SKELMERSDALE RAMBLING CLUB

 

Skelmersdale Rambling Club

WEST KIRBY, WIRRAL

SUNDAY, 30TH JANUARY 2011

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Keith Taylor   Distance: 9-10 miles
Please note the Strenuous team will leave the coach in New Brighton for a bracing walk along the promenade and beach past Leasowe and Hoylake and Red Rocks to West Kirby. A flat easy walk with wide views out to sea.
Moderate Leader: Leo & Jean Keenan   Distance: 8.5 miles
We start the walk along the Wirral Way and then comes a short climb (100 metres) to Mariners Beacon view point on Caldy Hill. From here woodland paths (can be muddy) lead to lunch stop at Royden Park (toilets). Then through Thurstaston Common with wide ranging views across the Dee to North Wales. We visit Wirral Country Park (toilets) and then make our way back either along the edge of the Dee Estuary or the Wirral Way, finishing off around the Marine Lake. Lovely views on a clear day!
Leisurely Leader: Joan McGlinchey   Distance: 6.5 miles
Our route takes us through the park, along Caldy Hill and then Thurstaston Hill where there are fine views of the Dee Estuary and across the Wirral Peninsula. We then go down a country road to meet the Wirral Way. Here there will be an opportunity to use the toilets at the visitor centre. We then take a footpath alongside Wirral Way and come back to town via the headland and promenade where there are numerous benches to tarry a while if the weather is kind. Apart from about 25 steps up Caldy Hill and a short steepish rise to the summit of Thurstaston, the walk is flat or gently undulating with no stiles.
Easy Leader: Ruth Melling & Cynthia Prescott   Distance: 4.5 miles.
A pleasant walk through woodlands, mainly easy terrain but with a few gentle inclines. Worth it though for the great views of the estuary and Hilbre Island.

NOTES ON THE AREA

The Wirral Peninsula is situated between two major rivers. To the east the Mersey, which rises in the distant Pennines, and the Dee, rising in the Welsh uplands and, twisting its way across open moorland and wooded valleys, makes its way through the city of Chester and across the broad sands between Wales and Wirral, to empty its waters into the Irish Sea. The estuary of the Mersey is narrow, barely a mile across, its banks lined with cranes and wharves of Liverpool's dockland. The estuary of the Dee is wide, five miles from Red Rocks on the Wirral side to Point of Air on the Welsh side; its backcloth the hills and peaks of North Wales, its sands and channels the haunt of birds and seals.

West Kirby has developed from a small fishing village into a large residential town in little more than a hundred years. The reasons are easy to see. A mild climate, the town being protected from the biting, easterly winds by a range of low hills, a pleasant situation at the mouth of a beautiful estuary, and good communications with Chester, Birkenhead and Liverpool. The original Kirkby (West was added to distinguish it from Kirkby-in-Wallasey) is half a mile from the modern town centre, in what is now called old West Kirby, near the parish church. Norse settlers landing in Wirral from Ireland in the tenth century were quick to spot the advantages of the site, and established a small community. They built a church which they dedicated to St Bridget, a dedication still held by the present church.

Fort Perch Rock Battery, the red sandstone building standing in the mouth of the Mersey, is the fort that never was! Nicknamed the "little Gibralter of the Mersey", it was built between 1826 and 1829 to protect the Port of Liverpool. The idea of having some sort of protection for Liverpool was born some years earlier during the Napoleonic Wars. The fort was built upon outcrops of sandstone originally known as Black Rock, where Wirral's wreckers and smugglers used to lure ships aground. Here was erected a "perch" or navigational aid for boats entering the Mersey, but this was swept away by storms so often that something more substantial was needed. Built to withstand the tremendous impact of high seas, the Fort was constructed of Runcorn stone, and could accommodate one hundred men with officers' quarters, kitchens, storerooms and eighteen guns. But for all this, it is said that the Fort only ever used its guns twice: at the beginning of the First World War when a warning shot was fired across the bows of a Norwegian ship; and again at the start of the Second World War when a fishing smack tried to enter the Port through the wrong channel. During the last war the Fort was camouflaged as a tea garden complete with painted lawns and paths, and a TEAS sign across the roof.

New Brighton lighthouse stands alongside the Fort, sharing the same outcrop of sandstone. Built in 1827-30 at a cost of £27,500, it is 90 ft high and is constructed of Anglesey granite. The first 35 feet of its height consist of solid rock built to withstand the constant battering of the sea.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

SKIPTON, YORKSHIRE DALES

SUNDAY, 27TH FEBRUARY 2011

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Dag Griffiths   Distance: 12 miles
This is a linear walk from East Marton where the coach will drop us off, so it would be preferable to be "booted" and ready to go. NB there are no toilets at East Marton, the nearest are at Gargrave which we will reach after three miles on the Pennine Way. We head north from Gargrave through Eshton to Friar's Head before heading SE to Flasby, Flasby Fell and Sharp Haw (at 357 metres, the highest point of the walk). From Sharp Haw we continue in a SE direction to Skipton, eventually crossing a golf course to reach the town.
Moderate Leader: Philomena Walker   Distance: about 9 miles
We set off taking a path by the castle, over the golf course (watching out for low flying golf balls) and crossing the A59, and up to the Craven Heifer at Tarn Moor. We then follow paths towards Flasby Fell and turn left into Crag Wood. We circle around and through the woods back towards Tarn House Farm. We cut across behind a caravan park towards the A59 and back to Skipton along the road. Weather permitting, very scenic with nothing too strenuous.
Leisurely Leader: Sue Daniels   Distance: 7 miles
We leave Skipton town centre and head for the canal and follow the pathways over to Niffany Hill. From there we cross the fields over to Carleton-in-Craven, through the village and take a gradual climb up to Throstle Nest. We then head down the valley and back into Skipton. I have not been able to recce the walk so do not know what conditions will be like underfoot.
Easy Leader: Hazel Anderton & Margaret Black   Distance: about 5 miles
We start with quite a steep but short walk, bringing us to the edge of the town where we cross over the A65. This is banked on either side and may be slippy. However, from there onwards this is a pleasant walk mainly across pastureland, with just very short stretches of country lane - and, yes, a few stiles. We walk almost imperceptibly up to Tarn Moor with its super views, and perhaps some inquisitive sheep. After lunch we continue over pastureland and across a golf course. This brings us to Skipton Woods where we follow the path alongside Ellerbeck returning us into the town.

NOTES ON THE AREA

Originally a Saxon settlement, in Norman times Skipton was chosen as the site of a powerful Norman castle guarding strategic routes into the Aire Gap from the east. The medieval castle survives and, despite extensive 17th century rebuilding, is one of the finest examples of a castle of its period. The pattern of a typical Norman town can be seen, with the church by the castle at the head of the town and a High Street extending below both. There are old inns and shops, courtyards and alleyways, and a colourful street market (daily except Tuesday and Sunday). Many of the old medieval 'backs' which were converted into workshop areas or crammed with workers cottages around the old courtyards in the Industrial Revolution, are now attractive shopping arcades or precincts. As well as an excellent choice of pubs, cafes, restaurants, and shops, places to visit in Skipton include the medieval church with its tombs of the famous Clifford family of Craven and Westmorland, and the excellent Craven Museum occupying the top floor of the Victorian Town Hall. Here there are collections of natural and local history, geology, and material relating to the Dales lead-mining industry.

Many high street properties were rebuilt in the second half of the 17th century, and in the 1720's weavers and wool-combers built houses at the bottom end of the town. Thirty years later the Keighley-Kendal turnpike increased Skipton's importance as a wool trading centre, with a livestock market and, by the end of the century the Leeds-Liverpool Canal ensured the concentration of the worsted cloth industry in the town. The Old Springs branch of the canal was built in the 1770's through a deep ravine alongside Eller Beck at the back of Skipton Castle to carry limestone to the Bradford and Aire valley ironworks. The crushed stone was brought by rope-hauled tramway from a quarry at Haw Bank near Embsay, and gravity fed into waiting barges. The walk along the towpath behind the high castle walls, past a surviving water-wheel at High Mill, is beautiful and fascinating. It leads to Skipton Woods, an area of woodlands with lakes which are open to the public.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

SALTAIRE, WEST YORKSHIRE

SUNDAY, 27TH MARCH 2011

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Rowland Nock   Distance: 11 miles (18 km)
We will head out through Saltaire west towards Bingley via Hirst Wood to the aqueduct. We will then follow the River Aire east for a short time before heading up into Shipley Glen and then on to Baildon Bank and into Baildon. From Baildon we will follow Gill Beck through the woods making our way round to the trig point at the top of Baildon Hill (overall height gain about 210 metres). From here we will pick up the Dales Way Link path back to Saltaire, hopefully in time for a well-earned cuppa.
Moderate Leader: Jackie Gudgeon   Distance: about 9 miles
Saltaire - Shipley Glen - Dales Way Link - Faweather Grange - Sconce Lane - Gill Beck - Hazel Head Wood - Baildon Hill - Baildon Bank - Walker Wood - Saltaire.
A varied walk, taking in moorland, riverside, tracks and field paths. This walk can be shortened or lengthened in several places depending on weather and conditions underfoot (and the group's inclination!). Good views weather permitting.
Leisurely Leader: Sue Daniels   Distance: 7 miles
From the Salt Mill we walk over to the Tramway and follow the gentle slope to the top and over to Shipley Glen with views of Baildon Moor to our right. We then follow the paths over to the village of Eldwick, then make our way to the Heights (another easy climb.) The views from the top are worth stopping for (possibly have lunch here) and you can appreciate from here the distance you have already walked. From here it is all down hill as we make our way to Bingley Five Rise Locks which is well worth a visit and we shall spend some time here. We are now just over two miles from Saltaire and we follow the Leeds Liverpool Canal back to the coach. The day we did this walk it was sunny and mostly dry underfoot, with only two rather muddy parts - generally good paths throughout.
Easy Leader: Derek Lee   Distance: 5 miles
We start with an easy walk to the west along the canal and through Hirst Wood to Dowley Gap and then return part of the way on a path beside the River Aire before turning north and climbing about 250 feet to enter the woods on the west side of Shipley Glen. The return will be along the open east side of the Glen, mingling with the tourists and their dogs, before dropping down from the hill alongside the tramway (closed at present) and through Roberts Park back to town.

NOTES ON THE AREA

Saltaire's founder was Sir Titus Salt, a Victorian industrialist and patriarch, who already owned six textile mills in Bradford. He made a considerable fortune from spinning alpaca fleece and, seeing the smoky, Dickensian squalor or life in the city, he decided to build a new settlement for his employees. Sir Titus designed Saltaire as a community where his workers could live in clean, sanitary conditions. Begun in 1851, it was 20 years in the making. As a contrast to many areas of Bradford, even the most modest dwelling in Saltaire had gas, running water and a toilet. In his plan, Sir Titus included schools, a bathhouse, laundry, hospital and a row of almshouses. A workers' dining room could seat 800 and was available for people to bring their own food and have it cooked or they could purchase tea or coffee at half a penny, a bowl of soup for 1d or a plate of meat for 2d.The neat streets of terraced houses were named after the founder (Titus Street), his wife Caroline, and children - not forgetting the reigning monarch (Victoria Street) and her consort (Albert Road).

The centrepiece of his scheme was Salts Mill, a monumental example of industrial architecture which straddles the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. The chimney is a copy of the bell tower of a church in Venice. In recent years the mill has enjoyed a new lease of life as a showcase for the artworks of David Hockney, who was born in Bradford. There are no Public Houses within the confines of the village, and the Club and Institute was erected to cater for the moral and physical welfare of the community. Its cost was £25,000. There were reading rooms, a library and a lecture theatre. A school of art was situated on the upper floors along with a room with four billiard tables. The area between Edward Street and Albert Street marks the site of the Public Wash House which was opened on 6th July 1863. There were 24 baths, 12 for men and 12 for women and a turkish bath. Steam came from an 18ft long by 6 ft Cornish boiler and three steam engines drove 6 washing machines. Drying and mangling facilities were also provided.

Shipley Glen is a typical Pennine gill, or ravine, and can be reached by The Shipley Glen Tramway, a rope-hauled passenger-carrying railway dating from 1895, which operates most weekends throughout the year. The open cars are hauled by cable 386 yards up a 1-in-12 incline beneath overhanging trees. There were originally many amusements at the summit and even today quite a number of children's rides and entertainments can be enjoyed.

Roberts Park, on the other side of the canal, is another example of early town planning. A splendid bronze statue of Sir Titus Salt was erected in 1903 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of his birth. It stands on a plinth decorated with an angora goat and an alpaca, symbols of the wool industry on which he built his very considerable success.

The Leeds-Liverpool Canal is Britain's longest inland waterway. Begun in 1770, it was soon superseded by the railway, but is much used today by pleasure craft. Two impressive pieces of engineering in the Bingley area are the stepped Three Rise Locks, and Five Rise Locks where boats passing along the canal rise or fall 60 feet over a distance of 320 feet.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

FRODSHAM, CHESHIRE

SUNDAY, 1ST MAY 2011

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Allan & Nicole Fraser   Distance: Approx 10.5 miles
The walk begins with a climb out of Frodsham, heading towards the Delamere Way. Early on there is a good view east over the Cheshire Plain. The Delamere Way zig zags to the Delamere Forest, including short sections on roads, but these are safe and comfortable for walkers. We then walk along the edge of the Forest to the Sandstone Trail from which there are fine views over the Mersey Basin (try to ignore the oil refineries). The Trail follows high ground back to Frodsham, taking in 'The Monument', the war memorial which overlooks the plain. There is then a short descent to the town. There will be plenty of time for refreshments.
Moderate Leader: Peter Denton   Distance: 8 Miles
We start with a testing climb to the summit of this walk, to join the Sandstone Trail, past Woodhouse Hill Fort. Turning inland to Riley Bank, then heading on to Newton and Fivecrosses then on back to Frodsham. This walk is better than the notes!
Leisurely Leader: Joan McGlinchey & Cynthia Prescott   Distance: 6 miles
This walk will be taken at a leisurely pace but starts with the climb up along the Sandstone Trail up to the monument at the top of the hill overlooking Frodsham. The views over the estuary are well worth the climb if you are up for it! There are no stiles on this walk, only good kissing gates and a good variety of woodland paths, tracks and lanes. There is quite a bit of fairly flat walking but there are also uphill and downhill sections, particularly at the start and towards the finish. We go along the Delamere Way for a short time and along a nature trail and have superb views when we stop for lunch.
Easy Leader: Irene Wilcock & Dianne Pennington   Distance: 6 miles
An uphill start as we make our way to the War Memorial and views over the Mersey. The walk continues to pass Heathercliffe, Shepherds Houses and on to the Lady Heyes Centre (coffee/toilet stop). Finally, we return to the centre on good paths after passing Belleair and then through Bradley.

NOTES ON THE AREA

The presence of iron age hillforts on the hills behind the town, and its position on the likely route from Deva (Chester) to Wilderspool, suggests that Frodsham's origins may be very old indeed. The town was important to the Norman Earls of Chester who built a castle here. This was destroyed in the seventeenth century and the surviving masonry used in the building of Castle Park, now occupied by Vale Royal District Council.

Frodsham became an important staging post in the stagecoach era and the Bear's Paw (named after the bear-baiting which used to take place nearby) and Queen's Head recall those days. Both inns are on the broad High Street, one of the most attractive features of the town. St Lawrence's church, off Church Street, has Norman remains.

One of the lesser known of the English river navigations, the Weaver has continued to enjoy a busy commercial life, the result of steady improvement and development since 1732 when it was first made accessible to barges. The secret of the Weaver's success is the salt trade, for salt, and more recently chemicals, have always been the staple traffic. The Weaver rises south of Nantwich and then flows through a quiet landscape of farmland to Winsford, where the 'navigation' begins. Large locks and swing bridges mean that boats up to 130 ft long and 35 ft wide can use the Weaver, and so there is always a variety of shipping to be seen, particularly in the section between Northwich and the Mersey. For the last four miles the Weaver is tidal, and so it has been bypassed by a canalised section that takes boats to Weston Point Docks, where there is a connection with the Manchester Ship Canal and the Mersey estuary.

South of Frodsham is Helsby, overlooked by the hill of the same name, and Alvanley, a very pretty village with quaint cottages. On the top of Helsby Hill lies an iron age promontory hill fort, on National Trust land, and enclosing an area of 3.5 acres. Artificial defences were provided on the south and east sides and remains of the banks can be seen today behind the triangulation point. These may seem a little disappointing after the climb to the top of the hill, but the superb views from the woodland paths that gradually reach the summit make the effort well worth while.

The Sandstone Trail (32 miles in length) bisects the county of Cheshire, following a ridge of sandstone created in some geological upheaval aeons ago. This backbone makes a fine ridge walk and a continuous viewing platform for the surrounding countryside. The starting point is on Beacon Hill outside Frodsham. A steep descent into Dunsdale Hollow gives the geologically minded a chance to make a closer study of the weathered sandstone and both the 'A' and 'B' walks today follow this part of the trail. Down here there are such features as Jacob's Ladder - a very steep, very red and very rocky stairway to the skies. The trail takes us up Abrahams Leap - but no leaping is necessary, just some mildly challenging rock 'steps'. Other features to be found along the length of the trail include sandstone outcrops and caves, heathland, forests, meres and marl pits, hillforts and canals.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

SHAP, CUMBRIA

SUNDAY, 29TH MAY 2011

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Dennis Cookson     Distance: 11 Miles
From Shap we take the footpath past the Goggleby Stone to Shap Abbey before heading along the River Lowther to the village of Rosgill. We then follow a section of the 'Coast to Coast Walk' to Naddle Bridge via Rawhead. In the distance the dam wall of Haweswater Reservoir is clearly visible. Passing through Naddle Farm we pick up the bridleway on to Rosgill Moor affording a view of the northern end of Haweswater. To the east of Bewbarrow Crag the bridleway descends to the road at Swindale. At Truss Gap we cross Swindale Beck and make our way via footpath and quiet road to the village of Keld before returning to Shap.
Moderate Leader: Ruth Melling & Hazel Anderton     Distance: 8 Miles
To Keld, past Shap Abbey and eventually up to Bampton where there is a pub to slake our thirst. We then return to Shap via Rosgill. There are plenty of nice views. Generally the walk is undulating, over fields and along lanes, sometimes near the river, with only one part that could be called steep. Muddy in places near the gates. The downside is that there are numerous stone stiles over walls and we need to be goat-like and slim! We might change the last part of the walk to avoid some stiles.
Leisurely Leader: Peter Denton   Information available from Peter on the coach.
Easy Leader: Adelaide Houghton     Distance: 5.5 miles
A circular walk starting from Shap. We go through fields as far as Rosgill (lunch stop) then following the River Lowther to Shap Abbey (remains) with a chance to look around. Then back to Shap village. There are quite a few stiles to negotiate on this walk.

NOTES ON THE AREA

The village of Shap consists mainly of two long lines of grey stone houses, many dating from the 18th century, lining the A6 road that runs through the village. Until 1970, and the completion of the M6 between Kendal and Penrith, the A6 across Shap summit formed the main north-south route, linking the industrial areas of north-west England with Scotland. The route was busy, and notoriously hazardous in poor weather conditions. Often in winter the road became snow-bound and impassable. Ironically, when the M6 arrived, it spelt disaster to many of the prosperous shops, hotels and other businesses, on which the economy of the village relied.

In the centre of the village is the market hall, with its curious windows and rounded arches, which dates from a few years after the village was granted its market charter in 1687.

Shap summit, just over 2 miles south of the former Shap staton, is the highest point on the West Coast main railway line from London to Glasgow, at 914 ft above sea level. Shap summit on the A6 is about 1350 ft above sea level and, in a small layby is a memorial 'to the drivers and crew of vehicles that made possible the social and commercial links between north and south on the old and difficult route over shap Fell'.

The area around Shap was extensively settled in Neolithic times, and there are several stone circles and other standing stones nearby. A short distance south of the village the Kemp Howe Stone Circle is cut in two by the railway, narrowly missed by the A6, and overshadowed by the lime works. Only six stones remain, with others probably under the railway embankment, and those that were on the other side of the railway now lost after construction of the works sidings. This circle used to have an avenue of stones leading from it to a barrow . Ssome of these avenue stones can still be seen today, although the avenue was ruined at the time of enclosure of the common land. Just to the west of Shap are dotted a collection of standing stones which are the remains of this avenue. The Thunder Stone stands at GR NY552157 and the curiously names Goggleby Stone can be found at GR NY59151. Three other standing stones are marked on the map in this area.

Nearby is Haweswater, a man-made lake, built to supply water to Manchester. It is probably best remembered for running dry in the 1980's, when the flooded village of Mardale was again accessible to walkers, bringing back memories and creating a tremendous visitor attraction. It is a beautiful valley well worth seeing even when full.

Shap Abbey is about half a mile west of the village. It stands in a picturesque setting by the River Lowther, with nothing nearby to interrupt the beauty of the lonely and unfrequented site. It was built in 1199, the last Abbey to be founded in England, and the last to be dissolved by Henry VIII in 1540. Nearby is the medieval Keld Chapel, owned by the national Trust, and one of their more remote religious sites.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

BASLOW, DERBYSHIRE

SUNDAY, 26TH JUNE 2011

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Jimmy Need   Distance: 12 Miles
Today's walk starts with a nice steady climb out of Baslow, which brings us up onto Eaglestone Flat. Wellington's Monument and Eagle Stone are to be found and the first challenge of the day awaits you. From here we make our way over to and along Curbar and Froggatt Edges. This should bring us nicely into our lunch stop, to build our strength up for the second challenge of the day. After lunch we make our way to Tumbling Hill which will lead down to the village of Grindleford. From here we have a nice amble alongside the River Derwent back to Baslow.
Moderate Leader: Jackie Gudgeon   Distance: 8 Miles
From Baslow we make our way through the village for a steady climb along the hillside to Curbar, followed by a steeper climb through stony woodland and on to Curbar Edge. We follow the edge, enjoying fine views down to the valley of the River Derwent . This is followed by Baslow Edge past the Eagle Stone and Wellingtons Monument. Along a good track to cross the A621, then a thinner moorland path up to Birchen Edge which takes us onto the road at Robin Hood (pub). We then follow tracks and paths down through part of the Chatsworth Estate back to Baslow.
Two main roads to cross, and care needs to be taken climbing through rocky woodland.
Leisurely Leader: Derek Lee   Distance: 7 miles
A circuit of Chatsworth Park. We start off with a 400 ft ascent of the hill behind Chatsworth House to the Hunting Lodge and the Dell, then loop round the Emperor Lake and Stand Wood on almost level ground before coming down off the hill at Carlton Lees via Beeley Moor. For the last 2 miles we follow the riverside path back to base.
Easy Leader: Philomena Walker   Distance: 5 miles
A pleasant walk along the riverside from Baslow to Chatsworth House, crossing the bridge here to Edensor where, weather permitting, we have the perfect spot for lunch. When we tire of looking at the views we will cross over the river again and walk round the back of Chatsworth House, through Stand Wood, and up to the Hunting Lodge. From here we can access the gardens, café and shops of Chatsworth. Depending on time, we can spend some time looking around here before setting off back along the riverside to Baslow.

NOTES ON THE AREA

The three settlements of Bridge End, Nether End and Over End which make up the village of Baslow have changed little since the middle of the nineteenth century when it was described as a "pretty little rural village, consisting of a few irregular groups of cottages standing on the slope of a hill that rises from the eastern bank of the Derwent". Bridge End was the original village, but Nether End grew with Chatsworth when in 1823 it became the northern entrance to the estate, while residential development in the late nineteenth century is centred at Over End on the hillside opposite.

At one time Baslow had hoped to be as grand as nearby Bakewell and a Hydro was built in 1881, but it never became established as a spa. As the building needed a great deal of money spending on it after the First World War and this was never done, the Hydro was demolished in the 1930's.

The magnificent mansion of Chatsworth House is principally the creation of the first Duke of Devonshire who, between 1686 and 1707, practically rebuilt the original house piecemeal and also built the great cascade in the woods. The first house on this site was built in 1552 by Sir William Cavendish and his celebrated wife Bess of Hardwick. By the time of the fourth Duke the grounds were extensively remodelled under the direction of Capability Brown, and the sixth Duke added the famous Emperor Fountain which throws a jet of water 290 ft (90 m) into the air and, when built, was the second highest fountain in the world.

In 1755 the views from Chatsworth were improved by the demolition of all that could be seen of the old village of Edensor (pronounced 'Ensor'). In 1839 the rest of the village, although hidden in the valley bottom, was also demolished with the single exception of a cottage which still stands today isolated on the other side of the road. The new village was designed by Sir William Paxton (of Crystal Palace fame). The past Dukes of Devonshire and their families lie in a quiet corner of the churchyard of St Peter's, but visitors come here to visit another grave, that of Kathleen Kennedy, daughter of Joseph Kennedy, United States Ambassador to Britain and sister of the late John Kennedy, President of the United States, whose visit on 29th June 1963 is commemorated on a plaque in front of the grave.

To the north and east of Baslow the Bar Brook cuts a nick in the dramatic gritstone scarp, with Baslow Edge on one side and Birchen Edge on the other. A sea of bracken laps the footings of the rock faces, whilst the moorland above the edge is a wilderness of heather and the home of merlin and grouse. It was once the home of farmers too, in the Bronze Age when the climate was a little kinder. It is astonishing to find field systems still visible from more than 3,000 years ago. Below Baslow Bar, just out of Nether End, it is also possible to see narrow fields separated by drystone walls that follow the old reverse-S pattern, the sign of ox-ploughing in medieval times.

On the brow of Baslow Edge stands the Eagle Stone, a great weathered block of hardened gritstone. Climbing to the top of the stone used to be a test of character for village youths before they married. Not far away is the Wellington Monument erected in 1866 by Dr Wrench, who sounds like a character out of a Dickens novel, and was also responsible for the replacement of the numerals on the face of St Anne's Church clock with 'Victoria 1897'.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

CONISTON, LAKE DISTRICT

SUNDAY, 31ST JULY 2011

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Jimmy Need   Distance:
This walk is a circuit of fells. What this walk lacks in miles, it makes us for in strenuous - the Old Man has still got a good kick. Make sure you bring plenty of water with you if weather is hot.
We make our way out of the village past the Sun Hotel - could this be a good omen for us? Church Beck is our next port of call followed by grassy and heather slopes which bring us up to Low Water and the old copper mines. From here we have a rather pleasant walk up to meet the old man and hopefully get some stunning all round views. After lunch, a nice ridge to Swirl How awaits us, followed by a descent to the gap between Swirl How and Wetherlam. We then make our way up to the summit of Wetherlam then have a ridge walk descending back to Coniston.
Moderate Leader: Peter Denton:   Distance: About 7 miles
From Coniston we have a steady climb along the road to Heathwaite where we take a path bringing us to New Intake and Little Arrow Intake to reach waterfalls at Torver Beck. Mostly climbing up to this point where we will find a nice spot for lunch. We then follow Torver Beck into Little Arrow where we cross the main road and through Heathwaite Farm and down to the shores of Coniston Water. The final two miles or so are a pleasant walk along the lake back into town. Note that the walk is mostly uphill during the morning, followed by an afternoon of downhill and level walking.
Leisurely Leader: Norma Carmichael   Distance: Approx 6.8 miles
The walk will start shortly after the toilet break and will walk up towards Shepherds Bridge. This leads on to the Cumbria Way towards an old building. There is a slight incline as we go towards Tarn Cottages. The walk is on grassy paths and tracks, and part road. There are a few stiles. Highest point 270 metres, and there are excellent views on Tarn Hows, weather permitting.
Easy Leader: Hazel Anderton & Ruth Melling   Distance: 5 miles
The walk takes us round the top of the lake and through part of Grizedale Forest. We gradually climb up into the forest with one or two short steeper bits, but nothing too strenuous, where we have some lovely views across the lake. We walk along forest tracks, then down footpaths through the trees until we meet the lane leading to Brantwood and the ferry back to Coniston. The fare is just over £3. There is only one stile, and it is generally good underfoot.
There will not be time for a coffee break before the walk today, sorry! It is more important to get to Brantwood and the ferry to make sure that we get back to Coniston in plenty of time.

NOTES ON THE AREA

Dominated by the Coniston Fells, which rise to the summit of the Old Man of Coniston (2643 ft) the village of Coniston is one of the most popular places in the Lake District. It's name derives from the Anglo-Saxon for the 'king's village'. The fells that surround it have the characteristic ruggedness of Borrowdale Volcanics, yet the village is built on slates and shales.

In spite of the development nearby of slate quarries and copper mines which, in the 19th century brought the village much of its prosperity, the character of the village, which gathers round its fine church of St Andrew, remains largely unaffected. A number of terraced cottages date from the mid-18th century. At that time Coniston and the whole of the area of Furness formed part of the county of Lancashire, which lost its portion of Lakeland to Cumbria in the local government reorganisation of 1974. St Andrew's is a Georgian church in the middle of Coniston village. The churchyard contains the grave of the noted Victorian intellectual John Ruskin, and inside the church is a memorial display featuring the engine of a crashed World War II bomber with information on the rescue attempt and crew.

Brantwood, the home of John Ruskin from 1872 until his death in 1900, has been described as the most beautifully situated house in the Lake District. It enjoys some of the finest lake and mountain views in England and has diverse cultural associations.

The copper mines, for which the area is renowned, probably date from Norman times, but were primarily worked from the 16th century when German miners were used. The main valley rising along Church Beck into the fells is still known as Coppermines Valley, and was the scene of considerable mining activity until the end of the First World War. The ore was taken out of Coniston on a railway opened in 1859, which linked with the Furness Railway near Broughton in Furness, now only the trackbed remains.

The nearby Coniston Water is one of the longest straight stretches of placid water in the Lake District, 5 miles long, and was used during Donald Campbell's ill-fated attempt at the world water speed record in 1967. His jet-powered boat, Bluebird, went out of control as he attempted to become the first man to break 300 mph on water, and Campbell was killed. His body has never been found, until very recently, when remains believed to be those of Campbell have been recovered from the lake, following the discovery and raising of Bluebird itself.

A short distance to the north of Coniston is Tarn Hows, a popular beauty spot. The tarn is strictly an artificial pond created by damming a stream and a few pools of marshland. The area around Tarn Hows is now in the care of the National Trust, and was once owned by Beatrix Potter, the author and illustrator of books for children, including Peter Rabbit, Jemima Puddleduck and others. She sold half of the Tarn Hows area to the National Trust at cost, and bequeathed the other half.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

CLAPHAM, YORKSHIRE DALES

SUNDAY, 21ST AUGUST 2011

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Dag Griffiths   Distance: 12 miles
Total Ascent 690m. The first part of the walk takes us to the summit of Ingleborough (720m) via the Ingleborough Show Cave, Trow Gill and Gaping Gill. That's the major climb over! We then head over Simon Fell which, weather permitting, affords excellent views of the Ribblehead Viaduct, Whernside and the Howgills. Turning south we eventually reach the Three Peaks path, and then head in an easterly direction towards Nick Pot. Turning south we return to Clapham via footpaths and bridleways passing Long Scar, picturesque Crummack Dale and the Norber Erratics (Silurian Sandstone boulders standing atop younger limestone). Please be warned that wet limestone can be very slippery.
Moderate Leader: Jackie Gudgeon   Distance: 8.5 miles
From Clapham we follow field paths to Austwick village, then some enclosed bridleways to reach Wharfe. Shortly after this, we reach an attractive spot for lunch by a ford and footbridge. We are now in Crummackdale which we cross to climb up to Crummock and Long Scar. We then turn back towards Clapham passing Ingleborough Cave, following Clapham Beck, a short climb to Clapdale and down a stony track back to Clapham. I will echo Dag's warning about slippery limestone - please take care.
Leisurely Leader: Derek Lee   Distance: approx 7 miles
From Clapham we take a rising track from the north east end of the village to bring us up to Clapdale. We then drop down to follow Clapdale Beck past Ingleborough Cave and up onto Long Lane, which we take southwards to join Thwaite Lane. This good track takes us eastwards to austwick. After passing through the village of Austwick we will return to Clapham via field paths with lovely views over the valley to the south. Mostly walking on good paths and tracks. Please note I have not been able to recce this walk due to picking it up at very short notice!
Easy Leader: Phil Walker   Distance: 5.5 miles
A pleasant walk along bridleways and country lanes from Clapham to Austwick, returning to the village via the tunnels and visiting waterfall at the start of the 'Nature Trail' to Ingleborough Cave, before returning to Clapham village and access to the delightful cafes and pubs. Beautiful Dales scenery all around.

NOTES ON THE AREA

The idyllic village of Clapham straggles on either side of Clapham Beck, one half linked to the other by three bridges including an ancient footbridge of arching limestone. The church is at the top end of the village and the pub at the bottom and in between is the large car park and information centre of the National Park.

The large house on the west side of Clapham is Ingleborough Hall, home of the Farrar family for many years. Originally the building was a farmhouse, converted first into a shooting lodge and then into the Hall between 1820 and 1830. It is now an outdoor activity centre. The most celebrated member of the family was Sir Reginald John Farrar, the famous plant hunter, and the man who more than anyone else made rock gardens so immensely popular. His alpine garden at the Hall was world famous with plants brought from China, Tibet and Japan as well as the Alps before he died in Burma in 1920 aged 40. After the Farrars built their estate they didn't want a common right of way through their 'back garden' so they built tunnels through which the path plunges giving access from the village to Thwaite Lane. You could do that sort of thing in those days if you were Lord of the Manor!

There is access to the grounds of Ingleborough Hall (small charge) along a wide carriageway called Clapdale Drive, that runs by the side of an artificial lake created by the Farrars in the 1830's. All round the lake, and some way beyond, are the trees planted by the Farrars - beech, larch, yew and silver fir, and in season bluebells and wild garlic carpet the ground between the trees.

Ingleborough was once thought to be the highest mountain in England. This is not really surprising because it does dominate its immediate surroundings, and can be seen from miles away, especially in the west. It is isolated by deep and wide valleys from its fellow mountains and it has a distinctive shape. Of course, far from being the highest mountain in England, it is not even the highest in the Dales - the adjacent Whernside is 13 metres higher.

The large boulders covering the hillside above Nappa Scars on the western side of Crummack Dale are the famous Norber Erratics. Angular in shape and composed of dark grey Silurian gritstone, they are obviously alien to the hillside for the predominant rock here is white limestone. They originated at a lower level and about half a mile away in Crummack Dale where the Silurian rock bed reaches the surface, and were transported to their present location by a glacier during the last ice age, to be left there when the ice finally retreated. The limestone bed on which they were deposited has been considerably dissolved away so that some of the boulders now stand on short pedestals of rock. Boulders such as these, which have been moved by glaciers, and then left behind, are called erratics.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

HARTINGTON, PEAK DISTRICT

SUNDAY, 25TH SEPTEMBER 2011

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Rowland Nock & Joy Mellor   Distance: 11.5 miles
This Dales Delight takes in five beautiful Peak District Dales.
From Hartington we head south into Beresford Dale, associated with the famous angler Izaak Walton who published 'The Compleat Angler' in 1676. Continuing south we can have lunch under the boughs of a beautiful tree in the picturesque village of Alstonefield. Our journey continues via Hope and Stanshope into Milldale, where we can glimpse the renowned Dove Dale. Crossing over the old packhorse bridge in Milldale we will head up to Shining Tor giving spectacular views of both Mill Dale and Dove Dale. Descending into Mill Dale we will follow the lovely River Dove into Wolfscote Dale, eventually climbing out via little known but very beautiful Biggin Dale. We will pass a cave on our right here for those of an adventurous nature! Heading out of Biggin Dale we make our slow descent back to Hartington to reflect on the day over some well earned tea & tiffin. Yes!
Moderate Leader: Hazel Anderton & Ruth Melling   Distance: 8 miles
This is a lovely area with many splendid views. We go east and south of Hartington on tracks, across fields, along part of the old railway line called the Tissington Trail. We pass through the village of Biggin where there happens to be a pub! We then go part way along Biggin Dale and return to Hartington along part of Beresford Dale and the River Dove. There are several stiles and a few uphill bits, but on the whole it is not strenuous at all, but there will be plenty of cows.
Leisurely Leader: Philomina Walker   Distance: 7 miles
We start off towards Harris Close Farm (the only uphill climb of the day), walking along elevated paths with wonderful views in all directions. Dropping down and crossing the River Dove we return to the village green for lunch by the duck pond. Should we choose to eat sooner, don't forget to save your crumbs for the ducks. We leave the village in the opposite direction towards the beautiful Beresford Dale, walking through woods along the River Dove and back once again to the village along quiet footpaths and grassy meadows.
Easy Leader: Adelaide Houghton   Distance: 5.5 miles
Starting from the Square in Hartington, following lanes and tracks down into Biggin Dale (a bit rough underfoot here) and then following the River Dove through Wolfescote Dale, Beresford Dale, and footpaths back to Hartington.

NOTES ON THE AREA

Like a number of Peak District villages, Hartington was once a market town, and limestone houses, inns and shops grouped perfectly round the spacious market place with a duck pond to one side of it create the atmosphere and impression more of a town than a village. Hartington lies in a grand setting, about half a mile from the river where the Dove valley opens out to the north of Beresford Dale and is dominated by its large and handsome medieval church. The Parish Church of St Giles is partly 13th century and contains a small Saxon stone in the north transept wall. In the tower are three 17th century bells. Hartington is in an area of high limestone country known as the White Peak, as opposed to the Dark Peak of the moorland further north. Even Hartington village in the gentle setting of the Dove valley lies at over 700 ft above sea level.

Charles Cotton, the 17th century poet and fisherman, was born at Beresford Hall near Hartington. He introduced Isaak Walton to the Peak and became joint author of "The Compleat Angler". Charles Cotton's fishing lodge, built in 1674, may be glimpsed through the trees across the River Dove.

From its source on Axe Edge to Hartington the River Dove is little more than a stream, but once through the pretty woodlands of Beresford Dale it gets more confident and cuts a deep limestone canyon with cliffs and tors almost equal to those of the more celebrated Dovedale. This canyon is Wolfscote Dale. Weirs have been constructed to create calm pools that attract trout and grayling to linger.

The Tissington Trail extends for 13 miles from Ashbourne to ParsleyHay where it meets the High Peak Trail. Formerly the Ashbourne-Buxton railway line, the old track has been turned into a popular path for walkers, cyclists and horse riders. The old railway was built by the engineer Francis Stevenson for the London and North Western Railway Company. It was a single track with passing loops at stations. Opened on 4th June 1899, the line mainly carried freight such as milk, and limestone from the local quarries to the kilns near Buxton. Today the trail offers walkers and cyclists the chance to explore the natural habitat of many different birds and wild flowers.

Stilton cheese is made at the factory on the edge of the village. This is the only remaining of seven original factories in the area and was opened in the 1870's. Genuine Stilton can only be made in Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire and Derbyshire and this factory qualifies by a quarter of a mile!

Hartington Hall was built by the Bateman family in 1611. It is a typical Derbyshire yeoman's house with three gables and mullioned windows. It has been a youth hostel since 1934. Also to the east of the village is a signal box of the Ashbourne-Buxton Railway, which closed in 1967 and is now an information centre on the Tissington Trail, and three miles to the north is Pilsbury Castle, now just a mound, probably on the site of an Iron-Age fort.

Alstonefield is a very attractive village with many interesting buildings, including the church which has fine carved oak box pews and Charles Cotton's family pew, a double decker pulpit, and a chest about 10 ft long and probably 700 years old.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

SETTLE, YORKSHIRE DALES

SUNDAY, 30TH OCTOBER 2011

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Dag Griffiths   Distance: 11 miles
Total Ascent 473m, Maximum Height 395m.
We head firstly in an easterly direction to Attermire Scar before heading north to pass Victoria Cave and Cowside to reach Westside House. Next objective is heading west to Cattrigg and Stainforth. Weather permitting lunch will be taken by the beck before reaching Stainforth. From Stainforth we move on to Little Stainforth crossing the Ribble by Stainforth Force. The final stretch is heading basically south skirting Borrins Wood to Stackhouse before returning to Settle alongside the Ribble. Quite muddy in places.
Moderate Leader: Cynthia Prescott   Distance: 7 miles
The first half of this circular walk is a steady climb uphill towards higher ground east of Settle. This is generally on very good paths. We pass near Victoria Cave (closed) and continue past Brent Scar and come down a rocky path to round Attermire Scar and cross a field heading to Stockdale Lane. The way back from here is on tracks, good paths, lanes and bridle ways. There is definitely no pub on the way round as we walk away from civilization for most of the time. Expect lots of gates rather than stiles.
Leisurely Leader: Margery Howe   Distance: 7 miles
The Leisurely walk was originally planned by Margaret Black and Joan McGlinchey but both are unable to walk today, and Margery has very kindly stepped in at short notice.
The walk takes us along one side of the Ribble valley to Stainforth and back along the other side to Settle. On the outward part we go up lanes, across fields, and pass through the village of Langcliffe. There are some lovely views overlooking Settle and Giggleswick and, at one point, we are very close to the Settle to Carlisle railway line, and also walk alongside the very impressive Hoffman Lime Kiln. On the return, we walk along the banks of the River Ribble. Apart from a little climb out of Settle, the walk is generally fairly flat. There are a few stiles to negotiate and some stretches, especially along the Ribble, are rather muddy.
Easy Leader: Hazel Anderton & Ruth Melling   Distance: 4.5 miles
A very pleasant walk with some lovely views overlooking Settle as we head in a generally southerly direction through Upper Settle, as far as Clea Top Park, and then turn and return to Settle. We cross fields, go down lanes, through a little wood, and return to Settle through the park. There are a few stiles and some uphill bits, but generally nothing demanding.

NOTES ON THE AREA

Like other market towns in the Dales, Settle developed and prospered through its situation between the livestock farming of the uplands and the mixed and arable farming of the lower parts of the valley, in this case the Ribble. Settle's market charter goes back to 1249, granted for it to serve Ribblesdale and Craven. Market day is Tuesday, when the market square is filled with colourful stalls, looked down on by the unusual, two-story Shambles, whose arches are probably mid-18th century, but whose cottages were raised by a storey late last century. Two factors contribute to Settle's 'family atmosphere'. It has remained small, compact and intimate, and it has been faithful to its past, not having destroyed those buildings from the late 17th century onwards which are so important a part of its character.

Following the short streets from the market place - Constitution Hill and Castle Hill, High Street, Victoria Street and Albert Street, which were the old ways into town - will reveal the yards, squares, cottages, small houses and workshops which represent the rapid growth in activity from 1780 onwards, when the development of local crafts, trades and industries reduced Settle's reliance on farming.

The striking limestone scenery around Settle is a result of the numerous 'faults' or shifts in the geological strata, which have caused the characteristic 'scars' or cliffs of limestone to appear. Being a soft rock, the limestone has weathered into many fantastic and dramatic shapes. The long cliff that forms Langcliffe Scar is a 'cross-fault' running north-west from the main east-west Mid-Craven fault that is the major feature of the scenery around Settle.

The railway running up Ribblesdale is the Settle-Carlisle line, regarded as one of the greatest feats of Victorian railway engineering. Built between 1870 and 1876, the line runs through some of the wildest mountain scenery in England.

The attractive little village of Stainforth owes its name to the old 'stony ford' across the river, now replaced by the packhorse bridge. The ford was on a major packhorse route between York and Lancaster, which was of considerable importance in monastic times. Stainforth Force is perhaps the most attractive fall on the Ribble. The river bed has been eroded into a series of steps and when the river is in spate, a lovely cascade can be seen.

Remains of numerous 19th century lime kilns dot the area between Stainforth and Langcliffe, and, at Langcliffe Quarry, there is a well-preserved Hoffman lime-kiln. This impressive structure was in use from 1873 to 1939. To produce a constant supply of lime (used to fertilise the moors and improve grazing) there was a series of chambers in the oval-shaped tunnel. The fire progressed slowly around the tunnel, firing each chamber in sequence. The area has now been developed into an industrial heritage trail with information boards - well worth exploring.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

DOWNHAM, LANCASHIRE

SUNDAY, 27TH NOVEMBER 2011

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Rowland Nock   Distance: 11 miles
We head out southeast from the lovely village of Downham, wending our way to the summit of Pendle Hill for some outstanding views (hopefully!) of the surrounding area. Please bear in mind that this is a height gain of over 400 metres.
With the really strenuous part of the walk over, we will gently descend into Boar Clough to follow the banks of Upper and Lower Ogden Reservoirs, leading us into the picturesque village of Barley.
Heading north our walk takes us to Lower Black Moss Reservoir where we trend round to the west via Brownlow Farm back to Downham for our well-earned refreshments.
This is a lovely walk, but please bear in mind that there are sections that can be wet underfoot and there is a ford we have to negotiate with stepping-stones. Waterproof boots and gaiters are a definite advantage.
Moderate Leader: Jackie Gudgeon   Distance: 9 miles
From Downham village we take field paths to Worsaw End and across to Barkerfield and on to the road at Lane Head. More field paths steadily uphill past Hecklin Farm and Brownlow Farm, Coolham and Clough Head, then downhill to Ings End with lovely views of the Ribble Valley ahead. Across tracks and fields to the village of Rimington from where we head back towards Downham via Bustards Farm, Springs, Wooly Hill and a final stretch of quiet Twiston Lane.
We will have some impressive views of Pendle Hill, weather permitting, but the walk will generally be fairly muddy with some potentially slippy ups and downs. Two short stretches of road.
Leisurely Leader: Derek Lee   Distance: 7 miles
700 feet of ascent in 5 bits.
After a short climb out of the village we drop down to the valley bottom, cross Swanside Brook, and press on to Sawley, passing the abbey, and with two short hills to climb on the way (50 feet each). From Sawley we follow the diverted Ribble Way north east to Gisburn Cotes, a gradual 250 feet ascent, and then turn south to cross a valley bottom again before climbing 150 feet up to Rimington. West from here to Falshaw Wood and Downham Mill before a last appetising 200 foot ascent across Downham Green which will deliver us almost straight to the cafe door. An almost equal mixture of footpaths, some of which will be muddy, and hard surface walking.
Easy Leader: Sue Daniels   Distance: 5 miles
From Downham I intend to follow the footpath over to Sawley where we can have lunch in the remains of the old abbey, and possibly take refreshments in the Spread Eagle Hotel. We then amble our way back over similar gently rising footpaths.
With not doing a pre-walk I do not know what the conditions will be like underfoot; this time of year it will probably be fairly muddy!

NOTES ON THE AREA

It is often claimed that Downham is the prettiest village in Lancashire, and it is both undeniably picturesque and remarkably unspoilt. From the church, inn and group of old stone cottages at the top of the village, a road descends to a stream, bridge and a green, lined by more old cottages. The whole scene is presided over by the unmistakable profile of Pendle Hill.

Apart from the fifteenth century tower, the church was almost entirely rebuilt around 1909-10, despite its medieval appearance. It contains memorials to the Assheton family, whose home is at Downham Hall next to the church. The Asshetons were the Lords of Downham from 1558 when they bought the manor and Whalley Abbey. Downham Hall is a repository of old books and family records, Nicholas Assheton the diarist being among the company surrounding James I at Houghton tower in 1617. The Assheton coat of arms are painted on the inn sign. A charity founded by Sir Ralph Assheton decreed that a sermon shall be preached in Downham church on January 30th each year, from one of two prescribed texts. The preacher was to receive £2 and a further £2 distributed among the local poor.

Cricket is still played on the Barley Field, so called because barley was planted there in 1812, in response to a shortage of food locally.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

GARSTANG, LANCASHIRE

SUNDAY, 8TH JANUARY 2012

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Dennis Cookson   Distance: 11.5 – 12 miles
A linear walk starting from Brock. Crossing the railway line and the M6 the first two miles are in an easterly direction along the River Brock. At Walmsley Bridge we head in a northerly direction across farmland through Calder Vale passing Cobble Hey and Peacock Hill en route to our lunch-time stop, Grizedale Lea Reservoir. After lunch the footpath passes the radio masts at 218 metres, the highest point of our walk. From here we get good views of the Lancashire coastline. The gradual descent to Garstang takes us back across the railway and the motorway to the ruins of the castle on the edge of Garstang. Now only a short walk for a welcome cuppa.
On the recce it was very muddy in places!
Moderate Leader: Jackie Gudgeon   Distance: 9 miles
After a short walk along the River Wyre we join a lane, which merges into track and then footpath, and takes us over the railway and motorway, followed by a steady uphill climb through farmland, then down into Calder Vale. We will walk through this interesting mill village to emerge onto the road at Oakenclough. From here we pass the radio masts near to Barnacre Reservoir, following tracks and field paths to Burns Farm, from where we have lanes and tracks back to the River Wyre, which we will follow back into Garstang.
A fairly equal mix of quiet lanes and farmland (which will be very muddy!). There are one or two lane options we can take in the latter stages of the walk if the going underfoot has been particularly bad.
Leisurely Leader: Margaret Black & Steve Balenski   Distance: 7.5 miles
A short walk through the town will bring us to a disused railway track which crosses over the River Wye and leads to the pathway over the main railway line and M6. Then, with some intermittent level stretches, we continue with a very gradual walk uphill, across the farmland to the village of Calder Vale, stopping by the river for lunch. Retracing our way through the village, we descend back to Garstang with a mixture of farmland and some road walking, via the hamlet of Barnacre and, conditions permitting, Lady Hamiltons Well - it may be too wet. Expect plenty of wooden stiles, some mud and some very pleasant views along the way.
On the recce we found much of the farmland to feel quite spongy underfoot despite it appearing firm.
Easy Leader: Derek Lee   Distance: 5 miles
We start by following the riverside Millenium Green for the first mile before turning east and rising some 150 feet in over a mile up to the M6, almost all on firm surfaces. Then on footpaths shadowing the M6 south which could be noisy and muddy - if it's very muddy we could use a road instead which would be half a mile longer. At Turner's Farm we cross the M6 again and drop down to the canal on a mostly firm surface farm track before following the canal towpath back to town.

NOTES ON THE AREA

Garstang, the world's first Fairtrade pioneer, nestles between Preston and Lancaster, on the banks of the River Wyre. This idyllic market town epitomises some of the traits that best define Lancashire, picturesque towns and villages, lush countryside and serene rivers.

Attached to Garstang is a rich history dating as far back as the 11th Century and the Domesday Book. Long before the Norman Conquest, Garstang was a part of the Saxon manor of Cherestanc whch covered an area which took in such villages and towns as Lytham, Pilling, Knott End, Cockersand and Greenhalgh Castle, and a spa with reputed medicinal properties. Garstang is likely to have come from the Saxon word which means meadow land.

The right to hold a market on each Thursday was granted by Edward II but the privilege was allowed to lapse and, in 1597, Queen Elizabeth I granted the right to a weekly market and two annual fairs.

The heyday of road and mail coaches brought prosperity and trade to the town. Spawning a brisk trade in inns and the horse trade generally, with blacksmiths, coach builders, wheelwrights, and harness makers all in demand. It became one of the most important agricultural centres in the county, and its status was recognised by the creation of a borough in 1879.

Cattle, which were driven down from Scotland and other northern counties often broke their journey at Garstang. Records show that as many as 3,000 cattle were once driven through the town in 1805. Doors and windows were boarded up for the protection of people and property.

There is a rich community life and strong religious presence with its beautiful Church of England church, a stately Roman Catholic church, and several fine chapels, covering the needs of the local populace. The Whitsuntide Walk is probably one of the biggest in the north of England; it is one of the highlights for the children of every denomination.

Another relic from the distant past is the ruins of Greenhalgh Castle, built in 1490 by the Earl of Derbyshire. In 1646, Greenhalgh was besieged by Cromwell's army, and it was later dismantled. All that remains today is a tower. Visitors can view the tower on a number of free guided walks led by the Wyre Borough Council.

The Lancaster Canal is the longest stretch of lock free canal in the country, making it a popular destination for beginners and more experienced boaters. The canal was opened in 1826 and was nicknamed the Black and White Canal because it was used to carry coal from the north and limestone from the south. The canal is navigable by boat for some 41 miles, winding through the Lancashire countryside.

Calder Vale is a village located on the River Calder in a deep valley with only a single road providing access. The village was founded by Quakers Jonathan and Richard Jackson and, in 1835, a cotton weaving mill - the Lappet Mill - was built, powered by the River Calder. The mill and mill pond still exist today. The Church of St John the Evangelist lies high above the village, linked to it by a woodland footpath. It was consecrated on 12th August 1863, and serves the village of Oakenclough in addition to Calder Vale. The village also contains a primary school which was built concurrently with the church. It is a small school consisting of two teachers and about 30 pupils and is closely linked with the church.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

UPPERMILL, GREATER MANCHESTER

SUNDAY, 12TH JUNE 2011

TODAY'S WALKS

Moderate Leader: Jackie Gudgeon   Distance: 9 miles
From Uppermill we follow the Huddersfield Narrows Canal for about a mile to reach the Brownhills Visitor Centre where there are toilets. We then climb by lane, track and moorland to reach the Pots & Pans War Memorial, giving us panoramic views of the surrounding hills and valleys. We then drop down a track to reach and cross the A635 Saddleworth Road and Yeoman Hey Reservoir. We circle the reservoir, passing Dovestone Reservoir, before venturing into the Chew Valley, returning along the Oldham Way to the southern end of Uppermill from where we can return to the coach either along the canal or the Tame Valley Way which follows an attractive stretch of disused railway line.
Quite a rugged walk in places, with no doubt some boggy stretches.
Leisurely Leader: Derek Lee   Distance: 7 Miles
We leave Uppermill northwards on the old railway line - now the Pennine Bridleway - then along the canal to Diggle where the canal enters the Standedge Tunnel. We continue on tracks and footpaths to Dean Head, climbing gently all the way, apart from a short steeper climb on the final stage. From here we turn west and return along Harrop Edge with views of both sides from the hill top ridge, before dropping steeply back down to the canal for the final mile home.
Easy Leader: Philomena Walker Distance: About 5 miles
The Easy walkers will pick up the canal by the museum. We will follow the canal to Diggle - on the way we can play a few games! On reaching Diggle there is a comfort stop at the hotel, and we will then come back across the moors and meet up with the canal once again. We go back into Uppermill via the stepping stones (optional) for those brave enough to try!

NOTES ON THE AREA

Uppermill is one of the largest of the Saddleworth villages. It lies in the valley bottom and is an unspoilt settlement which dates from the 18th century. It is dominated by an impressive railway viaduct, beneath which runs the Huddersfield Narrow Canal which links the Ashton Canal with Sir John Ramsdens canal in Huddersfield. Construction of the canal took place between 1794 and 1811. The full length of the canal is 21 miles, passing through a short tunnel at Scout (near Mossley) then via 32 locks up to Diggle where it enters the summit tunnel at Standedge. This tunnel measures 3 miles 418 yards, and is followed by a descent of 493 feet at Marsden through 42 locks to Huddersfield.

From the late 18th century onwards, woollen mills were being constructed in the small tributary valleys to the east of Uppermill as well as along the River Tame itself. During this period Uppermill also saw a number of cotton mills established in the area. The southern half of the village was largely owned by the Shaw family who lived at St Chad's, close to what are now the village playing fields. The car park at Uppermill is on the site of the Victoria Mill, constructed in the 1860's, closing in the 1930's after a life functioning mainly as a cotton spinning mill. The Saddleworth Museum, founded by Lord Rhodes, is housed in what was once the mill's gas house. Running alongside the museum is an attractively restored section of the Huddersfield Narrow Canal, with boat trips on offer. There are numerous craft and gift shops in Uppermill, along with tea rooms and pubs. The village is particularly busy at the weekends.

Saddleworth Church is situated about a mile to the east of Uppermill. The present church, dedicated to St Chad, is a largely Victorian building, although there is evidence to suggest that a place of worship existed on this site as far back as the 12th century.

The Uppermill folk must be a hardy lot to attend the annual Remembrance Day Service at the Pots & Pans War Memorial - there are several paths to the top but no vehicle access!


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

BAKEWELL, DERBYSHIRE

SUNDAY, 10TH JULY 2011

TODAY'S WALKS

Moderate Leader: Leo & Jean Keenan   Distance: 8 Miles
From Bakewell we make our way over the golf course with a steady climb through Manners Wood (about 100 metres) onto Carlton Pastures and New Piece Plantation, with views of Chatsworth House. From here we visit the village of Edensor and a lunch stop (with toilets) at Chatsworth House. We then return to Bakewell along the River Derwent via Carlton Pastures and Ball Cross Farm.
Leisurely Leader: Derek Lee   Distance: 7 miles
After a few minutes walk through parkland and allotments to the edge of the town, we have a long, mostly easy, climb to the village of Over Haddon, 350 feet higher than Bakewell. Then a steep descent on the road to Lathkill Dale followed by a walk through the last mile of the Dale to Conksbury Bridge. There is a short steep climb from the bridge before we cross the open fields and drop down to Haddon Hall. From here overgrown footpaths and then a bridleway track bring us to the Monsal Trail for an easy last mile back to Bakewell. Altogether about 500 feet climbing today.
Easy Leader: Adelaide Houghton   Distance: 5.5 miles
Leaving Bakewell we head northwards via an old pack-horse track to join the Monsal Trail, before descending to the attractive village of Ashford-in-the-Water. The final stretch back to Bakewell follows the River Wye. Apart from one short uphill section, the walk is easy going (in dry weather that is).

NOTES ON THE AREA

A busy cattle market, and 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, but if this is accepted from the outset there is every reason to enjoy the town. 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 venerable history of Bakewell (it was granted a market and 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. Up the steep road on the west side of the town stands an airy grass-covered knoll on which sits the parish church of All Saints. 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 are 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.

Monday is market day in Bakewell, when cattle and sheep wagons converge behind Bridge Street, and the Market Place is decked with awnings. Escaping the bleating and banter is easy; the River Wye runs alongside and it is possible in a few seconds to be out of the crowd and feeding ducks or trout along the river. Upstream is one of the oldest bridges in England, built in about 1300; impossible to appreciate if you are driving over it but a 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.

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!

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