RIVER WYRE & ABBEYSTEAD from OVER WYRESDALE CHURCH

 


Summary

Date - 5th April 2015 Distance - 6.75 miles
Ascent -
620ft
Map - OL41 Start point - Over Wyresdale Church (SD 5517 5453

 

Summits Achieved

No summits were reached on this walk

 

Preface

All was well, we had steaming mugs in paw and were enjoying our afternoon cakes, courtesy of Grizzly and Little Eric.

"This chocolate caramel shortbread is absolutely delicious, Grizzly", said Tetley his eyes closed in ecstasy.

"And the cherry and ginger scones are lovely too", went on Southey.

"You can thank Little Eric for those", replied Grizzly.

Allen had the iPad in paw, and said, "it is Easter next weekend, and the weather looks to be good for Sunday, so let's hope we can get out for a walk."

"I am sure that Dad will be free, so we need to think of an idea to suggest to him", replied Shaun.

"It will be ever so busy in the Lake District, so perhaps somewhere nearer to home?", suggested Little Eric.

"We live in Lancashire, but in all the years we have never actually explored the countryside, and there is so much just waiting to be seen", said Tetley.

"There are sure to be some walks Dad saved from newspapers that will be relevant", replied Shaun. "Will you help me lift the binder down. Allen?"

"Sure pal."

This open we poured over the index and on the second page, Grizzly pointed, "how about this exploring the River Wyre and Abbeystead. Dad did it but way back in 1987, which was pre STAG, so it will be new ground for us all, and I am sure that Dad will be happy to do it again after all this time."

"Sounds like a plan", agreed Southey.

Allen drained his mug, and taking the walk sheet, said, "right I'll go and see what Dad thinks."

"Thanks pal", said Tetley, "We will refill your mug for your return."

"Great", he called out as he dashed out of the door.

It was not many minutes before Allen returned. Accepting steaming mug, he said, "thanks, Shaun." After taking a drink, he then went on, "the walk is on. Dad is very happy to do this again. After nearly 30 years he can remember little about it other than the part where we will pass by Abbeystead House that is the home of the Duke of Westminster."

"Roll on Sunday", cheered Southey raising his mug in salute.

 

The Walk

As it turned out it would have in fact been better if we had gone yesterday, when the weather was sunny and warmer, but Dad had other more pressing things to do. Today was cloudy throughout and rather misty too this persisting for most of the time, but we are not complaining. We truly do have the best Dad in the world, who takes us on all these adventures.

The start was at the Over Wyresdale Church set in an isolated location. Today being Easter Sunday, we were thankful that there was plenty of verge parking, as there was a well attended service.

"Our way is down the drive and through the lych-gate", said Shaun.

From the notice board you will see that Christ Church is further referred to as 'The Shepherds Church', so the inscription over the lych-gate 'I am the door of the sheep', was most appropriate.

Entering the well kept churchyard this was pretty with daffodils in bloom, brightening the rather gloomy and misty conditions.

"Being so misty there does not seem to be any point taking a picture of the church just now", remarked Grizzly.

"I agree lad", replied Dad.

However at the end of the walk, the conditions were clearer and here is the picture Dad took.

The church dates from 1733 and is Grade II listed. It was restored in 1894 by the Chester architect John Douglas who added a spire to the tower and built a new chancel. It is built in sandstone rubble with slate roofs and consists of a west tower, a nave with a lower chancel, a south porch, and a north vestry. The pulpit is dated 1684.

"It is through the gate in the wall of the churchyard", directed Shaun.

In the open pasture, stood the first of a number of inscribed stones that we passed today. These are direction markers along the route of the Wyre Way.

Keeping ahead we descended the slope to a small footbridge over Joshua's Beck.

"Seems pretty plain where we go", said Southey. "Over the bridge and stile, then over the stile on the right."

"Yes, spot on pal", agreed Shaun.

Beyond it was up the hill where another of the inscribed stones pointed the way.

Reaching the level ground, Shaun the advised, "we have make for the buildings of Lentworth Hall."

Peering ahead, Little Eric laughingly said, "if only we could see them."

They were lost in the mist, so Shaun said, "it is an easterly bearing."

Pulling the compass out of his pocket Dad took a bearing, and pointing said, "that way then."

Soon the farm appeared out of the mist and a gate took us into the yard, and then through this via two more gates and over a stile out into the fields again.

"We should keep by the fence on the right and over another stile", advised Shaun.

This led into rougher ground that we descended steadily keeping parallel with the fence on the left, crossing two small streams and down to a stony track, with woodland on its far side.

"Is it along the track?", asked Allen.

"No", replied Shaun. "We cross it and take that stile into the wood."

Beyond stone steps led to a further stile.

Over this, we descended more steps into the field which was crossed to Long Bridge spanning the River Wyre.

Pausing as we crossed we took in the views. Dad took pictures both upstream and down the latter being the one it was collectively decided should be included in our account.

"OK, we go right, uphill", called out Shaun.

After about 20 yards at a junction suddenly there were waymarks pointing every which way.

"We double back left now", was Shaun's command.

"But there does not seem to be a waymark pointing that way?", queried Little Eric.

"Well whatever that is the way we need to go", assured Shaun.

Soon this brought us to a further footbridge crossing Street Brook and then to and over the stile in the fence.

The way was now clear slanting right to a climbing track that passed through a gateway into a field where after a few yards the gradient levelled off.

"Right here, by the hedge", instructed Shaun.

Soon this brought us to a gate into the farmyard at Catshaw Hall. Crossing the yard it was then along the access track soon bearing left to pass Little Catshaw Farm.

"Ooh look at that fancy gate, made up of old implements!" exclaimed Tetley. "That's got to be included in the story."

"Wonderful", added Allen.

The sheep forms a nice backdrop. We passed through and by many fields abundant with ewes and lambs, so it was inevitable that some opportunities would present themselves for pictures. Allen accepts, with a little protest, that some of these will have to appear, like this below.

Along the cart track another of the inscribed direction stones was passed.

After a quarter mile this track turned sharp right. "We keep ahead now to the corner", instructed Shaun.

Here Dad climbed a stile and then crossed a footbridge over a small stream, to in the fence ahead go through the gate and along the path that sloped down to a stony track.

"There are some long abandoned remains of buildings", remarked Allen.

Reading from the walk instructions Shaun said, "they are of Catshaw Factory. A cotton spinning mill that was burnt down in 1848." This is all the information we can provide as a search of the Internet yielded nothing further.

The waymark pointed across the track and along the embankment of the long dried up mill pond. Cam Brook was then crossed by a footbridge and so up the middle of the field full of sheep and lambs.

As Dad lined up yet another shot, Allen cried, "not again!"

This brought us to the gate to Marl House Farm. "We keep to the left of the buildings to pass through", advised Shaun.

Onwards on the access track, passing some barns where the track bent right to a narrow road. On the adjacent fence it was clear there had been a war against the moles. "Hmm", said Southey, "I have not seen the like before."

Going right soon a junction was reached, Shaun saying, "it's left here."

This road was now followed for about a mile and a half. Moorland initially to the right and in all directions the landscape disappeared into the mist. A shame really as clear conditions would no doubt have added interest to this otherwise drab section. Lapwings and curlews were calling out and our thoughts turned to Uncle Brian who loves to hear them. For more than half the way on this road a double fence had been erected between which had been planted hawthorn that in a few years will restore the hedges.

"That's so good", remarked Tetley. "It is much more environmentally friendly and will provide habitat for birds and wildlife too."

Eventually the road dropped down to run beside the Marshaw Wyre...

..and then up to the main Trough of Bowland road. "We go left", said Shaun, "as far as the next corner where it is then through the gate into a field."

A wall ran to the left and there was a step stile over it. "We do not cross that", remarked Shaun.

"But", replied Grizzly, "It will be a great place to pose for our picture.

"Quite", said Southey and Little Eric together. "It is about time we made an appearance!"

Adjacent too was yet another of the direction stones, the Ww of course referring to the Wyre Way.

"They perhaps need the farmer from Marl House to deal with the moles here too", remarked Tetley.

Strolling on the route led down round the woodland on the right to a waymarked stile by beside it and then over a footbridge. Now on by the fence to the left it was over a stile in a cross fence, after getting for a minute confused by the waymarks that seemed to point right. Keeping ahead the fence soon became a wall and we followed by it to another footbridge, crossing the Marshaw Wyre, where the gorse on the bank made a pretty sight.

Crossing flatter ground with the river some yards away to the right, the route was now clearly up the steps of an escarpment.

Shaun was getting a rest as the way had been clearly waymarked, the route now over the stile at the top of the steps and by some woodland to the left, where a stone read 'planted in 1908'.

Beyond a kissing gate led into a field where we walked on with the river down below, and passing another of the inscribed direction stones.

To the right the scene was now dominated by Abbeystead House and gardens. It was built in 1886 as a shooting lodge for the 4th Earl of Sefton. It was designed by the Chester firm of architects Douglas and Fordham who added gun and billiard rooms in 1894. In 1980 the Abbeystead Estate, totalling 18,000 acres (73 km2) and including the house, was bought by a trust relating to the family of the Duke of Westminster.

Past the house the path then dropped down to a metal gate and up a short track to the road. "We go right", said Shaun.

Crossing the bridge the road led to a junction to stroll left through the village of Abbeystead. "That house will make a nice picture to include in the story", said Grizzly.

"It is on up the hill to where the road bends right, and there we cross the stile left and then go on ahead to the next cross wall", instructed Shaun.

Reaching a track Shaun then said, "we should go left over the cattle grid then then half right across the large field to a gate in the corner."

"There's the church", called out Tetley, "so we a clearly in track."

In the next field this was crossed via a footbridge in a hollow and on to a stile. Now we were in the field abutting the boundary wall of the churchyard.

Ewes and lambs were grazing, and to Allen's chagrin, Dad snapped this group.

Passing through the gate into the churchyard,

Tetley called out, "what is that certificate by the wall?"

As can be seen this relates to The Waist High Passimeter Awards celebrating creativity in the field and awarded by the artists Jones squared. The narrative states that the gate was awarded a gold medal, yet as can be seen this is contradicted by a silver medal symbol?

"In all my time that I have been walking I have never come across this before", said Tetley.

The rest of us murmured our agreement, as Dad said, "nor me either lad."

Further investigation has revealed that these awards are given for creative ways of holding gates open and shut, in the rural areas of the Lancaster and Morecambe district, this being the first one we had come across.

"What a lovely walk", said Southey.

"And through nice scenery too", went on Allen. "I can't wait to explore more of our home county."

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