RIVER LEVEN & HAVERTHWAITE from GREENODD

 


Summary

Date - 16th January 2013 Distance - 7.75 miles
Ascent -
190ft
Map - OL7 Start point - Fisherman's car park by A590 at Greenodd (SD 3148 8163)

 

Summits Achieved

No Summits were reached on this walk

 

Preface

Shaun and Grizzly had brought the tea and cakes and together with Little Eric and Tetley, had steaming mugs in paw, as they tucked into the delicious cake.

"This chocolate coconut slice is absolutely scrumptious, Grizzly", said Tetley, taking another piece from the tin.

"Thanks pal, I thought it would make a nice change from scones", he replied.

"Ooh I like those too, especially the cherry & ginger ones", enthused Shaun.

Little Eric suddenly paused with a slice part way to his mouth and exclaimed, "where's Allen, it's not like him to miss tea and cakes!"

"Well he can smell tea a mile off, so you can be sure he will arrive soon", replied Tetley with a laugh.

And sure enough a few minutes later Allen came dashing in like a whirlwind shouting, "great great great!"

"Here's your tea", said Shaun handing him a mug.

"Oh thanks", he replied, "but that was not what I was really shouting about. I bring news of our next walk tomorrow, and what is so great is that we are walking with Uncle Eric too.

"That really is good. It's months since we walked with him", said Grizzly.

"Where are we going", asked Little Eric eagerly.

"It is the walk that Uncle Eric had suggested, starting from the car park just off the A590 at Greenodd. We have done parts of it before, but quite a bit will be new", replied Allen.

"Dad has had the newspaper cutting since he last walked with Uncle Eric, so I have read the instructions, and it will be quite instructive about the part of the long closed railway, that ran from Lakeside to Ulverston", went on Shaun.

Tetley then said, "well, being with Uncle Eric, we can be assured of getting some expert information as we stroll along."

Pass me another piece of cake, please Grizzly", said Allen. "It really is delicious."

And so all happy, we sat contentedly, looking forward the walk.

The Walk

Before we start to describe today's walk, we wish to point out that there will be quite bit about railways, so we hope those readers who prefer to see pictures of mountains and wild scenery will forgive us this once.

Our start point, was the car park by the River Leven just off the A590 dual carriageway at Greenodd, the road being built in the 1980's to provide a bypass for the village. Even then there were delays going through the village, but they would have been much worse now had the bypass not been built.

We arrived first and Dad started to get his boots on, while we surveyed the scene over the river. Minutes later Uncle Eric arrived.

We called out, "good to see you after all this time and we are looking forward to the walk."

"It's great to see you too, Lads", he replied.

It was a dry cold and cloudy day with little or no wind. The temperatures barely getting above freezing and a light covering of snow lay on the fields.

Just before we set off Uncle Eric said, "the car park is on the track bed of the closed section of the Furness Railway line from Lakeside to Ulverston."

This was quite plain to see as we looked along the river in the direction of Ulverston.

"Running by the river it must have made for a very pleasant part of the ride along the line.", said Tetley.

Turning our backs to this scene we set off along the narrow path north squeezed between the road and river, to the footbridge.

Stopping on the path, Uncle Eric said, "the dual carriageway is on the site of Greenodd railway station (click the link to see a photograph). The station was completely demolished to make way for the road. Roughly where the footbridge starts on this side, was a viaduct that carried the railway over the river at an oblique angle."

"Thanks Uncle Eric, you are really educating us today", said Allen.

Over the footbridge we turned left, passing between gorse bushes, the flowers frost bound this morning, to soon join the railway track bed once again.

After a little while passing the house called Lady Syke we soon reached another old railway bridge over the river, the still day giving a nice reflection.

"Very soon, we go left to walk the embankment by the river", said Shaun.

The track bed continued straight ahead, on land that is now private. The path meandered by the river and eventually we came to the A590 at Rusland Pool. Here we crossed carefully and then continued on by the Rusland Pool to Causeway Bridge. In the days before milk was collected from farms by tanker, farmers would put the milk in large metal churns that were stood by the road on milk stands for collection. This one was being used once again, but in a more modern manner.

"It's right here, then right again at the junction", instructed Shaun.

The road is called the Causeway and led to the few houses of Causeway End at the junction. Looking back we could see the reason for the name, as the road ran on a raised bank above the fields on either side. By the junction the fields were covered in snow and made a wintry sight.

Grizzly then called out, "you can see some of the mountains from here too. To the far left is Walna Scar with the shallow dip being the Walna Scar Road. Then Brown Pike, Buck Pike & Dow Crag falling steeply to Goats Hause and then rising to Coniston Old Man, with Brim Fell to it's right. Finally on the far right just peeping over is the upper part of Wetherlam. The upland area in the foreground is the Blawith Fells the dark rise below Coniston Old Man being Blawith Knott (814ft) with Tottlebank Height (775ft) to the right."

"Wow!", breathed Little Eric. "Even after nearly five years I can see I am still a novice when it comes to naming the fells."

So, going right we set off once more, only to stop in a matter of a few yards, to look at the wall post box, with the ivy just creeping across on the right, this one dating from the reign of King George VI.

Now finally we got going properly! Soon we reached the A590 again, crossing carefully to walk on ahead into Haverthwaite, passing further remains of the railway, in the shape of abutments of a now removed bridge.

"It is about time you took our picture, as we have to make at least one appearance in the story", said Allen.

"OK", replied Dad. "Just settle yourselves on wall of the bridge."

Snow was lying so Dad kindly provided the map cover for us to sit on.

That done we were glad to get back in the warmth of Dad's rucksack and then strolled on along the road following it round right at the junction, to cross the River Leven again at Low Wood.

"Look at that lovely old building with the clock tower", said Grizzly. "I wonder what it's history is and what it is used for now."

So, when we got home we decided to find out. A wealth of information can be found by clicking the link below, but the following gives a brief resume of its history and about the railway connection too.

The Clock Tower and its surrounding land have had a colourful history stretching back to the 1700s. The building was first part of the site of a forge, then an ironworks that played an important part in the Industrial Revolution and then a significant gunpowder works. Its production petered out after the First World War and it closed in 1935. During the Second World War it was used as a Prisoner of War camp for Italian officers on one side and as an ordnance depot for American GIs on the other. Now, in an exciting new project the building has been refurbished and converted into offices ideal for businesses such as information technology, financial services etc. Further, being beside the River Leven and utilising the old mill race, a new state of the art hydro scheme has been installed that will provide the heating within the building.

Uncle Eric had told us that there had been branch railway to a gunpowder works in this area and indeed it was to the Low Wood site.

When the railway came to Haverthwaite, tram lines were laid on all of the works' internal cart tracks and an 80-foot long girder bridge was constructed across the River Leven. "Trams" ran on the tracks, these being narrow gauge box cars and wagons pulled by horse, which ran on tram tracks bought from Preston and Blackpool. Once the horses had delivered the load to the station, they were unharnessed and left to wander back to Low Wood, whilst the driver freewheeled the tram back down the track using a handbrake to control its speed. Horses had to be shod in copper or brass, to prevent sparks from their hooves igniting the gunpowder.

Right back to the walk. Shaun said, "our way is right rejoining the Cumbria Coastal Way, along by the river."

This led over fields with expansive views of the river. The whole area we had walked today was barely above sea-level, so most of this part of the river is tidal.

Tetley said, "I recall when we last walked along here, the river was effectively flowing upstream, against the force of the incoming tide."

The grassy paths over the fields beside the river were covered in snow. Just a couple of minutes after Dad took the shot above, we passed some sheep that we hoped would run away as Dad hauled the camera out of the bag once more.

"Oh noooo", cried Grizzly, as this rather piebald specimen stood and posed. So dear readers yet another sheep picture!

Eventually the route left the river, coming to a road, but not before Dad took this further shot with nice reflections.

The road took us to and through Roudsea Wood. As we emerged from the trees, Little Eric said, "what's that tall tower on the hill I can see distantly over to the left?"

"It is the Sir John Barrow Monument on Hoad Hill at Ulverston", replied Allen.

"Just a shame it is too far away to get a picture for the story", went on Little Eric.

Well a couple of weeks later on a day out Dad and Uncle Brian went shopping in Ulverston, and he took this picture for us.

The monument is a 100 ft (30.5 m) tower standing at the top of Hoad Hill above Ulverston. Paid for by public subscription at a cost of £1250, the monument was erected in 1850. It commemorates Sir John Barrow who was born in Ulverston in 1764. He held various government posts in the 19th century becoming the Second Secretary to the Admiralty, as well as being a founder member of the Royal Geographic Society.

The monument was designed as a replica of the Third Eddystone Lighthouse and is built of limestone quarried locally at Birkrigg Common. Due to its elevated and exposed position, it is one of the most prominent landmarks in Cumbria. The hollow tower can be ascended via a spiral stone staircase of 112 steps. At the top, eight windows provide a magnificent 360-degree panorama of the Furness Peninsula, Morecambe Bay and the southern  Lake District. Between April 2009 and August 2010 the monument was completely renovated at a cost of about £1m. We acknowledge the kind permission of the Sir John Barrow Trust, for this information.

Walking on to the point where the road turned left to the farm, we now went on ahead as directed by the waymark, to reach an embankment into a low lying and very wet field, crossing which would have been impossible had the ground not been frozen. In such circumstances there was an alternative route along the embankment to reach the track bed walked at the start. Crossing the field brought us to a stile and the footbridge over the river. Crossed this and then followed the outwards route to the car park.

"That was very pleasant, thank you", said Little Eric on our behalf, " and thank you Uncle Eric for all the railway information and facts."

"You're welcome", he replied.

As it was a cold day, Dad and Uncle Eric had not brought a picnic lunch, so instead they went to the cafe at Haverthwaite station on the Lakeside to Haverthwaite Railway. They were not sure if it would be open, but we had seen smoke coming from the chimneys when passing this morning. Well as it turned out it was and both Dad and Uncle Eric were glad they went as the food was good. Dad had sausages on mash with onion, while Uncle Eric had pheasant casserole, both with vegetables - broad beans, carrots and peas. This was followed by pudding. Uncle Eric had apple and mincemeat pie and Dad had ginger & syrup sponge, both with custard. And the price - an amazing £5 each. This is what they call their Winter Warmer menu, that consists of a choice of 5 starters, 5 main courses and 5 puddings. If you have the three courses the cost is only £7.

As Dad told us about this afterwards on the journey home, Tetley said, "it sounds a good place to take Uncle Brian and at the same time you can take a picture of the station for the story."

"How stupid of me not to do that today", replied Dad. "Sorry Lads."

Well exactly two weeks later Dad did indeed take Uncle Brian and Dad was recognised too. Once seen..... etc. Oh and here's the picture.

So a good day and heres to lots of walks with Uncle Eric this year!!

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