SKELMERSDALE RAMBLING CLUB

 

Skelmersdale Rambling Club

GRANGE-OVER-SANDS, CUMBRIA

SUNDAY, 27TH JANUARY 2013

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader : Rowland Nock   Distance: approx.9.5 miles
Height Gain, approx. 250m.

We will wend our way out of Grange up through Eggerslack Wood to Hampsfield. From here we pass High Hampsfield Farm, heading northwest before turning south to ascend the Hospice summit on Hampsfell. If the weather is kind we can enjoy the glorious views over Morecambe Bay.

Our onward journey takes us west to Cartmel, passing the beautifully impressive old Priory. We will then trend back to Grange via the golf course, Eden Mount, and the promenade, hopefully in time for our well-earned tea & tiffin.

Moderate Leader: Jean & Leo Keenan   Distance: 8 miles
Would moderate walkers please assemble outside the toilets situated in the park. A charge of 20 pence is required for use of.

Leaving Grange, we make the ascent through Eggerslack Woods and head for the Hospice for our coffee stop with fine views over Morecambe Bay. From here we are onto the Cistercian Way going through Pit Farm and into Cartmel for our lunch stop.

After lunch there will be some road walking before heading over the golf course, Spring Bank and Carney Well, and back into Grange.

Leisurely Leader: Hazel Anderton & Ruth Melling   Distance: just under 6 miles
We walk first to the north east of Grange along Eggerslack Wood, then up and around an area called Hampsfield before turning west and back towards Grange. We had to make the walk shorter than usual; however if the weather is good we can add on a section which takes us up to the Hospice and the panoramic viewpoint.

We came across a few muddy places near the farms, which could be avoided by walking on the banking alongside. But the walk has been planned to go along tracks and quiet country lanes to make sure that we have some mud free sections.

The route is varied and very pleasant. We go along woods, fields, heathland, limestone outcrops and finally along the promenade and through the park back to the coach and refreshments. There are some fine views north towards Cumbria and south overlooking the Kent Estuary. Better still if we get up to the Hospice.

Easy Leader: Nicole & Allan Fraser   Distance: 5.6 miles
We start the walk going north with a climb through Eggerslack Wood. We then descend gradually to the village of Lindale, and should enjoy a good view over the valley. At Lindale, which is halfway, there is a good place for lunch. The walk continues on a path across the plain to Low Meathop and turns right along a quiet road back to Grange, finishing with a short stretch along the promenade to the railway station.

NOTES ON THE AREA

Once a small coastal village, Grange-over-Sands was transformed into a fashionable resort by the coming of the Furness Railway linking it with Lancaster. Villas and hotels were built to take advantage of the exceptionally mild climate.

Though the sands are not safe for bathing, this is more than compensated for by the extensive promenade gardens along the sea front. Due to the mild climate these boast rock-plants, alpines and even subtropical species. Away from the hotels, shops and cafes there are some lovely walks, none nicer than the path behind the town which climbs through the magnificent limestone woodlands, rich in wild flowers. The path leads to Hampsfell Summit and the Hospice, a little stone tower from which there is an unforgettable view of Morecambe Bay and the craggy peaks of the Lake District. The Hospice was provided by a pastor of Cartmel in the last century for the 'shelter and entertainment of wanderers'. An external flight of stairs leads to a flat roof and the viewing-point. See if you can work out the riddle scrawled on one of the walls!

Grange is also the starting point of the 'Cistercian Way', an exceptionally interesting, thirty seven mile footpath route through Furness to Barrow, linking many sites of Cistercian interest.

Cartmel is one of the prettiest villages in Furness, consisting of a delightful cluster of houses and cottages set around a square, from which lead winding streets and arches into charming back yards. The village is dominated by the famous Cartmel Priory, founded in 1188 by Augustine Canons.

The sands of Morecambe Bay are notorious for the dangerous incoming tide which sweeps in by a bore, faster than a galloping horse, surrounding sandbanks and softening them into quicksands before covering them. At low tide there is a safe passage along certain routes. Before the days of rail and car there were recognized highways across the sands, saving the long journey around the bay. However, the channels and quicksands frequently changed position, so the monks of Cartmel Priory provided a guide service for travellers. These days the service is provided by the official sand pilot, Cedric Robinson, who takes groups of intrepid walkers across the sands. (to attempt this without a guide is folly in the extreme!).


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

RUTHIN, NORTH WALES

SUNDAY, 24TH FEBRUARY 2013

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Dag Griffiths   Distance: 10 miles
From Ruthin we head in a NE direction to pick footpaths leading to Offa's Dyke Path. Once on the path our objective is Moel Famau and it's Jubilee Tower. We continue west for a short while on Offa's Dyke Path before leaving it for footpaths through Moel Famau Country Park to the small village of Gellifor in the Vale of Clwyd. From the village footpaths will take us SW to the River Clwyd which we follow in a southerly direction back to Ruthin.
Moderate Leader: Peter Denton   Distance: 7 miles
Our walk today is heading for the foothills of the "Clwydian Range". We managed to find a fair amount of mud on the day we recc'ed the walk, but it had been raining for days. If we have had some dry weather this will be very good underfoot and a wonderful walk. We will see some panoramic views of the Vale of Clwyd. The last part of our walk will be along the River Clwyd, and into Ruthin for tea and scones.
Leisurely Leader: Derek Lee   Distance: 7 miles
The walk sets out to the north west of Ruthin on field paths, over a gentle hill (only 150 feet) to the River Clwedog (2 miles). We turn left on Lady Bagot's Drive which follows the river upstream in a steep sided valley. The Drive was laid out as a carriageway in the Edwardian era by Lord Bagot, so that Lady Bagot could enjoy her favourite drive after service in Llanfwrog Church and before lunch. A short sharp climb (200 feet) takes us out of the valley and we retrace our steps at the edge of the woodland back downstream to the village of Rhewl (5 miles). From here it is level field paths (impassably muddy when I did the recce) or mostly road walking back to Ruthin.
Easy Leader: Cynthia Prescott   Distance: 4.5 miles
5.5 miles if we decide to go to Rhewl. Height Gain 15 metres. This is an easy walk in the valley and is flat most of the way. There are no climbs. The first part of the walk follows the river. It is a pleasant path but there are lots of high wooden stiles to get over that cannot be avoided. We reach a road where we could have lunch, but we would be sitting on the grass so you may prefer to add a detour to the village of Rhewl and back. In Rhewl there is a bus stop, bus shelter with seats, a seat, a wall and a pub. (beware of --carpets!!. You cannot go into the pub with mucky boots on. We had Sunday lunch there but left our boots in the doorway). No footpaths and no stiles on the way back to Ruthin, but country lanes with good views.

NOTES ON THE AREA

Ruthin is one of finest small towns in Wales, rich in history, and endowed with outstanding buildings from every century between the 13th and the 20th.

The hilltop town centre is unique in its rich architectural mix and lofty views of the surrounding countryside. Behind the Davies Brothers magnificent 18th century wrought-iron gates, you find St Peters Church, founded in 1284 and famous for its spectacular 16th century carved oak roof. Behind the church is a beautiful group of buildings in a collegiate close reminiscent of Trollope's Barchester Towers. On the Square, the multi-dormered roof of the Myddleton Arms (renamed recently as the Seven Eyes) and long known as the Eyes of Ruthin, dates from the 16th century, and the three banks are all housed in handsome, half-timbered buildings. One of these, the Natwest Bank, was once the Old Courthouse (built in 1401) and prisoners were kept in cells below the magnificent beamed court room. The beam used as a gibbet still projects from the exterior north-west wall.

Castle Street is an important part of the town centre conservation area due to its splendid examples of period houses, ranging from at least the 16th to the 19th centuries. Halfway down Castle Street on the right is Nantclwyd House one of the oldest town houses in North Wales. The present house is 16th century, but there are traces of a much earlier period. It was inhabited in Elizabethan times by Dr Gabriel Goodman, a very influential man who became Dean of Westminster for 40 years.

The Ruthin Craft Centre was opened in 1982 and is one of Wales' premier arts venues, designed to house and encourage the applied arts at a regional, national and international level. There is a complex of ten workshops with tenants working in a variety of media - silver, textiles, pottery, painting, glass, and pewter, among others. In the gallery area prestigious exhibitions of pottery, textiles, ironwork, wood, jewellery and other media change regularly and attract connoisseurs from far afield.

Ruthin Castle, a baronial castle was built by Edward 1 around 1277. It consisted ot two wards and five round towers originally guarding the inner ward. All that remains today are three towers and the ruined double-towered gatehouse. According to local history, the lordship of Dyffryn Clwyd was given to the Grey family in 1282 after the defeat of Llywelyn, effectively ending the principality of North Wales.

Ruthin Gaol stands on a site that was first used as a prison in 1684. Until the Gaol's closure in 1916 it was subject to many alterations and additions, including the wing based upon the Pentonville model, built in 1866. Today, part of it is used to house the County Record Office. After an intense period of building and restoration work, part of the site has been available for the public and educational groups since 2001. Much evidence of the Gaol's former years remain. The building, acknowledged to be architecturally and historically interesting, is used to tell the story of crime and punishment in the area.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

AMBLESIDE, LAKE DISTRICT

SUNDAY, 24TH MARCH 2013


These walks were cancelled because of bad weather conditions - ice and extensive snowdrifts

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Jimmy Need     Distance: about 10 miles
First port of call is Skelghyll Wood which will bring us up to Skelsick Scar, followed by Jenkin Crag - nice viewing point here. We then make our way over to the hundreds for a little flirt. From here Wansfell and Wansfell Pike open up in front of us. We make our way down off Wansfell, to and through, Stockghyll Park and Strawberry Wood back to Ambleside.
Moderate Leader: Cynthia & Dave Prescott     Distance: 8 miles, Height Gain 210 metres
This walk is described as 'An inspiring low level walk, amidst beautiful Lakeland fells and woodland, with magnificent views across Wordsworth country'. We would not quite call it 'low level' as you go uphill on a number of sections, but it is a walk with great scenery, which encircles Loughrigg Fell rather than climbing up to the top.

From the park in Ambleside we head up to Ivy Crag and then down to Loughrigg Tarn. We go up the lane and then on to Loughrigg Terrace where the views over Grasmere and Rydal Water are wonderful. The walk passes the caves before heading down to Pelter Bridge and then follows the lanes and tracks back to Ambleside.

Leisurely Leader: Derek Lee     Distance: 7 miles
We start by passing the Roman fort and following the river to Rothay Bridge, then skirting Ambleside and through Rothay Park to join the minor road to Rydal and along the side of Rydal Water. We then cross the river and main road and return along the coffin road to Rydal, through Rydal Park and back to Ambleside. There then remains a half mile bonus walk back to the coach at Waterhead.
Easy Leader: Hazel Anderton & Ruth Melling     Distance: 6 miles
Waterfalls, woodland and wonderful views. We wanted to find a walk that is different from what the other groups are doing, and it is a bit longer than usual as we have to make our way into the centre of Ambleside before starting the walk proper. But there is a cut off point to make the walk a lot shorter if needed. Firstly we walk along the valley past Stockghyll Falls and then turn north and walk, following another stream, as far as a little packhorse bridge called High Sweden, before turning back to Ambleside. Much of the walk is quite good underfoot and there are only a few stiles. We do quite a bit of rising but most is gentle. If you want to start with the usual refreshments, we recommend the hostelries near the coach. A bit dearer than normal but the toilets are far better than the ones in the car park.

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

MALHAM, YORKSHIRE DALES

SUNDAY, 28TH APRIL 2013

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Andrew Mayor   Distance: approx. 9 miles
The walk starts from Malham from where we walk along Gordale Beck to Janet's Fosse, then along to Gordale Scar. Here we have a choice of routes, either up the left hand hill to reach the top of the water fall of Gordale Scar or, for those who fancy a challenge, the waterfall can be scaled. This involves a short steep scramble. Once on top, by either route, we will follow a grassy stony track to Malham Tarn and then along the dry valley of Watlowes to the limestone pavement on top of Malham Cove, followed by an easy walk back to Malham.
Moderate Leader: Jackie Gudgeon   Distance: about 8 miles,
We leave Malham by following Gordale Beck to reach Janet's Fosse (hopefully we will have had some rain to make the waterfall spectacular - but none today please!) followed by a steady climb to cross the lane (Malham Rakes) and on to reach the top of Malham Cove. We will have a short break looking over the Cove (or lunch, depending on the time) and then follow a moorland track and lane to reach Street Gate and then on to Great Close Scar and Malham Tarn. Another possible lunch stop. We then follow good tracks to the parking area at Malham Tarn (ice cream van) and then Locks Scar, Langscar Gate, Long Lane and back to Malham.

Mostly good paths, boggy patches on the moorland, a five minute stretch of road. Wonderful views.

Leisurely Leader: Philomena Walker   Distance: 6.5 miles
From the YHA we walk along a raised path towards Malham Cove, before descending to cross a little clapper bridge over Malham Beck. We take steps up the left hand side of the Cove. Taking care over the limestone pavement, we come to a stile leading to Watlowes Dry Valley which narrows into a rocky gorge. We now have a choice.

If the weather is fine we can continue on to Malham Tarn for lunch. If wet or windy, we will go directly to Langscar Gate, on to moorland where we can find a sheltered area for lunch, before circling around Ewe Moor with wonderful views. We emerge onto Cove Road which we descend gradually for a short distance to a gate leading to walled track back to Malham. If the tarn is omitted, we can take the path to Janet's Fosse before returning to the village once more.

Easy Leader: Hazel Anderton   Distance: 5 miles
There are two routes planned, one planned by Margery Howe for last year which goes to the 'honey pots' of Janet's Fosse, Gordale Scar and Malham Cove. The other misses out Gordale Scar and instead takes us up the Watlows Dry Valley at the back of the Cove and goes a short while on the moors before coming down a small lane, then a footpath, back to Malham.

On the higher walk there are views of the hills and escarpments above Malham, We might see the birds of prey hunting, and possibly a Tesco van, and you will see the Cove but from a higher perspective. Both routes involve some walking over rough ground and either steps up or steps down. Which route we do will be decided on the day.

NOTES ON THE AREA

The exact derivation of the name Malham is not clear, but it may mean 'stony or gravelly place', a name which would be in keeping with much of its surrounding area. In the Domesday Book the name is given as 'Malgum'. In any event there has been a settlement at Malham for well over a thousand years and human habitation in the area for perhaps three thousand. Today it is without doubt the most popular village in the National Park with one million visitors each year. The present bridge which marks the centre of the village is eighteenth century but incorporates much of an earlier packhorse bridge of the seventeenth, while there are three clapper bridges of earlier origin.

The Middle Craven Fault, running roughly east to west just north of Malham, marks the southern limit of the Great Scar Limestone, for the land to the south of it is of a very different character. Malham Cove and the valley in front of it were created when glacial melt waters ran down the steep hillside produced by the fault and eroded back into the edge of the limestone bed. It is a magnificent sight; a great natural amphitheatre with sheer - and in parts overhanging - walls tapering back into the hillsides on each side. The depression in the centre of the cliff was originally the lip of a waterfall, about three times higher than any existing fall in the Dales today. Not since the early years of the nineteenth century however has any water been known to flow over it.

Malham Tarn, a stretch of open water covering 153 acres, exists in limestone country because its bed is formed of more ancient impervious rock. The present depth of the tarn - about 14 feet - is maintained by an embankment and sluice gate to the south built by a previous owner, Thomas Lister, in 1791. The Tarn is now owned by the National Trust and managed as a nature reserve by the Field Studies Council.

Gordale Scar has been described as 'a collapsed cave' but is believed to have been created by a furious rush of water as vast quantities of ice melted at the end of the last glacial period. Within the Gorge, the 160 ft high cliffs protrude at the top, at one point coming within 50 ft of each other.

Janet's Foss. Foss is a name used for waterfall and Janet (or Jennet) is said to be queen of the local fairies. She lived (or lives) in the far from comfortable quarters of a cave behind the waterfall. The fan of white water was created when the limestone bedrock was dissolved and eroded by the action of water, and then re-deposited on mosses growing on the lip of the waterfall as a fragile screen of porous limestone known as Tufa.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

TIDESWELL, PEAK DISTRICT

SUNDAY, 2ND JUNE 2013

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Rowland Nock   Distance: approx. 10.5 miles
From Tideswell we head out north easterly to Lane Head, then turning south along Litton Edge. Heading round into the beautiful Tansley Dale we then join Cressbrook Dale, passing Cressbrook Mill.
Our journey continues onto the old railway line, which is now the Monsal Trail, towards Monsal Head. From here we will return to Tideswell via the equally delightful Millers Dale and Tideswell Dale.
Hopefully, there will be enough time to reflect on the day with a well earned T & T or foaming pint.
Moderate Leader: Andrew Mayor & Norma Carmichael   Distance: about 7 miles,
Not a very challenging walk - about 7 miles 950 feet. The walk starts by going up the road past the cafe/shops until we find a small gap/gate. We then ascend up some rather steep steps leading on to a footpath. We follow the path for a short while til we meet the road which we walk for about 20 minutes towards Litton. Once there, we walk through the village to Cressington, over the stile, and across a field, slightly uphill. Leaving the field we follow a craggy path for a few miles then take the lower path towards the river. Following this path with some road walking we have one more reasonable climb through some woods, then follow the path back to the village.
Leisurely Leader: Steve Balenski   Distance: 7 miles
We start by heading westward along gentle uphill field paths and then bridleways and lanes over open country to Wormhill. We continue southwards through Cheedale nature reserve and follow the River Wye eastwards to Millers Dale. We return to Tideswell via a rising track along Tideswell Dale.
Easy Leader: Adelaide Houghton
As Adelaide is unexpectedly unable to lead this walk, would someone please like to volunteer to lead this walk, using Adelaide's notes?

Tideswell - Litton - Tansley Dale - Cressbrook Dale - Monsal Trail - Tideswell.

This walk takes us through fields and several dales, with a chance to see lots of cowslips and other wild flowers covering the sides of the Dales. Relatively easy walk of about 6 miles. Remember, limestone can be slippy underfoot if wet.

NOTES ON THE AREA

Tideswell village is situated half a mile from the busy A623 Chapel-en-le-Frith to Baslow road, located at the top of Tideswell Dale. Its name is thought to originate from a well that ebbed and flowed in the area. The long main street of the village winds down into the dale with many lanes running up the valley side, often ending at old lead mining workings on the plateau above. Tideswell was granted a market charter in 1250 but is neither a village nor a market town. The village today is famous for its annual Well-Dressing which starts on the Saturday nearest 24th June. This is linked to Wakes Week which begins with crowning the Carnival Queen and processions through decorated streets, ending with Morris Dancing and a torch light procession.

St John the Baptist Parish Church was built between 1300 and 1390. This splendid cruciform building is often referred to as "The Cathedral of the Peak" due to is sheer size and beauty. The whole church is 14th century, decorated throughout except for the tower and west window. The church is so interesting that time must be found to visit this fine structure.

To the east of Tideswell is the little village of Litton, a pretty gathering of 18th century cottages beside a green with a set of stocks close to the Red Lion Pub. Tideswell Dale and Cressbrook Dale run south, from west and east of the village, beautiful in their own right and giving access to dramatic Millers Dale.

The Monsal Trail was part of the former Midland Railway Line cutting through the central limestone plateau of the Peak District following the deep valley of the River Wye. The trail runs for 8.5 miles between Blackwell Mill Junction near Buxton, and Coombs Viaduct, one mile south east of Bakewell. The most famous feature of the trail is Monsal Head Viaduct which takes the former railway line over the Upper Wye Valley.

Litton Mill was founded in 1782 using the water of the River Wye to drive the mill's water wheels for the spinning of cotton. The mill became notorious for the harsh treatment of children who worked there. Many children were "imported" from London and other large cities as child labourers by its owner Ellis Needham. From their appalling treatment many children died young and were buried in the churchyards of Taddington and Tideswell close by. The mill's history could not be guessed at these days, having been converted into desirable residences!

Cressbrook Mill, built by Sir Richard Arkwright, and also now converted into posh apartments, also employed child labour but was said to have treated them well. The children worked six days a week and actually had a few hours off on a Sunday! The rooftop bell tower would have pealed to beckon the apprentices who lived next door to the works.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

KIRKBY STEPHEN, CUMBRIA

SUNDAY, 30TH JUNE 2013

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader : Andew Mayer   Distance: approx. 10 miles
We leave Kirkby Stephen via Frank's Bridge heading to Hartley quarries and over Hartleys Fell. We climb up to Nine Standards Rigg (cairns) at a height of 662 metres on a well stoned path. We descend to Ladthwaite and onto Nateby from where we walk along the River Eden back to Kirkby Stephen.
Moderate Leader : Hazel Anderton & Ruth Melling   Distance: 8 miles,
For the first mile or so we go up a lane following the Coast to Coast walk, going past extensive Hartley Quarries and Birkett Hall. Sorry it is a road, the footpath has been swallowed up by the quarry, but it is a very quiet road and has good views. Look out for low flying jets rather than cars! We turn off over farmland to a farm called Ladthwaite, then follow Ladthwaite Beck bringing us to a lovely wood and past Ewbank Scar, a gorge. We make our way to Nateby, taking in a stretch of the dismantled railway as far as Skenkrith Bridge and, sorry, a short stretch along a lane to the village. We turn and make our way back to Kirby Stephen across fields and along the river bank.
Leisurely Leader : Norma Carmichael   Distance: 5 miles
1. It is my intention to try and complete a 5 mile walk, hopefully visiting the poetry trail and calling into Hartley village, heading towards Nateby. The paths are flat most of the way and there is some road walking on even paths, Not much hill walking.
2. I have visited this area twice to complete a walk and it is not clearly signposted.
3. Your support therefore for the walk Is appreciated.
Easy Leader : Derek Lee   Distance: 5 miles
We will circle round the west of the town on field paths to Jubilee Park at the southern end of the town (2 miles), with its 'pavilion' atop a small hill, ideal for lunch. Then south again, mostly on hard surfaces, to Nateby (3 miles) where we might be tempted by the village inn and coffee shop. We turn homewards on bridleways, stony and muddy in parts. To the Millennium Bridge at Skenkrith Bridge with its view over the raging river, then on field paths through Skenkrith Park, passing several of the 'Poetry Path' stones, before finally re-entering the town over Frank's Bridge.

NOTES ON THE AREA

First impressions of Kirkby Stephen suggest that it is larger than it really is, but this overgrown village lacks any real depth, and its eastern boundary in particular is sharply defined by the River Eden. In the opposite direction, low fell pastures begin to rise only a short distance from the town. The town was built for defence against Border raiders, and has narrow. high-walled passages and spacious squares into which cattle could be driven in times of trouble.

The market square is surrounded by a ring of cobblestones which demarcate the area used until 1820 for bull baiting, a sport which ended after a disaster which followed when a bull broke free. The square is also flanked by a number of buildings of especial importance, notably the cloisters, built between the church and the square in 1810, to provide shelter for churchgoers and market people. The money to build the cloisers came from a bequest from John Waller, a naval purser, who was born in the town. The cloisters were also used for a butter market.

The Church of St Stephen, known locally as the Cathedral of the Dales, bears traces of Saxon and Norman handiwork, and Dalesfolk have worshipped on this site since Saxon times. In the former county of Westmorland the church was second in size only to Kendal, and boasts a long stately nave and 13th century arcades. Until the early part of the 20th century, a curfew bell was still rung each evening from the 16th century church tower. The church contains the Loki Stone, named after a Norse God. The stone dates from the 8th century, and depicts a bound devil. It is one of only two such stones in Europe.

On the southern edge of the town is the site of Croglam Castle, a prehistoric oval enclosure with a ditch and external bank. Also on the outskirts of town, notably at Wharton Hall, are excellent examples of strip lynchets and strip farming.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

LLANBERIS, NORTH WALES

SUNDAY, 28TH JULY 2013

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Steve Budd     Distance: approx. 8.5 miles
From Llanberis we head out north westerly to Maen-llwyd-isaf, from here to Bwlch y groes (disused quarry) then turning south and up onto Moel Eilio (about 3 miles) our first summit of the day. Then continuing on to Foel Gron, second summit. And finally onto Foel Goch (third summit). From here we return to Llanberis via Maesgwm.

Our route up to Moel Eilio is a bit of a slog and strenuous in places, but if it is a clear day great views all round and well worth the effort.

Hopefully, we will get back in time for tea/coffee or a pint, and reflect on a great day..

Moderate Leader: David & Cynthia Prescott     Distance: 5.5 miles, height gain 800 ft
This walk climbs through the slate quarries which dominate Llanberis, passing the slate museum, lakeside steam railway, and old quarry hospital. It is not a long walk but the terrain makes it feel a lot longer than it is. There are many uphill sections so you need some 'puff' to attempt it! It heads up along tracks and paths and up steps going through oak woodland with lovely views of Llanberis, Lake Padarn and the surrounding mountains. (Look out for a fox!). Once out of Padarn Country Park the views open out and we head up higher above Dinorwic. Here we are rewarded with extensive views of Menai Strait and Anglesey. It is then downhill all the way to the lake, firstly along good roads and tracks and then down rocky paths where care will be needed on the steep slate steps. We intend to take a short break at the ruins of Anglesey Barracks on the way down (where quarry workers from Anglesey stayed during the week) as there are wonderful views of Llyn Peris reservoir and the 12th Century Dolbadarn Castle which we will visit before arriving back at the town of Llanberis.
Leisurely Leader: Philomena Walker     Distance: 6.5 miles
We are going to start with a visit to Dolbadarn Castle to enjoy the fabulous views. We then head over to Padarn Country Park and the Miners' Hospital, an ideal place for an early lunch, with views of Llanberis and the steam train chugging along the Llyn Padarn Lakeside Railway. We follow a (man made) rocky path along the length of the lake to the bridge to get the best view of Snowdon, then, after crossing the bridge we return to Llanberis via a good flat path.
Easy Leader Hazel Anderton & Joan McGlinchey     Distance: 4 miles
The walk is a bit shorter than usual, but there is a lot of interesting history and great views to linger over. First we will look at Vivian Quarry, a deep pond popular with scuba divers, and then walk along the lake side before making our way to the Quarry Hospital. We then go up, and back down, through the ancient woods, where we see quarry workings, some old cottages, and fantastic views of the other lake. We do quite a bit of climbing in the woods but it is not constant - only the first part is a bit steep. The last part coming down is steps - slippery due to the nature of the slate chippings. If we complete the walk with time to spare, there are lots of other things for you to visit, eg. The castle and the slate museum.

NOTES ON THE AREA

Of Wales' three National Parks, Snowdonia, at some 840 square miles, is the largest and certainly the most scenically dramatic. Embracing several mountain ranges, the park takes its name from Snowdon. However the park's name is misleading as it suggests that it covers just the area around the mountain, while in fact Snowdonia extends southwards into central Wales and incorporates stretches of coastline and Cadair Idris.

Llanberis has many attractions to keep the visitor occupied although it is, perhaps, best known for the nearby mountain, Snowdon. Rising to some 3560 ft, this is the highest peak in Wales and the most climbed mountain in Britain. On a clear day, the view from the summit is fantastic, taking in Ireland. But before setting out for the summit it is worth remembering that the weather changes dramatically up here and walkers and climbers should always be prepared. However, many reach the summit with the help of the Snowdon Mountain Railway, a rack and pinion system that was built in 1896 and has carried millions to the top of the mountain over the years. It is not surprising that this mountainous and inhospitable area is also steeped in legend and mystery. The eagles of Snowdon have long been regarded as oracles of peace and war, triumph and disaster, and Snowdon's peak is said to be a cairn that was erected over the grave of a giant killed by King Arthur.

For those wanting a more sedate train ride, the Llanberis Lake Railway takes a short trip during which there are several different views of the mountain. The railway lies in Padarn Country Park, which covers some 700 acres of Snowdonia's countryside and also includes Llyn Padarn. Here too is the Welsh Slate Museum (housed in the Dinorwig Slate Quarry) which tells the story of the slate industry through a variety of exhibitions, audio-visual shows and demonstrations. Close by is Dinorwig Power Station, a pumped storage hydro-electric power station that was built into the mountain. Tours take visitors into the tunnels and the machinery rooms that control the vast quantities of water needed by this major engineering project.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

HATHERSAGE. DERBYSHIRE

SUNDAY, 1ST SEPTEMBER 2013

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Dag Griffiths     Distance: 11.2 miles
Highest Point 458 metres, total ascent 550 metres.

The objective today is a walk along Stanage Edge. From Hathersage we ascend steadily north on paths to Brookfield Manor and Green House before swinging east, then north again to join Stanage Edge. Next we walk along the edge in a north-westerly direction past High Neb to Crow Chin (lunch stop - weather permitting). We then begin our return on a lower path, parallel to the edge before rejoining it. We then walk the south-east section of the edge. Just after Cowper Stone we head south to Higger Tor and the remains of a Roman fort. We then take paths basically in a westerly direction back to Hathersage.

Moderate Leader: Peter Denton     Distance: 9 miles
This is a hill walk with some terrific views of the Peak District. We will set off from the public toilets on the High Street.

Our ramble starts with a tough walk up out of the town. Through some woodland. We then join an excellent path that will take us up to our highest point where we will lunch, hopefully in the sun, before we head down back to Hathersage for well earned tea and tiffin.

Leisurely Leader: Norma Carmichael     Distance: 6-7 miles
Half the route is alongside of the river through Goose Nest Wood. There are two footbridges and numerous stock gates through fields towards some steep steps into a wooded area. Care must be taken as the path is near to the edge at times and has quite a drop on one side. Leaving the river path we will walk through open pasture towards Shatton. There is one stretch of this walk on the road for about 15 minutes before we turn into the field and head back towards the river. This walk has a few stony paths, hilly in places, but on the whole is a pleasant walk of about 6/7miles.
Easy Leader: Derek Lee     Distance: 5.5 miles
We start on the main road for about half a mile as far as Hathersage Booths, climbing 200 ft, then drop down to follow paths through fields and woods to Grindleford Station with its famous cafe. Then, after retracing our steps for a short distance, we cross the railway and follow a pleasant riverside path and a short stretch of field paths back to Hathersage.

NOTES ON THE AREA

Stanage Edge divides featureless moorland from the verdant River Derwent. Prehistoric pathways, Roman roads, and packhorse trails criss cross the moors and converge below the confluence of the Derwent and the Noe. On the raised south-facing shoulder of the valley lies Hathersage (Heather's Edge), a village built on passing trade and farming. Millstones were a local speciality in the 18th century, hewn directly from quarry faces. Then came the industrial revolution and five mills were built, to make pins and needles. The mills had a short life, as did the men who ground the needle-points and had to breathe in the dust.

The most interesting buildings in Hathersage are along the main road and off School Lane. Past 15th century Hathersage Hall and Farm, and up the narrow Church Bank, it is possible to walk around Bank Top, a knoll overlooking the alder-lined Hood Brook and valley. The church crouches on the grassy brow. To the south stands Bell House and The Bell Room, once an inn and barn beside the village green and stocks. To the west stands the Vicarage, and to the east is Camp Green, the ramparts of a 9th century stockade. The north wind whistles through the tall lime trees in the churchyard, a reminder that Stanage and the high moors are only a couple of miles away.

Hathersage's lasting fame rests on two romances. The first involves Robin Hood, whose name can be found on anything from a nearby cave to a megalithic monument. Hood Brook divides the Dale (the old, interesting part of the village) from the new estate to the west, and in St Michael's churchyard is the grave of Little John. The other romance revolves around Jane Eyre. Charlotte Bronte stayed at the vicarage for three weeks in 1845 and spent much of her time listening to local gossip and visiting nearby houses. She wove truth and fiction together to create a parallel universe for her heroine. Tourists today like to chase the shadows by visiting North Lees, where Agnes Ashurst, the model for mad Mrs Rochester, once lived, or Moorseats which was transmuted to Moor House. In the Bronte novel Hathersage is called Morton, a name borrowed from the landlord of the George Hotel.

Whether there was ever a real Little John, or John Nailor, hardly matters, clearly there should have been, and most visitors want to believe that it really is his grave they see in Hathersage's churchyard. There is no doubt that a suitable cap and bow once resided in the church, but they were of medieval rather than Saxon origin. The grave close to the south porch has been excavated several times without producing any bones, though there is a story that a huge thighbone was unearthed here in 1784. In fact the half hidden stones at the head and foot of the grave were probably set there as the village perch, the standard measure used to mark out acres of land in the days of open-field or strip farming.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

STAVELEY, CUMBRIA

SUNDAY, 29TH SEPTEMBER 2013

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Jimmy Need & Carole Rankin     Distance: approx. 10 miles
From Staveley we make our way through the woods of the Craggy Plantation, turn NE and go cross country to Side House via Littlewood Farm and Frost Hole. We then climb up to Potter Tarn and make our way across Potter Fell to Gurnal Dubs. At Birk Rigg we head south and eventually join the Dales Way by Sprint Mill. Then onto the woods at Beckmickle Ing and back to Staveley via Staveley Park, hopefully in time for a drink.

A varied, undulating walk with great views.

Moderate Leader: Peter Denton     Distance: 8 miles
This is a hill walk, our aim if you choose to accept it is to have our lunch up at Potter Tarn. However I have not yet managed to reach this Tarn, which seems to be my nemesis. This will be my third attempt. The weather has stopped me every time. The rain was so heavy on the day of the recce I had to abandon the recce so parts of this walk will be new to us all. I hope this day will see us conquer this non event. Where upon a great day of rambling WILL be enjoyed by one and all. Together, victory is Tea and a scone.
Leisurely Leader: Derek Lee     Distance: 7 miles
The first mile and a half past Staveley Park is quite level, but will probably be muddy in places. In the next mile we climb 500 feet to Potter Tarn - the last 100 feet are quite steep. With luck we can stop for lunch either by the side of this attractive, remote reservoir or in the shelter of the dam. Then downhill for a mile and a half to the river at Bowston from where we make our way back on the riverside Dales Way.
Easy Leader: Cynthia Prescott & Hazel Anderton     Distance: 5 miles
It is quite a pleasant varied walk along grass fields, little country lanes and through woods alongside the main valley, and then up a tributary stream to a little waterfall at Side House.  We could turn back from here but would recommend an extra bit going up to Frost Hole as it is pleasant, and we could lunch here away from trees and mozzies.

We then make our way back to Staveley along the River Kent on the Dales Way.  There are some uphill bits but nothing too strenuous, some spots are muddy especially in the woods and there are only a few stiles, although some are tall ladder stiles along the river.

NOTES ON THE AREA

Staveley is a large, mainly residential village, now bypassed, of grey slate cottages and houses, sandwiched between the River Gowan and the River Kent, at the southern end of the valley of Kentmere. The area around Staveley has been inhabited since about 4000BC, at a time when trees grew extensively on the fellsides. The first permanent settlers were Celtic speaking British farmers, and they were followed in AD90 by the Romans, who had a road to the south of the village linking Kendal and Ambleside.

During the Dark Ages and later medieval times, the village and its neighbours grew, developed and were plundered in much the same way as many other villages throughout Cumbria. But by the time of the Industrial Revolution, the village was quick to expand as transport improved. So it was that Staveley became the bobbin-turning capital of Westmorland, so much so that by 1851 there were more families working at the manufacture of bobbins than there were engaged in farming. By the 20th century, the bobbin industry had ended and new manufacturing industries developed - diatomite, motor cycles and photographic paper - and Staveley is still a small industrial village.

Staveley was granted a market charter in the 13th century, and also held a three-day fair each year. In 1338 the lord of the manor, Sir William Thweng, agreed to build a chapel in honour of St Margaret. St Margaret's Church, of which only the tower now remains, was founded in 1388. A plaque on the tower commemorates Staveley men of the F Company, Second V B Border Regiment, who served in the South Africa Campaign 1900-01 under Major John Thompson. In 1864 it was decided to build a new church, and this was dedicated to St James. This later church has some beautiful stained glass designed by Burne-Jones and made by William Morris's company.

The vale of Kentmere contains the source of the River Kent, a river that gave its name to Kendal. At the head of the dale, the village of Kentmere gathers around its church. There used to be a lake or 'mere' just to the south of the church, where now there is nothing more than a swelling in the river, but the lake was only a shallow affair and was drained in about 1840 to provide land for agriculture. In 1955, dredging along the river to gather diatomite for a processing plant at nearby Waterfoot uncovered what were believed to be two 10th century wooden canoe-like boats, the best of which was later presented to the National Maritime Museum. These finds give a clear indication that the valley was inhabited from early times, and may well have been when the Romans were here, building their great highway across High Street.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

AMBLESIDE, LAKE DISTRICT

SUNDAY, 27TH OCTOBER 2013

TODAYS WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Jimmy Need     Distance: about 10 miles
First port of call is Skelghyll Wood which will bring us up to Skelsick Scar, followed by Jenkin Crag - nice viewing point here. We then make our way over to the hundreds for a little flirt. From here Wansfell and Wansfell Pike open up in front of us. We make our way down off Wansfell, to and through, Stockghyll Park and Strawberry Wood back to Ambleside.
Moderate Leader: Cynthia & Dave Prescott     Distance: 8 miles, Height Gain 210 metres
This walk is described as 'An inspiring low level walk, amidst beautiful Lakeland fells and woodland, with magnificent views across Wordsworth country'. We would not quite call it 'low level' as you go uphill on a number of sections, but it is a walk with great scenery, which encircles Loughrigg Fell rather than climbing up to the top. From the park in Ambleside we head up to Ivy Crag and then down to Loughrigg Tarn. We go up the lane and then on to Loughrigg Terrace where the views over Grasmere and Rydal Water are wonderful. The walk passes the caves before heading down to Pelter Bridge and then follows the lanes and tracks back to Ambleside.
Leisurely Leader: Derek Lee     Distance: 7 miles
We start by passing the Roman fort and following the River Rothay to Rothay Bridge, then skirting Ambleside and through Rothay Park to join the minor road to Rydal and along the side of Rydal Water. We then cross the river and main road, near White Moss Common, and after a stiff 200 foot climb join the coffin road back to Rydal. From here it is a pleasant track through Rydal Park back to Ambleside. After your cup of tea, there then remains a half mile bonus walk back to the coach at Waterhead.
Easy Leader: Hazel Anderton & Ruth Melling     Distance: up to 6 miles
Waterfalls, woodland and wonderful views. We wanted to find a walk that is different from what the other groups are doing, and so today's walk is a bit longer than usual as we have to walk the half mile into the centre of Ambleside before starting the walk proper. However, there is a bus service from the coach park at Waterhead into Ambleside centre,so we are hoping to be able to get the bus at least one way. Also, there is a cut off point on the walk to make it shorter still if we wish.

Firstly we walk along the valley past Stockghyll Falls and then turn north and walk, following another stream, as far as a little packhorse bridge called High Sweden, before turning back to Ambleside. Much of the walk is quite good underfoot and there are only a few stiles. It is muddy near the Falls due to the number of footfalls. We do quite a bit of rising but most is gentle, with the steep bit as we go up the road out of the town centre.

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

BEESTON (Cheshire Workshops), CHESHIRE

SUNDAY, 24TH NOVEMBER 2013

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Rowland Nock   Distance: 16 km - approx 10 miles
We head out north along the Sandstone Trail towards Beeston, passing between Beeston and Peckforton castles. Trending round to the south we then head to the Peckforton Hills via Willis's Wood. From here we are back on the Sandstone Trail heading up through the ancient sweet chestnut forest to Bulkeley Hill. Staying on the Sandstone Trail we reach Raw Head, the highest point on the trail giving superb views of the Cheshire plain.
Just on from Raw Head, we start heading back home via Bodnook Wood. Hopefully, there will be enough time to reflect on the day with a well earned T & T or foaming pint.
Moderate Leader: Leo & Jean Keenan   Distance: 8 miles
The walk today takes us from the Cheshire Workshops along the Sandstone Trail to Beeston Castle. From here we skirt around Beeston to arrive at Peckforton Gatehouse, then along the road a short distance before going over Waste Hill, Peckforton Hills and up to the view point on Bulkeley Hill. We ten drop down and back to the Cheshire Workshops for your Christmas shopping and nice hot drink and mince pie.
Leisurely Leader: Norma Carmichael   Distance: about 7 miles
We leave the craft centre and walk down the lane, through the fields, towards Bulkeley Hill Farm. We walk towards Peckforton Hills where there is a slight climb uphill through the woods. We also touch the edge of Pennsylvania Woods.
This is a fairly leisurely walk, some paths may be muddy, and there are quite a few gates and stiles to go through, but they are well spaced. Altogether a reasonable walk.
Easy Leader: Derek Lee   Distance: 5 miles
After a short climb, we drop steadily on footpaths, admiring the view as we go, to the foot of the Peckforton Hills and then take field paths (or a minor road if it is very wet) to Beeston village and a minor road to Beeston Castle for lunch at the picnic site. Then a short stretch of field path to cross the valley before the last two miles of steady ascent (250 ft) on a firm bridleway, mostly through woods, back to the craft centre.

NOTES ON THE AREA

The Cheshire Workshops (candle factory) is situated at Burwardsley. The complex has a cafe, candle making workshop, gift shops and ample parking, and is well worth a visit at any time of the year.

Beeston Castle stands on the top of an extremely steep, solitary sandstone knoll, a rocky wooded mound ringed by ramparts. As this area is predominantly flat, Beeston Castle and the towers of Peckforton Castle on the wooded slopes of the Peckforton Hills are dramatically visible. Not surprisingly, the views from the top are magnificent, encompassing in a broad sweep, the Welsh Mountains, Shropshire Hills, Peak District and the Pennines.

The Sandstone Trail was created by Cheshire County Council and follows the sandstone escarpment in Cheshire for 32 miles (51 km), from Beacon Hill near Frodsham in the north, to Grindley Brook near Whitchurch in the south. The path is signed by a distinctive yellow circle, with a black boot imprint with the letter 'S' in the middle. Raw Head is the highest point of the Sandstone Trail at 746 ft above sea level with outstanding views over the Cheshire Plain as far as the Welsh hills. The tall chimney at Gallantry Bank belonged to the pumping house of a copper mine that operated here in the 18th century.

In 1845 several canals that had been built between 1772-1826 were linked together to form the Shropshire Union Canal - 158 miles of canal, including side branches, running from Ellesmere Port near Chester to Authersley Junction near Wolverhampton. Despite competition from the railways, the canal prospered and in 1870 the canal company had 213 narrowboats. By 1902 this had more than doubled to 450. After World War 1, the canal business declined and by 1944 it was officially abandoned. Much of the canal has been restored and is now a major part of the inland waterways network.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

LOGGERHEADS, NORTH WALES

SUNDAY, 5TH JANUARY 2014

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Andrew Mayer   Distance: 8.5 - 9 miles
Leaving Loggerheads car park we head out along the river bank towards Devil's Gorge. Crossing the river we slowly climb up towards Moel Famau. Working our way round til we reach the top (Jubilee Tower) - 554m/1800ft) where we stop for lunch. From the top we set off down through the woods, heading to the car park at Moel Famau, from where we head back towards Loggerheads car park, approx 2 miles, walking on 'B' roads and footpaths, taking us back to Loggerheads.
Moderate Leader: Selwyn Williams   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.
Leisurely Leader: Philomena Walker   Distance: 6 miles
We cross over the road from Loggerheads Country Park, walking down lanes and paths to the village of Maeshafn, passing the 'Miners Arms' (??). We then enter and circle round Big Covert Woods, leaving by Ty Hir and returning, and retracing steps, back to Loggerheads.
Easy Leader: Derek Lee   Distance: 5.5 miles or less
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 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. There are several options to cut this walk short if weather or conditions are unfavourable.

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 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.

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