence against raiding Scots. Fire virtually destroyed the tower in 1602.

Skelmersdale Rambling Club




Strenuous Leader: Jimmy Need   Distance: approx. 10 miles
We begin our walk by making our way up to and thru Brandt wood, then a little long up Nevis One. From here we make our way to Stubbins Estate. We then make our way to the River Irwell and the Irwell Sculpture Trail from where we make our way onto Holcombe Moor where we come across Beetle Hill and fall up Pilgrim's Cross Stone followed by the Peel Tower - a nice ramble back to Ramsbottom.
PS This walk will put a nice complexion on your boots!
Moderate Leader: Peter Denton   Distance: 8 miles
We'll start our walk from Morrisons and we head off up and out of town towards Peel Tower. We then walk round the base of the tower Hill to Taylor's Farm, then on along the bridle path to the edge of the MOD range. We then head up onto Holcombe Moor to the Pilgrim's Cross Stone and then head for Beetle Hill. With over half the walk in the bag we start the descent towards Chatterton Close. This quarter mile section of paths hasn't been recced because the path we took on the day was far too muddy. This revised path may be less muddy - it couldn't be worse, fingers crossed, Ha!. We then follow the river back to Ramsbottom for tea, crumpets or a pint. You will have earned them.
Leisurely Leader:
We have no leisurely walk as no leader came forward.
Easy Leader: Derek Lee   Distance: 5.0 miles
We will pass to the west of Ramsbottom going north to Stubbins, mostly on field paths and tracks. Then along the railway line as far as Lumb from where we cross the present railway and turn south on alternate field paths and road, returning to Ramsbottom along Nuttall Park and passing just one artwork from the Irwell Sculpture trail on the way. No more than 200 feet of ascent and most of it right at the start of the walk. Most of the field path walk can be avoided by using minor roads if necessary, and the walk can be shortened by crossing the railway at Strangstry.


Ramsbottom is a small town in the Irwell Valley, north of Bury and south of the area known as Rossendale. Colloquially it was often known as "Tupp's Arse" (tupp being a dialect word for a male sheep). The age of the town is not known but there is evidence of settlements in the area dating from about 4000 BC. Ancient burial sites and artefacts have been discovered on the hills surrounding the valley in which Ramsbottom nestles. The name is also thought to be a derivation of wild garlic valley. The valley would have been woodland in those times and eventually during the 11th century it became a Royal Forest. During the 16th century, deforestation of the valleys was commonplace to meet the growing need for timber. The Industrial Revolution brought with it factories for the spinning and weaving of wool and later cotton. The processes of bleaching, dyeing, printing and engraving also played a part in the regional growth.

Standing 112 ft high on the edge of Holcombe Moor, the Peel Tower is the most identifiable landmark of the West Pennines and from almost any part of the northern half of Greater Manchester it can be seen standing guard on a steep-sided spur overlooking the middle reaches of the Irwell Valley. There are spectacular views from the Tower. The Tower was opened in 1852 and celebrates the Repeal of the Corn Laws by the then prime minister Robert Peel, who was born in nearby Bury to the son of a textile manufacturer. This most famous son also founded the police force. The tower was built from local millstone grit, hence the quarried holes surrounding it, and has now apparently reopened to the public on some days.

The Peel Tower is a relative newcomer to Holcombe Moor, which takes its name from the old village which nestles beneath its stark shoulder. The moor is a southern spur of the Rossendale Uplands and in ancient times pilgrims travelling to and from Whalley Abbey in Lancashire crossed the moor and prayed and rested by a cross that is known to have existed here at least as early as 1176. The site of the cross is recorded by the present day square stone which stands on the flat plateau and was erected in 1902 by the Lord of the manor. The base of the original cross was removed in 1901 by some Edwardian vandals - even in those days you couldn't keep anything unless it was nailed down!

Pilgrims were replaced by textile merchants, and Moor Road, running north-south along the edge of the moor was once an important highway between Bury, Haslingden and Clitheroe. Such routes kept high to avoid boggy valleys and also, in this case, to avoid the restricted access to the Forest of Rossendale which extended down to Holcombe. Not far from this highway is the resting place of Ellen Strange, a local girl and "hapless maid" who was murdered on the moor and is remembered by a stone pillar and cross.

The National Trust has had an interest in this area since 1943 when it acquired the Stubbins Estate It acquired Holcombe Moor in 1994 from the Ministry of Defence and this was definitely good news for ramblers. But military ranges are still to be found around Bull Hill and the Red Brook Valley, and a good view can be had of the army assault course which was once the star of ITV's "The Krypton Factor".

For the tourist there is Egg Rolling on Good Friday, a Game Fare on New Year's Day, a Rhythem and Blues Festival and a Black Pudding Throwing World Competition. After all it is only just over 3 miles from Bury, the home of black pudding.

Skelmersdale Rambling Club


SUNDAY, 29th MARCH 2015


Strenuous Leader: Carole Rankin   Distance: approx. 11.5 miles
From CP we make our way to the Llangollen branch of the Shropshire Union Canal. After stopping to take in Thomas Telford's Chirk Aqueduct we pass through the 420m long Chirk Tunnel (the "Darkie"- a torch would be helpful here). After taking a detour to see the Pretty Gates of Chirk Castle we take the towpath along the canal to pass through a smaller tunnel then turn W to join Offa's Dyke Path by Wern Woods. At Castle Mill we take the path N to have a look at the castle. Then along the Llwybr Ceiriog Trail, the Llwybr Maelor Way through Chirk Bank and back to Chirk via Chirk Bridge.
Moderate Leaders: Hazel Anderton & Philomomena Walker   Distance : 8 miles
After leaving the town centre we walk northwards, avoiding tunnels, as far as Cefn-y-Wern where we turn westwards, and after passing through the edge of Wern Woods we come to the Offa's Dyke path. After a while we do a circuit of Warren Wood before starting our return to Chirk. We mainly walk along a mixture of fields and quiet country lanes. The highlight of the walk was meant to be a visit to the castle but the footpath we had intended taking is closed until April 1st. Carole (above) thinks that another path is open so we might change the route. It will depend on how the day pans out. However, we will be going past the impressive main gates and still get a view of the castle from across the fields.
Leisurely Leader: Sue Daniels   Distance :7 miles
From the coach we make our way to the canal footpath (missing out the tunnel). We walk through trees above the canal and follow field footpaths with also a bit of road walking. With Chirk Castle to the left of us we make our way to Caeaugwynion and join the Offa's Dyke Path. We slowly make our way over pleasant pasture with some very good views of the surrounding countryside. We follow the stony track and carry on down to Castle Mill (the Battle of Crogen took place here in 1165). From here we step over into Shropshire and continue along the Maelor Way until ahead of us in the distance we can see the railway viaduct and the canal aqueduct. We pass under these magnificent structures and carry on along the road and footpaths back into Chirk.
Easy Leader: Derek Lee   Distance: 4.5 or 5.5 miles
We set off along the edge of Reservoir Wood then turn north along the edge of Chirk Castle grounds on a minor road, followed by field paths, carrying on northwards as far as Bryn Yr Eos, just across the A5. From here we turn south to return to Chirk on the canal towpath, immediately encountering a 200 yard tunnel which we can't avoid. Just before Chirk there is another 400 yard tunnel which we can avoid by using a minor road. We can end the walk here (4.5 miles) or carry on across the viaduct and return via Chirk Bank. There is little climbing on the walk except for the 100 foot ascent between Chirk Bank and Chirk.


The border town of Chirk stands on the escarpment above the point at which the rivers Ceiriog and Dee meet and today is a small town situated between Wrexham and Oswestry. The name Chirk is thought to be an English corruption of the name 'Ceiriog', but it possibly comes from the word 'Church' as the original Welsh name for the town was 'Eglwys-y-Waun' or 'Church on the Moor' (now shortened to Y Waun (The Moor)).

In the 19th century vital road, rail and canal links were developed and the town was a centre of communication. Chirk became a staging post on the A5 London to Holyhead mail road, which was originally one of the famous Roman roads, whilst the Llangollen branch of the Shropshire Union Canal reached Chirk in 1801. The Llangollen canal is perhaps Britain's most popular cruising canal and Chirk Marina is well situated between Thomas Telford's two magnificent aqueducts at Chirk and at Pontcysyllte. It is possible to walk across both aqueducts if you have a head for heights. Chirk Aqueduct built between 1796 and 1801 by Telford and William Jessop, is 70 feet high with 10 arches. At the northern end of the aqueduct, the canal enters Darkie Tunnel which is wide enough for a single barge and walkway. Using the walkway it is possible to walk through the quarter mile long tunnel.

The River Ceiriog rises in the Berwyn Mountains at 1,800 feet and then swiftly, impetuously, descends eastwards for some 18 miles to confluence with the more sedate River Dee. During its length, the Ceiriog Valley provides a myriad of different landscapes and every turn in the valley's meandering road brings something new and unexpected.

The area's main visitor attraction is Chirk Castle, a magnificient 700 year old motte and bailey marcher fortress built by King Edward I. Now owned by the National Trust, the castle is open to the public and has a shop and licenced tea room. Two families are associated with the town and its castle, the Trevor family of Brynkinallt and the Myddletons. The Hughes of Gwerclas, a family descended from the ancient kings of Powys, also dwelt in the area for many years.

Another attraction in the area is a section of Offa's Dyke. Some of us will be walking on a part of the path.

The Parish Church of St Mary's is a Grade I listed building. The current church building was begun during the 11th Century by the Normans, although it is believed that an older llan, dedicated to St Tysilio, had existed on the site. Indeed, the current church was known by the dedication of St Tysilio until the late 15th or early 16th century, after which it was re-dedicated to St Mary.

Chirk's industry was in coal mining with coal being worked since the 17th century. The largest of these collieries were Black Park (one of the oldest in the north of Wales) and Brynkinallt (Welsh: Bryncunallt). But these coal mines are now closed, although there is a street called Colliery Road.

Skelmersdale Rambling Club


SUNDAY, 26th APRIL 2015


Strenuous Leader: Rowland Nock   Distance: approx. 11.0 miles
From the car park we head out northish through Grassington village along the Dales Way as far as the 'Dib', which we then descend to Conistone. Please note that the initial descent is fairly steep but short, and is on limestone, so take care especially if wet!

From Conistone we gradually ascend southish into Grass Wood Nature Reserve and then descend west through the reserve to the banks of the River Wharfe. We then follow the meandering river to Linton Bridge, which spans Linton Falls. Crossing over the bridge we will take the track to the iconically beautiful Linton Church. Hopefully we can then return to the coach via the stepping stones for our well-earned refreshment. If the river level is too high to safely cross the stepping stones we can always re trace our way back to the car park.

Moderate Leader: Hazel Anderton   Distance : 8 miles
We start our walk along the River Wharfe towards Burnsall, keeping eyes peeled for a kingfisher. Burnsall would be a nice place to stop for lunch as it has a tea shop, a refreshment cabin, loos and a pub. But beware the landlord! Do not use his picnic tables alongside the river unless you have purchased something. Next we make our way over pastureland to the picturesque hamlet of Thorpe. From Thorpe we cross some moorland, where it is likely to be a bit wet for a short stretch, then come down along fields, until we come to Linton. Finally we make our way back to Grassington taking in the Linton Falls.
Leisurely Leader: Philomena Walker   Distance: 7 miles
After leaving the top of the village we make our way to Grass Woods, go thru the woods and round Dewbottom Scar and come out onto the side of the River Wharfe. We follow the Dales Way, pass Linton Falls and continue along the river towards Burnsall. At the suspension footbridge and the stepping stones we cross the river and pick up the path to Thorpe, then another path to Linton and finally back to Grassington. There is some lane walking but mainly it is paths and woods.
Easy Leader: Jackie Gudgeon   Distance: 5 miles
We will leave the coach park to walk up through the village of Grassington, to pick up the Dales Way footpath. This is first a stony lane and then a lovely wide grassy path with good views all round. We then cross over into Bastow Wood, a delightful area of open woodland, before dropping down into Grass Wood - a much denser mixed woodland, through which we descend to eventually arrive at the River Wharfe. We follow the river bank back into Grassington.


Known as the "capital of Upper Wharfedale", Grassington is a large village on the hill-side sloping down to the north-east bank of the River Wharfe. It had its most prosperous period in the lead mining era of the late 16th to the 18th centuries, and during this time many of the delightful stone properties were built. Its bridge dates from 1603. After 1850 the economy declined, but it received a lift from the construction of the Yorkshire Dales Railway between Skipton and Grassington, now closed. In medieval times the village was an important market town.

The path down to Linton Falls from the car park at Grassington is known as the Snake Walk and was used by millworkers walking to and from Linton Mill. Now replaced by cottages, this former textile mill was powered by a weir upstream. Linton Falls is a natural limestone feature where acrobatic swallows and low-flying dippers are frequent visitors. The Falls were used to provide hydro-electricity for the village from 1909 until the National Grid came.

About a mile north of Grassington lies one of the most outstanding Romano-British field systems in the Dales. The land is privately owned but a footpath skirts the site, where Celtic fields are clearly divided into squares and rectangles by stone banks. Among the fields are indications of a settlement, for circular outlines of hut foundations, perhaps prehistoric farmsteads, have been traced. On the hillside near Linton 'bands' can be seen on the side of the fields.

It was near here where the ladies known as Calender girls lived.

Today, Grassington is a popular choice with visitors who come to admire its traditional buildings and enjoy the lovely countryside round about. The village centre has been designated a Conservation Area because of its special architectural and historical interest and particular efforts are made to protect and enhance its appearance. The stone used is local, predominantly limestone and sandstone.

Features to look out for are heavy flagstone roofs, narrow 17th century mullioned windows and decorated door lintels often inscribed with a date. The Square, recobbled through the efforts of the Chamber of Trade and voluntary groups in 1973, is one of the village's finest features. The old lamp post, locally known as Old Gormless, and the old pump (actually a syphon fountain that used to bring water from the underground stream into horse trough) survive as relics of former years.

The Upper Wharfedale Museum Society has opened a Folk Museum in the Square. An interesting survival from the past can be seen by walking up Garrs Lane from the Square. Near the top on the left are two cottages which once constituted a theatre at which Edmund Kean appeared. Almost opposite the Post Office in Main Street is Salt Pie Hill where the salters' wagons used to deposit the village's salt supply.

St Michael's Church, Linton, is one of the finest churches in the Dales. It has a bell turret but no tower, and stands on what was almost certainly an Anglo-Saxon, possibly even a pagan site, which explains its distance from the four villages it originally served - Grassington, Linton, Threshfield and Hebden. The stepping stones over the River Wharfe formed part of the ancient Parishioners' Way to Hebden Village until its own church was built in the last century.

There is also a lively social calendar to attract visitors. The Grassington Festival is a two week event in June with music, performances and visual arts with many well-known personalities taking part. In September there is a 1940's themed weekend and in early December there is a two week Dickensian Festival.

Skelmersdale Rambling Club


SUNDAY, 31st MAY 2015


Strenuous Leader: Dag Griffiths   Distance: approx. 10.5 miles
The coach will drop us off near Cromford Wharf - from there we will walk along the Cromford Canal to High Peak Junction. We then walk a stretch of the former High Peak Railway, now a leisure trail. Included are two moderately steep inclines where carriages/wagons were lowered by cable during the railway's operation. Eventually leaving the trail, we head north along a quiet road past a disused quarry to Middleton Wood. Emerging from the wood, after another steady climb, we head north-west over farmland until we reach the Limestone Trail. Shortly after, we arrive at the villages of Upper Town and Bonsall. From Bonsall Church another steady climb along a farm track brings us to the woods above Matlock Bath. The path descending into the village is fairly steep in places and sticks are recommended. Once in Matlock Bath the task is to find a café not taken over by motor-cyclists!
Moderate Leader: Peter Denton   Distance : 6.5miles
This may seem a short walk but it is very much a moderate walk as what we lose in length we gain in height and panoramas. We will start the walk from the carpark and head up and out of Matlock Bath to Riber passing the castle. We then make our way to Tansley, where we head to Dethick for lunch. We then head down into the Derwent valley and to Cromford and along the river back to Matlock Bath for tea or whatever. This walk has a lot of something and a bit of everything else!
Leisurely Leader:   no leisurely walk
Easy Leader: Derek Lee   Distance:4.5 miles
This walk will leave the coach in Matlock before it gets to Matlock Bath. There will be a half mile riverside walk to reach toilets and a café at Hall Leys Park. From here we follow the east side of the river southwards and shortly climb 350 feet up to High Tor Country Park - parts of the path are quite steep. But then it is downhill to Matlock Bath (2.5 miles). We then extend this with a walk through the woods and gardens, not so many hills this time, across the river from the town. So we have a hillier but shorter walk than usual as Matlock bath is surrounded by steep hills and urban development.


Matlock itself is a bustling tourist town today. Originally it was a centre for lead and fluorspar mining. It has a castle, Riber Castle, whose grounds are a home for rare breeds including Lynx.

Matlock Bath is just to the south of Matlock. It was originally built at the 'dead end' of the road running along the Derwent Valley.

In 1698 springs were discovered and since 1832, when the then Princess Victoria visited, it began to develop as a prosperous society venue attracting people such as John Ruskin, Lord Byron and Josiah Wedgwood. It became a residential and spa town and thrived on tourism. A great amount of development was restricted due to the steepness of the valley, and what development there is took place on only one side of the valley with just footbridges crossing the river. Eventually the road was upgraded and now it forms part of the A6.

The railway came in 1849 bringing in lots of trippers but was closed after Beeching, although trains still run today along the Derwent Valley Line.

Today it is a conservation area and still thrives on tourism. It has stunning scenery and has attractions such as the Heights of Abraham Park complete with cable car, Gulliver's Kingdom theme park, the Peak District Mining Museum, a museum of photography and an aquarium.

The famous Jubilee Bridge was built in 1897.

Skelmersdale Rambling Club




Strenuous Leader: Selwyn Williams   Distance: approx. 9.0 miles
Leaving the town via Rectory Woods, inspired by Capability Brown, we lead on through Carding Mill Valley past the 1920's Swiss Chalet and on up the Long Mynd. Good flat walking past the shooting box, Pole Bank. We turn left at Pole Cottage to descend via Small Batch to Little Stretton. If time and energy allow we can climb sharp and steep up Ragleth Hill for our final descent back to base. We climb up 500m, or 1500ft.
Moderate Leader: Hazel Anderton & Ruth Melling   Distance : 8.5 miles
A very pleasant varied walk as we go across fields, down lanes, through woods and over a bracken covered moor. After leaving town we go to the east of Church Stretton to the Stretton Hills. We first skirt Helmeth Hill where there are good views of Caer Caradoc and Hope Bowdler Hills, then skirt Hazler Hill before going up Ragleth Hill where we can enjoy 360 degree panoramic views. Next we drop downhill, re-cross the main road and go through the hamlet of Little Stretton where we can slake our thirst at the Green Dragon if we have time. We then make our way back to town along the foothills of the Long Mynd. There are lots of up and down with the steeper ups being short lived, but the coming down from Ragleth is very steep so a stick is recommended. We need good weather for going up Ragleth but this walk can easily be modified or shortened if the weather is poor as there are lots of alternative footpaths in the area.
Leisurely Leader: Philomena Walker   Distance: 6.5 miles
After leaving the toilets by the Co-op we cross the main road and make our way past houses, up a narrow path to stiles and uphill through woods. We turn right at the road and then left down to Chelmick. Then we go along lanes and footpaths and through fields to Acton and Ragdon until we come to Jack Mytton Way. We follow signs for Ragleth Hill, but instead of going up we go down through woods on a steepish path on the Shropshire way until we come to the housing again at Ragleth Road. Then it is over the main road to the coach. A pleasant walk with several easy stiles.
Easy Leader: Jackie Gudgeon   Distance: 5 miles
Will the 'easy' walkers please stay with me from the coach, and we will find cafe and toilets together.
Our walk today takes us into the hills to the east of Church Stretton in the shadow of Caer Caradoc and the Hope Bowdler Hills. We cross the A49 at the traffic lights and follow lanes and tracks, climbing steadily, to reach Cwms Cottage where we turn south to Cwms Farm and Gaerstones Farm to skirt round Hazler Hill to join the Jack Mytton Way back through woodland to the cafes, pubs and other fleshpots of Church Stretton. Mostly decent tracks, although it could be muddy through woods. Some ups and downs but nothing difficult. Splendid views throughout.


Church Stretton lies on the A49 between the ancient towns of Shrewsbury and Ludlow and is also a stop on the main train line from the Northwest to South Wales It is in an idyllic spot between the Stretton Hills and the Long Mynd, in an area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. Church Stretton, a natural centre for walkers because of its attractive hills, gets its name from the Roman Road "Watling Street" part of which now forms the A49 by-pass. Church Stretton means "street town" or, literally, "the Church which stands near the Roman Road". The town lies in a vale of soft shale overlaid with boulder clays. Just out of town is Old Rectory Wood, 17.5 acres of mixed woodland with a yew-shadowed pool, fine views of the Stretton valley, and delightful meandering paths.

The great 6 mile range of hills known as The Long Mynd, rising to 1,700 ft, is a world of its own. It encompasses wild moorland where red grouse whirr out of the heather, waterfalls that cascade into half-hidden valleys, springs that rise icy clear through bog moss and pink bog pimpernel, bracken covered hillsides, and sunlit streams. The Burway, a single track road climbing steeply out of the town, gives spectacular views of the surrounding Shropshire Hills. A track called The Port Way has run along the ridge for more than 3,500 years. Much of the Long Mynd belongs to the National Trust and parts are leased as grouse moors, with commoners having rights to graze their sheep and ponies.

Across the narrow valley, to the east of the town, is the miniature mountain range of the Stretton Hills. The valley itself follows an enormous fault, a break in the earth's crust, and separates the rounded 'whaleback' of Long Mynd from the even older and craggier summits of Caer Caradoc, The Lawley, and Ragleth Hill. Long Mynd was formed from ancient sea-bed sediments, whereas the Stretton Hills were formed by the lava and ash spilled from volcanoes some 900 million years ago. Like The Wrekin, their rocks are among the oldest in Britain. On the summit of Caer Caradoc is a high and precipitous Iron Age hill-fort, enclosing some 6 acres with well-defined double ramparts. It is said that the British chief Caractacus made his last stand here against the invading Roman army.

Church Stretton is an ideal spot for the tourist. It is a lovely little town with good independent shops. As well as being a great walking area there is also horse riding, mountain biking, hang gliding, paragliding for the adventurous, and golf at England's highest golf course. There is a walking festival in mid-August, this year from the 20th to the 23rd. At weekends and bank holidays there is a bus from Carding Mill up to the top of the Long Mynd. And, there are some great B & B's in the area.

Skelmersdale Rambling Club


SUNDAY, JULY 26th 2015


Strenuous Leader: Andrew Mayer   Distance: approx. 12.5 miles
Leaving the car park from the centre of Hawes, we turn left up a slight hill past the Wensleydale Creamery, into Gayle. We head from Gayle towards Burtersett, following the footpath heading out over farm fields. Then start the climb towards Wether Fell summit, a climb of approx. 2000 feet. We then head along the old Roman road until it joins a minor B road. From there we head down towards the river, and then follow it towards Marsett Bridge. From Marsett we follow another pathway, back up towards Wether Fell summit, and then head back down towards Hawes.
Moderate Leader: Peter Denton   Distance : 8.0 miles
We start the walk from the countryside museum and head out of Hawes, to Sedbusk village where we take the bridleway. We follow this up onto North Rakes Hill which gives superb views down into the Dale. We cross Stags Fell on the bridleway to where it joins the Buttertubs road. We turn left, following the road downhill. We then take the footpath on the right 200m below the cattle grid dropping down into Shaw Ghyll. When we come out on the narrow lane at High Shaw, we turn right for 100m then take the path off to the left. This drops down through Shaw Ghyll Wood, where you should look out for red squirrels. We briefly rejoin the road for another 100m, then turn right on the footpath to Simonstone Hall. We drop down to Hardraw and follow the footpath back into Hawes.
Leisurely Leaders: Margaret Black & Steve Balenski   Distance : 6.5 miles
We walk into the centre of Hawes to turn uphill for a short and perhaps the steepest climb of the walk, to take us through the residential area. It is then out across farm fields and meadowland towards Apperset stopping by the river for lunch. Then it is again across farm fields and meadow, with a pleasant stretch of woodland to pass through before turning downhill back into Hawes. Any hill climbs tended to be quite gradual, and there are some stretches of road walking. To compensate for the lack of stiles - only two or three - there are quite a few stonewall gaps to pass through, some with a high step up or down to contend with.
Easy Leaders: Ruth Melling & Hazel Anderton   Distance : 5.0 miles
This is a sort of figure of eight walk. After leaving town we make our way up gradually rising fields eastwards towards the hamlet of Burtersett, then turn west and walk on an elevated footpath along fields, towards the village of Gayle. We go through the village, make our way along the side of Gayle Beck valley before dropping down and turning back to walk along the beck, going past Aysgill Force Waterfall (not to be confused with the much better known Aysgarth), and the little gorge. We walk along the beck as far as we can, then go back up onto fields, go through a different part of Gayle and return to Hawes. Most of the walk is along flower filled fields with good views, is mainly flat, and has few wooden stiles although there are plenty of skinny stone stiles.


Hawes lies on the south bank of the River Ure as it meanders across the alluvial flats of Wensleydale valley which is named after the village of Wensley, and is the only major Dale not to be named after the river that runs through it. The river Ure is wide and beautiful, with many tributary streams, and the most famous waterfalls of Yorkshire at Aysgarth. Hawes is Yorkshire's highest market town and one of the highest in England. There was no mention of Hawes in the Doomsday Book. It was first mentioned in the fifteenth century, and its name comes from Old Norse meaning 'Mountain Pass' or 'Neck'. The village, with a population at present of around 1100, is in the heart of the agricultural community in the upper Dale. The wide and fertile fields of the valley make it particularly suitable for dairy farming, far more so than in many of the other Dales. It was granted its market charter in 1699, and in1887 an auction mart opened in Hawes to deal with the buying and selling of livestock which, until then, had taken place in the main street. Nowadays there is a market day every Tuesday, cattle sales once a fortnight, and during the year there are 5 cattle fairs, 3 sheep fairs, and these days 4 cheese fairs.

Not far from Hawes is a smaller village, Gayle, and the two almost blend together. At Gayle the river races through a gorge, and so there was once a woollen mill here, although now Gayle Mill is a craft centre.

To the north lie Hardraw and Sedbusk, the latter perched on the side of rising ground and seems to deliberately want to distance itself from everything that's going on down below. Hardraw, by comparison, can hardly avoid the attention because here you will find Hardraw Force, a quite stunning spectacle, especially after prolonged rain. It is unquestionably one of Yorkshire's most impressive waterfalls. There are others in the area, Aysgarth, a stepped waterfall, and the little vertical Aysgill.

There was once a railway here but it was closed by British Railways in 1959. It was used to transport the lead, stone and coal which were mined in the area. Volunteers are planning to reopen the line. Some has been done but it has not yet been completed all the way to the Hawes area.

Hawes is a lovely area for walking with the Pennine Way passing through. One of the main attractions is the Wensleydale Creamery right in the village centre producing the famous cheese. Last year the Tour de France came through.

Skelmersdale Rambling Club


SUNDAY, AUGUST 23rd 2015


Strenuous Leader: Rowland Nock   Distance: approx. 12.0 miles
We initially head off west going past Bakewell's beautiful All Saints Church and then the grounds of Anselm's preparatory school, heading down to the River Wye and on to the lovely Ashford in the Water. We then gradually ascend to the iconic Monsal Head for lunch to take in the views. (and maybe an ice cream if you fancy it!) From Monsal Head we descend and go along Monsal Dale. Crossing over the A6 (which can be busy so take care) we return to Bakewell via Great Shacklow Wood and Ashford, again following the meandering River Wye. We should be back in time to enjoy an afternoon tea/pint and 'pudding'!
Moderate Leaders: Leo and Jean Keenan   Distance : 8.0 miles
We leave Bakewell crossing the River Wye along Coombs Road, then over the Monsal Trail to cross the golf course into Manners Wood. This is the steepest part of the walk which will take us about 20 mins to climb. We are then onto Calton Pastures and our first view of Chatsworth House. We go to the village of Edensor before a lunch stop at Chatsworth House (with toilets). After lunch we walk along the River Derwent past Chatsworth Garden Centre, over Calton Pastures as far as Ball Cross Farm. From here it is downhill back to Bakewell
Leisurely Leaders: Joan McGlinchey assisted by Sue Blything   Distance : 6.5miles
We start our walk from the centre of Bakewell, crossing the river via the medieval bridge before turning left into Coombs Lane. We go up through woods, where care needs to be taken on the steepish uneven path and then cross lots of fields(not many stiles), to the picture postcard village of Edensor,(pronounced Enza), quintessentially English, with delightful gardens and a 17th century church where Kathleen Kennedy (sister of JFK) is buried. She was married to the 11th duke of Devonshire's elder brother. After leaving the village we follow the signs for the splendid estate of Chatsworth where we can have a lunch break, a toilet stop and a brew. We retrace our path back to Edensor, and continue our walk up a lane on a slow climb, onto an uneven path, then down a bridleway through woodlands (again taking care) before finally skirting the golf course and making our way back to Bakewell for a drink and perhaps a piece of Bakewell tart.
Easy Leader: Jackie Gudgeon   Distance : 5.5 miles
We leave the coach park along the River Wye for a short stretch, then a lane and a good track northwards to join the Monsal Trail just short of Hassop Station where, if it not too early, we can have lunch (toilets, cafe, etc). We then have a pleasant and easy stroll along this disused railway line for just under 2 miles before descending through woods to join footpaths along the river back towards Bakewell. One climb at the beginning of the walk, with nice open views all round. A fairly easy straight forward walk which should give us time to enjoy the delights of Bakewell before our return home.


With a busy cattle market, and being the largest town in the National Park, Bakewell stands on the wooded banks of the Wye and is sheltered by hills on three sides. Bakewell is always busy. Its streets are never free of traffic and bustle. It is an exhilarating mixture of old and new, a tourist honeypot that still serves a working community. Very old buildings are surprisingly few considering the history of Bakewell (it was granted a market and a 15-day fair in 1254), but there are several fine 17th century structures, such as the Market Hall which now serves as the Peak National Park Information Centre, and the Town Hall. On an airy grass-covered knoll sits the parish church of All Saints, a Grade 1 listed building. Like many Derbyshire churches it is broad and low, but with a spire as sharp as a 3H pencil. Inside there are fascinating fragments of Saxon and Norman stonework, and the famous monument to Sir John Manners and his wife Dorothy, who were supposed to have eloped together from Haddon Hall in 1558. Outside stands the shaft of a 9th century cross, beautifully and obscurely decorated with vine scrolls and figures. Close to the church is Cunningham Place and The Old House, a 16th century parsonage turned museum. Close by is Chatsworth House and Haddon Hall. Monday is market day in Bakewell, when the Market Place is decked with awnings. On the river Wye is one of the oldest bridges in England, also Grade 1 listed, built in about 1300; an impressive scene-stealer from water level where its five arches and solid breakwaters are visible. In the distance is Castle Hill, where the settlement of Bakewell began in 920 with the establishment of a Mercian fort.

Bakewell pudding is a jam pastry with an egg and ground almond enriched filling. It is not to be confused with Bakewell tart, which is a completely different confection, made with shortcrust pastry, an almond topping and a sponge and jam filling, and now topped off with a cherry by Mr Kipling! The fame of the Bakewell pudding has spread far beyond the bounds of Derbyshire to become high on the list of favourite traditional British puddings. According to tradition, the recipe was the result of a mistake which emanated from the kitchen of the Rutland Arms Hotel in around 1860. The cook, flustered perhaps by the order to prepare a special strawberry tart for some important guests, put the jam in first and then poured in the egg mixture designed for the pastry on top. Far from being a disaster, the new invention was hailed as a culinary triumph and became a regular item on the menu. Incidentally, do not ask for a Bakewell Tart in the home of their origin - they are always known here as 'puddings'. And don't ask who has the original recipe, included in the will of the Rutland Arms cook - it is still the cause of local dispute and rivalry!

Skelmersdale Rambling Club




Strenuous Leader : Rowland Nock   Distance: approx. 9.0 miles
This is a classic high level point to point walk starting from the main car park in Ambleside (20p toilets available). We head off by Rothay Park on to Loughrigg Fell, enjoying the ever changing views of the area, finally ascending to the trig point at 335m for lunch. We then descend to Loughrigg Terrace (100 metres) giving us some great views of Grasmere & Rydal Water lakes. From the terrace we walk up the lane passing High Close Youth Hostel where we start our second (and last) gradual ascent taking in the fells of Dow Bank, passing Spedding Crag, topping out at Lang How at 414 Metres. From here we descend North East to Grasmere & hopefully a really, really well earned tea (or pint) & tiffin!

PLEASE note that although this walk is a little shorter than normal it does include approximately 600 metres (2,000 feet) of ascent for the duration of the walk!

Moderate Leaders: Leo and Jean Keenan   Distance : 8.0 miles
We will use the toilets in Rothay Park (don't forget the 20p) before carrying on through the park and the short steep climb to Brow Head Farm. After skirting around Loughrigg Fell, we pass Loughrigg Tarn to join Loughrigg Terrace with lovely views over Grasmere. We then descend to cross the A591, up to Rydal Hall where we join the coffin trail back to Grasmere.
Leisurely Leader: Philomena Walker   Distance : 7.0 miles
This walk starts in Grasmere village and is a circular walk going around Grasmere lake and Rydal Water. We start by walking along the northern side of the lakes going past Dove Cottage and along the Coffin Trail to Rydal. We cross the River Rothay and then make our way back to Grasmere village on the southern side going along Loughrigg Terrace with great views across the lakes.
Easy Leader: Derek Lee   Distance : 5.5 miles
We start at Ambleside and walk to Grasmere via Rydal Hall (possibility of a cup of coffee here) through Dora's Field over the River Rothay. Then a waterside path to Rydal Water, Red Bank and Grasmere lake to Grasmere village. A lovely low level walk through parkland and by lakeside with good views. No stiles. Please be ready to leave the coach at Ambleside, where we will stop for a few moments only to collect our rucksacks.


Grasmere, a village in the heart of the Lake District probably needs no introduction. It has one of the smallest lakes in the Lake District along with Rydal Water, and is well known as 'Wordworth Country'. Grasmere Church is dedicated to St Oswald, after the 7th century King of Northumbria who is said to have given his name to a sacred well in the vicinity. The most interesting features of the church are its heavily timbered roof, Wordsworth's memorial tablet in the chancel with its epitaph by John Kebble and Wordsworth's grave in the south east corner of the churchyard.

Immediately opposite the church stands The Gingerbread Shop, built in 1660, and formerly the village school. It was attended by the Wordsworth children when the family lived at the Rectory. Grasmere Sports, a popular event that regularly attracts thousands of visitors, are held in late August, and include such events as Cumberland wrestling, hound trailing, and a fell race to the summit of Butter Crag.

Grasmere and Rydal are forever associated with the name of William Wordsworth, one of the 'Lake Poets' who settled in the area. He was born at Cockermouth on 7th April 1770. After his mother's death in 1778 he and a brother spent 5 years at Hawkshead Grammar School. After the death of his father in 1783 he lived mainly at Penrith before going to Cambridge where he graduated in 1791. Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy moved to Dove Cottage, near Grasmere, at the end of 1799. He remained at Dove Cottage after his marriage in 1802 and three of his five children were born there. In 1808 the family moved across the valley to Allan Bank and, in 1811, to the rectory of Grasmere opposite the old church of St Oswald. Two years later they went to live in Rydal Mount. In 1843 Wordsworth was appointed Poet Laureate. He died in 1850 aged 80.

Dove Cottage is open to the public, and the relics in the cottage and museum include some manuscripts of Wordsworth's poems, a large number of portraits of Wordsworth, his family and of nearly all his friends. The museum also contains objects illustrating old Westmorland life.

Rydal Mount is owned by Wordsworth's great-great-granddaughter and was opened to the public in 1970. The gardens were designed by Wordsworth and contain numerous rare trees and shrubs. A path through Rydal churchyard leads to Dora's Field, so called because it was dedicated to Wordsworth's daughter, who then predeceased him. The other famous resident of Grasmere was Sarah Nelson who invented Grasmere Gingerbread. Her mother was widowed before Sarah was born in 1815. Her mother, and later Sarah, scraped a living in domestic service. But Sarah became an accomplished cook and after a move to Grasmere with her husband and young family she invented the gingerbread in 1854 and started selling it at the back door. It soon became famous and people flocked to buy it, as they do today.

Skelmersdale Rambling Club




Strenuous Leaders: Donna Callaghan & Terry Parry   Distance: approx. 10.3 miles
Terrain - Tracks, fields, a short part on road, gates and a few stiles. It could be wet under foot.
We start our walk in Garstang car park (20p toilets available). From here we follow 'The Millennium Walk', and the River Wyre. We continue on across the railway and M6 (via bridges!) and then on to Long Crossey Wood, then through Grize Dale Valley and Holme Wood. Before lunch we shall hopefully (weather permitting) take in the splendid views over Lancashire's Coastal Plain, Morecambe Bay at the top of Nicky Nook, at a modest height of 705ft. Next we go down to Fell End Farm, Calder Side, Moor House, then down a steep (walking sticks recommended) footpath into the woods, to meet the footpath and road back into Scorton. Plenty of wildlife and flying chickens for Rob to spot.
Moderate/leisurely Leader: Peter Denton   Distance : 6.5 miles
This is a walk that has the leisurely walkers at its heart. It's as flat as it is possible to make a walk. We head out of the village and under the motorway heading to Pedder's Wood then up Grize Dale to Grizedale Reservoir as we walk around Nicky Nook towards Potter's Hill, to Wyresdale Lake and Park, then back to Scorton for scones and tea. This is a lovely walk.
Easy Leaders: Derek Lee & Jackie Gudgeon   Distance : 5.0 miles
Today's walk is a circle around Nicky Nook. There is a climb out of Scorton on Tithe Barn Lane before a mostly gentler ascent on the Bridleway eastwards up Grize Dale as far as Grizedale Reservoir. Here we turn north for a while, passing the highest point of the walk, 350 feet higher than Scorton. We then take a westward turn through Potter's Hill Wood to Sands Bottom where we turn southwards to pass Wyresdale Lake and join Snowhill Lane back to the village.


This pretty village, which is to the south east of Lancaster, is noted for its fine buildings, and protected as a conservation area. It is just on the edge of Bowland, an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. The area is popular for walkers and cyclists. There is also fishing at Wyreside Lake and Cleverley Mere.

The village first developed around a cotton mill in the 1700's, and the railway, although records go back to the 1500's. The mill is now derelict.

The Priory, near the centre of the village, is a hotel, restaurant, pub and village store.

Grize Dale is covered in ancient semi-natural woodland. Birch, beech, sycamore and European larch cover the slopes, while alder and ash are found along the banks of Grizedale Brook. The woodland is carpeted with bluebells in springtime, and has numerous mosses and liverworts. An easy to follow bridle path runs the full length of the valley. At the head of the valley is Grizedale Reservoir created in 1866 to provide drinking water for the Fylde and the reservoir is one of four managed by North West Water on the edge of the Bowland Estate. The reservoir and associated woodlands are rich in wildlife with birds such as Oystercatcher, Green Woodpecker, Redstart, Pied Flycatcher, and Wood Warbler breeding locally.

At a height of 215 metres 'Nicky Nook' is one of the most popular and well known landmarks in Wyre. Heather, bilberry, lichens, mosses, rushes, bracken and rough grass make up this rich mosaic of upland heathland. Skylark, Curlew, Kestrels and Lapwings are some of the birds to be seen.

For the day visitor there is a Bikes and Barrows Festival, and a steam fair.

Skelmersdale Rambling Club




Strenuous Leaders: Andrew Mayer   Distance: approx. 11.5 miles
On exitting the car park at the visitor centre at Delamere Forest, we follow the road down on the right hand side approx. 200 metres before entering the forest trail. We then head towards Manley Common climbing slightly at Manley hill, before leaving the forest onto Manley common. We make our way north on a mixture of footpaths and small local roads following the Sandstone Trail. At Sindley Moor woods we will stop for approx. 15 minutes for lunch, (about 6 miles). We then follow Delamere Way back towards Delamere Forest. There were a number of small climbs, and in places the paths were very wet, and slippery. Terrain - Tracks, fields, a short part on road, gates and a few stiles. It could be wet under foot.
Moderate/leisurely Leaders: Hazel Anderton & Joan McGlinchey   Distance : 7.0 miles
We start off walking through part of the forest and then go south along the Sandstone Trail to Nettleford Wood and Primrosehill Wood, broad leaved trees and conifers, and then open countryside and farmland before coming back to forest trails. The walk is generally undulating with no really steep bits, mostly good underfoot, but some short sections might be muddy and slippery, and very few stiles. Towards the end of the walk we go up onto Pale Heights where there are great views if the weather is good.
Easy Leader : Derek Lee   Distance : 5.0 miles
The first mile of today's walk is a steady climb of 250 feet up to the viewpoint on Pale Heights where we can pause to admire the wide views. Then we lose all this height dropping down through Nettleford Woods to join the Sandstone Trail. This takes us through woods and farmland to re-enter the forest at Eddisbury Lodge. We carry on northwards before turning right to Hunger Hill and round Blakemere Moss back to Delamere.


Delamere Forest is the largest area of woodland in Cheshire, covering in excess of 1,300 acres. The name is derived from the French 'de la mere', and refers to the numerous meres and mosslands in the area. These resulted from the massive ice sheet which once covered the countryside in the county. Ten thousand years ago the retreating glaciers left enormous blocks of ice behind which gradually melted to create deep hollows, which over the intervening centuries, developed into the area's famous wetlands.

Delamere today is all that remains of the great Norman hunting forests of Mara and Mondrum which stretched from the Mersey in the north to Nantwich in the south. At the heart of the forest lies the deep hollow of Blakemere Moss, an ancient wetland drained by French prisoners-of-war during the Napoleonic Wars. Trees have been grown there ever since. It remained as a royal hunting ground until the reign of Charles 1 in the seventeenth century. During his years on the throne all the remaining deer were culled and, in later years, the great oaks were used for the building of warships. In the mid-nineteenth century the area was replanted but the seed proved to be of poor quality and little growth took place.

After the First World War the area was taken over by the Forestry Commission and coniferous species were planted to maximise timber production. These included Scots and Corsican Pines, Larch and Western Hemlock. In more recent years, in accordance with changing policy, the forest has been developed as a recreational facility which has resulted in the planting of more broad-leaved species, the provision of car parks, picnic areas, a visitor centre and forest trails and is a great place to bring children so that they can run and let off steam. There is also a Go Ape facility.

The forest provides a habitat for numerous birds, including the greater spotted woodpecker, the green woodpecker, nuthatches and tree creepers. In winter crossbills and siskins prise the seeds from the pine cones. In summer dragonflies and damsel flies are widespread around the numerous marshy pools and the floor is carpeted with bluebells in Spring. The area is also well blessed with small mammals which attract the attention of the tawny owls and other raptors, while the grey squirrel is almost everywhere. The flora includes several species of ferns including the shield fern and bracken.

By the Old Pale Farm close by the summit of Eddisbury Hill were the ramparts of a Celtic fortress. In AD915, Ethelfleda, Queen of the Kingdom of Mercia, built a stronghold there against the invading Danes and centuries later a hunting lodge was constructed. This became known as The Chamber in the Forest and was the administrative and judicial centre of the area.

Delamere is served by a railway station.

One interesting fact about the area is that it has quite a strong Polish community as there was a refugee camp here after the War.

Skelmersdale Rambling Club

Christmas Walk and Meal

Sunday December 13th 2015

We have chosen the Royal Oak in Aughton on the A59 not far from Christ Church on the top of the hill coming out of Ormskirk. It has had good reviews and some of us have been to try it out. There is also good walking from there, and Joan has planned a walk beforehand which will take us round the nature reserve at Gore Hill and along Clieves Hills where there are great views on a nice day. A list will be going around for you to sign up. Hazel will be taking bookings but not food orders or money on this coach.

The meal is booked for 2pm for 30 although it can take up to a maximum of 36. We will be seated in one area and separate from other customers.

There are two prices, £12.95 for two courses and £14.95 for three. We will be asking asking for a £5 non- refundable deposit.

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