Date - 3rd April 2013 Distance - 11 miles
Ascent -
Map - OL2 Start point - Loyn Bridge (SD 5809 6975)


Summits Achieved

No summits were reached on this walk



"Brr, that bitter wind from the east just does not want to give up. It really is time for this winter to end!!", said Grizzly with feeling.

"You're right I know", replied Allen, "but when it does and the winds change to the west, we will get cloud and rain, and despite the cold winds it has been nice to have a spell of dry weather and plenty of sunshine."

"Well just now I would give anything for a mug of tea and I have baked some chocolate caramel shortbread to have with it", said Grizzly.

"Me too", replied Allen, "I'm gasping.

"Ooh cake", cried Little Eric in anticipation.

It was then that Shaun and Tetley wandered in, with the flasks.

"Great", called out Allen, "I'll get the mugs and plates.

The former were soon full of steaming hot Ringtons connoisseur tea, and after Allen had passed the plates round, we all dived in and helped ourselves to a piece of cake.

"Scrumptious Grizzly", enthused Little Eric, who was soon taking a second piece.

All settled Tetley then said, "Dad has said that we are to walk tomorrow, so we have to come up with a suggestion."

In a flash Shaun replied, "I have actually been giving our next walk some thought. It was completely new ground when we walked from High Bentham, so I looked at the Lune Valley further west. There is parking at Loyn Bridge on the road from Hornby to Gressingham, which is a good place to start."

He then opened up the map before going on. "Here's Loyn Bridge, and keeping on the east side of the River Lune we can follow paths to Greta Bridge, and then cross the main road and walk to Wrayton. Then across the fields to this track and so walk into Melling, where there is a motte and church to look at.

"That's great so far", enthused Tetley.

"Where then", asked Little Eric.

"Well pal", replied Shaun, "we take these paths to Lodge Farm, and on after that to Tatham, before returning over the tops and down to the A683 near Holme Head. Finally it is across the fields behind the farm and down to Loyn Bridge."

"Wow, you certainly have done your homework", breathed Little Eric. "Let's hope that Dad agrees."

"I'll go and ask" said Allen grabbing the map. "Fill my mug up again for when I get back if you please. And save me another piece of cake before Little Eric scoffs the lot!

"OK pal", replied Grizzly.

It was not too long before he returned. "Thanks pal", he said to Grizzly, accepting the refilled mug. "Dad thinks your plan is just fine, Shaun, so here's to tomorrow."

"Great", cried Little Eric with glee through a mouthful of cake.


The Walk

Wednesday dawned, bright and sunny with almost cloudless skies. It was still cold though with that bitter north-easterly wind. By the time we had got our picnic ready and safely stowed, Dad had put his gear in the boot of the car. So calling goodbye to Uncle Brian, we dashed out and settled in the car ready for the off.

It was a simple drive up the Lune Valley, to the village of Hornby, where just at its end, a narrow road goes off left to Gressingham. Loyn Bridge is just a short way along this, the parking being over the bridge on the right.

As we approached Tetley called out "there's Castle Stede motte & bailey.

"Ooh yes", replied Shaun. "We will visit the site at the end of the walk."

As Dad was getting ready, Grizzly said, "how about we count the stiles again. I don't expect there will be as many as on the walk from High Bentham, but it will be fun to compare."

"Great idea", enthused Allen. "I will make the notes, for the story, as I did last time."

"Fine", replied Grizzly.

Ready for the off, Dad said, " despite the sun being in the wrong direction, I want to try and get a shot of the bridge."

To do this we had to climb a stile in the wall and then climb it again to the road. "Well that should count as two stiles", said Grizzly.

As Allen was about to make a note, Dad said, "technically that is not part of the walk, so really they do not count."

"Hmm", muttered Grizzly. "On the walk or not, we had to climb it twice!"

The picture was not all that good so Dad decided to try on the return, when the sun was in a more kindly aspect.

"Right", Shaun announced, "we cross the bridge and then go left to walk by the river."

Pausing halfway Dad took this shot of the River Lune. Back in February, after all the weeks and weeks of rain, the river had been so full that it over flowed and flooded the fields in the valley. Looking at it today, it just goes to show how much the level had dropped, after the last month or so of dry cold weather.

At first the path followed the river but soon began to bend away along an old embankment and many lapwings were swooping over the fields giving out there very distinctive call -'peewit, peewit'. These are one of Uncle Brian's favourite birds, and we thought of him, knowing he would have loved to see them.

"Look", called out Little Eric, "how considerate to provide waymarks for both humans and bears and sheep."

After a while we reached a stream that widened for short way. "According to the map this is called Old Lune", said Shaun.

Grizzly did some research on the Internet when we got back, and determined that it was once the course of the river.

The path led on crossing a stile to two, for us then to be faced with two gates. "It's hard to tell which we should take, as this layout does not correspond with the map", said Shaun.

"OK, we'll try to one to the right", said Dad.

This shortly led through a gap into a field. "No this is not the path", said Dad. "Never mind we have not come very far."

He backtracked, to take the left hand gate and then follow the path ahead, by a stream for a while. The path then seemed to drift left towards the river and Dad had espied a cattle creep bridge allowing access under the railway, and he became convinced that this was the route we should take.

Shaun was not convinced, but did not argue with Dad. Had he done so and used the GPS to compare our position to the map, he would have been vindicated. When we got to the underbridge, we found the way through barred. "You were right Shaun, sometimes I am my own worst enemy getting fixated on the route in my mind, and not checking against the map."

So there was nothing for it but to return the way we had come and cross the narrow mostly dried up stream. The only compensation was that we got a view of the Arkholme railway viaduct carrying the former Furness & Midland Joint Railway between Carnforth and Wennington, over the River Lune,

and the one that carries the line over the valley itself, with Ingleborough, as a backdrop.

"Not to worry Dad, we were pleased to be able to see the viaducts, and this diversion has added distance to the walk", said Tetley, trying to ease Dad's guilt.

Over the stream it was left, and then passing by a small lake that was once a course of the river, hey presto there were the waymarks again and the stiles to climb. The path led by a fence, with another pool and very boggy ground to the left. This brought us to the end of the viaduct, our route being through a gate half right, to then very shortly go left on the track under the railway.

"Not counting the disputed stiles by Loyn Bridge before the start, that is four stiles so far", said Grizzly.

"Noted" replied Allen.

At the hedge in the rear of the picture the track split and we went right, then almost immediately it bent left. Wide and rutted between the bare hedges either side it ran pretty straight thereafter.

"In about a quarter mile, the track will turn sharp right. Here we need to go on ahead on a footpath", advised Shaun.

This footpath was over open pasture and at the cross fence we climbed the double stile, to soon then come beside the River Greta.

"We crossed this river further upstream on the walk from High Bentham", said Tetley. "First as we entered Burton in Lonsdale and then again by New Bridge at Ingleton. Today we are seeing the final stretch, as just down there to the left is its confluence with the River Lune."

"OK", said Shaun, "we obviously go right here and it is about a half mile to Greta Bridge."

The path was clear running between the river and a ploughed field Dad following the winding edge of this to avoid the soft ground. By Greta Bridge a flight of sturdy stone steps climbed to the gap stile to the road.

"Right that's another three stiles", called out Grizzly.

"Noted", replied Allen. "That makes seven in total."

Tetley said, "I can see a footpath sign across the road just to the right. Is that where we go?"

"Yes", replied Shaun.

Through the small gate and down the steps we crossed the field that had the remains of last years planting. At the gate we joined the road and walked left into the hamlet of Wrayton, the road soon turning sharp left. Here facing was a house, whose occupant, from the flag flying, must be an avid supporter of Wolverhampton Wanderers football team.

As we strolled on, Shaun instructed, "we take the second footpath on the right."

"Here it is", called out Little Eric, after a while

A few steps led up to a gate and a short narrow path by a chicken run to a stile, giving access to open pasture. Beyond the clear route climbed to give, looking east, a fine view of Ingleborough still white under its blanket of snow.

"That will make a nice picture", remarked Allen. "Since our walk from High Bentham two weeks ago, there is definitely signs that the snow is beginning to melt away."

Climbing a stile the next field was full of sheep and lambs, but Dad did not get any satisfactory shots, so we are all spared any such pictures, for now at least. Dropping down, a footbridge over a tiny beck and stone step stile immediately beyond took us into the next field, passing the substantial stone built Catgill Barn in the adjacent field to the left. Two more stiles then got us on to a wide track, where it was right to the village of Melling.

"I think we should call the last one the pirate stile, as we had to walk a long plank to the track", suggested Shaun.

"That's five stiles on this section", called out Grizzly.

"Noted pal", replied Allen.

"I know the route does not actually take in the village, but there are some interesting things to see in Melling, and it is not far out of our way", said Dad.

"Anything that adds interest to the walk if fine with me", responded Allen.

As we neared the junction with the main road from Lancaster, we saw on the right Melling Hall.

A grade II listed building it was originally built in the early to mid 18th century as a private house. It was then a hotel, and during the last 10 years or so was converted into apartments. When a private house, it was occupied for some of the time by the Rome family, some of whose graves are in the nearby churchyard. From the left the graves are of Lilla and Jane Rome daughters of Isabella Rome, and of William Rome.

The church is dedicated to St Wilfrid. We had hopes of being able to go inside as a sign on the outside porch door read 'open every day', but the actual church door was securely padlocked. So, we had to be content with an outside view.

The earliest fabric in the church dates from around 1300 or earlier, but as it is near the earthworks of a motte and bailey castle it is possible that there has been a church on this site since the 10th century. Most of the present church dates from the late 15th century and is built of sandstone rubble with a stone slate roof. A restoration was carried out in 1763, when the clerestory was added.  In 1891 a further restoration was carried out by the architects Paley & Austin of Lancaster, which included reseating the church at a cost of £1100. There is a ring of six bells, which were recast in 1754 from three bells made in the 15th century by Rudhall of Gloucester.

Mention is made above to a motte & bailey. Looking over the wall of the churchyard to the rear we could see the remains of the motte, in a private garden.

Since the visit to the motte and bailey at Burton in Lonsdale, we now knew what we were looking at, and Tetley, commented, "being in a private garden, it has been made into more of a landscape feature, and the top has been much levelled down."

Grizzly added, "I guess the bailey is in part where the church now stands."

"Well seeing all this history has made me hungry", said Allen rubbing his tummy.

Conveniently for us all there was a seat by the entrance to the churchyard, and soon settled we enjoyed our sandwiches cake and tea.

"The cherry bakewell slice is delicious", said Little Eric, helping himself to another piece.

"Leave some for the rest of us, then", laughed back Grizzly.

Before setting off, we posed while Dad took our picture.

"OK time to get going again", said Dad, so we scrambled into the rucksack once again. There are a number of old style road signs in the village, this one pointing the direction we needed to go.

Returning along the road we had walked down earlier, Shaun said, "this is the path we need to take on the right."

It climbed to a gate, after which we kept ahead up the field, to climb the stile in the fence on the left and then ahead once again to a stile in the cross fence.

Checking the map, Shaun instructed, "We cross the field to the left of that clump of trees and continue to join the metalled access to Lodge Farm."

Looking about Little Eric said. "the ground generally is flat and level, except for those hillocks, which seems a bit odd."

"I know what you mean, pal", added Grizzly, "They seem maybe to be man made, but what exactly I do not know."

Shaun was looking at the map again with Tetley looking over his shoulder. Suddenly Tetley said, "I have an idea what they are. The Melling Tunnel (1230 yards) on the railway runs underneath the ground here. I think that they are perhaps spoil heaps from when the tunnel was originally dug out."

"Oh yes, like those we saw when we climbed Blea Moor, near Ribblehead", agreed Allen.

"We go right along the access all the way to Lodge Farm", called out Shaun.

Now we mentioned that when we had been walking from Wrayton to Melling, Dad had not been successful in getting any reasonable pictures of sheep, so giving us hope that for once we would have a sheep free story. However as we started along the track, the field either side was full of sheep and lambs and Dad was soon lining up the camera.

"Oh noooooo", exclaimed Allen despairingly, as Dad snapped this ewe with her two offspring.

And then these two hungry for mother's milk!

As we approached the farm, Shaun said "we go past the farmhouse to the last building, then turn left down the field."

This brought us to a new gate that was securely tied up with string. Why, one has to ask, as this is a right of way!! The knots were such that despite Dad's best efforts he could not undo them all.

"I don't fancy climbing over either, as it is not very securely fastened", remarked Dad.

"The fence post just to the left looks to be loose", suggested Allen, helpfully.

"You're right, lad", replied Dad, who, grasping it, was able to pull it up out of the ground to squeeze through the gap, before pushing the post down into the ground again.

On ahead we climbed over the facing hill and down the field to an obvious stile at a fence corner, and so continuing down to finally emerge on to a metalled track at Tatham.

"That's four stiles, from Melling", called out Grizzly.

"Noted", replied Allen.

Just in front now was the nice church of St James the Less, where again we had to be content with an external view, as it was also locked.

A church has stood on this site since at least Norman times. Most of the fabric of the present church dates from the 15th century, with some parts remaining from the Norman period and from the 13th century. It is constructed in sandstone rubble with a stone slate roof. The tower was rebuilt in 1722 and in 1885–87 architects Paley & Austin of Lancaster added a saddleback roof. They also carried out an extensive restoration that included adding an organ loft and a vestry, repairing walls, adding windows, and a floor, and also removing the ceiling. The restoration cost £3,269, equivalent to £270,000 today. One other external feature we noted was the slate sundial over the porch entrance.

We acknowledge Wikipedia, as the source of the information we have included about the church.

Leaving, Shaun instructed, "we should return to where we joined the track by the stile and then go left to Park House."

As we did, Allen remarked, "this house on the left, is called the Old Rectory. My it is nearly as big as the church itself."

Along the track Dad stopped and chatted to man who was clearing trees and debris, after the winds a couple of weeks ago that had brought the power lines down. The Utility company had repaired the lines and felled some of the trees and removed branches, to remove the risk of damage in the future. The gentleman told us, "the company said they would return and clear the debris, but they appear to have forgotten, hence the reason I am here."

It was fortuitous Dad meeting him, as we were unsure whether there was actually a route to the path we wanted behind Park House. He helpfully directed us between two buildings, where the gates were clearly waymarked.

It is the one pointing ahead through the gate we want", called out Shaun.

With the hedge to the left we crossed the field, coming to some trees and a gate where it was then diagonally right to a stile onto a track. A waymark directed us then through the gate on the right and so on ahead to climb a ladderstile.

"This is a huge field", said Shaun. "The barn over to the left is called Windy Bank Barn. Our way however is to the far right corner."

Reaching the other side, Little Eric called out, "there's a waymark on the gate, that points left down the field beyond."

At the bottom, it was left through the gate following the track, after a while leaving this right to a signposted gate onto the main A683. We turned right and just a few yards along came to this old milestone.

"As indicated Hornby village is just a mile down the road from here, and so I reckon the stone is probably at the parish boundary", said Tetley knowledgeably.

And just for information the other face reads - 'To K Lonsdale 61/2 miles. Ingleton 8 miles.

Now it is usual when walking on roads to keep to the right side so facing the oncoming traffic, but due to the right hand bend and the heavy traffic that uses the road, Dad wisely crossed to the left and walked carefully along the verge, the few hundred yards to stile left into a field.

The signpost indicated we should go diagonally left across the pasture and on behind Holme Head Farm, and then on ahead through two gates, where we saw this curious pony.

"We should go through the gate here, to get to the other side of the fence", said Shaun.

"That's the castle motte, with the trees on it, ahead", called out Little Eric.

"Yes, and I have done some research, so will tell you all more about it when we get there", responded Grizzly.

The path led to the left of the motte and then via a more modern bridge over the deep ditch, into the bailey. The shot below, clearly shows part of the rampart of the bailey, with the motte to the rear.

"From what I have been able to find, the site is called Castle Stede, and dates from the mid 12th century being the best preserved example of a motte and bailey in Lancashire", lectured Grizzly. "The castle utilises the northwest end of a natural ridge projecting almost to the River Lune with the motte rising some 50ft (15m) above the riverside meadows. Except on the north side, where the ground drops away, the motte is surrounded by a wide and deep ditch. The large oval bailey, in which we are now, stands to the west of the motte, and as can be seen is defended by the rampart and ditch on its southern side and on the north and northwest by the steep slope down to the river."

"Thanks pal", said Allen. "That has given us a real feel for the site, and we can imagine the tower standing on the motte surrounded by its defensive palisade, and the bridge over the ditch between the motte and bailey."

"That's right", replied Grizzly, "and there would have been a palisade on the rampart of the bailey, with a substantial gate in it, at the end of the bridge over the ditch."

"I have lived around here for over 30 years, but only now are we properly exploring areas of the Lune Valley, and seeing these historical sites", said Dad.

Below the castle site to the west is Loyn Bridge, and passing through the double stile, we turned right to walk the short distance to cross the bridge to the car.

"That's four stiles", said Grizzly.

"OK, noted", replied Allen. "That makes twenty in total.

"What about the stile by the bridge that we crossed twice for Dad to take a picture?" asked Tetley.

"You had better ask Dad", replied Allen.

"OK, I agree they can be included too, and now the sun has gone round I am going to try to get a better shot of the bridge, so that will make four times we have crossed that stile."

"So that's a grand total of twenty four", cried Allen. "Only half the total of the walk from High Bentham."

"I did some research on Wikipedia about the bridge and this is what I found out", said Grizzly. "It carries the minor road between the villages of Hornby and Gressingham, and replaced an older bridge, which is thought to have been constructed with timber decking between stone piers. The date the present bridge was built is unknown, but is considered to have been after 1591, when the previous bridge was described as being 'in a dangerous condition'.

"Designated as a Grade II* listed building by English Heritage, it is constructed in sandstone blocks. The three segmental arches measure 52 feet (15.8 m), 62 feet 6 inches (19.1 m) and 53 feet (16.2 m) respectively and there are triangular cutwaters containing refuges for pedestrians."

"We were glad of those to get out of the way of the cars when we crossed", interjected Little Eric.

Grizzly then continued, "the carriageway is 12 feet (3.7 m) wide, and the maximum width of the bridge at the points of the piers is 33 feet 6 inches (10.2 m).  Other than replacing the parapet with more modern stonework, and replacing the original paving of the carriageway with a tarmacadam surface, there has been no change since it was built. It is described as being 'surprisingly impressive for a route that has little significance nowadays'."

"Thanks again pal", said Allen. "All this history has made me hungry again, so let's have the rest of our picnic, before we head home."

"What a good idea", responded Dad.

"It has been another really interesting day", said Little Eric, "thanks as always for taking us", as he tucked into another piece of cake.

So duly fortified, Dad drove us home, where we told our other pals about our adventure.


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