DUNNERDALE & LICKLE VALLEY RAMBLE from BROUGHTON IN FURNESS

 


Summary

Date - 23rd March 2010 Distance - 7.5 miles
Ascent -
1100ft
Map - OL6 Start point - The Square, Broughton in Furness (SD 213876)

 

Preface

"The weather was rotten on Sunday so it was as well we did not go walking", said Grizzly.

"Yes, and in any case Dad and Uncle Brian were at another concert, so I think Dad was glad of the rest", replied Tetley.

"Our pals Wayne and Crumble are in seventh heaven though, as they seem to be at a concert every other week, sometimes even more frequently", said Grizzly.

Allen chimed up, "especially the series in Manchester where the Halle and BBC Philharmonic are performing all Gustav Mahler's 10 symphonies. Mahler is Wayne's favourite composer."

"Your are right", replied Tetley, "but I think all those drives to Manchester are beginning to take their toll on Dad, and don't forget that there are the trips to the Royal Exchange theatre in Manchester too, where our pals Rex and Starbuck go along. So maybe he should opt for a rest this week."

Just then Shaun trotted in with Little Eric riding on his back as usual.

"I caught those last comments, and I can't say that I disagree, but I have come to tell you that we will be walking tomorrow. Dad has just got off the phone with Uncle Eric. We are to walk in the Dunnerdale Valley starting from Broughton in Furness."

"We have done a few walks from there before, Shaun", replied Tetley. "It is a lovely area, so it should be a nice day out."

 

The Walk

It had been agreed to start walking about 10.00, so we did not have to set off too early, although it was as well that Dad allowed a longer than usual to get to Broughton, as some unexpected road works meant he had to make a detour. We were not late and while Dad and Uncle Eric got ready, we settled in the rucksack.

The walk had been published in the Westmorland Gazette, and it was to be quite delightful through the pretty countryside. After the severe winter is was nice to have warmer weather and for the most part it was bright with some sunshine. The cool wind at times however reminded us that we are perhaps not completely out of the woods yet.

As we waited, Shaun called out, "look there's The Square Cafe."

"Oh yes. Dad has made a few visits there in the past, and I bet he and Uncle Eric will be going there after the walk today", said Grizzly

"I am sure of that, and it's Dad's treat today too", added Allen.

So finally ready, we set off across the square and walked along New Street at the side of the cafe. Rounding the bend we came to a gate on the right into open pasture, called West Park. Keeping to the centre we walked on ahead, before rounding a pond completely overgrown and choked with bulrushes. A metal fence lay beyond and this we climbed with care using an old metal ladderstile.

Beyond is an area called East Park. This and West Park that we had walked over, are part of the grounds surrounding Broughton Tower, the rear of which could be seen along a track to the right.

It is a spacious mansion built round a pele tower that was built by the Broughtons in 1322. The Earls of Derby held it until 1651, and then by the Sawrey family and others who took the Sawrey name until 1920. Dad's picture we think shows the pele tower in the centre being visible up to a height of about 60ft. The basement is tunnel-vaulted and there is a spiral staircase. The Gilpin Sawreys built the house in the 18th century and wings were added in a similar style in 1882-3. It later became Broughton Tower Residential Special School for delicate children, the registers of which exist from 1947-98. Now it is divided into apartments, the owners of which can enjoy the grounds. Footpaths on the estate, some of which we were using today, were created in the 1990s after evidence of public use was gathered. It seems that they had been omitted when the definitive map was drawn

Turning our backs to the building we proceeded left towards some white gates, but well before reaching them, we walked right over more pasture, crossing a stream and so to the road via a stone step stile. There were to be quite a number of stiles and we had wished that we had kept a count . Immediately opposite we went through the narrow gap stile then over a number of pastures surmounting the walls by a few different kinds of stiles, the last one bringing us to the access track of Hagg Farm.

"Where to now?, asked Allen.

"We are going to Broughton Mills, which I guess is on ahead in the same direction", replied Grizzly.

"Look, over by the hedge there is a signpost", called out Little Eric.

It is not very tall, so must have been put there for bears", said Shaun peering to read it. He went on, "it points to Broughton Mills, so you were right Grizzly!"

Beyond the hedge was a stream that tumbled over a small waterfall to the left. A gate barred the way into the next field, so Uncle Eric had to stand in the stream to open it so we could continue.

Crossing the field ahead, the path soon became very muddy as it descended through trees and into another large pasture. Descending down this we walked on through the wall gap by a huge ash tree, then over the next pasture. In this, and other pastures, were many of our beloved Herdwick sheep and Dad cannot resist getting his camera out to snap any one that might pose for him, as this one did. There were not any lambs, being a little to early yet we guessed.

At the far side of this pasture a gate gave access onto a rough track edged with stone flags. The wild garlic was just beginning to show, so spring is on its way, and when in bloom in May will make a lovely sight. As it curved round, part of a tree had split from the main trunk forming a bridge and making for a nice shot.

At the end of the track, an area according to the map called Hartley Ground, we joined the road, turning left to cross the bridge over the River Lickle, which lends its name to this valley. After a few hundred yards a signpost directed us right up the valley. The route took us over a number of fields, climbing more stiles to surmount the walls and crossing Stickletongue Beck. This is less than a mile in length from its source on the slopes of Great Stickle to its confluence with the River Lickle. The path meandered for part of its route near to the river including this point where it passed over a wide shelf of rock. We had had quite a prolonged dry spell so the river was low, but we could imagine this scene would be quite dramatic, when it is in spate.

Soon we finally reached Broughton Mills, climbing yet another stile to the road by the bridge over the river. This is the boundary between the parishes of Broughton and Dunnerdale, marked by a stone, seen here with an inquisitive cat.

"Where to now, Uncle Eric?", asked Tetley.

He replied, "from the stile we go left up the road to Green Bank."

Beyond the buildings of Green Bank we then followed the signposted track that wound its way up beside Penny Crag Wood. As we cleared the trees, the view opened up and to the right we had a superb view to Knott and the fells on that ridge.

Knott is the dominant hill on the right, the distant cairned top above Scrithwaite Farm being Raven Crag. We had walked this ridge last April with Uncle Eric as part of a round including Great Stickle & Stickle Pike.

Another feature attracted us as we walked up from the wood, this being a strategically placed picnic table, with a fine view south over the Duddon Estuary. We sat and all enjoyed this view while we ate our sandwiches. Afterwards Dad kindly took our picture sitting on the table. Well we have to make at least one appearance.

This was too, where we met the only other walkers today. They were a couple who were following a walk from a guide book, but had become unsure where they should go next. Uncle Eric and Dad were soon able to indicate the route they should follow. Whilst the walk book looked to have detailed instructions, Dad always says that no matter how familiar he is with the area, he always has takes the Ordnance Survey map for definitive reference. For the next part we were on the same path we had walked when we had climbed Knott. It is a fine grassy track, almost of lawn quality. Here is a view looking back to the picnic spot.

The path climbed to pass through a gate then alongside a wall with fine views of Great Stickle towering up to the right. We could see the steep path we had taken on the way to its summit last April. We remembered that it had been extremely windy that day and we had had to shelter in the lee of the cairn for our picture. Sitting on the trig point was out of the question!

At a gate it was left along a track and on towards Pickthall Ground.

"That's a fine view of Great Stickle", remarked Allen. "We think it is worth getting the camera out again."

"You're right", replied Uncle Eric. "I could definitely feel a picture coming on."

The path led to a gate into a cluster of buildings. The directions in the walk were a little difficult to follow here, but we had our trusty map. However the lady who lives at Pickthall Ground happened to be there and she too had been confused when she had read the directions in the paper, so explained it to us. We were eventually going down the access track, but first we were taking a spur off along the path signed to High Whineray, so that we could view the medieval causeway over the extensive bog, beneath Potherilt Hill.

It is overgrown, but some stones show through that maybe were laid centuries ago. There is no information that we could find about this on the Internet. Obviously it was laid for safe passage over the bog, but by who and on who's orders is lost in the mists of time. Retracing our steps to Pickthall, we then followed the access track to the road. Here we turned right and descended past Wood House to a junction of roads at Croglinhurst, where we walked on ahead to Middle Bleansley. To the left and high above the opposite side of the valley stood Hagg Farm, which was our next objective. So taking the path left we crossed the River Lickle once again and climbed steeply. Passing Hagg Farm, we noticed that on the verge an old tractor tyre had been planted with daffodils making a pretty spring display.

Beyond we reached the stile, on the right that we had crossed earlier in the walk, near the low signpost. This climbed we now retraced our outward route to Broughton. A lovely walk through beautiful scenery and quite delightful. So peaceful too.

We hopped out and settled in the car, while Uncle Eric and Dad duly went to The Square Cafe for refreshment. They had tea and Dad enjoyed a lovely scone with butter and jam, while Uncle Eric had crumpets. On the latter part of the walk Dad had pointed out that the sky was clouding over and indeed while they were in the cafe it came on to rain, so we got back just in time.

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