OAKLANDS, MOORLANDS & BOWKER HOUSE
from HIGH BENTHAM

 


Summary

Date - 21st January 2016 Distance - 5 miles
Ascent -
770ft
Map - OL41 Start point - High Bentham car park (SD 6674 6934)

 

Summits Achieved

No summits were reached on this walk

 

Preface

Looking up from his Cumbria magazine, Allen commented, "there are some really interesting articles this month."

"Yes pal" agreed Southey, who was reading his copy. "I'll do a swap with you Tetley, once you have read your Dalesman."

"Thanks pal, that would be nice". It is good to keep up with things."

Allen meanwhile had picked up the iPad and looking at the calendar, said, "there is a date down on Thursday for a potential walk with Uncle Eric." Then after a few more taps, "the weather looks to be OK too."

It was then that Shaun, Grizzly and Little Eric arrived with the flasks and cakes. "Ooh great", cheered Southey", "my tummy was rumbling a bit."

He and Tetley went off to get the plates and mugs, and soon we all had steaming mugs of tea in paw.

Grizzly announced, "I have made chocolate coconut and cherry slice, and Little Eric has made peach and apricot slice."

We all tucked in and after a while, Shaun said, "they are both truly delicious."

"Mmm", agreed Allen, through a mouthful of cake.

"So Allen", went on Little Eric, "you mentioned a walk day, when we came in."

"Yes pal", Thursday with Uncle Eric. "We just need to come up with an idea."

Shaun suggested, "I know we have walked quite extensively from Bentham, but I am sure there are paths we have not yet explored."

"I'll get the map", replied Tetley, "then we can see."

This was soon spread out, and helpfully Dad had highlighted previous walks, making it easier. Pointing Grizzly said, "the area due south of High Bentham remains unexplored, and the paths give scope for a route."

Shaun peered over his shoulder and said, "if we take the road past the station to Brookhouse Farm, we can then take a route via Oakhead to Thwaite Lane."

Allen then took up the route finding, "then we can go left along it to take the route left, and return via Fleet House, across an area called Bents and past Scarfes."

"Sounds good to me", agreed Southey and new ground for us all.

Allen drained his mug, picked up the map and headed off to see if Dad agreed.

"You had better refill his mug, Shaun", laughed Tetley, "we all know what a tea belly he is."

Allen soon returned, and gratefully accepted the refilled mug. "Thanks pal." Then after taking a sip, he said, "Dad likes the idea, and will see if Uncle Eric agrees too when they speak on the phone."

He did too, as Dad told us later.

 

The Walk

On the day, as we were getting ready, the phone rang, and after a brief conversation, Dad came and said, "that was Uncle Eric, he is not very well, so will not be joining us today.

"Oh what a shame", replied Grizzly, "we always like to have his company."

"Are we still going though?", asked Southey worriedly.

"For sure lad", replied Dad.

It was an easy drive the route ever so familiar to Dad, being the way he and Uncle Brian go to Elaine's at Feizor every Monday. The large car park lies behind the main street, and we got ourselves comfy in Dad's rucksack, while he was getting his boots on. Then shouldering the rucksack, off we went, taking a route along a narrow passage between buildings to the main street. A few yards left it was right down Station Road crossing the railway line and the River Wenning and so up the steep Thickrash Brow beyond, to the point where the road bent left.

At the corner stands Brookhouse Farm, Shaun instructing, "we go through the farm buildings."

After a gate, we crossed the tiny Moulter Beck, to be faced with a choice of two further gates.

"Which one?", asked Southey.

Tetley was quick with the reply. "the one on our left will be the return route, but for now we take the right hand one and climb up to the top of the field."

On the right a gate allowed progress, Grizzly saying, "we now go diagonally to that gate half way in the facing fence and then continue diagonally."

Normally Shaun gives all the directions, but we had decided that the rest of us needed to keep up our map reading skills today.

At the far side was tiny footbridge and this fancy kissing gate.

Dad strolled the next field, towards a gap in the fence. "That rather shapely tree might make a nice picture?", suggested Allen.

As can be seen the day was cloudy and pretty grey and it was cold too, but at least it was dry from the sky, if not underfoot. This was hardly surprising after the storms and rain that had plagued the north-west of the country during December.

Onwards now and a stone step stile gave access over the wall onto West Hill Lane.

"Turn right", instructed Shaun. "We go to just past the road junction and then it is left along the farm access."

As soon as Dad headed along this, Tetley said, "we shortly leave this right."

Sharp eyed as ever, Grizzly soon called out, "here's the gap stile just across the small stream"

"Well done lad, that would be easy to miss", said Dad.

Drifting left the access to Oakhead Farm was joined, along which this group of sheep were hungrily clustered round this hay bale.

"There goes my chance of a sheep picture free story", complained Allen, "but at least they are not posing."

The track turned right to Oakhead Farm. "It is not that way I am sure", said Little Eric.

Looking to the horizon, Tetley said, "there is a building on the top of that hill, which must be Tunstall House, which we have to head for."

"Agreed", replied Shaun. "So it's left here across the grass and through that gate."

A steady climb ensued to a gate into the grounds of Tunstall House and then along the access road.

At a junction it seemed that the route was left, but soon Shaun called out, "this is leading us to another house Dad."

"So it is lad. My mistake", he said, backtracking to get on the right path and soon reach Thwaite Lane.

This was strolled left for about half a mile, then leaving it left along the track to Fleet House, then via a stile and on across the fields and stiles to Moorlands.

On the way, Tetley suddenly pointed saying, "what's that attached to this old railway sleeper?"

"It's an old track circuit indicator plate from the LMS Railway days", replied Dad.

"Oh what a pity that Uncle Eric is not with us. He would have been fascinated to see it, bearing in mind his interest in railways", exclaimed Southey.

At Moorlands the route was obvious through the waymarked gate to the left of the house and on to a gate on the right, where it was then left alongside the wall to a gate into open moor that is called Bents.

"I wonder where the name comes from?", mused Little Eric.

Well we are an inquisitive lot, so when we got home Tetley searched Google. "Well", he laughed. "It turns out that one of the definitions for bent is 'an area of grassland unbounded by hedges or fences.'

"Every day's a school day", replied Grizzly.

A narrow intermittent path crossed approximately north and brought us to a narrow section between a wall and a fence. The rough ground above a stream led to the derelict house of Scarfes that is undergoing renovation.

Passed the house via gates to its access leading to West Hill Lane that we crossed to walk the access towards Bowker House.

"I think the view to the left of the trees will make a nice picture?" suggested Tetley.

Glancing at the map, Grizzly said, "the white building is Belle View Farm, which we passed earlier in the walk."

Nearing the buildings Little Eric said, "we have to make an appearance in every story, so that stretch of wall on the right looks like a good place for us to sit."

We quickly scrambled out of the rucksack, Dad saying, "OK get yourselves settled."

Any thoughts here of an easy stroll through the farmyard were discouraged as the gate was tied up, and a vehicle blocked access via the yard to grassy path from the farm. Instead an arrow pointed to the narrow footpath that ran between a fence and the wall of the buildings. This was gained by an awkward step stile.

"A bit of an obstacle course", laughed Tetley, as we got to the other end.

Beyond the grassy path became narrow and muddy as it ran between fences...

...leading to a makeshift gate into pasture. This was crossed to step stile in a short section of wall and then on to a stile over a fence, to head downhill, to the gate referred at the beginning, to Brooklands Farm.

"Now just a matter of retracing the route to the car park", said Southey.

"Yes lad", said Dad. "I hope you have enjoyed the day."

"It's good wherever we go. I just love being out in the countryside", he replied.

The rest if us murmured our agreement, Shaun adding "and at least we have got the walk done before it starts to rain."

After Dad had got his boots off, he said, "I am going to Oakroyd Bakery that we passed on Station Road, to get some bread and pork pies, then it will be off to Elaine's for some refreshment."

Allen laughed saying, "now why am I not surprised by that!"

We are always happy to go to Elaine's as Dad takes us in too. He had a warming pot of tea and a bacon and cream cheese ciabatta.

They were surprised to see us and during the time Dad had chats with Elaine, Marian and Sharon.

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