Southey's 4th birthday walk


Date - 14th July 2017 Distance - 8.5 miles
Ascent -
Map - OL41
Start point - Bridge House Farm, Wray (SD 6065 6749)


Summits Achieved

No summits were reached on this walk



All was well, there were steaming mugs in paw and we were tucking into the cake that Grizzly and Little Eric had made.

"I love this chocolate coconut slice", enthused Tetley, "it is one of my most favourite."

"And the peach and apricot slice is scrumptious too", said Allen.

"So I see there is a walk down for tomorrow with Uncle Eric", said Southey, with the iPad in paw. "I have checked the forecast. It is going to be rather cloudy with a cool wind, but dry."

"OK for walking", agreed Grizzly, "but hardly summery."

"It is your 4th birthday as well, Southey", said Shaun.

"Yes it is, and it will be nice to celebrate it with a walk."

We had not been able to come up with any ideas so left it to Dad and Uncle Eric to discuss, that evening.

Dad then came to tell us that Uncle Eric had suggested a walk from website www.forestofbowland.com, that was billed as the Wennington Circular.

Looking at the details Dad had printed off, Tetley said, "we have done sections of this before, but most of the repeat will be in the opposite direction."

"Although the walk actually starts at Wennington Station, we have actually decided to start from Bridge House Farm at Wray", advised Dad.

"I can guess why", laughed Tetley. "You will be going to the cafe there for a snack afterwards."

"Yes lad. You know me so so well!"


The Walk

As we got up, we all called out, "Happy Birthday Southey", giving him a hug.

"Thanks pals. I'm looking forward to the walk, in celebration."

It was a very familiar drive for Dad, being part of the route taken nearly every Monday when he and Uncle Brian go to Elaine's at Feizor.

As Dad got out of the car, we called a cheery "good morning ", to Uncle Eric.

"So nice to see you", added Allen.

"Good to see you too, lads", he replied.

So soon ready, we exited the car park, Shaun saying, "we go left along the road to Hindburn Bridge."

Stopped here to view the river it's banks clothed in trees.

"The route is up that track on the right", said Uncle Eric.

We had walked this section before, but as intimated above, in the opposite direction.

A farm cottage came in view, Uncle Eric saying, "it is through this metal gate on the right."

Crossed the field to a gate in the far left corner, and beyond followed the line of the power cables.

"That's a lovely tree", called out Allen. "Might be a nice picture for the story."

Through a gate at the field corner, the route continued uphill along by the edge of the wood, to a stile onto the road.

"We go left", said Tetley, looking at the map.

At the point where the road bent sharp right, the route was over the facing stile, that was adorned with warning signs, concerning a bull.

"Oh dear", Southey said. "I hope the farmer is in", looking along the road to the buildings a few hundred yards away.

"Well", said Dad, "this notice could be been here for ages." He climbed the stile and looked about the flat field. "There's no bull that I can see, and in fact no livestock whatsoever."

This safely crossed, it was then over a footbridge at the corner of the wood.

Up out of the wood the path was on by the fence to the right, past a bungalow, and exiting the field via a stile to the road in front of Cragg Hall.

"It is left now", said Uncle Eric, "along the road to Birks Farm."

At the farm Shaun said, "it's the footpath left after the first barn."

Here we had a fine view of Ingleborough, dark and brooding today.

Following along the back of the farm buildings and an orchard, we came to a kissing gate. "Left here", called out Shaun, "down to a metal gate at the corner of the wood."

Through the gate this delightful woodland track led downhill...

...to exit by a gate and then cross a small bridge, to this ancient field barn...

...with this date stone.

"What to the letters mean?", asked Southey, who is always thirsty for knowledge.

"The 'E' is the first letter of the surname, while the 'W' and 'T' are the first letters of the husband and wife's christian names", said Tetley.

"My", said Grizzly, "I bet these walls could tell some stories, if they could only speak."

Now right, the path shortly reached the road at Furnessford Bridge.

A pause now while the instructions were consulted. "It is across the bridge then uphill, to the second footpath left." instructed Uncle Eric.

This took us in front of Thimble Hall.

Climbed the stile, then crossing the big field keeping the boundary to the left, to come to another stile. Beyond the rough path dropped to a hollow.

By the fence corner we looked about for the route. "It must be right to that small gate", pointed Shaun.

Beyond climbed on to Riggs Farm, passing through a gate.

A curlew with its long curve beak swooped overhead. "Beautiful", breathed Southey.

By the wall, a stile gave access to the drive that was followed to the road.

"Right here ", called out Allen.

At the layby, Little Eric said, "we parked there on a walk, that for the first part was the reverse of the route from Thimble Hall."

Opposite are the buildings called Ashleys.

"We go through there", said Uncle Eric.

Followed the bridleway through the buildings, now dwellings, to a gate by the last house called Bridleway Cottage. "How original", laughed Little Eric.

The track then led along the field edge to a gate, and then diagonally right down to a bridge. Beyond the route was uphill keeping the old hedgeline to the right.

After a gate, passed a barn on the left, and follow an emerging farm track to a gate and on to cross a stream in a wooded clough.

The track swung left uphill with a hedge on the left, to a gate. This was ignored, instead going right uphill by the hedge to Russell's Farm. Passed through no less than 5 gates to get through the farmyard and reach the road, and almost immediately take the gate left.

This is a lane, and as Dad was closing the gate, the occupants of Megg's Farm in their car were wanting to come through.

So Dad kindly opened and closed the gate for them, getting a wave of appreciation.

"OK", instructed Shaun, "we just follow this lane."

The problem however was the large herd of cows and young blocking the route. However we tried to walk round there was no getting past.

"I think we should give this section up", said Uncle Eric.

"I agree", responded Dad.

Instead we returned through the gate and followed the road from Russell's Farm that took us in a circle via Jackson's Pasture.

Along here the meadowsweet abounded on the verges.

Onwards eventually to pass a house called East View, where shortly the road bent left, providing this wide open aspect across to Wennington School.

At the next sharp corner, Uncle Eric said, "it's straight ahead along the access to Overends."

Here our detour ended rejoining the published route.

Passed the building then went right through the yard and out via a gate. Now headed slightly left downhill to a stile and then uphill to enter Coat Bank Coppice by a ruined barn.

"Dad", called out Southey, "we have to make an appearance in every walk and especially today as it is my birthday."

"Aye" agreed Dad. "Sitting on this wall by the stile is as good a place as any."

So here we are with Southey sitting proudly in the centre.

"Thanks Dad."

Through the woods now and out into a field crossing this to a stile onto a lane. This was crossed to pass the side of a house and follow the hedge uphill to another stile.

"We now just keep on by the hedge over a number of stiles", said Shaun.

Eventually as indicated by a waymark we drifted left away from the hedge, to a stile in the valley bottom.

Crossed the beck, then walked uphill by the hedge to a stile, and then on ahead to another, and across the field to yet another stile onto the road.

"We go left towards Meal Bank Farm", called out Shaun.

At the farm it was right through the yard and into the field behind. Crossed this downhill to a gate in the hedge, then descended a short slope to a gate left through Gamblesholme Farm.

A steep bank rose to the left where wildflowers grow. "How pretty", said Grizzly.

Following the access, Hindburn Bridge was soon reached. Here we crossed and took the permissive path off the road by the hedge that brought us out to the road where a pavement by it took us back to the start.

"That was most enjoyable", said Southey. "I have had a lovely birthday."

Now while Uncle Eric and Dad went to the cafe, we had our picnic in the car. Lovely sandwiches, and tea, and a special cake iced and with the words, "Happy Birthday, Southey."

"Ahh, what a lovely surprise. Thanks pals."

"Your welcome", replied Allen.

Then we all sang Happy Birthday!

"Good job Dad's not here as he would be out of tune", laughed Tetley.

In the cafe Uncle Eric had crumpets and Dad had a cheese and tomato toasty. Tea to drink, of course.

Dad spotted that there was sausage on sale from the Bowland Meat Company who now run the cafe. He took some home. It was absolutely delicious, some of the best they have ever had. Dad and Uncle Brian used to come here regularly some years ago, before they discovered Elaine's. However keeping supplied with sausage, has now prompted them to make this an additional lunch out place once again.

We and Dad thought about hug member and absolute character, Wray, who was adopted here a few years ago.

He had looked so forlorn and sad, sitting uncared for on a dresser. Dad just had to take him home, and as you can see he looks happy in this picture.


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