SKELMERSDALE RAMBLING CLUB

 

Skelmersdale Rambling Club

ARNSIDE, CUMBRIA

SUNDAY, 31ST JANUARY 2010

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Jackie Gudgeon     Distance: 11 miles
We leave Arnside along the promenade and then climb steadily to reach the viewpoints on top of Arnside Knott (about 160 mtrs). From there we descend through Arnside Knott Wood to Black Dyke where we pick up the Limestone Link up through Underlaid Wood for a magical moment up the Fairy Steps and round to Slack Head. Lanes and footpaths then to Hawes Water nature reserve followed by Eaves Wood, Arnside Tower, Copridding Wood and back to Arnside along the shore (tide permitting).
Moderate Leader: Jean & Leo Keenan     Distance: 8.5 miles
Leaving Arnside we follow the rocky shoreline (tide permitting) to New Barns, then the coastal path to Far Arnside through the caravan park and stopping at silverdale for lunch and toilet break. Returning to Arnside via Eaves Wood, Middlebarrow Plain, Arnside Tower, over Arnside Knott and down to Arnside.
Leisurely Leader: Derek Lee     Distance : 6.5 miles
From Arnside we head nearly to the top of Arnside Knott, a 500 foot climb, taking a break half way up to walk round Redhills Wood. Then down to Arnside Tower and along the valley bottom to Far Arnside. A shorter climb of 200 feet then takes us up Heathwaite to Cowslip Field with views over Morecambe Bay towards Heysham before we return via Copridding Wood to Arnside.
Easy Leader: Keith Taylor     Distance: 6 miles
Leaving Arnside we take the coastal path towards New Barns, Arnside Point, and Far Arnside (tide permitting). From here we go on to Arnside Tower, through Knott Wood and back to Arnside.

NOTES ON THE AREA

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. 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 flukes and 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.

Arnside Knott stands above the village to the south, with distant views of the Cumbrian fells. Access is by rights of way only, though 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

Kirkby Lonsdale, Cumbria

SUNDAY, 28th february 2010

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Dag Griffiths     Distance: 12 miles
First we go through the town centre to take in 'Ruskin's View' and then we walk back along the Lune to Devil's Bridge, from where we begin a figure of eight walk. After passing through the village of High Casterton we cross a dismantled railway and the site of a Roman road en route to Bindloss Farm. We then make our way to Casterton Fell, getting the 'climb' out of the way before lunch - highest point just over 400 metres. On our return a combination of lane, paths and bridleway will take us via Langthwaite to the village of Casterton. From there we skirt Casterton Hall before taking footpaths back to Devil's Bridge.
Moderate Leader: Peter Denton     Distance: 8 miles
Our walk today, if the weather holds out, starts with an uphill climb that gets gentler as we get into the ramble and out to 'Cragg House Farm'. Under the disused railway, then over the Roman road, out to Bindloss Farm and on to the ridge, Fellfoot Road. Here we will take our lunch break. We then head down into and around Casterton, the Hall, Marigold Well?, Casterton Park, round the golf course and down into Kirkby Lonsdale for a well earned cup of tea and look around the town, or maybe a pint!
Leisurely Leader: Norma Carmichael & Joan McGlinchey     Distance : Approx. 6.5 miles
We start with this popular walk from Kirkby Lonsdale. After crossing the main road we will enter a field. Look out for the creature in the garden shed. The first part of the walk takes us up a short but not too steep hill but once completed there is little climbing after that. We will continue the walk via Bigging, Sellet Mill to Whittington. One part of the walk takes us down a shallow stone beck which can be slippy, the rest of the walk is okay. There are quite a few stiles to get over and parts of the walk, although not too steep, is muddy and sticks would be helpful for some. Once we reach Whittington we take a short break in the village pub or sit outside before we continue. We return walking along the banks of the Lune river. Apart from muddy bits, it's a very enjoyable walk. (we will meet by the toilets).
Easy Leader: Cynthia Prescott & Margaret Black     Distance: 5 miles
Today's walk includes a pleasant variety of landscape, from meadow to quiet hedgerowed lanes, taking us out to the village of Whittington and returning alongside the River Lune. It is quite undulating at first, but pausing to admire the views across to Yorkshire and down the Lune valley will help in passing over the hilly parts. There are stiles throughout the walk, and care will be needed along one short but stony footpath which partially follows a small beck (this can be avoided if weather dictates). Upon reaching Whittington it is then a gradual downhill walk to the River Lune for a lunch stop. Then footpath and meadow back to Kirkby Lonsdale.

NOTES ON THE AREA

Kirkby Lonsdale is on high ground overlooking a bend in the River Lune. It is a town of dignified, stone buildings, which spread out from the market square in narrow alleys and cobbled courtyards, with names like The Horsemarket, Salt Pie Lane, and Jingling Lane. According to local tradition, this lane acquired its name because it 'jingles' if someone treads heavily along it. This may be an echoing effect from an old tunnel said to exist beneath the surface.

Market Day is on Thursday, when the square is crammed with stalls. Dotted among the more modest buildings are some on a grander scale. They include the mid-Victorian Market House on the corner of Market Street, and the early 18th century Old Manor House in Mill Brow. There are several Inns, including the 17th century Sun Hotel with three pillars at the front, and the Royal Hotel, named after William IV's widow Queen Adelaide, who convalesced here in 1840.

The town has two bridges over the Lune - an ancient one called Devils Bridge, supposedly built by Satan - and a new one, definitely built by man in 1932. It is said that when Satan put up his bridge, he claimed the first living thing to cross it - which turned out to be an old dog. More prosaically, local historians say that the bridge dates from before 1368; there are records to show that repairs were carried out then, and that the vicar of St Mary's raised the money to pay for it.

St Mary's churchyard has an unusual feature - an elegant eight-sided gazebo, or pavilion. It was probably built in the 18th century to provide a sheltered point from which to enjoy the magnificent views of the Lune valley, which the 19th century art critic John Ruskin called 'one of the loveliest scenes in England, and therefore the world'. The Norman church is noted for the distinctive diamond patterns on some of its columns on the north side of the nave. St Mary's was extensively restored in the mid-1880's when workmen uncovered burn marks in the tower. The marks were probably made in 1314 when the church was set on fire by roving Scots celebrating their victory at Bannockburn.

A stone sign by an old bridge that carries the A683 northwards towards Sedbergh proclaims 'Main road to Barbon'. It leads to a small village clustered around its church, pub and tiny post office. The swift flowing Barbon Beck tumbles straight off Crag Hill, the high fell that dominates the eastern skyline. Then the beck winds through the village and under the old packhorse bridge. Everywhere around the village, stone walls divide a patchwork of fields.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

ILKLEY, YORKSHIRE

SUNDAY, 28TH MARCH 2010

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Rowland Nock     Distance: 9.5 miles
Our walk today initially heads off down to the site of the Roman fort by the banks of the River Wharfe. Following the river for a short way, we wend our way through Ilkley heading west into the beautiful Heber's Ghyll with its many bridges. We exit the Ghyll onto Ilkley Moor.

Taking a short detour to see the 'Swastika Stone' we traverse round to the 'White Wells'. Climbing on past Ilkley Crags we wend our way up to the trig point marking the summit of Rombalds Moor (402m). From here we circle the moor back to the 'Twelve Apostles' standing stones then onto Burley Moor via the higher and lower Lanshaw Dams. Finally, descending to the lovely Dales Way Link/Ebor Way, which takes us back to Ilkley via the spectactular 'Cow & Calf' rocks for some well earned tea and tiffin.

Moderate Leader: Chris Cox     Distance: 9 miles circular
Ilkley - Barmishaw - Swastika Stone - Noon Stone - Black Hill - Millstone Lumps - Addingham Moorside - Small Banks - Street Farm - Hallcroft Hall - Sewage Works - Dales Way - Ilkley.

This walk tries to provide a taste of all the countryside around Ilkley. We start off with a short steep uphill section just to get you all warmed up, as we join the Millennium Way and skirt the edge of Ilkley Moor. We travel along the edge of the moor and cross into the adjourning Addingham High Moor, reaching approx 1200 feet in the most leisurely manner possible. The price for this gentle ascent is a rather steep descent back into the Wharfe valley; some care is required here, but nothing you can't handle! After that we cross farmland, and at one point the A65, to teach the River Wharfe which we follow back to Ilkley, using the Dales Way path. There is a short section of road walking, but it is a quiet B road, next to the A65.

Leisurely Leader: Derek Lee     Distance : 7 miles
Today's walk is a figure of 8 as a result of missing footpaths and bridges encountered on the recce, as well as a pack of vociferous dogs, We cross the river and walk through the park before climbing steadily 350 feet, plus a long flight of steps, through Middleton Woods and on to Primrose Hill. Then across fields to Middleton before another easy 250 feet ascent up Hunger Hill to the edge of the moorland, halfway through the walk. From here it's downhill on Parks Lane track and retracing our steps down Primrose Hill before we turn west to Austby and return through Owler Park woods and along the riverside.
Easy Leader: Peter Denton     Distance: 5 Miles
Unfortunately, but rather excitingly, I have not been able to reconnoitre this walk. This is due to circumstances beyond my control. We will be walking by the river along some roads, then across fields through woods. Over stiles. A bit of evetything. Happy rambles!

NOTES ON THE AREA

Ilkley is the highest town on the River Wharfe, and provides the perfect stepping stone between the industrial connurbations downstream and the joys of the Yorkshire Dales immediately upstream. Travelling up the Wharfe, it is only on reaching Ilkley that the enclosing hills first show their more serious intentions, and none more so than the world-famous Ilkley Moor rising steeply to the south of the town. It's breezy heather heights are in fact only a modest tract of the extensive, all-embracing Rombalds Moor which boasts a wealth of antiquity in stone, with circles, cairns and carvings. Also above the town are the Cow and Calf Rocks, the Tarn and Hebers Gyhyll, all being popular local haunts.

Although Ilkley's origins are far earlier, it is perhaps best known as the Roman 'Olicana' and for some superb Anglian crosses, now inside the Parish Church. Alongside the church is the very attractive Manor House, now serving as a museum. Ilkley's real growth came with the railway, and its humble pretentions to being a spa resort. To this day it has attracted wealth in the form of businessmen seeking a haven from city workplaces and people set for relaxing retirement amidst invigorating air.

White Wells was built as a small bath house in the 1760's by Squire Middleton of Ilkley. The buildings date from the 18th century, and include bath houses built to utilise the intensely cold and invigorating spring water of the Great Spaw (spa) for 'hydropathic' treatment. One bath can still be used, and is particularly popular on New Years Day and Yorkshire Day (1st August). Alternative forms of 'refreshment' are provided by the old drinking fountain next to the building, or by the cafe inside which opens 'whenever the flags are flying' (most school holidays and weekends throughout the year). The view from the terrace includes the former hydro of Wells House, built to cater for the burgeoning interest in the 'water cure'. Among it's guests was Charles Darwin, who came here on completing 'The Origin of Species' in 1859. He would possibly have ridden a donkey up to the bath-house for treatment.

Most of the stone to build Ilkley came out of the huge hole of Hangingstones Quarry, which now forms a strangely beautiful landscape. Above the far end, the rock surface beneath your feet has been smoothed flat under the pressure of ice, and grooved by stones frozen into the glacier sliding over it. The sharp end of the Hangingstones Ridge is called Crocodiles Head and is poised above the abyss of Backstone Beck. The gorge has been cut along a fault plane where the rock has been weakened and shattered, but a waterfall has formed where a harder, less yielding layer of rock runs across it. The fault has separated the Hangingstones 'block' from the main body of the moorland above.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

CONWY, NORTH WALES

SUNDAY, 25TH APRIL 2010

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Dennis Cookson

Moderate Leader: Terry Dunn

Leisurely Leader: Peter Denton

Easy Leader: Joan McGlinchey & Norma Carmichael


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

KESWICK, LAKE DISTRICT

SUNDAY, 23RD MAY 2010

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Jimmy Need   Distance: about 11 miles
Catbells.

We leave Keswick and make our way to the small village of Portinscale. From here we make our way to today's objective - Catbells, a gradual climb of about 1241 ft 5 ins. We then descend from here and pass through Manesty Wood and cross the marshes to Lodore Falls. From here we head for Great Wood from which we descend back to the lake path and Keswick.

Moderate Leader: Chris Cox   Distance: 8 miles
Derwent Water car park - Cockshot Wood - Castlehead Wood - Castlerigg Farm - High Nest - Stone Circle - A66! - Brundholme - Brundholme Woods - Rams Beck - Brigham - Fitz Parks - Keswick.

A low level walk to the east of Keswick, giving some nice views of Derwentwater as we climb up to Castlerigg Farm, 225 m. We stay down in the valley, walking through farm land to reach the Castlerigg Stone Circle. After lunch, we head under the A66 and cross the River Greta, before ascending to join a path through Brundholme Wood, and then drop down to join the old railway track back into Keswick. There are some short stretches of walking on minor roads, and some noise from the A66 on the return leg.

Leisurely Leader: Cynthia Prescott & Hazel Anderton   Distance : 7 miles
After leaving town we walk along the disused railway line in an elevated position crossing the River Greta several times. We then walk uphill. Although we will be climbing for quite a while it is a moderate rise with just one steepish bit just at the beginning. The views are well worth the climb with good views over the valley, Keswick and the hills beyond. We then skirt around Latrigg Fell with Skiddaw rising up to the right. We then go down the other side back to Keswick and, at one point, we can see Derwentwater and a glimpse of Bassenthwaite at the same time. No stiles!
Easy Leader: Norma Carmichael & Joan McGlinchey   Distance: 5 Miles
Approximately 5 miles, starting off after a cuppa from Moot Hall then on to Hope Gardens. Heading towards the lake we follow the path alongside the lake towards Friar's Crag and on to Calf Close Bay and Great Wood. There is a short incline which will take us to Castle Head which gives some clear views of the lake and surrounding area. I only managed to recce part of the walk due to bad weather but the route is well documented.

NOTES ON THE AREA

Keswick is the largest town in the Lake District National Park, and developed largely from its importance as a mining centre during Elizabethan times, when German miners were brought in to exploit the lead and copper deposits in the surrounding fells. But, for most people, Keswick is a place superbly situated at the head of a splendid lake and beneath the gaze of one of Lakelands finest mountains, Skiddaw. It is an enormously popular place, at the northern end of arguably Lakeland's most beautiful valley, Borrowdale.

It has been said that towns and villages built from local stone blend into the landscape. So it is with Keswick's tortuous streets of beautiful buildings. The Moot Hall was built in 1813 on the site of an earlier building and was, until fairly recent times, used as the town hall. The Moot Hall houses the tourist information centre. The town's oldest building is the church of St Kentigern at Crosthwaite.

It is generally accepted that the Lakes in general, and Keswick in particular, were opened up to the outside world by the first poets and travellers to venture into the region - Gray, Coleridge, Keats, Southey, Scott, Tennyson, Ruskin and Stevenson. To them, and those who followed in their footsteps, must go the credit (or blame) for bringing this remarkable town to the notice of others.

On the fells to the south-east of the town, is the famous Castlerigg Stone Circle believed to date from about 3000 BC, predating the great circles at Stonehenge and elsewhere. It is commonly regarded as the most superb stone circle of the many to be found in the county. Enthusiasts of stone circles consider Castlerigg, spectacularly set among the mountains of Lakeland, to be among the earliest stone circles in Europe.

As well as copper and lead, graphite was also mined in Borrowdale, where it was first discovered, and this brought about the establishment of a pencil factory. Cumberland Pencil Museum, found at the Southey Works, Greta Bridge, illustrates the pencil story from the discovery of graphite to present-day methods of pencil manufacture.

Queen of the lakes, and held by some to be the most beautiful, Derwent water is three miles long and just over one mile wide. The lake has three large islands, all abundantly wooded. The largest is Derwent Isle opposite the landing stage. The other two are Lords Island opposite Friars Crag and St Herbets Island in the middle of the lake. There is a smaller island, Ramps Holme, nearer the eastern shore, and the Floating Island near Lodore which appears at infrequent intervals. Friars Crag, a rocky promontory about a mile from Keswick, is generally supposed to be so called because it was the landing place of the friars of Grange. On the crag is the Ruskin Monument, erected in 1900.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

GLENRIDDING, LAKE DISTRICT

SUNDAY, 27TH JUNE 2010

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Selwyn Williams   Distance: 9 miles
During a recession, everybody could do with a raise, and that's what you can have today. Up one valley, past the old mine workings, and to the top of Raise from where you can see down through St John in the Vale to Blencathra in the distance; looking the other way and Helvellyn looms in front of you with views of Swirral Edge. Back down to Glenridding through another valley and there you have it. About nine miles long and up there and back in height!
Moderate Leader: Peter Denton   Distance : 7 miles
A quite long steady climb out of Glenridding to reach Red Tarn which nestles in the shadow of Helvellyn, from where we can watch the brave and foolhardy on the ridges of Striding Edge and Swirral Edge. A short ascent from here to reach 'Hole in the Wall' , our highest point today. Descending back to Glenridding via Birkhouse Moor and possibly Lanty's Tarn. Wonderful views if the weather is kind.
Leisurely Leader: Philomena Walker   Distance: 6.5 miles
A rocky road to Howtown followed by a leisurely sail back to Glenridding on one of the Ullswaters steamers (ticket £5.60).
Level walking with some uphill sections. We head down the lane towards Side Farm and enter through the gate to follow the track signed Howtown and Sandwick. We follow alongside a wall until it drops away where a short climb will give us a view of Norfolk Island - the best view of the day. We will continue along a path to silver Point where we will stop for lunch before continuing through woods. Descending from the woods to Scalehow Beck and crossing wooden footbridge to arrive at the tiny hamlet of Sandwick, via the lakeshore and Hallinghad Wood, we arrive at Howtown and make our way to the pier and the steamer back to Glenridding.
Easy Leader: Hazel Anderton & Cynthia Prescott   Distance: 4 miles.
From the car park we go up through the village and make a slow steady climb beside the brook to the mine workings. We cross the bridge and walk back along the other side of the valley above the stream with lovely views across the lake and down the valley. We then make our way across fields and past woods to Lanty's Tarn, to return downhill back to Glenridding.

NOTES ON THE AREA

Glenridding is a small tourist village on Ullswater, though it grew in importance with the development of the Greenside Lead Mine. Lead ore was first discovered in the 1650's, the first levels were driven by Dutch adventurers in the 1690's and dressed ore was carried down to the Stoneycroft smelter at Keswick. Production at the mine, however, did not really begin until the late 18th century and the mine was not extensively worked until 1825 when the mining activity reached its height. Power was originally provided by waterwheels, with the water being supplied by the damming of nearby tarns. One of them, Keppel Cove, burst its banks in 1927 bringing disaster to the village below. Much the same happened four years later, when flood waters smashed through the concrete of High Dam. By the early 1960's it had become uneconomic to extract lead from the mine and it closed. At one stage, the mine was leased to the Atomic Energy Authority for the purpose of carrying out non-nuclear underground explosions. They were testing seismic instruments designed to detect underground atomic blasts. Most of the mine buildings are now gone, but a few remain and see service as a youth hostel and mountain huts.

Ullswater is second only to Windermere in length but far surpasses it for peace and solitude. Although a navigable highway, there are few motor-driven vessels on the lake, the speed boats and water skiers having been driven away by the 10 mph speed restriction imposed in 1983. There are two launches which sail the lake from Glenridding to Pooley Bridge, both run by the grandly named Ullswater Navigation and Transit Company Ltd. 'Lady of the Lake' was first launched in 1877 and her sister ship 'Raven' in 1889. Originally steam driven, today they are powered by diesel. At the northern end of the lake there is an underground pumping station which draws water off to feed the reservoir at Haweswater.

Patterdale has long been a popular valley in spite of having at one end a high mountain pass that, in winter, is often a barrier to anyone approaching from Troutbeck, Ambleside and Windermere. The so-called Lake Poets greatly loved the place, and its attractions brought not only the Wordsworths, but Sir Walter Scott, Sir Humphrey Davey, and others. It was at Gowbarrow Park that Dorothy Wordsworth noticed the daffodils that led to her brother William penning what is perhaps his best-remembered poem.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

CASTLETON, DERBYSHIRE

SUNDAY, 25TH JULY 2010

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Mark & Julia Gibbons   Distance: 9 miles, Ascent 1050 ft
This walk across riverside pastureland and the High Peak follows ancient marching roads, passing battlefields and a Roman fort. We begin with a gentle walk beside Peakshole Water and the River Noe, passing the Roman fort of Navio, to reach Brough. Touching the outskirts of Hope, we climb gently to Aston before starting the ascent of Win Hill. The path is well defined and the ascent steady, soon reaching the level Great Ridge and the summit, Win Hill Pike (1518 ft). Both provide far reaching panoramic views - to Ladybower Reservoir and the Snake Pass, Mam Tor and to the White Peak beyond Castleton. The second part of the descent is steep - via Twitchill Farm, reaching a different part of Hope, and then we take gentle meadows back to Castleton on the opposite side of the A625 to our outward journey. If the weather is good, this walk is one of our favourites and highly recommended for strenuous and moderate regulars.
Moderate Leader: Peter Denton   Distance : 7.5 miles
To Edale and Back. If you like hills you will love this walk; as the name suggests we will walk out of one valley, and then back into the valley. We start heading towards Back Tor and through Back Tor Nook down into Edale to cross Back Tor Bridge to walk along Edale road to Yemans Bridge, then past Hardenclough Farm, then up to Hollins Cross and down Hallowford Road into Castleton for a well earned boot rejection and some refreshments.
Leisurely Leader: Derek Lee   Distance: 6.5 miles
We start with an easy walk on field tracks as far as Hope village, then turn north to climb the ridge as far as Hollins Cross. This is a long steady 700 ft climb but we'll have time for plenty of pauses on the way up. There are good views on both sides of the ridge. Then a descent to Mam Farm and a short climb on the remains of the old main road up to Blue John Cavern, ending with a pleasant walk on field paths past Treak Cliff and Speedwell Caverns back to Castleton.
Easy Leader: Adelaide Houghton   Distance: approx 5 miles
A circular walk from Castleton car park, passing Losehill Hall and climbing gradually to Losehill Farm (Crimea). Then downhill into Hope village. Back via Hope Valley and Peakshole Water.

NOTES ON THE AREA

First recorded in 1196, Castleton is essentially a medieval mining town. Unlike most mining towns, it was planned, rather than being built by random extensions. Set out under the castle, it ceased to prosper when the castle lost its importance in the fourteenth century. Peveril Castle, which was built by William Peveril, William the Conqueror's local bailiff, dates from the 11th century. The rectangular keep is late Norman of about 1175. A dry ditch isolates the castle yard, which occupies nearly the whole of the summit, from the rest of the hill, By the seventeenth century the castle was in ruins.

Castleton is famed for its show caves: Speedwell Mine at the foot of Winnats Pass, Treak Cliff Cavern, Blue John mine, and Peak Cavern, whose entrance was once used for rope making. Blue John, which is a blue and yellow coloured fluorspar, is used in the manufacture of ornaments and jewelry which are sold in the local shops.

Mam Tor is composed of alternate layers of sandstone and shale, exposed in the great precipice. This is a highly unstable combination which has given rise to Mam Tor's other name, the Shivering Mountain. The summit is ringed by the massive ramparts of an Iron Age fort, cut into by the continually slipping cliff. A packhorse track skirts the north face of Mam Tor and then follows the ridge to Hollins Cross and down to Hope on the sourthern slopes of Lose Hill. Until 1633, when a chapel was built at Edale, funeral processions had to climb the ridge for burial at Hope.

Limestone and shale are the essential components of cement and Hope Cement Works, constructed in 1933, is strategically placed at the geological junction of the two. A branch line joins the works to the main railway line over concrete bridges which are quite out of character with the area. The quarry is gradually devouring the limestone to the south and, although providing much needed local employment, is quite a blot on the landscape.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

KETTLEWELL, YORKSHIRE DALES

SUNDAY, 22ND AUGUST 2010

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Rowland Nock   Distance: 12 miles
From Kettlewell we head out towards Providence Pot following Dowber Gill Beck and then on to Hag Dyke. We will then pick up the main path onto Great Whernside (704m, height gain from Kettlewell 500m). From here we head north along the ridge via Black Dike End where we will descend Hem Gill Shaw to pick up the Starbotton road to Starbotton. From here we can walk the banks of the crystal clear River Wharfe back to Kettlewell for some well-earned tea and tiffin or maybe a half glass of beer.
Please note the walk will include some open access walking off footpaths on uneven ground. Please also bear in mind the ascent of Great Whernside involves a height gain of 500 metres but there are no other ascents after that. So, if you are up for a bit of adventure, please join me.
Moderate Leader: Phil Walker   Distance: 6.5 miles
Two Dales are included in this energetic walk, which starts from Kettlewell and climbs across steep rugged moorland before dropping down into Littondale and the village of Arncliffe. We take time out here for lunch and, weather permitting, time to explore this lovely village and its medieval church, before easy riverside along the River Skirfare, once again climbing up to and over the shoulder of Knipe Scar and down into Kettlewell. The two steep climbs will be rewarded by magnificent views of both Wharfedale and Littondale.
Leisurely Leader: Sully Adam   Distance: 6.5 miles
Starting from the bridge we follow the river for about 2 miles to reach the Fox & Hounds pub in Starbotton for lunch. Following is a little climb up a zig zag path, along the top, and back down into Kettlewell.
Easy Leader: Dianne Pennington & Irene Wilcock   Distance : 5.5 miles
We start the walk from behind the garage-owned car park and walk to Town End Fields to pick up the Dalesway path and walk back through the village. We then start a gentle climb as we head for Starbotton. There are quite a few gated stiles on this stretch, but not too difficult to negotiate. We then head back on the Dalesway along the river.

NOTES ON THE AREA

Kettlewell is the hub of Upper Wharfedale, a junction of roads and a natural halting place. It stands on what was a major coaching route to Richmond, and the two Inns at the entrance to the village would service the weary travellers. Shops, tearooms and a third Inn add more life to a village being steadily engulfed by holiday homes. Kettlewell straddles its own beck which largely drains the slopes of Great Whernside, very much Kettlewell's mountain. These slopes bear the scars of a lead-mining industry long since replaced by tourism as a major source of employment.

In the 12th century, part of Kettlewell's manor was granted to the canons of Coverham Abbey across the hills to the north. Fountains Abbey and Bolton Priory also had estates here, so it was natural that a market was established in the 13th century and the village became a thriving community. Textiles and, in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, lead-mining, revitalized village prosperity and Kettlewell's appearance today derives much from the past 200 years. The remains of the smelting mill, used from 1700 to 1886, can still be seen near the confluence of Cam and Dowber Becks half a mile above the village.

The main road touches only the southern end of the village, and a stroll through its quiet lanes and turnings reveals a number of 17th and 18th century houses, including the vicarage. The church, however, is late Victorian. This attractive 19 century building stands on the site of an earlier 12th century church from which only the "tub" font remains. A document of 1338, on display, refers to the days when the manor belonged to Coverham Abbey, near Leyburn. There are two interesting modern windows commemorating young men who died in the Second World War.

There are many stories relating to Kettlewell. According to one of these, in 1218 the local parson was found dead in the fields. Ralph, the Marshall, was suspected of the killing as he had seduced the parson's mistress and taken her off to Skipton. Perhaps she was attracted as much by Ralph's money as his other charms - parsons were never well paid and, during Elizabethan times, the Kettlewell parson kept an inn in his house to eke out his meagre salary of £5 per annum.

Starbotton is a compact village, surrounded by fells. In 1686 a torrential storm caused flooding and because the houses were so close together, most were destroyed and the bridge washed away Off the main road are some lovely corners with an old Quaker burial ground hidden away.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

INGLETON, YORKSHIRE DALES

SUNDAY, 26TH SEPTEMBER 2010

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Dag Griffiths   Distance: 12 miles
From Ingleton we pick up the bridleway across Ingleborough Common to the summit of Ingleborough (724 metres). From the summit we descend to Gaping Ghyll and make our way to Clapham, passing Ingleborough Cave and following alongside Clapham Beck. From Clapham we take paths across fields (likely to be muddy) to Newby and Cold Cotes, before completing the walk on quiet roads.
Moderate Leader: Ruth Melling & Hazel Anderton   Distance: nearly 9 miles
Although it is a bit longer than usual, it is not very strenuous and has few stiles. We leave town and go along part of the Ingleton Trail (hopefully we will not be charged as we will be going the 'wrong way'. We then make our way to Chapel le Dale along what is known as the Roman road. There's a delightful little chapel here where many of the people, and family members, who where involved in the building of the Ribblehead Viaduct, are buried. We then make our way along the moor where there are some great views including Ribblehead in the distance, before coming down the escarpment and down the road back into town.

If the weather is bad with poor visibility we will not be going along the moor as it would be easy to get lost, and also we do not want to lose anyone down one of the deep pot holes which line part of the route. If the weather is wet we will shorten the walk, and take an alternative low level route back to town.

Leisurely Leader: Sully Adam  Distance: 6 miles
From Ingleton we go up through disused quarries to the top of the waterfalls (some stepping stones) and back either the same way or along quiet lanes.
Easy Leader: Cynthia Prescott & Joan McGlinchey Distance : About 4.5 miles
Ingleton is famous for waterfalls and we walked the designated Waterfall Trail. It is a 4.5 miles long waymarked path which takes you through Swilla Glen, Pecca Falls, Hollybush Spout, Thornton Force, Beezley Falls, Rival Falls, Baxenghyll Gorge, Snow Falls and Swilla Glen. It is an interesting trail on good paths which takes you up one river, across the moorland, through woods, past a cafe, down along another river and past a disused quarry. The falls are certainly impressive after a lot of rain, even when the water is brown!

However, there is a cost of £4 for walking a private section of the route and we found there were many steep steps going up and down which we felt may not suit some ramblers who choose an easy walk. Therefore we had to look for alternative walks and reccied the start of the old Roman Road which runs between the two rivers up to the moor to meet the Trail. It will take you up to the higher falls without costs and with less steps. We also have directions for a walk to the village of Burton in Lonsdale and back along the lower river.

We intend to discuss with the walkers which route they wish to take and can split the group for part of the walk if necessary.

NOTES ON THE AREA

Ingleton, an attractive little Dales town under the magnificent outline of its famous mountain, and close to the spectacular waterfalls, is an excellent walking centre. It is well supplied with shops, cafes, pubs, and the Ingleton Community Centre has a small Information point.

The town was a staging post on the important Leeds-Kendal packhorseway, then on the busy Keighley-Kendal turnpike. By the late 18th century its annual fair was noted for leather and oatmeal. Industry came as textiles in the form of a huge woollen mill. Water from the River Doe powered cotton and woollen mills.

In the market place, opposite the Halifax Building Society, is the ancient bullring, where the bull was tied before being baited by dogs, last used for this purpose in the 19th century. Further along the High Street on the left is an attractive, late 17th century cottage.

The road from Ingleton to Hawes passes White Scar Cave. Here the visitor may penetrate half a mile under Ingleborough. Discovered in 1923, the cave has two underground waterfalls, wonderful coloured stalagmites, stalactites, and grottoes.

St Mary's Church, at the top of the village, suffers from the threat of subsidence, as the result of having been built on a mound of glacial drift. Only the Norman tower, somewhat restored, survives of the original structure, which has been rebuilt at least three times. Inside the church is one of the finest Norman fonts in the West Riding, carved with figures of Mary, Jesus, the Three Magi and the Tree of Life, as well as scenes of Christ's Entry into Jerusalem and the Massacre of the Innocents. The font has had a chequered history. Under Cromwell, it was at one time used for mixing whitewash and mortar.

Ingleton Glens forms part of a private estate. The footpath through them is not a right of way, and a small charge is made for entry. The entrance to the Glens is at the bottom of the village, below the huge disused railway viaduct that carried the former Ingleton-Tebay line. A walk through the waterfalls is easy to follow, but more lives have been lost here in recent years than anywhere in the Dales under or above ground. The gorges are steep and the current swift, and to fall in is to risk almost certain drowning. The paths however are well made and perfectly safe with care.

Above Ingleborough village looms the great bulk of Ingleborough Hill, at 2373 ft the third-highest mountain in Yorkshire. It is one of the heights to be climbed in the 'Three Peaks Race' with Whernside and Pen-y-Ghent. Ingleborough's limestone mass is riddled with great caves and extensive potholes, and is topped with the remains of an' Iron Age fortification, possibly a Brigantian stronghold.

The tiny church at Chapel-le-Dale, St Leonards, is particularly lovely. The Lakeland poet, Robert Southey, wrote in 1847 that "A hermit who might wish his grave to be as quiet as his cell, could imagine no fitter resting place". Ironically in the 1870s, nearly 100 navvies, perishing from accidents, illness and disease in the building of the Ribblehead viaduct and Blea Moor tunnel on the Settle-Carlisle railway line, were buried in an extended graveyard at Chapel-de-Dale. A marble plaque in the church commemorates the tragic deaths.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

CARTMEL, CUMBRIA

SUNDAY, 31ST OCTOBER 2010

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Rowland Nock   Distance: 11 miles
From Cartmel we head out east past the Priory on the Cistercian Way climbing Hampsfell (220 m) with its wonderful observation tower giving panoramic views, including the Kent Estuary, Morecambe Bay, and beyond. We then wend our way round Cartmel near Allithwaite heading on past Birkby Hall and eventually picking up the Cumbrian Coastal Way.
We then head up gently onto How Barrow (170m) again giving spectacular views this time including Cartmel Sands to which the waters of Lake Windermere flow via the River Leven. We will carry on along the Cumbrian Coastal Path a little way eventually returning back to Cartmel via Speel Bank, Tram Wood and Park Wood. Finally, exiting Park Wood back to the car park via the race course. Hopefully, there will time for some well earned tea and tiffin or even a pint!
Moderate Leader: Peter Denton   Distance: 9 miles
Today we start this walk crossing over the racecourse into the Park Wood. Up to Well Knowe then on to Wall Nook and Over Ridge. Then head for Burns Farm where we join the Cumbria Coastal Way up to Speel Bank then we head down Ellerside. Then back on to the Cumbria Coastal Way and back to Cartmel.
Leisurely Leader: Margaret Black & Stephen Balenski   Distance: 7 miles
We start with a level walk across the racecourse following the Cistercian Way, turning off at Low Bank farm to continue over mainly gentle rolling fields and pasture land. There are a few stiles stepped into the boundary walls along the way. After a short stretch of road there is a very gradual climb along the side and over the crest of Hampsfield Fell, with good views of the Kent Estuary and Morecambe Bay. However, before rejoining the Cistercian Way to walk downhill back to Cartmel, if weather conditions allow, a very short diversion to an observation tower known as the Hospice on top of the fell gives a wonderful panoramic view of the area.
Easy Leader: Sue Daniels   Distance : About 6.5 miles
This walk is generally easy walking and has gentle climbs and descents with wonderful views of Coniston Fells and the Leven Estuary. The walk leaves from Cartmel's racecourse and climbs steadily through woodland and over pastures. It continues to Speel Bank, a sylvan, isolated area, where there is a deer farm. The route goes on below Mount Barnard and along the Cistercian Way to finish back at Cartmel for some well deserved refreshments.

NOTES ON THE AREA

Cartmel is on the southern fringes of the Lake District, between the mountains and the sea. The village huddles around a massive priory church, which was part of a monastery founded in 1188 by William Marshall, Earl of Pembroke. When the monasteries were dissolved by Henry VIII in 1536-1540 the priory was saved because it doubled as the parish church.

The rest of the monastery fell into ruins, except for the gatehouse which now forms an attractive entrance to the village square. It was built at about 1330 as a fortified tower for the priory. At the dissolution it was being used as a courthouse; from 1625 to 1790 it was used as a school, and is now a craft shop. The nearby obelisk is 18th century.

There are second hand bookshops and craft galleries around and near the square, several village pubs and a couple of cafes and speciality food shops. Cartmel Racecourse holds meetings at spring and summer bank holidays.

The priory's most unusual feature is the tower. For some reason, when the tower was heightened in the 15th century, it was built on a diagonal, giving the church a distinctive appearance. Inside there are intricate carvings dating from 1450 on the tip-up seats of the choir stalls. In 1618 the church was re-roofed and the screen carved. The archway of the north door has elaborate dog-toothed moulding.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

DELAMERE, CHESHIRE

SUNDAY, 28TH NOVEMBER 2010

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Linda Williams   Distance: 11.25 miles or less
An interesting and varied stroll through Cheshire's fine landscapes. Commencing with meandering woodland paths through forest, past meres and thickets. Onward over pastures and croplands, including corn forest walk, and through the village of Looking Glass past the cat and over telegraph hill, today's only substantial climb. We now join the Sandstone Trail with distant views of Merseyside to descend back from whence we came.
Moderate Leader: Sue Daniels   Distance: 8 miles
There are no great heights in this walk, just gradual climbs over pleasant meadows with some good views. The walk first passes Eddisbury Lodge where we take a left up over Hangingstone Hill. We take in quite a bit of wooded area over to Summertrees, then pass near Boothsdale and carry on down into Kelsall. I am hoping we can have lunch here (we may be able to sit outside the pub if the landlord allows!). After lunch we carry on to Kelsall Hall where we cross the busy A54 and carry on back to the outskirts of Delamere Forest and, again passing Eddisbury Lodge, to the coach.
Leisurely Leader: Joan McGlinchey & Hazel Anderton   Distance: 7 miles
We start off walking through part of the forest and then go south along the Sandstone Trail to Primrose Hill and open countryside. Towards the end of the walk we go over the top of Pale Heights where there are some great views if the weather is good. The walk is generally undulating with no really steep bits, mostly good underfoot, with just short sections that might be muddy and slippery, and very few if any stiles.
Easy Leader: Norma Carmichael   Distance : About 5 to 6 miles
The walk starts at the Railway Station from where we will walk to the information Centre where we will stop for a brew. From there we will follow a track and hope to complete a 5-6 mile walk through the forest, mostly footpaths and hopefully see lots of wild life.

NOTES ON THE AREA

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' meaning 'of the mere', a reference to the numerous meres and mosses included within it's boundary. These resulted from the massive ice sheet which once covered the whole countryside of 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.

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 for the area.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

STYAL, CHESHIRE

SUNDAY, 28TH NOVEMBER 2010

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Dag Griffiths & Dennis Cookson   Distance: 10 miles
We head north from Styal Country Park crossing fields and Styal Golf Club towards the village of Handforth. From Handforth Station we take footpaths to walk through the farmland to the east and south of Handforth and along part of the Bollin Valley Way to Wilmslow. At Wilmslow we rejoin the Bollin Valley way to walk through The Carrs, a parkland area that follows the River Bollin. After leaving The Carrs we enter Styal Country Park heading for Quarry Bank Mill and the completion of our circuit. Ear muffs to cut out aircraft noise and traffic noise from the footpath section parallel to the A34 might be useful! Seriously though, gaiters are recommended as the paths were quite muddy in places.
Moderate Leader: Peter Denton   Distance: 7 miles
We start this walk from Quarry Bank Mill then follow the North Cheshire Way, (this part of the walk is very up and down with a great deal of steps) through Styal Country Park and along the edge of Runway 2. We then turn away on to local footpaths across pasture fields and over some stiles, making our way back into Styal for a well earned cuppa.
Leisurely Leader: Sue Daniels   Distance: 6 miles
From Styal Country Park we follow the well marked paths down through the trees into the Bollin Valley following the river. Please note that there are lots of steps to go up (some steep) but we will take our time. As Manchester Airport is nearby the sound of planes can be heard throughout most of the walk and as we come out of the valley and join the North Cheshire Way we should see one or two planes taking off as we follow the boundary of the runway. We then carry on through Burleyhurst Wood and the village of Morley. We then cross the busy A538 and follow a newly built wooden track which goes through the woods and back along the river through Quarry Bank Mill and round to the Mill at the country park and coach.
Easy Leader: Norma Carmichael   Details on the coach.

NOTES ON THE AREA

The twin focal points of Styal Country Park are Quarry Bank Mill and the adjacent Styal village, both built by the Greg family, the mill owners. The water power provided by the River Bollin was one of the main motives for building the mill here. Apart from the mill and village, the park mainly comprises the beautiful steep-sided Styal Woods that slope down to the river.

Since the Middle Ages wool has been England's chief industry but in the early 18th century cotton became a rival, growing rapidly and later outstripping wool in production. Not only was it the fastest growing industry in England during the Industrial Revolution, it was also the industry that pioneered both new machinery and new methods of working. Previously most textile workers had worked in their own homes using simple hand-operated machines. The work was distributed to them and later collected when finished. This was known as the domestic system.

The new methods were themselves the necessary consequences of the growth of water-powered machines, such as Arkwright's Water Frame and Crompton's Mule. The workers could no longer work at home but had to come to work in mills or factories. These were essentially sheds that housed the machinery and were mainly situated on the banks of streams where the power of the water could be harnessed to drive the new machines. Thus the factory system was born.

Cotton was the most geographically concentrated industry in Britain. Over 90 percent of cotton production became located within a 20-30 mile radius of Manchester. One of the major reasons for this was the proximity of the port of Liverpool, through which both the raw cotton from America was imported and the finished products were exported. Other factors included the damp climate (good for preventing the cotton thread from breaking), plenty of fast flowing streams to provide the water power, coal supplies in the locality (when steam-powered machines later superseded those powered by water), and a workforce skilled in textile manufacturing from the earlier woollen industry.

Textile mills rapidly sprang up throughout the area. Most of them were in south Lancashire but a number were established in north Cheshire to the south of Manchester. In 1784 Samuel Greg, a cotton manufacturer from Manchester, built Quarry Bank Mill on the banks of the swift flowing River Bollin at Styal, a small agricultural settlement near Wilmslow. From the start Quarry Bank Mill was rather different from the norm. It was a new site in a rural and thinly-populated area with only a few cottages in the vicinity. Samuel Greg, the owner, needed to attract workers to his vast new mill and to do this he provided houses for them that were superior to most working class housing at the time.

Over the following years the spinning mill prospered and was extended. It expanded further in the 1830's when Robert Greg, Samuel's son, added weaving sheds and, in its heyday, it employed over 400 workers. The mill is a striking building and clearly illustrates that industrial structures do not have to be ugly and badly designed. One of its most attractive features is the bell tower, though this was added for purely ulterior motives to ensure good timekeeping among the workforce.

Samnuel Greg's main problem was that the neighbouring village was too small to provide the workforce he required for the mill and therefore he had to recruit workers from outside the area, including pauper children. He also had to provide accommodation for both his family and his employees. He built houses for himself and his family and for the mill manager close to the mill, and a little further away the Apprentice House was erected in 1790. This housed around 60 pauper apprentices sent here from various workhouses. The child apprentices not only provided the Gregs with a cheap and plentiful labour supply but relieved their local parishes from a burden on the rates. The garden around the Apprentice House has been made into a Victorian allotment.

Since being given to the National Trust and ceasing commercial production, Quarry Bank Mill has become a museum with a working waterwheel, and there are practical demonstrations of textile machinery and displays on how people lived and worked here during the Industrial Revolution.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

AMBLESIDE, LAKE DISTRICT

SUNDAY, 13TH JUNE 2010

TODAY'S WALKS

Moderate Leader: Jackie Gudgeon     Distance: 8.5 miles
Today we will be doing a round of Loughrigg Fell with an option to reach the trig point on top for those who would like a slightly bigger challenge. We set off along a quiet lane from Rothay Bridge, climb to Miller Brow and on to Lily Tarn for a coffee stop. We then head towards Loughrigg Fell proper where we skirt round to Loughrigg Tarn, Oaks, and Intake Wood to join the Loughrigg Terrace with stunning views over the vale of Grasmere. We descend to cross the river between Grasmere (lake) and Rydal Water to climb up to join the coffin track to Rydal. Back along quiet lane and through Rothay Park back to Ambleside.
Easy/Leisurely. Leaders: Margery Howe / Derek Lee   Distance : 5/7 miles
The Easy walk will take the quiet road following the River Rothay to Rydal, returning through Rydal Park. A Longer walk taking the same route, but extending it round Rydal Water, will be available as required.

NOTES ON THE AREA

Once a mill town whose becks and rivers provided power for waterwheels, Ambleside long ago made its peace with visitors and started to provide for their needs. There are book shops, outdoor pursuit shops and gift shops too numerous to mention, whilst the streets throng with people spilling off the pavements, and cars gyrating in a gigantic roundabout. But in spite of all this, Amblesude still retains its charm. The architecture is principally that of a Victorian town, whilst up the hill leading to the Kirkstone Pass some houses date from the 15th Century.

The earliest sign of man, however, is much earlier as the Romans built their fort, Galava, on the shores of Windermere. There are no impressive columns or walls still standing, for only a few stones remain poking through the grass, but nevertheless they are a reminder that Ambleside has been inhabited for nigh on a thousand years.

In the centre of Ambleside the quaint little Bridge House, built over the River Rothay like something out of a fairy tale, dates from the 17th Century. It was probably a summer house for Ambleside Hall, though in 1843 Chairy Rigg lived here with his wife and six children. With one room up and one room down, how they all fitted in is a mystery. An attractive subject for any artist who can brave the inquisitive passers by, it was painted by JMW Turner on one of his northern tours. In 1926 it was bought by the National Trust and in 1956 became its very first information and recruiting centre in the country.

Stockghyll Force, a popular beauty spot from Victorian times, still has the remains of the railed viewpoints where Victorian ladies stood to admire the scene. It is well worth visiting after heavy rain. Beside the stream, one of the old mills has been converted to holiday flats.

In the Ice Age, the undulating top of Loughrigg Fell was scraped clean by glaciers, leaving a landscape of bare rocky outcrops and boggy hollows, now occupied by tarns and pools. Though little over a thousand feet in height, and barely a square mile in extent, there is more scenery packed into Loughrigg Fell than practically anywhere else in Lakeland.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

BOLTON ABBEY, YORKSHIRE DALES

SUNDAY, 11TH JULY 2010

TODAY'S WALKS

Moderate Leader: Jackie Gudgeon   Distance: 8.5 miles
Bolton Abbey - Hare Head - Lower Barden Reservoir - Barden Broad Park - Barden Bridge - River Wharfe - Bolton Abbey. A steady climb to Hare Head then downhill to Barden Bridge and a pleasant walk along the River Wharfe past the Stryd and on to Bolton Abbey. Good views on the way down from the reservoir.
Leisurely Leader: Sue Daniels   Distance : 7.5 miles
Bolton Abbey - Hare Head - Barden Tower - River Wharfe. A steady climb through woods and moorland to Hare Head then down to Barden Bridge for a stroll back along the River Wharfe.
Easy Leader: Derek Lee   Distance: 5 miles
We will pass the Abbey ruins and cross the river to follow the Dales Way northwards through the woods as far as the Pavilion, then continue on the east side of the river almost as far as Barden Bridge. From here we return on the west side of the river along the area known as The Stryd, where the River Wharfe is forced into a deep and narrow channel, finishing on the road directly passing the Abbey ruins.

NOTES ON THE AREA

Bolton Priory was founded in 1154 by Augustinian canons (known as Black Friars because they wore black and not, as a schoolboy once wrote, because of their dirty habits!). It became a wealthy establishment which, in it's heyday, had up to 20 canons, several lay brethren, and employed 200 people. It was suppressed in 1539, three years after the Act of Dissolution. The Priory had always been the village church which is why the King allowed a portion to remain intact - it is still a rather grand church for such a small village.

The tall structure on the roadside at the top of the entrance to the Cavendish Pavilion car park is a covered fountain erected by the electors of the West Riding as a tribute to the memory of Frederick Charles Cavendish, son of the 7th Duke of Devonshire.

The woodlands between the Cavendish Pavilion and the Strid have been made into a nature reserve, with six waymarked footpaths. The woods contain superb specimens of mature trees, including oak, ash, yew and Scots pine, and there are drifts of bluebells, wood sorrel, wood anemones, celandine and campion. Birds to be seen include dippers, wrens, finches, tits, magpies and jays, with the occasional glimpse of a heron or great spotted woodpecker. At the Strid, rocky ledges close in like pincers, forcing the River Wharfe through a channel only a few feet wide. The river has hollowed out the sandstone to create underground chambers of treacherous depth. Many have drowned attempting to leap across the swirling torrent, and the area should be approached with caution.

Barden Bridge is a fine example of a Dales humpbacked bridge dating from the late 17th century. It's buttressed arches serve as breakwaters when the river is in flood. Barden Tower was once the home of the celebrated 'Shepherd Lord' Henry Clifford, who was brought up in secret exile by Cumberland shepherds during the reign of his father's enemies, the Yorkist Kings. After the succession of Henry Tudor in 1485, Henry Clifford regained his estates but always preferred his isolated tretreat at Barden to his ancestral home at Skipton Castle. In 1643 Lady Ann Clifford inherited the estates and, after ordering considerable restoration, lived there from about 1659 until her death in 1676. The Tower became the property of the Dukes of Devonshire in 1748 and is now in the care of the Trustees of the Chatsworth Settlement. It has not been lived in since Lady Ann Clifford's death and has been in ruins since the 1800's.

Beamsley Beacon is the bold ridge that stands above the Wharfe to the south east. As it's name suggests, it was one of the many hills in England where a warning fire was lighted in former times when there was a national emergency, and dates from the time when people lived in fear of a Napoleonic invasion. It is a particularly fine viewpoint, especially to the south and west where Ilkley Moor forms the right hand side of Wharfedale.

The Valley of Desolation acquired this name after a severe storm in 1826 which caused considerable damage. Today, however, the name is hardly appropriate, for the tree-cloaked slopes, attractive stream and the two waterfalls make it instead a place of sylvan beauty.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

LOGGERHEADS, NORTH WALES

SUNDAY, 8TH AUGUST 2010

TODAY'S WALKS

Moderate Leader: Jackie Gudgeon   Distance: 8 miles
A varied walk covering woodland, riverside, quiet lanes, with some lovely views over the surrounding countryside. We start off with a walk along the Leete Path high above the River Alun, passing quarries and caves, before descending towards Cilcain (we might visit Cilcain for lunch if we feel like a short steep climb!). Otherwise we follow a riverside path to emerge at Pentre where we begin to climb gently to Cae Newydd and a lovely track along the side of Ffrith Mountain with splendid views over the valley. Circling round to Brithdir-mawr we descend over tracks and field paths to finish along a riverside path and lane back to Loggerheads.
Easy Leader: Derek Lee   Distance : 5.5 miles
We start off on the Leete path for a short way before turning left and climbing a short way up the hillside to make our way almost as far as Cilcain. There is more road walking than is usual here but that is because the planned footpath would involve crossing very difficult stiles. After lunch in Coed y Felin Woodland Trust park we take the mostly woodland footpath towards Pont-newydd and return along the Leete path.

NOTES ON THE AREA

Loggerheads Country Park is a long established beauty spot, popular with those seeking rural peace and those whose interest is industrial archaeology. Loggerheads was a pioneer of the concept of a country park. Industry had virtually ceased here by the turn of the century, and in 1926 the Crosville Motor Bus Company bought the land to develop as a tourist venue for their bus trips. A tea house, bandstand, boating lakes and kiosks were installed and gardens were laid out in the style of an urban park. It was extremely popular in the 1930's when the hourly bus service brought the crowds from nearby towns. The land was bought by Clwyd in 1974 and turned into a country park proper, with a fine nature trail and an industrial trail.

The area got its name from an acrimonious dispute over mining rights in the 18th century between the Lords of Mold and Llanferres. The block-headed behaviour of the parties involved was satirized in the sign of the inn across the road from the park entrance. It depicts two figures back to back, clearly not on speaking terms.

This is limestone country, covered with woodland. Ash, alder, hazel and sycamore favour the riverside area, with ferns, lichens and woodland flowers growing beneath the tree canopy. Treecreepers, jays and nuthatches live in the woods, while grey wagtails, dippers and grey herons haunt the river. On the steep slopes of the valley sides oak, beech and silver birch mingle with conifers, while shrubs and undergrowth provide a healthy environment for a wide variety of wildlife.

The River Alun runs along a glaciated valley through the heart of the country park, and at one place the water disappears into swallow holes, natural fissures in the limestone that have been enlarged by erosion, and runs underground through caves, Along the section known as the Leete Walk, you can see great caves and fissures in the rock. Some of these features, which may have been natural originally, have been exploited by man, because the area was a centre for lead mining up to the 1870's. Mining in this type of rock presented some problems, as water seeped down through the cracks to flood the deeper levels. One answer was to use pumps powered by water-wheels. However, the wheels themselves needed a constant supply which the disappearing river could not provide. The answer was to build the leat (spelled Leete locally). This artificial channel took its supply from the river above the swallow holes and carried it downstream to the wheelpits working the pumps.

Moel Famau, which rises to 1817 ft, is the highest peak of the Clwydian Hills and is easily recognisable by the ruined Jubilee column on the summit, which commemorates the 50th year of George III's reign. There are extensive views over the estuaries of the Dee and Mersey, the Cheshire Plain, the Cumberland Hills, the Vale of Clwyd, Snowdonia and Anglesey.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

ARNSIDE, CUMBRIA

SUNDAY, 5TH SEPTEMBER 2010

TODAY'S WALKS

Moderate Leader: Leo & Jean Keenan   Distance: 8.5 miles
We leave Arnside along the Promenade and then climb steadily to reach the viewpoint on top of Arnside Knott (about 160 metres). From here we descend through Arnside Knott Wood to Arnside Tower, then Middlebarrow Plain and Eaves Wood, stopping at Silverdale for lunch and toilet break. After lunch we return to Arnside via Far Arnside and New Barns along the shore line (tide permitting).
Leisurely Leader: Hazel Anderton   Distance: Approx 7 miles
We start off along the promenade, and the shore, tide and weather permitting, heading towards New Barn. We then go up through a caravan park and head around the cliffs with lovely views across part of Morecambe Bay. We head towards another caravan park where we can use the facilities at the restaurant if we buy a little something. We then make our way towards the top of Arnside Knott where there are more great views of the estuary and the bridge before finally coming back down to the promenade.
Easy Leader: Philomena Walker   Distance: 4.5 miles
Leaving the Pier and treading carefully, we make our way along he rocky foreshore towards a surfaced track, through a caravan park, and onto a grassy trail leading to the woodland path along the top of the cliff, with views of Morecambe Bay to our right.
On reaching Far Arnside a stroll along a lane will bring us to the driveway of a caravan park (a nice place for lunch). From here we cross pastureland to pick up the path through Copridding Woods down to New Barns and back to Arnside. Taking our time, we can admire the impressive views all around this area. The ascent to the cliff path is very gradual, and taken at an easy pace.

NOTES ON THE AREA

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 flukes and 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.

Arnside Knott stands above the village to the south, with distant views of the Cumbrian fells. Access is by rights of way only, though 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

RIVINGTON, LANCASHIRE

SUNDAY, 10TH OCTOBER 2010

This is an alternative to our planned venue of Lyme Park, as we discovered that the national trust are now not accepting coaches into lyme park unless it is a booked visit to the hall and gardens. Alternative parking/dropping off on the boundaries of the park was investigated but none were found to be viable. Most people booked on the coach have been contacted and their approval obtained for this change, and we apologise to anyone who has not got the message! However, we are sure you will all have a good day at rivington.

TODAY'S WALKS

Moderate Leader: Jackie Gudgeon   Distance: 9 miles
Today's walk will be a circuit of the Rivington & Anglezarke Reservoirs, as far as White Coppice. Quite a varied walk with good views.
Leisurely/Easy Leader: Derek Lee   Distance: 6 plus miles
We head for the castle before turning away from the reservoir and heading up to the Gardens - a steady 500 foot climb. We continue northwards round Yarrow Reservoir and alongside the Rivington Reservoirs back to Rivington.

NOTES ON THE AREA

Rivington and Anglezarke lie on the south-western slopes of the West Pennine Moors, an area of moorland and reservoir scenery. The passage of time and the influence of man has shaped the valley and hillside into the landscape we see today, which undoubtedly has the attraction of a mini-lakeland. Man has populated the area for centuries, remains of Bronze Age settlements and tumuli, long since raided, can still be found up on the moors. There is also evidence of an early influence in the area from place names of a Scandinavian origin.

Rivington has developed over the centuries under several generations of the Pilkington family, who purchased the estate from the de Rivington (or de Roynton) family over 700 years ago. During the early 1600's the estate was sold to joint owners Robert Lever of D'Arcy Lever and Thomas Breres of Preston. A century later, in 1729, the manor passed into the sole ownership of John Andrews, a descendent of Robert Lever. The manorial rights remained with the same family until 1900, when John William Crompton sold the estate to William Hesketh Lever who created Lever Park and the Terraced Gardens. The estate was subsequently acquired by Liverpool Corporation to protect their water supply.

Shortly after William Hesketh Lever (later to become Lord Leverhulme) bought the estate, he began to lay out a series of ornamental gardens around his luxurious home 'The Bungalow'. Lever made his fortune in soap. Born in Bolton, the son of a grocer, he began making soap in Warrington in 1886. By the time he died, Lever Brothers (the forerunner of the multinational Unilever) was the largest firm of its kind in the world, and the new town of Port Sunlight was founded. His grand estate included the mansion of Rivington Hall, dating from the later 17th and early 18th centuries, but later rebuilt and extended. Still standing beside the hall is the Great House Barn, a much older structure which may date from as early as the 11th century. It was used as a tithe barn, but is now a restaurant. The gardens themselves incorporate slanting paths and terraces, sets of steps, plus a range of grottoes, bridges and artificial lakes. Built of dark local granite, these features can look sombre on a dull day but are nevertheless intriguing. The gardens have had an eventful history. Lever's Bungalow was burnt by suffragettes. The exotic plants and buildings fell into decay and became overgrown. In recent years conservation work has opened up the network of paths again. Although the gardens have not been restored to their former glory, their wild and abandoned character is nevertheless attractive and gives them a powerful atmosphere.

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