HEST BANK CIRCULAR

 


Summary

Date - 24th January 2017 Distance - 6 miles
Ascent -
330ft
Map - 296 Start point - Shore parking at Hest Bank railway crossing (SD 4684 6661)

 

Summits Achieved

No summits were reached on this walk

 

Preface

Allen had the iPad in paw, and said, "there's another day down to walk with Uncle Eric, next Tuesday or Wednesday."

"What does the weather look like?", Shaun then asked.

There was a pause while Allen took a bite of the Yorkshire Curd Tart on his plate. "Mmm this is absolutely scrumptious, pals."

"It sure is", added Tetley, with a look of ecstasy on his face.

"Our pleasure", responded Little Eric, on behalf of Grizzly and him.

"So what's the weather forecast", Shaun asked patiently, once again.

"Oh, sorry pal. For brighter conditions Wednesday is best, but it will be quite windy. So probably best to go on Tuesday which will be calm if rather dull", Allen replied.

"Dad had thought of a walk for last time when we were rained off, but it got put back in the binder and for the life of me I cannot remember which it was", said Southey.

He was met with silence from the rest of us too.

"Well perhaps Uncle Eric will come up with a suggestion", said Grizzly. "We'll have to wait and see."


Dad phoned Uncle Eric, Monday night, and it seemed that he too had been rather busy, and so had not got a suggestion either. So, getting the walks binder, Dad quickly scanned the list and suggested this walk starting from Hest Bank.

He outlined the route, Uncle Eric saying, "apart from the canal section I have not done the rest, so I like the idea."

A time was then arranged to meet on the shore just over the railway crossing at Hest Bank.

 

The Walk

 

As Allen had predicted the day was cloudy and grey with a little light drizzle at times, but no wind so it was not cold.

Uncle Eric had arrived before us. He is interested in railways so had been watching the numerous trains passing on the West Coast Mainline.

We greeted Uncle Eric with a cheery, "good morning" as did Barnaby and Lee, who always come along to see Uncle Eric.

"Hello my friends", he replied, "good to see you all."

Dad soon got ready, meanwhile the crossing barriers were forever up and down, five trains passing just in this time. Dad snapped this one flying by just as we set off.

We then followed Uncle Eric up the steps of the bridge, where another opportunity presented itself to Dad. Tetley said, "that is one of the Virgin pendolino electric trains."

"Uncle Brian would love it here, watching the trains", said Grizzly, "you must suggest it to him."

"Yes lad", agreed Dad.

Using the pelican crossing on the main road, it was then up Station Road to the top, where Shaun said, "we should climb those steps onto the canal towpath and go right south as far as bridge 108."

This was to be a very pleasant stroll with open views to the right towards the coast. There were barges moored intermittently at first, and passing one Tetley called out, laughing, "look pirates", pointing to the skull and crossbones flag.

With the day being very calm the canal was unruffled providing some nice reflections.

We had walked this section in 2014, during the early stages of the construction of the dual carriageway link to the M6. Opened last October we were now able to see some of the bridges in their completed state.

First the one carrying the road over the main railway line. Note the trees that have been planted on the embankment. This is just a few of hundreds and hundreds that have been planted along the length of the road.

As we rounded the next corner, Little Eric said, "look Uncle Eric, here's the one spanning the canal. At the time of commencement of construction it was the largest span bridge over a canal in Europe. Since then it has been overtaken by one in Scotland."

"It is most impressive", agreed Uncle Eric, as we walked under, and then stopped to take this picture.

"The road is an absolute boon", commented Dad. "So much easier to get to the M6, avoiding the congestion in Lancaster and removing the need use back lanes if going to the Lune Valley and north on the M6."

Strolled on hearing and seeing yet more trains going north or south. There were no boats actually plying the canal today, well it is winter after all.

Seeing wildlife, Southey said, "some pictures for the story Dad?"

First a pair of mallard...

...and then this swan.

Reaching bridge 108 that carries Halton Road, Uncle Eric said, "the instructions say to pass under the bridge before leaving the canal."

This information board stands by the towpath close to the aqueduct that then carries the canal over the River Lune.

John Rennie was the famous engineer who designed the Lune Aqueduct. The text relates to this reading -

I've been here over 200 years now.
Year One. Men made my feet. 60 tree trunks under the river bed.
Year Two. My surrounds's built. Stacking beautiful stones by bank.
Year Three. Looking good, More like an aqueduct.
Year Four. Almost finished. My balustrades are turned.
Year Five. I'm done and boats ride along me carrying lime and coal.

"Hmm", mused Shaun, "Very evocative."

Reaching the road, Uncle Eric said, "we cross the bridge then take the stile on the hedge opposite."

This dropped us down into a field.

Keeping by the fence the route climbed quite steeply and constantly curved left to a stile at the top onto Green Lane. "We go right." said Shaun.

"We walked this lane back in October, but in the opposite direction", commented Tetley. "For a period of about two years, Uncle Eric, it was closed while a new bridge was built to carry it over the new road."

The lane climbed steadily and presently we came to the new bridge...

...from which Dad took this of the Bay Gateway, looking east. "There's some of the many lorries that no longer have to go through Lancaster to the M6, yet it was the people of Lancaster who objected most to it being built, said Allen.

Onwards the lane ends at the crossroads at Bottomdale Road.

"We go across along Ancliffe Lane, as far as the entrance to Ancliffe Hall", instructed Shaun.

Reaching this, our route was now left through the kissing gate on across the pasture to another into woodland.

This ended at another kissing gate into a field, where we crossed the narrow section to a gate into Slyne with Hest football pitch.

Little Eric said, "last time we were here, we had our lunch sitting in the dugout and then you took our picture. It seems a good place for you to take our picture for this story."

"OK lad."

Adjacent to this a small stile crossed the fence and then a clear path led diagonally left to Bottomdale Lane, where this concrete sign that had seen better days indicated the footpath.

Now going right we walked carefully to the junction with the A6, crossing to the far side, where this old milestone stands indicating the distances in Roman Numerals, except for the fraction! Round the bottom are the words 'Slyne with Hest', being the Parish that it stands in.

"It is interesting the use of the fraction", commented Tetley. "Does this mean that the Romans did not have any notation for values less than one?"

"Uncle Eric, looking at the copy of the walk Dad had brought for him, said, "we go down Manor Lane."

This led into Hanging Green Lane, where a pause was made to photograph St Luke's Church.

It was built between 1898 and 1900 to the design of the Lancaster architects Paley and Austin, providing seating for 180 at a cost of £2,358. Constructed in sandstone rubble, with red tiled roofs and a timber porch, its plan consists of a nave, a north aisle, a north porch, a chancel and a tower at the crossing. The tower has a hipped roof a buttress at the southwest, and a stair turret rising to a greater height than the tower at the south east. A wooden bellcote protrudes from the roof of the tower. (Source Wikipedia)

Hanging Green Lane led into Hatlex Lane coming beside the canal with this view to Hatlex Bridge...

... where we rejoined the canal to walk the short way to Hest Bank Inn.

Houses border the canal with gardens running down to the bank.

"Look" called out Southey laughing, "there's and alligator"

And looking to the next house, Allen laughed saying, "there's a seal!"

Leaving the canal, we returned along Station Road to the start.

"That was a lovely walk", said Uncle Eric, "I have enjoyed it."

Before setting off Uncle Eric had confirmed that the cafe on the shore would be open, so this is where they now went for lunch. Here Uncle Eric had a sausage bun and Dad had an bacon and egg bun, and all was washed down with tea.

Uncle Eric said, "it's my treat today.

"Thank you", replied Dad.

The cafe was quiet initially, but very soon every table was taken. So even in the depths of winter it was worth the owner opening today.

Grizzly and Little Eric had kindly packed a picnic and Shaun had provided flasks of tea. So we sat in the car discussing the walk while we ate our sandwiches and cake, washed down with warming mugs of tea.

Thanks Dad for another lovely walk.

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