WYRESDALE CIRCULAR from DOLPHINHOLME

 


Summary

Date - 19th April 2015 Distance - 6.5 miles
Ascent -
810ft
Map - OL41 Start point - Dolphinholme School (SD 5175 5357)

 

Summits Achieved

No summits were reached on this walk

 

Preface

It was Thursday and all was well as Shaun, Grizzly & Little Eric had arrived with the tea and cakes.

"Ooh great", said Allen, looking up from the book he was reading, and going off to get the mugs and plates.

Little Eric said, "the selection is fruit scones that Grizzly, has made, or chocolate caramel shortbread that I have made."

"Lovely", replied Southey. "Can I have one of each if that is not being too greedy."

"Sure pal", said Grizzly, putting them on the plate.

So with steaming mugs on paw our thoughts turned to the question of walking.

"This is a busy week for Dad, with a concert in Manchester tonight and then one in Kendal on Saturday, but perhaps if Allen asks nicely we might get to walk on Sunday, weather permitting of course.

Grizzly grabbed the iPad and quickly navigated to the Met Office app. "It's going to be a cloudy day but dry."

"So then, where to go?", said Shaun.

"Well I really enjoyed our last walk in Lancashire, so why not continue the exploration", suggested Allen.

"Right then, let's have a look in the walk binder and because I seem to remember there was another one I spotted last time", said Grizzly. With this open at the index page, he scanned down the pointed with his paw, "this one that explores Wyresdale."

We read the description and Shaun said, "sounds good to me, and while 2002 was the time that Dad was starting to take Tetley and I on the walks he did not take us on every one."

Tetley had opened up the walk records and replied, "you are right Shaun, we did not go that day, so it will be a new area to us all."

"OK Allen, now you just need to work your charm on Dad", implored Little Eric.

So off he went and we all kept our paws crossed. In minutes he was back with a wide smile on his face. "Yes pals, it's on."

"Yippee", cried Southey, "roll on Sunday."

 

The Walk

Being out the night before Dad had told said, "I intend us to start walking about 10:00, so we do not need to set off until about 09:15."

"Oh good", replied Southey, "We can have a bit of a lie in then."

We did, but made sure we were ready in good time and dashed out to the car when we heard Dad slam the boot shut for the final time.

The start was was from Dolphinholme School and being Sunday we were able to park outside. The picture shows how the original building has been extended over the years.

"Right", said Shaun. "Our route is a short way back along the road, then left along a narrow lane to a cul-de-sac of houses."

"If it is a dead end, then how do we proceed further?", asked Little Eric.

Patiently Shaun explained, "the cul-de-sac relates to vehicular access. For pedestrians there is a tarmac path left that drops down to another road and Lower Dolphinholme."

Here there was this large building, now residential use, but formerly Dolphinholme Mill. From the year carved into the lintel above the lower side door, it dates from 1797. Founded by slave trader Thomas Hinde, this worsted mill prospered and the lower village was amongst the first in the United Kingdom to have gas lighting. In one of the world's first examples of green living, pollution was fed away from the village underground to the mill's chimney which was located in a nearby field. We are grateful to Wikipedia for this information.

As we passed by and crossed the River Wyre, Tetley said, "look those are the loading doors where the bales of cotton would be brought in using the hoist at the top."

Opposite were some cottages and Allen said, "perhaps the mill workers once lived here."

Just a little further were stone houses, those at the far end being called Old Mill House and Woodcock Hall. "I suspect that was maybe where the mill owner lived?", speculated Grizzly.

Now strolled on climbing steadily along what is called the Wagon Road and clear of the trees then getting extensive views of the Bowland Fells. Little did we realise then how familiar they were to become.

At a corner Shaun piped up, "we go left here."

This was on the access to Dolphinholme House Farm, that according to the sign is the home of Dolphinholme Goat's Cheese, and much else besides no doubt. Also a horse centre as further on we saw parts of a cross country course.

Where the drive turned left to the farm, we kept straight ahead on a track, and now climbing, on ahead at the next junction.

"Those inspection covers look familiar", said Tetley. "I am sure we must be crossing the line of one of the aqueducts to Manchester.

Reading the lettering Grizzly said, "there are initials 'TA', so it's the Thirlmere Aqueduct."

The track eventually turned right and Shaun called out, "we keep straight on by that line of old thorn trees."

After a gate in the next fence line the way climbed and once in view, it was past an isolated barn.

Spring time and the fields were full of sheep and lambs. To wind Allen up, Southey whispered, "that ewe and her two lambs are perfectly posed Dad,"

"So they are lad."

"Hmph", said Allen, "sheep picture free story gone again."

The path now led us by the lower side of a hedge line to a gate and then on to a stile in the fence.

Seeing the multiplicity of waymarks, Little Eric asked, "which way now?"

"We go diagonally left as directed by the lowest waymark", replied Shaun.

This took us over the pasture passing below Lower Swainshead Farm, and to a stile into the wood. Again there were sheep and lambs and Dad could not resist snapping this pair.

"Oh no, not again!", cried Allen in exasperation. "That's the last for this story", he went on.

"We'll see", replied Tetley, laughing out loud.

After the stile the path dropped down to a t-junction where Shaun said, "we go right."

Crossing a tiny stream and some duck boarding over a very boggy patch, the lovely path meandered through the wood. "We are just too early for the bluebells", said Little Eric disappointedly.

"Yes lad", replied Dad. "Another few weeks and the ground either side will be just a mass of blue, as I noted when I originally did the walk on 19th May 2002."

Eventually the path led us down to come by the River Wyre and reaching Long Bridge again, which we had crossed to this side on the last walk.

We don't cross", said Shaun, "but follow the same route as the last walk."

"That will be down the narrow path to the bridge over a side stream and then up to a stile into a field. Then up the broad grassy track to the right to a gate", said Southey.

"Spot on pal", replied Shaun. "You'll be able to take over from me soon."

"Oh, not yet, I need to get far more experience", said Southey.

At the top of the slope after the gate, it was right by the hedge to Catshaw Hall and on through the yard and along the access drive. Just before the fork, Shaun said, "here is where we leave the last walk route, by climbing this stile on the right and go through the second gate and then right down to a stile into woodland"

This done Tetley commented, "from the arrangement of the stiles it seems that the route has actually changed since the publication of the walk. Now it is to stay in the first field and walk down it to a stile on the left and then over this stile into the wood."

"It is over 30 years since the publication, so it's not too surprising", replied Dad.

Dropped down the woodland path to a footbridge over Hall Gill and up the far side to a stile over the fence. "Look", called out Grizzly, "that stone has been fashioned into a seat."

"A good place to stop for lunch", said Allen, rubbing his tummy in anticipation.

This then done, we posed for our picture.

The route was now over open moor and in accordance with the instructions Dad drifted a bit to the left, looking as we all were for the cross of fences mentioned in the instructions.

"There is a fence line coming up ahead", said Tetley.

Reaching this Dad and Shaun looked at the map, Shaun saying, "this is not the cross of fences. We are in fact too far left."

"Yes lad, you are correct.

Dad struck right and soon Swainshead Hall came into view, and a gate in the fence on the left. "Strictly we should be going through the grounds of the hall, but taking this gate we can walk down to the access drive which is where we need to be. Then go left to the road", said Shaun.

Crossed the road and went through the opposite gate on a grassy path by the hedge on the left, to another gate.

"The instructions now say to follow the sunken lane", said Shaun.

"Hmm, that looks to be awfully muddy", remarked Grizzly.

"Yes", agreed Dad. "It will be better if I use the firmer ground to its right."

The track then dropped down to cross a ford and come to the remains of a ruinous cottage, where it bent right and continued to Lane Head. A former farmhouse that has at sometime been converted and extended into a superb residence with views of the Wyre Estuary and the Fylde. The extensions had floor to ceiling windows maximising the view.

"Wow!", exclaimed Allen. "What a wonderful place to live."

Reaching the end of the drive, Little Eric said, "it is for sale."

Making a note of the estate agency, when we got home Dad looked it up. It is a magnificent residence and quite beautifully appointed. The guide price being £1.45m.

Shaun issued instructions again. "it is left along the road, to then take the right fork."

Here looking across to an area called Pasture Clough, Tetley said, "the gorse make a colourful scene."

Reaching the crossroads at Street by Wyre Lake, Shaun said, "we go straight on and soon cross Street Bridge, where we go right."

Over the stile and down the steps the path through the field kept by the River Wyre to cross the drive to Wyreside Hall. When and by whom it was built is unknown, but there was as building present when the estate was purchased by the Cawthorne family in the late 18th century. In 1836 it was purchased by Robert Garnett. In 1843-4 he commissioned Lancaster architect Edmund Sharpe to remodel the house. It was sold by auction in 1936, and subsequently occupied by a religious order and then later was converted to a number of separate apartments.

As we strolled on up the field, Tetley said, "that is a nice shot of the River Wyre and the bridge leading to the hall."

A gate led into the wood. Now going ahead to the right we came to a lane, and then right to come to the farm called Coreless Mill, the old millstones standing either side of the door.

There is little information about the mill on this site, other than to find that it operated until 1926. Whether like that at the building in Lower Dolphinholme it was involved in worsted spinning, we do not know. The old mill wheel is however preserved in the adjacent field.

Shaun said, "we go through the white gate to the right of the house and then over the pasture to the far corner by Mill Wood."

The River Wyre was to our right and Grizzly commented as we neared the end of the field, "that is a lovely picture, the water shining blue in the sunshine."

At the corner hard against the wood, a kissing gate gave access to a track that was walled to the right. A little way along our way was suddenly barred by sheep and a goat.

"Ha", laughed Tetley. I told you there would be more sheep pictures Allen."

"Hmph!", he replied.

The sheep ran off but the goat just gave us a look and then continued eating the vegetation.

"We will come to a junction, where we should take the path climbing left leading to a stile into a field", instructed Shaun. "Then it is on across this to a gate onto a lane by St Mark's church."

"Can we visit?", asked Grizzly.

"Sure lad. Let's hope it is not locked."

The church was built between 1897 and 1898 to a design by the Lancaster architects Austin & Paley, replacing an older church erected some 60 years earlier for the use of local mill workers. The new church cost £3,300 (£330,000 as of 2015), and provided seating for 497 people and was consecrated on 25 January 1899. It is built of sandstone rubble with a green slate roof. At the crossing is a tower with a stair turret at the southwest corner. Its summit has a plain parapet and a pyramidal roof with a weathervane. The north and south sides of the chancel each contain a two-light window. Along the south wall of the nave are three windows, two with three lights, the other with two lights. To the west of these is a doorway with a pointed head.

The nave consists of a three-bay arcade carried on octagonal piers.

"What a fine roof there is above the nave", said Grizzly.

Walking on up the aisle Dad then took this of the chancel with its five light east window.

Taking our leave Grizzly said, "what a lovely church. Thank you Dad for letting us visit. You know that I really like looking round churches."

Then it was along the lane to the cul-de-sac and so to the road and car.

"Thanks Dad, that was a lovely walk", said Southey.

"Hear, hear", the rest of us said.

There were no tearooms for Dad to find refreshment, but on the way home he called at Lidl for supplies, including a Belgian bun that he had with a mug of tea at home.

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