THREE RIVERS WALK - WENNING, HINDBURN & ROEBURN

 


Summary

Date - 23rd December 2012 Distance - 6.25 miles
Ascent -
1150ft by GPS but not accurate today
Map - OL41 Start point - Car park in Hornby (SD 585 683)

 

Summits Achieved

No summits were reached on this walk

 

Preface

"Heavens it has been a dreadfully wet year, but this week is seems to worse than ever", moaned Grizzly, staring mournfully out of the window. Turning, he asked, "is there any prospect of getting out this weekend, Allen?"

Looking up from the book he was reading, he looked across to Little Eric, and said, "I showed you how to navigate the Met Office app, so you have a go, it will be good practice."

"OK pal", replied Little Eric, grabbing the iPad and after a few taps, went on, "Saturday is rain all day, but Sunday looks to be OK, at least round here, but it will be very windy. Still rather unsettled in the Lakes."

"Well we have done pretty well with hills lately, so how about doing something at low level, by way of variety", said Grizzly, in a brighter tone.

"Tea anyone?", called out Tetley, as he and Shaun strolled in.

"Ooh yes please", cried Allen. "It helps me to think too."

"So you say", replied Shaun laughing out loudly.

Meanwhile Grizzly had produced a cake box. "Chocolate caramel shortbread, anyone?"

"Oh yes please", enthused Tetley, helping himself to a slice, followed by the rest of us.

"Delicious pal", sighed Shaun.

Mugs in paw, Little Eric now returned thoughts to the prospect of a walk. "So you suggested a low walk, Grizzly?"

"Yes, and so Dad does not have to drive too far, what about going to the Lune Valley."

"It will inevitably be a repeat, but that's not a problem, as it is a lovely area to walk", said Tetley. "What about doing the Three Rivers walk again, from Hornby. It must be five years since we did it last, so will be some new ground for you Little Eric."

"That will be just great", replied Little Eric. "We will need to get the binder down and find it before Allen goes to ask Dad, then."

"It's not necessary in this case, as Dad has done this walk a few times, so will know what to expect", called out Allen as he headed out of the door, "and save me another piece of cake, it was absolutely scrumptious."

Soon returning, and the smile on his face told us the walk was on.

"Here's to Sunday", cried Grizzly, raising his mug.

"Sure thing", replied Allen, sinking his teeth into the slice of cake.

 

The Walk

Driving from Lancaster up the Lune Valley, we entered Hornby. It is a long linear village, this part being the original and oldest part up to and about as far again beyond the impressive three arched bridge spanning the River Wenning. Over the years the village has then expanded as you continue up the hill in the direction of Melling. Just before the bridge on the left is the car park and our start point.

Like all the rivers and becks today, the Wenning was flowing fast. The river starts near Clapham in North Yorkshire, formed from Austwick Beck, Fen Beck and Clapham Beck, then flowing through High Bentham, Low Bentham and Wennington. Here in Hornby it is wide as it nears its confluence with the River Lune, in just under a mile.

In view behind the bridge can be seen Hornby Castle, that dominates the village to the east, on a bend in the river.

It is thought that the castle was originally built 13th century. The polygonal tower dates from the 16th century, but much other that stands today is from a rebuild carried out between 1847 and 1850, with some further alterations later in the 19th century. In the middle of the 20th century some of the rooms in the east parts of the house were removed in order to create a courtyard. The castle is a private residence, and is not open to the public.

Impatient to be off, on what was a completely new walk for him, Little Eric said, "which way do we go."

Reading from the instructions Shaun replied, "we cross the road and walk the concreted track between the Nat West Bank and the Institute."

This is not quite entirely correct now, as since its publication in the Lancaster Guardian in the 1980s, the bank branch has closed, and the building is occupied as a florists. In the spirit of the buildings previous use the business is called Flower Bank.

"Right I'm ready" called out Dad, so we settled in the rucksack, and this shouldered, Dad crossed the road and headed along the track, passing through the farmyard, then on along the concrete. Here the river bent away left, behind the castle, and we could also look back towards the village, and the bridge. If you think the river appears to drop, it is not an illusion, as there is a large weir.

"Brr, the water looks cold" said Allen with a shiver.

"At the end of the concrete, we take a gate on the right into a field, and after the stile cross half right to a gate.", called out Shaun.

"If I remember correctly, there are many more on this walk", said Grizzly. "Shall be play count the stiles."

"Ooh yes" enthused Allen. "You count them pal and I'll record them in my little notebook."

The route, waymarked clearly, led over more pastures that like all the others encountered later were sodden after all the rain. If ever the countryside is to dry out, it will need quite a long continuously dry spell to get rid of the water. Something that currently does not seem to be in prospect!

Reaching a wide path by a wall, Tetley said, "on the other side of the wall, is the track bed of the Lancaster to Wennington railway that closed in 1966."

Walking along the path, Grizzly called out, "that's five stiles."

"Noted", replied Allen.

"We have to cross the track bed soon via an old level crossing", advised Shaun.

Dad commented, "the gates have obviously been replaced, but I reckon that the stone gatepost and the concrete barrier for the kissing gate on the far side are contemporary with the railway."

Beyond we kept on ahead, then after a sharp left turn, Shaun called out, " we now go right through that gate and over the field by left hedge line."

Here Dad deviated from written route, taking the double stile in the hedge on the left, to cross this field to sewage works and down a narrow stiled path between wire fences to a metalled track.

"It's left here, then right at the fork ahead", called out Shaun, having picked up the route again.

This took us along an exceedingly muddy and flooded track to the main road. At one point where there was a flood completely across the track, Dad resorted to edging along on the raised border by the hedge, as he could not assess the depth of the water and did not want to risk getting wet feet by the water coming over the top of his boots.

Reaching the road, Grizzly called out, "that's another five stiles."

"Noted", replied Allen. "That's ten in all so far."

"Agreed", said Grizzly.

"It's left here, over the bridge, then soon we climb the stile on the right below that hill with the copse of trees", advised Shaun.

The bridge spanned the River Hindburn, the second of the Three Rivers. We had seen the river en route from the railway crossing, and we would encounter it again and some of its tributaries on the next section of the walk.

This is the view looking downstream, on its way to join the River Wenning. The Hindburn rises at Thrushgill where three smaller streams (namely Whitray Beck, Middle Gill and Dale Beck) running off some of the northern Bowland Fells, combine. Proceeding northwards it passes through Low Gill and on to Wray, where it merges with the River Roeburn (the third of the Three Rivers).

Climbing the stile as instructed, we started along another muddy path.

"I think we'll climb to that higher terrace as it might make for better going", said Dad.

"The water is draining down the hill so I cannot see how it will be any better", replied Tetley.

How right he was too!

Below the road snaked its way towards Wennington, and Allen said, "that is very familiar to you, Dad."

"It certainly is, being the most direct route to Elaine's at Feizor, where to go every Monday. When I was working, I hated Mondays, but Uncle Brian and I really look forward to Monday as a visit to Elaine's gets the week off to such a good start."

At the top of the hill we crossed another stile, and then keeping by the left hedge line, came to Meal Bank Farm, the path edging by the side of a building and emerging onto a narrow road via a stile.

"That's four more", said Grizzly.

"Right", said Allen adding a notation in his book. "That fourteen in total now."

"We go right along the road then opposite the next house, take the stile on the left", instructed Shaun.

Reaching the house, Little Eric said, "it is a lovely house, in the stone so typical of the area, and I think a picture for the story is in order."

Climbing the stile opposite, Shaun said, "we should cross this field at right angles to the road, and then cross the next field to a gate on the left."

Here Dad misinterpreted the instructions, taking the gate on the left then walking down the right hedge line.

As we did Shaun said, "I think we should have actually gone on ahead as indicated by the waymark."

"You are right Shaun. I am stupid at times. There looks to be a gate at the bottom on the right, so going through that will get us back on track."

Well it did but not without coping with more than one obstacle. First the gate was tied up so we had to climb over, then beyond was a single strand barbed wire fence, that was just a little to high for comfort. We got over, but Dad took great care!

"Oh heck", said Little Eric, "there are sheep here", knowing that Dad would have the camera out, looking for a likely one that might pose.

We hoped they would turn tail and run, but no such luck, so readers we are sorry but you will have to put up with yet another picture of a sheep. He is quite handsome in a sheep sort of way, we must admit.

On the correct route again, it was down to the bottom of the large field, to cross the little stream and the stile under the trees.

Beyond we climbed the slope and headed round towards Low Botton Farm.

"You're limping Dad, what's the matter?", asked Allen.

"There's something in my sock, that is poking rather painfully into the bottom of my left foot." Just a few yards ahead was a stone water trough, which provided a seat so Dad could remove his boot and sock. Examining it carefully Dad said "here it is", picking the tiny thorn out of the wool. So that was problem solved.

Coming to a gate, we walked through the garden/yard and along walled access road, passing on the way this tree house. How we would have loved to have scampered up the ladder!

Rounding a corner, we passed through a gate, where beyond the access road was unfenced and continued down to the road.

"That's three more stiles", called out Grizzly.

"OK", replied Allen. That makes seventeen now."

Turning right, as directed by Shaun, we walked along the narrow road, called Russells Lane, crossing a small bridge over the Clear Beck, which then danced along to the right, on its way to join the River Hindburn. The road led to a crossroads at the hamlet of Mill Houses, the origin of its name speaking for itself.

"We go sharp right along Trinket Lane", announced Shaun, as the name sign showed and whose origin was not so obvious.

"Not too far along here, we are looking for a stile on the left into a field", called out Shaun.

"There it is, through that bit of wall ahead", said Tetley, pointing his paw.

As we headed down the field towards the stile at the bottom in the next wall Dad said, "gosh the ground here is so muddy. I wonder if it will ever properly dry out again."

Beyond, the next field was equally as wet, and led to a footbridge over the Clear Beck. More fields and stiles followed, to come to a track, where going left we came to the road at Hindburn Bridge, which we crossed.

"Another five stiles", said Grizzly.

"Noted", replied Allen. "That now makes twenty two."

"Our way must be through that gate, and right as indicated, as we are heading for Wray", said Little Eric.

The sign read 'permissive path to Wray', and Shaun replied, "that is a path which has been created since the walk was published all those years ago and indeed would be the easiest route. Our way however, is on the original footpaths and rather more circuitous. We actually climb steeply up the bank to and then right through Powley Wood exiting to pasture and then straight ahead to the Roeburndale road. From there it is then right down into Wray."

This involved crossing one more stile, which Allen noted without any need for a comment from Grizzly. What he also noted was that every step of the way through the wood and over the pasture, was squelch under Dad's boots.

Coming into Wray, Tetley said, "that's Bridge House Farm tearooms, where you and Uncle Brian have been a few times."

"That was before we found Elaine's at Feizor. However I intend to come here today after the walk."

And, for reasons you will see at the end of the story, he was really meant to make the visit.

Turning left we soon crossed Wray Bridge spanning the third of the rivers, the Roeburn. It starts on Wolfhole Crag and Salter Fell high above the village, and flows through pretty Roeburndale, to join within a short distance downstream of the bridge the River Hindburn.

"Time for lunch?" asked Allen whose tummy was rumbling.

"Yes", replied Dad, "we can sit in the garden by the millennium mosaic.

As we were eating our sandwiches, Little Eric asked, "what does the mosaic represent."

Dad replied, "it commemorates the terrible flash flood of the River Roeburn on 8th August 1967. You can see that it shows the wind and storm with lightening bolts that spewed out sheets of rain causing a huge tide of water in the river. This resulted in the loss of houses, bridges (of the three in the village only the Wray Bridge survived), livestock, vehicles, and personal possessions. Despite the scale of the devastation, no serious injury was done to any residents, although 37 people were made homeless. Indeed some of the houses destroyed stood on the site of these gardens."

"Thank you Dad,", said Little Eric. "How frightening and terrible it must have been."

Before setting off again, Dad took our picture, Well we have to make at least one appearance after all.

Wray's origins date back to the 13th century when the village was laid out by the then Lord of Hornby for his farm workers, the buildings being set out on the wide street. From about 1700 to 1850 it was a veritable hive of industry. Besides the mill and quarry, it was also known for the production of hats, nails, clogs and baskets. These industries were however short lived and the all but one of the farms has been converted to residences, with Wray now being a quiet, commuting community. Main Street, has the picturesque quality of bygone times, but is spoilt by the multitude of parked cars. For this reason, we do not include any picture.

Wray is famous too for its Scarecrow Festival, having been held in early May since 1995. It seemed appropriate then that the Nativity scene was also done in this manner.

Continuing we soon reached the junction with the main road, that runs from the A685 near Hornby, passing through the village to cross the River Hindburn, by the bridge we had used earlier, on its way to Wennington and beyond.

After crossing the road, Allen said, "I like the way that the road direction signs have not been modernised, but have been retained in there old fashioned manner on the wall of the corner building."

"Where now?", asked Little Eric.

"It's left on the main road, until between the Methodist Chapel and the Inn at Wray, where we then turn right", replied Shaun.

Almost immediately Dad had set off, Tetley called out, "I know you have taken pictures of a few road and street signs, but you must take this one too, of Duck Street, because of the addition on top."

Very soon we reached the right turn, and walked on past some houses, then on along the metalled track to cross of tracks.

"It's left here". announced Shaun.

"Oh heck Dad, more muddy walking", sighed Allen.

We only actually had to walk about 300 yards, before going through a gate on the right and over the field to Peasber Barn, seen here with the tower of Hornby Castle as a backdrop.

Rounding this to the right we then rejoined the track bed of the old railway, to soon take a stile right into very wet pasture.

"We are heading for the gap stile in the short section of wall ahead", said Shaun.

Taking one look at the ground Dad said, "there is no way we can go directly, it is far far too wet and my boots are certain to sink in over their tops."

So a wide circle had to be described, and even then it was extremely wet and boggy.

"I just pray that 2013 will be a more rain free year that will allow the countryside to dry out, if only for the poor farmer's sakes", said Tetley fervently.

Beyond the gap stile, it was along the right edge of the field and up the slope to a stile in the angle at the top right. Over this, Dad went carefully down the slippy leaf strewn path to another stile and then down the field and over a final stile into the farmyard.

"Five stiles on this section", called out Grizzly.

"OK", replied Allen, making a note in his book. Then after a moment, he went on, "that makes a total of twenty eight, for the whole walk. A lot, but if I remember correctly, not as many as there was on the walk from Appleby when we visited Rutter Force."

Now all that remained was to walk back along the concreted track to the road and car, this convenient puddle providing Dad with a boot wash.

We settled in the car, while Dad got his still rather muddy boots off.

"Right it's off to Bridge House Farm for tea and cake", he said as we pulled out of the car park.

Going right, then left at the junction, the road went up and down over a bridge, where Dad said, "the railway once ran under here. Where those houses are on the right, was the site of Hornby Station."

At the crossroads it was left and soon we were coming into the village. We saw the road signs on the house by the junction, where Dad turned right along the Main Street and passing the Nativity scene and the gardens where we had lunch, it was just a little way past the cafe buildings to the entrance.

"We'll stay here in the car and finish the rest of our picnic", said Tetley.

"OK lads", replied Dad.

Inside Dad went to the counter and ordered his tea and a delicious piece of gooseberry & hazelnut slice, then sat tucked away in the back corner. His eyes roved round as he ate, and alighted on the display shelves on the opposite wall. What caught his attention, was a teddy bear that looked so sad, forlorn and neglected sitting out of sight at the end of the display. Dad is really not supposed to adding to the Hug, but his heart went out to this little feller and he just had to adopt him. The assistant who dealt with the purchase was pleased too that he was going to a good home where he would have lots of pals. He is called Wray.

When we saw him, Allen said "come on Wray and snuggle up to us for the journey home"

He was already visibly happier and we told him about all the new friends he would have.

"Thanks for a lovely walk Dad, and for our new pal too, on behalf of us all", said Grizzly.

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