Date - 1st May 2013 Distance - 10 miles
Ascent -
Map - OL41
Start point - Long Preston station (SD 8338 5793)


Summits Achieved

No summits were reached on this walk



All was well with the world. Mugs were filled with tea, and we were all tucking into Grizzly's lovely chocolate caramel shortbread.

"Mmm" said Little Eric in ecstacy. "This cake is truly scrumptious pal", as he helped himself to another piece.

"Absolutely", added Allen. "There is nothing better than a hot mug of tea and delicious cake, apart from being out on one of our adventures, that is."

"It was great to be walking with Uncle Eric last Thursday, but just a shame that it rained for most of the time", remarked Tetley.

"What's the forecast for Wednesday, as Dad had told me that he will take us out, and is leaving the where to us?", enquired Shaun.

Putting his plate down, Allen grabbed the iPad and quickly navigated to the Met Office app. "For this part of the country it looks to be a dry day and mostly sunny."

"Great then all we have to do is think where to walk", said Grizzly, cheerfully.

Putting our thinking caps on we all sat deep in thought, and after a few minutes, Tetley said, "back in February we walked from Long Preston in a circle to the north. I am sure if we look at the map we will be able to find another walk, this time to the south, which will again be another area that we have not explored before."

"That's a great idea", enthused Allen. "I'll go and get the map."

"Thanks", replied Shaun. "You will want OL41 for the area that Tetley has suggested."

This was spread out and we set to finding a route.

Shaun pointed and said, "if we walk the road from the station, we can then follow the lanes and paths to Halton West, then make a circle to Hellifield and on under the railway to Little Newton and return along lane to Long Preston."

"That last bit will be a repeat", said Tetley, "but there is no other way to complete the circle."

"Looks good to me", agreed Grizzly.

Draining his mug and then grabbing the map, Allen said, "I'll go and ask Dad. Meanwhile will you refill my mug, and save me another piece of cake, before Little Eric scoffs the lot."

Little Eric replied, "sorry pal, but it is just so so delicious!"

Well it was not long before Allen returned, and accepting the refilled mug gratefully, he said, "Dad is happy with our suggestion, especially as it will mean he can go to Elaine's at Feizor afterwards."

"Roll on Wednesday", cried Little Eric as he bit into another piece of cake.


The Walk

The drive to the start was for the most part a very familiar one for Dad, being the route he takes with Uncle Brian each Monday, to have a lovely lunch at Elaine's Tearooms in Feizor. Today however he ignored the narrow lane off the A65, climbing steeply up, at the sharp right bend, instead keeping on the main road and along the Settle bypass. Then it was just a few more miles to Long Preston the railway station being a short way down a side road to the right.

While Dad got ready, we went and explored the station, which is very simple with just two platforms with small waiting shelters.

Looking at the time tables, Grizzly, said, "there is a train due at 09:17, destined for our home town, Morecambe."

"If it is on time we will see it before we set off, so I will go and ask Dad to take a picture, as it will make a nice start to the story", said Allen, who hurried across the car park.

Finishing putting his boots on, Dad then grabbed the camera, hearing Shaun call out, "it's coming!"

The train glided into the station, the guard stepping out on to the platform as Dad lined up the shot.

Then at the scheduled time it departed on the journey to our home town.

"Right", called out Dad , "get settled in the rucksack, as I am ready for the off."

We crossed the railway by the road bridge and walked on, keeping ahead at the junction, where on the corner was this lovely house called Bereswood.

The road dropped down by the house then soon we crossed Long Preston Beck at Mill Bridge. "I guess there must have been a mill of some sort nearby here in times past, probably down that lane to the left", remarked Shaun.

We were to see lots of sheep with lambs and cows with calfs today, the first being almost immediately as we strolled along the road. This one was standing by the fence giving us the once over, while behind a calf was having his morning milk.

While just a few yards beyond stood this obviously very young calf. The tags seem way out of proportion to its size.

"OK", said Shaun, "We continue along the road past the next junction, to cross the River Ribble by Cow Bridge, and then follow the Ribble Way, by going left down Todmanhaw Lane."

As we reached the bridge, Tetley said, "that is a nice view of the river, with that ewe keeping a watchful eye on her lambs."

Walking on Shaun soon called out, "this is where we turn off, by this signpost."

Looking up Little Eric said, "it reads Pennine Bridleway, but I thought you said we were following the Ribble Way."

"We are", replied Shaun patiently. "The Pennine Bridleway is a new long distance National Trial for horses as well as cyclists and walkers, which at this point follows the existing route of the Ribble Way. Some new sections of this have recently been opened, part of which goes through Feizor and past Elaine's, which we can hope will bring her even more business."

"OK", said Allen, "can we be getting on now?"

Todmanhaw Lane was surfaced, so making easy walking for Dad, soon passing its namesake farm. "What are those containers?", asked Little Eric.

"They are milk churns", replied Tetley. "These days milk is collected from working farms by tanker, but in times gone by, the farmer put the milk in these churns, and then placed them, like here, on the milk stand, that was situated usually at the end of the drive by the road. The churns were then collected, with empty ones being left for subsequent refilling."

We strolled on, the lane being surfaced as far as Low Laithe Barn, after which it continued as a good wide track to the crossing of the stream Deep Dale Syke. The sheep in field here baaed loudly, saying hello to Shaun, of course!

Looking at the map, Shaun said, "we go left here."

"But the sign points right", replied Little Eric, with confusion in his voice.

Patiently Shaun explained. "It is because of the newly opened Pennine Bridleway that I talked about before. It does not seemingly follow the Ribble Way in every respect, the reason being that it is for horse riders, and they would not be able to cross the stiles that we are to come to, on this next section of the Ribble Way. Hence the Pennine Bridleway, goes in the opposite direction to avoid the stiles, and then end up in the same place.

"I see", replied Little Eric. "You are so knowledgable Shaun. I am really still very much a novice when it comes to finding and following the route"

Don't worry", replied Allen, "you will gain the skill as time goes by."

The route was now over fields via two stiles and gates, passing close to the building of Middle Laithe. Then the path went left through a gate and down steps to cross over a tiny bridge. Beyond it was right and then left round the field to another gate and onward over a bridge, to a final gate on to Brook Lane, the access road to Middle Laithe. Here the two trail routes joined together again, and we strolled along the lane, between fields, all the way to the village of Halton West.

Part way along Grizzly called out, "look there's a Jacob sheep ewe with her lovely lambs."

"Oh yes", exclaimed Dad, hauling the camera out of the bag.

"Oh nooooo......"cried Allen despairingly, "there goes our chance for a sheep picture free story. Still as you say they are lovely lambs."

As we reached the road, Shaun said, "we saw a sign for the Ribble Way when we turned left by Deep Dale Syke, but it had lost its colour. This is how it should have looked", as he pointed to the sign attached to the post beside the track.

At the road, we walked left through the pretty village of Halton West, passing the green with its chain fence and gate. A quiet and peaceful place to sit, if we had had the time.

"In a short while the road will turn sharp left, and that is where we take the track, called Limekiln Lane, on the right", instructed Shaun.

Strolling along this it curved gently left, climbing to pass through Long Roods Plantation, to a gate. Beyond the route was now across a field, with the impressive house of Halton Place away to the left. More about this in a moment!

At the far side, we reached a waymarked gate and beyond a small footbridge in trees, above the, at this point, wide stretch of the River Ribble. The plan was to walk on the Swinden, on the far side of the river, but we suddenly realised that there was no bridge over the river.

"Darn", exclaimed Dad, and the looking at the map, "I should have realised that this is a ford crossing, after all I was once caught out by this on the River Lune."

"Oh heck", said Little Eric worriedly."Whatever are we going to do."

Shaun replied, "well really the only option is to retrace our route to Halton West and go along the road."

As we returned to the gate however Dad spotted a path by the river going north. "We could follow this keeping to the bank, to Halton Bridge to pick up our route."

"I'm not sure", warned Tetley, who was looking over Shaun's shoulder. "It is not marked on the map and it is a section that passes below the large house of Halton Place."

Despite our reservations, Dad determined to follow the path, that led through the trees and out to open river bank.

"What a fine view", said Grizzly. "Definitely worth a picture, Dad."

Then it was through more trees into an open field. There was a kind a stile on the right to the river side, but no obvious path beyond, so we stayed to the left of the fence, and walked on. Tetley's reservations about this being private land, were realised when we spotted the estate man coming down the field in his buggy.

"Are you lost", he said. "I've had a call from the big house that you were walking through the estate."

Dad explained about following the path from the gate.

He replied, "it is for private use only." Although he did concede Dad's point that there was no sign to this effect where we had joined it.

He then went on to say, "the footpath people should make it plain there was no way to Swinden, other than to wade the river."

"I am very sorry", said Dad. "Please give my apologies to the people at the house. I will go back the way I have come."

He replied, "well, you might as well go on from here to the bridge."

Great we all thought silently, as this was the intended direction, so it was a good result, in the end. Nevertheless, we and Dad once again apologise to the owners of Halton Place.

The river curved left and soon we were in sight of Halton Bridge, where we had to climb a locked gate, unsurprisingly marked 'private', to reach the road. What we found interesting about this and Cow Bridge, we had crossed earlier, is that there are arches over the fields, as well as the river itself. We speculated that perhaps this was to allow flow in times of flood.

So, turning right over the bridge, we finally got the crossing of the River Ribble out of the way.

"Very soon we take the path going right across the field to a road junction", advised Shaun.

Dad climbed the stile, and we climbed up, passing this large tree, that was just about to come into leaf, but the branches were still bare and stark against the sky.

Not far beyond the brow we reached another stile at the junction, as Shaun had said.

"We take the stile in the wall across the road and then cross the field and go under the railway, and on the road at Hellifield Green", instructed Shaun.

As we set off, Grizzly said, "look there is a herd of Highland Cattle, and they have young too."

"Oh dear, I hope we will be alright", said Little Eric nervously, as he recalled reading articles about people being trampled by cows and cattle.

"We'll be OK", said Dad. "I will just skirt round to the right keeping as far away as possible.

We were still a bit worried, as we had noticed that the one with the biggest horns, was wandering over the field in the direction of the underpass, exactly where we had to go.

We needn't have worried, as he just stood and gave us a considered look as we walked past. The more immediate problem, was that by and in the underpass, were a number of cows with their young.

"Oooh heck", said Allen, "I don't like the look of this."

"Don't worry", replied Dad, as he skirted over to the left, and thankfully some of the animals moved off, with out any bother.

That then just left a cow with two calfs, who were at the far end of the gated underpass. Dad walked slowly keeping on the left side, and as we approached, they moved past us in the opposite direction without being too scared.

"Phew, glad that went off OK", said Tetley with obvious relief in his voice.

"Is this the Settle-Carlisle line", asked Little Eric.

"No pal", replied Grizzly. "It is the Ribble Valley line, that runs from Blackburn and through Whalley and Clitheroe, to Hellifield, where it indeed joins the Settle-Carlisle line."

Beyond in an empty field we walked to the road at Hellifield Green, using the gate, but then as we turned left we saw that there was in fact a stone step stile in the wall.

Dad said, "arrange yourselves on the stile, and will take your picture."

Well it is about time we made an appearance!

"I'm hungry", said Allen, rubbing his tummy.

"Me too", added Little Eric.

"OK", said Dad, as he got his sandwich box out of the rucksack, and Allen slipped his rucksack off and got our picnic out. It made for a nice break, and as we munched away, we talked about what had happened on the walk so far.

"Quite eventful", remarked Grizzly, "what with going through the grounds of Halton Place and the encounter with the Highland cattle

So, suitably refreshed, we set off again, going left past the houses, then at the next junction left down a narrow lane, soon to climb the double stile in the hedge on the right into a field and then stiles into and out of another railway underpass, adjacent to the buildings of The Grange. Note the old rather rusted plough we passed too.

The waymark showed clearly the route was now right parallel with railway track to yet another stile, and then half left across the pasture to a road.

"We take the stile opposite, called out Shaun, "and then continue on to the left of Beck House."

This involved crossing a footbridge and more stiles, including this substantial stone step stile, the ninth since leaving Hellifield Green.

All along this section the fields were full of sheep and lambs, so it came as no surprise that some posed for Dad, like this ewe, with her two offspring, with the backdrop of Pendle Hill.

Allen says, "yet another sheep picture, but that's that last one in this story Dad!"

Continuing, we now skirted Beck House and then drifted left round the wall and on to the tiny bridge and stile at the start of the now diverted route at Gallaber.

This former farm has now been converted into a small group of lovely stone houses. The end of the waymarked route brought us to a track, where we went right to the main A65, and the on right into Hellifield, as proclaimed by this sign.

"Well", cried Allen, "there's no doubting where we are!"

Most of the time, Dad had been wearing his NASA cap, but feeling rather warm, he had taken it off and tucked it in the strap of the camera bag. As he walked on he suddenly noticed that it had dropped out.

"Damn, I wonder when that happened", he said turning round and walking back the way we had come.

Fortunately he had only walked back a few yards to a garage, where a lady called out, "I found it, and have hung it the sign on the wall." She then went on to explain, "I would have run after you, but I have a young child in the car."

"Thank you so much nevertheless", said Dad, as he retrieved it."

"If you are not going to wear it, you aught to put it in the rucksack, to prevent this happening again", chided Tetley.

"We need to cross the road soon", said Shaun, "as we have to take the path off left just before the bend in the road."

Taking care Dad crossed, as this is a busy road, and then Allen soon called out, "there's the signpost for the path."

Going forward, we crossed a stile in the fence, and then kept on ahead to walk by fence on the left to gate and on over next field to come, via stile to yet another railway underpass.

"Now this is the Settle-Carlisle line, Little Eric", said Grizzly.

Beyond we followed a wide track that swung right over the field, to a gate and track, where it was left to Little Newton. Here we joined the track and going left later the narrow road, we had walked last time on our previous walk from Long Preston.

After a while, Allen said, "look there's Kell Well on the right."

The Kell Beck flows from this under the road and on down the fields to the left, the water eventually ending up in the River Ribble.

We were all familiar with the route now, the road leading to the church and then along the street to the main road, where crossing and going right. it was almost immediately left to car park.

Glancing at the GPS, Shaun said, "we are just below 10 miles."

"Well if we explore the station and then walk down this path by the car park, we should make up the difference", replied Dad.

Actually it was well worth it, as at the bottom, we had this grand view of the railway viaduct that carries the line over Long Preston Beck. As can be seen the path seems to continue under the viaduct, but we did not need to explore any further, and in any case it was not shown on the map, and we all know what happened at Halton Place!

As we headed back, Shaun called out, "just look at that banking of Celandine. What a lovely sight."

"That's been a great day and we have had lovely views too", called out Tetley."Thanks Dad, as always."

"So I guess it's to Elaine's at Feizor now", said Allen.

"Spot on lad", replied Dad.

So settled in the car, we set off and it was not long before we were climbing the lane to the triangle and then on left to the hamlet. The great thing was that we got to go in too. Sue and Gemma were serving today and looked after Dad. It was nice to see Gemma again, as she does not work here on a Monday now.

He had the lovely mince and onion pie with chips and vegetables, followed by apple crumble and custard, all washed down with two welcome pots of tea.

Dad got into conversation with customer called Bill, who has a caravan at Ingleton using it as a base for walking. So with that in common, they had a good lively chat about the different walks they have done. He comes from Ilkeston, in Derbyshire, in the same general are that our Uncle Brian originates from.

A grand day out!


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