After the Walk April 2023

Sunday April 30th. Ribble Valley Jubilee Trail, Part 3. 22 miles. Leaders: Paul and Jeanette Banks.


8 walkers and 3 dogs met at Dunlop Bridge for part 3 of the Ribble Valley Jubilee Trail.   This was a circular walk of 22 miles.   Walkers braved 7 hours of unrelenting rain and showers before it became dry and brighter at 4pm;  but all were in great spirits.

The Ribble Valley Jubilee Trail is a new 65 mile circular hiking route through the scenic countryside of the Ribble Valley and Forest of Bowland.   The Ribble Valley Mayor, Stuart Hirst, inaugurated the walk in 2022 as part of the  borough’s Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee celebrations.   The walk starts in the village of Whalley and visits towns such as Slaidburn and Downham and climbs to the summit of Pendle Hill.

The walk proceeded from Dunlop Bridge, which is often cited as the geographic centre of Great Britain.   It developed into a village in the 19th century as a result of lead mining in the area, prior to which there were only a few houses and farms.

Wet fields and paths were followed to reach Slaidburn, near to the River Hodder.   A short morning break was taken here, before climbing out of Slaidburn to rejoin the Ribble Valley Jubilee Trail at Cracoe Hill, where we left it on the previous walk.  

On reaching Tosside, we had reached the border of North Yorkshire and Lancashire, the most eastern point of the Ribble Valley Jubilee Trail. The name Tosside is believed to be from Anglo-Saxon times and derived from old Scandinavian words meaning ‘fox’ and ‘summer pasture’.  This fact is recognised to this day with the symbol of the fox being present on the top of a water fountain in the village centre.

From Tosside, the path turned North East and followed trails within Gisburn Forest.   We had a wet lunch break by the Gisburn Forest Cafe, before walking on paths around Stocks Reservoir, so-called as it was created in 1932 by flooding the Dalehead Valley and farmland, including the hamlet of Stocks-in-Bowland.

We followed the River Hodder, passing the 17th century Hammerton Hall to Slaidburn.   The path continued along the River Hodder to the Bridge at Newton.    The walk then returned to Dunlop Bridge via Knowlmere Manor and estate, a mesne manor of the Lords of Bowland.  Knowlmere Manor has an impressive display of chimneys which were very,popular at the time it was built (Walkers counted over 30 chimneys!). 


The 4th circular walk encompassing the Ribble Valley Jubilee Trail will take place on Sunday 14th May.  Meeting at Jeffrey Hill at 8.30am.






Wednesday April 19th. Beacon Bash. 16.5 miles. Leader: Ann Finnegan.



Sunday April 16th. 5 & 9, The Southport line. 18.5 miles. Leaders: Dave & Alma Walsh.


Twelve of us set off from the car park on a dull but thankfully dry day. A track  led us to a quiet road from where another path led us to Ashurst Beacon. From there we continued on over paths & fields before we reached the canal at Newburgh & followed it a short distance to reach our morning break stop in Parbold.


We walked through the village, past the train station & climbed to the disused quarry at Hunter's Hill. A walk down a quiet lane and then a climb up Harrock Hill passing the ruins of an old stone windmill ensued.


We took lunch just off the driveway to Harrock Hall & then continued on to Fairy Glen. We passed the train station at Appley Bridge before joining the Leeds Liverpool Canal which we followed to Gathurst where we passed out third train station of the day.


From Gathurst a particularly muddy track took us to Roby Mill having a quick afternoon break by a small pond. After passing St Joseph's college, sadly now neglected & unoccupied we returned to our starting point at Beacon Park.


Thanks to those that attended, Dave & Alma


Bingo players will recognise the phrase ' 5 & 9 The Brighton Line'.

The three stations we passed are all on the Southport line & hence the walk title.




Sunday April 9th. An Iron Man Walk. 14 miles. Leader: Steve Gilleard.


Fifteen Walkers set out from Church Lane Great Harwood on a sunny Easter Sunday Morning. We followed field paths, which had dried out now after a wet month of March, to the river Calder. Following the river east we crossed the busy A680 at Cock Bridge.

Passing Read Garden Centre we crossed the A671 and walked up the driveway to Read Hall. We then walked through the grounds at the back of the Hall, passing the Old Ice House on the left before taking a photo stop and chance for selfies in font of the hay bale artwork provided I assume by the farmer at Houlker's Farm. The subjects on the bales changes each year and this year included a few Mr Men or should I say Mr People (see photos).

Walking north now and uphill to cross the The Old Roman Road before dropping down through Hodgeon Stone Plantation to the Sabden Brook where we took a drinks stop at 11.30 in the spring sunshine.

Walking north again and crossing the Whalley Road we climbed uphill and past Wiswell Wireless Station on top of Wiswell moor where we lingered a while to take in the wide sweep of the Ribble Valley, landmarks included Stonyhurst College, Whalley Viaduct and the Bowland Fells. Sadly a little to hazy to see Blackpool Tower, Ingleborough and Pen-y-Ghent which are often in view.

Down now to Wiswell and then up again over Clerk Hill before the descent to Spring Wood where we had lunch at the picnic benches in the warm sun.

Refreshed we walked down the road towards Whalley before taking the path along the Calder, accompanied all the way by the tooting of truck horns from the Ribble Valley Truck Charity Event as it passed through the town. Crossing the river now to the foot of Whalley Nab we started the steep climb to Whalley Banks, then a further climb up through the wood at Horse Bowers to the top of Whalley Nab.

Then along Moor Lane and down to sunny Bank before which we encounted three friendly Alpacas much to Janette's delight. Reluctantly leaving the friendly Alpacas behind we pressed on to our objective - The Two Iron Men - on Fish Moor above Langho.

After a stop here to admire the view and have some refreshments we crossed York Road and walked along the south side of Dean Clough Reservoir then dropping down Goldacre Lane we got a Sting In The Tail with the climb up Bowley Hill back to our start point.


Thanks everyone for coming along, I think that you all enjoyed it, and a special thanks to Hilary for the great photos and Tim Rollet who was brave enough to cross the border from Leeds.


Steve Gilleard





Wednesday April 5th. Where's Wally? 14.5 miles. 9 walkers. Leaders: Dave & Alma Walsh.


Our reputation for always leading a rainy walk was upheld. After three sunny days it was raining as we set off & it kept up in varying degrees of penetration all day.


From the car park we climbed up the wooded Billings Hill & then dropped down past the Clog & Billycock pub. From there tracks & fields led us to our morning break taken in a wooded dell. Hilary provided us with some chocolate goodies.


More fields led us to a wooded gate which had been naughtily fenced off due to house building work. Undeterred we climbed a fence & then walked through Mellor. On Mellor Moor we came across a former underground nuclear bunker & a topograph, unfortunately no views today due to the inclement weather.


Over muddy fields & slippy stiles we continued in search of Wally.

We found Wally the wallaby & his many friends at Mrs Dowson's farm park. From there a short walk along the A59 took us to our lunch stop at a church yard in Osbaldeston.


On to Mellor Brook where we followed a quiet road which ran parallel to the A677. After a brief view of Samlesbury Hall we headed south & had an afternoon break where Hilary kindly dished out sweeties. It was then an easy walk mostly down hill to the car park.


Not only did we see Wally but also horses, ponies, goats, sheep, lambs, squirrels, rabbits, hares, llamas, alpacas, deers & birdlife.


Thanks to those who braved the wet weather. Everyone still had a good day. Nice to see the two brothers who have not been out with us for some time.


Dave & Alma




Sunday April 2nd. Ribble Valley Jubilee Trail Part 2. 21.5 miles. Leaders Paul & Jeanette Banks.


22 walkers and 3 dogs set off to walk the second of 5 walks planned to complete the Ribble Valley Jubilee Trail.  The second walk was a total of 21.5 miles;  and we again enjoyed fabulous dry weather with lots of warm sunshine.


The Jubilee Trail is a new 65 miles circular hiking route through the scenic countryside of the Ribble Valley and Forest of Bowland.   The Ribble Valley Mayor, Stuart Hirst, inaugurated the walk in 2022 as part of the borough’s Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee celebrations.  The walk starts in the village of Whalley and visits towns such as Slaidburn and Downham and climbs to the summit of Pendle Hill.


The walkers left Sawley Abbey, which was an Abbey of Cistercian Monks in the village of Sawley , Lancashire.   It existed from 1149 until its dissolution in 1536, during the reign of King Henry VII.   We made our way via Swanside to Rimington village and rejoined the Ribble Valley Jubilee Trail, where we left it on the first part of the series of walks.


The Trail was followed to Gisburn where we stopped and had a morning break, before proceeding through Bolton Hall Farm and Bolton Park to Bolton-by-Bowland.   This Medieval village was recorded as ‘Bodeton’ in the Domesday Book, meaning ‘bow in the river’.  The village’s claim to fame arose in 1464 when Henry VI sought shelter with Ralph Pudsey at Bolton Hall after his defeat at the Battle of Hexham during the War of the Roses.   It was here by the Skirden Beck that walkers enjoyed a leisurely lunch break in the sun.


We walked from Bolton-by-Bowland to our last point on the Ribble Valley Jubilee Trail for the day - at Cracoe Hill.  On leaving the Trail, we walked through local farms and then retraced our steps through New Gill Beck.  We took a different route back to Bolton-by-Bowland before following the River Ribble back to Sawley where we had parked our cars.   


The third walk in the series of 5 walks to complete the Ribble Valley Jubilee Trail will take place on Sunday 30th April and starts at Dunsop Bridge Car Park at 9am. Walkers do not need to attend all of the walks in the series of walks. Even if the first two walks were missed,  it would be lovely to join us for any of the subsequent Ribble Valley Jubilee Trail walks.