BENTHAM/CLAPHAM STATION CIRCULAR

 


Summary

Date - 19th July 2016 Distance - 11.75 miles
Ascent -
1060ft
Map - OL2/41 Start point - Car park, High Bentham (SD 6674 6934)

 

Summits Achieved

No summits were reached on this walk

 

Preface

The tea and cakes had arrived, Tetley helping Shaun fill the mugs and pass them round.

"What are the cakes today?", asked Southey.

"Mincemeat slice that Little Eric has made, and I have done chocolate covered flapjack", replied Grizzly.

"I love them both", enthused Southey, helping himself from the tin. "Ooh the flapjack is scrumptious, thanks pal as always."

"You're welcome", replied Grizzly.

"Love the mincemeat slice, its delicious, Little Eric", said Shaun. "You and Grizzly really spoil us."

Little Eric had a piece of flapjack half way to his mouth when he suddenly said, "where's Allen? Not like him to miss out on tea."

"He'll be here, he can smell tea a mile off, just like Dad", laughed Tetley.

"I have been thinking about the last walk", said Little Eric. "It was wonderful to finally get Book 6 completed, but wow that ascent to Grasmoor was so so steep. I know Dad was serious when he said we will not be using that route again."

"You are right pal", replied Tetley. "But it was a super walk and the views were stupendous."

Just then the whirlwind that was Allen burst into the room. "I have news" he managed to gasp.

"Now now pal, just take a breath and calm down", said Shaun. "Here's a mug of tea."

"Thanks pal, I'm ready for that and some of the lovely cake I see in the tin."

So we waited patiently for the news Allen had to impart.

Calmed and refreshed he then said, "I bring news of a walk on Tuesday with Uncle Eric. After the last challenging one, and the fact that it is expected to be a very warm day, going on the fells will not be a good idea. So, instead we are going to do another of the railway walks from the Bentham line."

"That will be nice", agreed Grizzly, "and you are quite right not a day for the hills if it is to be hot."

"So where are we going then?", asked Southey.

"Walking from Bentham to Clapham and back. The actual published walk is from Clapham to Bentham, so Uncle Eric has devised a route to make it a circular walk."

"Sounds great", cheered Little Eric and raising his mug, "here's to Tuesday."

 

The Walk

The plan was to meet Uncle Eric at the car park behind the main street in High Bentham. A familiar journey for us all, but especially Dad as this is part of the route he and Uncle Brian travel nearly every Monday when going to the Elaine's Tea Room at Feizor.

"Elaine's is the best tearoom in Yorkshire", said Tetley, who of course comes from there. "Gods County", he went on.

Uncle Eric had arrived first and we called a cheery, "good morning", as we scrambled out of the car.

"Good morning to you lads", he replied.

Dad and Uncle Eric were soon ready and we got settled in his rucksack, this being shouldered by Dad as we set off around 10:00.

It was to be the hottest day of the year so far, and in the afternoon the temperatures were around 30 degrees. This we had expected but not that it would get so hot in the morning too, so making for an arduous walk later on. It was just one day too, with either side somewhat cooler temperatures.

"Right", said Uncle Eric, "we walk down Station Road, cross the river and then go immediately left by the river."

This narrow road soon curved away and climbed steadily. Grizzly said, "there is a nice view back over High Bentham, that might be worth a picture for our account."

Shaun was looking at the map and said, "it is the second footpath on the left that we want."

The first led past a house whose name was indicated by a sign at the entrance to the drive.

"That's appropriate for us", called out Allen.

"Yes pal", laughed Grizzly. Then he informed us, "Garth means open courtyard enclosed by buildings like a cloister at an abbey."

After a few more minutes Little Eric called out, "here's the footpath we want"

A step gap stile got us over the wall. Then walked ahead by the hedge on right to waymarked gap stile in wall, to continue now with a wall on the left.

"What's that bird with the curved beak, in the field on the right?, asked Southey.

"It's a curlew", replied Dad. "And look she has chicks"

"How lovely", enthused Tetley, as we stood watching them.

The path led us to a surfaced track, which we gained by climbing a wire, and following this brought us to the buildings of Branstone Beck.

"Look" whispered Southey, "a rabbit."

We all thought it would run off, but no it stayed still so Dad took a picture. Unfortunately for whatever reason the camera did not get a quite sharp image, so we apologise for the quality.

The path now led us through a waymarked gate and then across Branstone Beck and on up the field and through a gateway. Then we crossed a waymarked stile with trees and a hedge to our right. Here a hawk or the like repeatedly flew over us, before settling on a tree branch.

Tetley remarked, "so far it really has been an interesting walk from the nature viewpoint."

The path led us through a gap and then to gate onto a track, that brought us to Mewith Lane.

"We go left", said Uncle Eric.

The quiet lane was lined with verges full of wildflowers.

Uncle Eric scrutinized the map, and said, "we should take the fourth path right, which is an access road to houses."

As we strolled along Little Eric commented, "that is a fine view of Ingleborough."

A few minutes later, Shaun called out, "this is where we turn right."

The surfaced track led past Stonely Barn and on to then swing left towards Mill Hill.

Wound left through the buildings and to a fork in the track. "It's the left", said Shaun.

This led past houses and a barn, to a gate into a field.

Here there were beautiful horses grazing. "Picture time Dad", called out Southey.

At the far side of the field we climbed a gap stile by a tree, and then walked on to pass through a metal gate in a fence. Beyond we crossed to then climb a stepped gap stile in the wall.

Dropped down now to the small ravine containing Badger Ford Beck, crossing by the stile & bridge, Uncle Eric posing on the latter.

Climbing the bank on the far side the way now led to a gated gap stile in corner, and across the succeeding field to the surfaced access to the impressive Mewith Head Hall. Grade II listed, it was built early in the 18th century, and underwent alterations in the 19th century.

The path led left through the grounds and on to a gate. Walked across the field, climbing the step gap stile. Crossed the next field to a step stile in a fence into the garden of a converted barn, one of a few such buildings at Mewith Head, seen here from Mewith Lane.

Turned right along the lane to cross Bloe Beck, the road now taking that name. Soon Shaun called out, "we go left here to Hammondhead."

At the buildings, we passed through right and into a field via metal gate. Shaun now said, "if we use that house on the skyline as a guide, we will be going in the right direction."

"That is a fine specimen of a tree", remarked Tetley. "It will make a nice picture for our story."

After passing through two gates, we then descended half left down to a gate and on to cross the footbridge over Keasden Beck. Wound right to pass Clapham Wood Farmhouse and follow its access track.

So far Allen had been successful in avoiding any sheep pictures, but along here some were grazing amongst the trees by the track, sensibly keeping out of the sun. One posed for Dad.

"Darn", exclaimed Allen, in frustration.

The road led past Black Hill here turning sharp left, and then right at Wenning Side, and so to Keasden Road. Here we turned left to come to Clapham Station, where we crossed the footbridge to the waiting shelter and so completed the first leg.

The building is the former station masters house, now a private residence.

"Time of lunch", announced Allen.

"Yes lad", agreed Dad.

We arranged ourselves on the narrow seat, to eat our sandwiches etc., and pose for our picture.

Uncle Eric commented, "I'm sorry but you won't see a train as there is not one due for about half an hour."

By now the temperature was at least 30 degrees and Dad and Uncle Eric were faced with the return walk in the searing heat. So, sensibly this should have been the cue for Dad to suggest that we get the train back to Bentham.

Instead we settled ourselves in the rucksack and we set off on the second leg. Crossing the bridge over the line it was then left along the road parallel with the railway to pass Nutta Farm.

"The route is over Nutta Bridge that spans the track bed of the long closed line to Ingleton" said Uncle Eric.

Very soon we took the right fork on a green track over the hill and then descended left to High Hazel Hall Farm. Passed through and on out to cross pastures and enter access land, to head slightly right to come to a gate at fence/wall corner.

"That's Upper Hardacre Farm", said Uncle Eric. "We have to make for that."

At the farm waymarks directed us to avoid the buildings and come to a surfaced track. This took us over the open moor to the secluded buildings of Old Butt, where the trees overhanging the wall provided some shade and respite from the heat.

From here it was a tarmac lane that was followed to a corner just beyond the buildings of Chesters.

"We take the track descending left to Meregill", said Shaun.

Looking about we could see that the farmers were taking advantage of the good weather to get the hay and silage in that will provide fodder for the animals in the winter.

At Meregill it was right through a gate to keep by the fence on the right to another stile and then across more fields to Waterscales. Here taking the access road to and passing Lane House we came to Greystonegill Lane.

"It's right here", called out Shaun. "Then we take the first footpath left."

More fields and stiles followed and the crossing of Adam's Beck, to pass left of Linghaw Farm. At end of buildings, it was right towards the yard.

"The gate is locked", said Little Eric.

"Yet it is definitely the route", added Southey.

"No problem", replied Dad, "we'll just have to climb these metal rails by the gate."

Immediately then it was left over the stile and in front of the house to a gate and on to Batty Farm. There were cows grazing and Dad snapped this picture, to try to make up for the lack of anything really interesting to photograph on this return route.

From Batty Farm it was through a gate, to head to an electricity pole and then follow by the hedge to a stile. More fields and stiles brought us to a farm track, crossing it and climbing a step stile into the field. Crossed this to a tree, climbing the stile to its right, to then head for left hand house seen ahead.

Passed Fowgill, with its distinctive monkey puzzle tree, to a stile and then skirted around the bungalow to a gate.

Beyond we crossed to the far side of the field.

"Allen said, "what is beyond the gate does not tie in with the instructions."

Walking a little right, Dad said, "there is a hidden stile. That is the way."

This took us along an enclosed lane. At the information board we went right through a narrow gate to follow the clear path downhill to a gated wall stile with steps down. Crossed the beck and walked on towards a gate & stile that led into a track between houses and then right on a surfaced road to the main road.

Here we turned left to walk into High Bentham.

We can all honestly say that we were very relieved to get back to the car, and for Dad and Uncle Eric's sakes too.

The second leg which is the published railway walk is frankly not very interesting. We think that it would be much better if they had used the route Uncle Eric had devised to make it a circular walk. Today with the intense heat getting the train back would have a better option!

And finally, thank you Uncle Eric for devising the route.

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