HIGH BENTHAM & WENNINGTON CIRCULAR

 


Summary

Date - 29th December 2015 Distance - 10 miles
Ascent -
1220ft
Map - OL41 Start point - High Bentham car park (SD 6674 6934)

 

Summits Achieved

No summits were reached on this walk

 

Preface

Well the weather had been terrible, but it did not dampen the spirits of the Hug, and we all had a great party for Christmas. After the lovely dinner we split into groups to chat about our individual interests. Amongst these were Wayne and Crumble with pals interested in classical music, Rex and Starbuck with pals interested in theatre. And of course Scooter, Higgy, Dunstan, Dale, Chuffer & Leander, the railway bears. Not surprisingly our thoughts turned to walks.

"I wonder if we can get just one more walk in to round off the year", said Southey enthusiastically.

"There is a day down for Tuesday with Uncle Eric", replied Allen, looking up from the iPad.

"The way the weather is at present, it will probably rain", said Little Eric mournfully.

By now Allen had navigated to the Met Office page, and looking up smiled and replied, "I am pleased to say for once it is forecast to be a good day."

"Yippee", cried Tetley and Grizzly.

"Great", cheered Shaun.

"So then where to go?", went on Tetley.

"Dad told us that Uncle Eric has a leaflet of walks from the Morecambe to Leeds railway line. They are linear, but he is devising a return route where possible", replied Shaun.

"So we will just have to wait and see", said Grizzly, effectively ending the conversation.


We eagerly waited for Monday night when Dad spoke with Uncle Eric.

"Right lads, a walk is on for tomorrow. It starts in High Bentham and will take us to Wennington and back. The return from Wennington is actually the walk in the railway leaflet. Mostly it will be new ground although some of the return route from Wennington we have done before."

"Sounds good", cheered Southey, "and it will be totally new ground for me."

"Roll on tomorrow", cheered Little Eric.

 

The Walk

We met Uncle Eric at the car park behind the shops in High Bentham, and called a cheery "hello!"

"Hello lads", Uncle Eric replied, "nice to see you all, and good to have a dry day for once."

Dad was soon ready so we quickly settled in the rucksack. From the car park it was along a ginnel on to the main street and then down Station Road, turning right along by some houses and into the large caravan site that extends on either side of the River Wenning that is spanned by a bridge.

We exited the site onto a delightful path that for the most part kept by the river with kissing gates and stone step stiles allowing progress. The picture clearly shows it was indeed a nice winter day the low sun casting long shadows.

The river was hurrying by swollen by the rains. "What a lovely path", said Tetley. "Thank you for devising this route, Uncle Eric."

"You are welcome. Glad you are enjoying it lads"

Eventually we came to where the track went right under the railway bridge, but Uncle Eric said, "we should keep ahead between the river and railway."

Soon this brought us to a substantial footbridge crossing the river and beyond led us through houses to the road, where turning right passed under the railway and then left to the Punch Bowl Inn.

Looking across the road, Little Eric said, "what does that sign mean?"

"In the early 1970s, the then government decided to reorganise the county divisions and boundaries, which I and many other people consider was a pretty much a disaster. Before this Yorkshire was divided in to areas called Ridings. There were three, East, South and West. Here it was the West Riding as the sign indicates. The boundary between Lancashire and Yorkshire was altered with some villages and properties changing county. It maybe that this marked the then county boundary."

"Thanks Dad, for the history lesson. I am always interested to learn these things", said Little Eric.

Our eyes were then drawn to a notice board beside the car park, that was headed, 'The Queen's Bloomers'.
It went on to explain that Low Bentham has a history of silk weaving. It is said that the fine silk woven at the Ford Ayrton silk mill was used to make Queen Victoria's underwear.
Lady Amelia Bloomer was an early promoter of cycling for women as she encouraged Victorian ladies to abandon their petticoats for a pair of baggy trousers that reached the ankle so they could take up the new sport of cycling with modesty.
In honour of this artist Marjan Wouda created a sculpture that hangs from a nearby tree.

"A section of road walking now", said Uncle Eric.

This was along the winding Eskew Lane, to cross Eskew Bridge. Looking at the map, Tetley commented with a smile on his face, "unsurprisingly this spans Eskew Beck."

The road continued, now called Long Lane, which was followed as far as its junction with Old Moor Road to the right.

"We go right here for a little way as far as the building called Hunter's Barn", instructed Shaun.

Here the way was left along the access to a gate into a large pasture and then across another towards Greenside Farm. Boggy going at times, especially on the last section. We met the farmer, who showed us the way just here, while Dad and Uncle Eric chatted with him.

The map shows the route being through the buildings but it seems this has changed as he took us to a gate at the right side, to then continue right on a good track for a little way. Here we met walkers who were coming the other way, and struggling to cross a section of very wet and boggy ground. This was our route, but to avoid this the farmer told us to walk straight ahead then go right to the gate further up the fence line.

At this gateway the ground was extremely muddy, and Dad and Uncle Eric had to cling to a holly bush on the bank to get through.

Grizzly said, "let's hope the rains stop soon, to give the ground chance to dry out.

"Amen to that", agreed Dad.

A short steep climb now followed to reach the road via a stile and walk right for short way to Ashleys.

Opposite there was a large layby. "Good place to start a walk", mused Allen.

"Yes lad, I will certainly bear that in mind." [sorry, unconscious pun - Ed].

Ashleys was formerly a farm, but the buildings have been converted to a group of houses. Passing through and as we approached the last, Tetley said, "it's called Bridleway Cottage, so that must be our route."

A grass track took us though a gate leading to another and then down right to a concrete footbridge, to cross a huge pasture on a narrow trod.

"I think those trees with the sheep grazing will make a nice picture", suggested Little Eric.

"A nice shot", agreed Allen, "and at least it avoids a close-up of the sheep."

Allen's glee however was to be short lived, as in the very next field this group posed for Dad.

"Hmph", grumped Allen.

Shortly through a gate we passed a barn in the adjacent field, then strolled along with the fence to our left, to zig-zag down into a narrow tree-lined valley and a bridge over a small stream.

The path climbed the other side to a gate, and across a field to the road.

"We go straight across to Moorhead", said Shaun.

Once there it was right through a gate to cross the field to Parkside. This property was in the process of being extended and will have a huge window at the end.

"When it's done what a superb view, from there", remarked Southey.

The way was right and then left, to pass through a kissing gate on the right and down past a house to the narrow Park Lane that was crossed and once over the stile we continued to and through Coat Bank Coppice. On the way Dad stopped to take this lovely shot of Ingleborough.

"Majestic", breathed Southey.

Soon now we reached Overends walking through the buildings and along its access, to leave this by a facing gate and drift right to a gate onto Old Moor Road. Turned left and descended, shortly reach Wennington Station, where we stopped for lunch.

"That was a most enjoyable route", said Tetley. "Thank you once again Uncle Eric."

"Glad you liked it", he replied.

We happily munched our sandwiches, followed by cake, all washed down with warming mugs of tea. Finished, Grizzly then asked, "will you take our picture here?"

Sure lads."

So, suitably rested and refreshed we settled in Dad's rucksack, Allen noticing and saying, "there are some leaflets in that stand, Dad."

"So there are." He went over to look and said, "well well, Eric, this is the one for our return walk."

"I was not aware that they could be picked up on the stations", Uncle Eric replied.

Dad tucked it in his map carrier, and then putting best foot forward we left the station, turning left to walk back up Old Moor Lane, passing the gate we had come through earlier. After a while the lane swung sharp right to soon pass Hill Side Farm.

Uncle Eric said, "we go on to pass East View, and then take the second signed footpath on the left."

This led to Higher Perries, where the instructions told us to go right on a grassy path between garages and a barn, to a stile by an oak tree. Then keeping by the hedge on left, we walked to the bottom of the field, to follow on by the hedge around to the right and then as it turned left again, to reach a U shaped concrete stile by a gate.

Over this the instruction was to drift right to a gate beside a big tree and then walk right to Greenfold Farm taking the gate to the left of the poly tunnel. Walked on through the yard and then left through a gate marked FP, past this group of sheep, who then gave us the beady eye.

"Oh no...., not more sheep pictures", groaned Allen.

Then crossed the succeeding pastures via stiles, the third leading to a footbridge in a wooded gully. The path then climbed left through the top of the wood to another step stile on the right and then to step over a length of protected barbed wire.

Striding on we soon came to Robert Hall, the route keeping to the left as waymarked.

It originally dates from the 15th century, although many alterations have taken over the centuries. Above the large door by the car, is this coat of arms.

"What a shame there is not more information about the history of the hall and what family the coat of arms represented", said Grizzly.

"Indeed it would be very fascinating", agreed Little Eric.

Following the track we exited the complex and at a cattle grid took the waymarked gate left, to descend diagonally the large pasture, using the right side of distant Ingleborough as a route guide. Passed through a broken tree line and over a hedge and ditch to come to a stile a short way up from the bottom corner, into the wood. The path now descended right down steps to cross Eskew Beck, then up the far side to Eskew Lane.

"We go left to the stile by the second gate on the right", said Uncle Eric.

Here we kept right to cross two step stiles and then turned up left to Clouds Bank. "Wow", exclaimed Southey, "what a beautiful house."

The path led right round the buildings to then parallel the access drive and through two gates onto the road.

"We go straight across", said Uncle Eric.

This path above the River Wenning led into woodland and then climbed up round the top, to then descend to the river soon passing this weir.

Now by the river the path led to a step stile in the wall on the right to then continue ahead over a small bridge and then a stone step stile that Dad climbed over.

"You sometimes make things hard for yourself", said Uncle Eric, who just walked round the end of the wall above the river bank.

We all let out a guffaw and through his laughter Tetley said, "why didn't you think of that Dad."

We were still chuckling as we reached the River Wenning waterfall and by it on the opposite bank to the left, the renowned Wenning Oak. "I wonder how old the tree is", mused Shaun. Well despite a thorough search the Internet revealed no information of its age.

Now leaving the river, we crossed a beck and stile to keep left by a fence until it dropped into a hollow. Here it was left through a kissing gate and along the edge of the caravan park to a further kissing gate. Strolled the tarmac to the reception building and then turned left towards the bridge, taking the path right immediately before it.

"Look at those lovely animal statues", cried Little Eric. "They are so cute. Please take a picture Dad."

The path led through a hedge and along some flags and then up the road between homes. At the end, by the footpath sign, it was straight on to cross the grass and then over a wall stile.

The path now turned left to a kissing gate and then on by the river, to soon go left over a footbridge and then right on a path through the wood. This led to the caravan park access road. Along this we came to Station Road. Here turned left to return to the car. Dad stopping to take this picture of Bentham Station.

"What a lovely and interesting walk", said Southey. "All completely new to me. Thank you Uncle Eric for devising it."

"I am just glad you have enjoyed it. A good day."

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