Date - 25th January 2020 Distance - 6.75 miles
Ascent -
Map - OL41
Start point - Bolton by Bowland car park (SD 7896 4937)


Summits Achieved

No summits were reached on this walk



It was Thursday. The cakes and tea had arrived, and Southey was helping Shaun fill our mugs.

"Thanks", said Allen, as Shaun passed him his mug. "I was.....

"...gasping for a cuppa", finished Tetley, letting out a bellow of laughter.

"You are the tea belly and cake stuffer, extraordinaire", added Southey.

"You are not far behind", responded Allen, with a laugh. Then living up to his reputation, asked, "what are the cake delights today?"

Grizzly replied, "Little Eric has made some chocolate coated flapjack, and I had done, mincemeat slice."

We all dug in, and soon there were murmurs of contentment.

Love the flapjack", enthused Southey.

"And the mincemeat slice", went on Tetley, who helped himself to another piece.

"Whose the cake stuffer now", called out Allen.

Huh", replied Tetley, "I see you are on your third."

"It was nice to walk with Uncle Eric on Tuesday from Glasson Dock, and we covered some new paths too", said Little Eric changing the subject. "Dad was out yesterday for lunch and again today. I wonder if there is a chance we can walk on Saturday or if he will just want to rest?"

"Well all we can do is check the weather, and then see if we can come up with and idea", replied Shaun, as he refilled his and Allen's mugs. "Here you are tea belly."

"Thanks", laughed Allen. He then got the iPad. After a few taps, he looked up saying, "the weather is mixed for the weekend, but Saturday looks best, but I suggest we avoid the Lakes."

"Seems best to leave the fells until spring which we can only hope will bring some settled weather", agreed Little Eric.

"So where then?", mused Southey.

"I think we should look again in the book on Walks in Lancashire, that Uncle Roger bought Dad at Christmas.", said Tetley.

"Good idea pal. I'll go and get it", replied Southey.

So we scanned down the index, Grizzly pointing, "how about Bolton by Bowland. We have never walked from there."

Allen quickly opened the OS app and located at Bolton by Bowland, so that we could follow the described route.

"Hmm", said Shaun. "I think it will make a good suggestion, provided of course Dad feels up to walking."

"How will we get there?", asked Grizzly.

Again Allen sprang into action opening the Google maps app. A quick few taps revealed the best route. "Ahh", he said, "I think this will make it more likely. It suggests going up the Lune Valley and towards Settle, then on via Rathmell and Wigglesworth."

"I see what you are getting at", replied Tetley. "We will pass the road to Feizor, meaning Dad can go to Elaine's afterwards. Makes it a sure fire winner in my opinion."

"Right", said Allen, draining his mug. "No time like the present", as he picked up the book and went in search of Dad.

"Better fill his mug up again, Shaun", said Southey with a laugh.

"Sure thing pal."

Allen was soon back with a smile on his face. "Dad likes the walk idea, and provided he does not feel too tired and the weather forecast remains the same, we are on for Saturday."

"Great", cheered Southey, raising his mug. "Here's to the best Dad in the world."



The Walk

Dad said his plan was to set off about 09:00, so we made sure to be up in good time. "I'll help with the picnic", called out Allen.

"Thanks pal", replied Grizzly and Little Eric.

Soon Dad had his gear loaded, so we dashed out to the car and settled on the front seat. Tetley commented, "there is one thing I miss greatly when we are setting off, that being calling out goodbye Uncle Brian like we always did."

"Yes", sniffed Allen. "I miss him so much. I am amazed how well Dad has generally coped with his death. Uncle Brian was such a huge part of our lives."

Shortly Dad came out to the car, saying, "OK lads, I'll programme the Satnav to guide us. Really I do not need it on the first section, the ever so familiar route to Feizor, but beyond the roads are not familiar."

The journey was good even if it rained at times. "Let's hope this all passes over, before we start", said Little Eric.

After about 45 minutes we were dropping down to Bolton by Bowland the free car park being on the right just beyond Skirden Bridge. There were toilets too, causing Tetley to comment, "the villages in Lancashire seem to provide good facilities for visitors."

Dad got ready and we snuggled down in the rucksack ready for the off.

"OK", called out Shaun. "We recross Skirden Bridge, then go right onto a footpath by Kirk Beck.

Before striding out along the path, Dad paused to take the gracefully arched Skirden Bridge that was probably built in the early 19th century. It is a Grade II listed structure.

The path was clear ahead, first over a stile then round to the right over the rather wet boggy pasture, which Dad is well used to at present, to reach Oaktrees Nurseries. After crossing a stile into grounds it was then down the short drive to road.

We looked to the greenhouses that were rather empty, Tetley commenting, "looks like they are closed until spring."

At the road, Grizzly said, "which way?"

"Left for about 400 yards, then right onto the drive of large farmhouse", replied Southey.

After what seemed the right distance, we saw these fancy gates to Chadwicks Barn the impressive £1m property being partly in view.

"Through here?", queried Little Eric.

It was clear the gates were operated remotely. "No pal", replied Shaun. "This seems to be private. Let's walk on a little way."

This proved to be right as after about another 50 yards a wide signposted track led past a farmhouse.

Beyond through a kissing gate the path dropped down to cross a footbridge. "Now its half right to the far boundary", called out Shaun.

"Sheep", called out Southey gleefully.

"Oh no", replied Allen, as he saw Dad line up the shot.

"Well I think I have done enough omitting sheep pictures from the recent stories as I promised", said Dad.

"Oh, OK", huffed Allen.

On the far side a kissing gate led onto a track. "Go right", instructed Southey.

This leads to Hungrill through a gate across the track. "We don't go through that", said Shaun.

"OK", so where?", asked Dad.

Take that gate left at the wall end", replied Shaun.

As we turned to do this we saw the waymark on the left gatepost indicating our route. "That's not much use from the direction we have come", remarked Allen.

So entering a truly huge pasture, with a stream in the bottom, Southey said, we have to cross the stream at some point.

"There's a bridge so I will get over now, even if that is not what the writer is intending", replied Dad.

Dad kept up high, but Shaun soon realised and said, "really you need to drop down while keeping on ahead to the stile in the far boundary."

After that walked on with the hedge to left and towards a lane. "Now through that gate into the next field", called out Shaun. "Then ahead to a squeeze stile on to the road."

By the wall onto the road, it became apparent that the squeeze stile no longer existed, so Dad used the gate instead.

We were now in the hamlet of Holden, where it was first left then almost immediately right. Look a wall postbox", pointed Little Eric."

"You seem to have got a fascination for these, pal", commented Southey.

"I have", he replied. "I like spotting which monarchs reign they date from. It also provides a colourful picture for the story."

"Rather have those than sheep", added Allen, with feeling.

After a few more yards, Shaun pointed, "up that signed path left."

Soon approaching a house there was a waymarked gate to the left. "That way?", pointed Tetley.

"No pal", replied Southey. "We ignore that. Go on to the house and then take narrow path beside the right of the building."

Passed through two wooden gates, then straight across the field to a wall and over the stone step stile onto a track. "Now over the facing wall", said Shaun.

Here the stone step stile had partially collapsed, making for rather an awkward and somewhat inelegant manoeuver.

Before Dad could ask, Southey quickly pointed, "we head up to that large tree.

There was no path but rather surprisingly one emerged beyond the tree and that led into into the next field. The ground was boggy here and Dad slogged his way to the far side, where these two stiles showed our continuing route.

"Be careful of the electric fence", warned Grizzly, as Dad climbed the second stile.

The waymark indicated straight ahead to the barn called Lower Laithe, passing to the left via a gated step stile...

...and on towards Higher Heights Farm on the skyline, climbing this stile in the intervening wall.

"There are two routes from here", mused Shaun. Looking about he then said, "the published walk uses the lower, but I am not sure exactly where that is. Possibly through that gate away to the left."

As it happened the farmer was in the field, so Dad asked the way. He was a man of few words, but directed us up the wide grassy track that swung left to another stone step stile and then left passing by Higher Heights Farm.

The farmer was using a probe into the ground at various points, Dad asking, "are you checking how wet the ground is?"

His reply was, "I am checking for various minerals - aluminium, magnesium, calcium." (there were others we can't remember)

He was unwilling to enlarge on this, but we thought it was perhaps to judge what if any fertilizers were needed to be spread.

Past the farm Shaun said, "I suggest we go through that facing gate, then cross to the bottom left corner of the huge field."

Suddenly the Ribble Valley in all its majesty opened up before us. "There's Pendle Hill, its top under cloud", pointed Tetley.

"What a shame the day is not brighter and clearer", commented Allen. "The view would be absolutely superb then."

Viewing the situation at the bottom corner, it was clear we should cross the stile left and then immediately over another right and on across rough and boggy ground to fairly soon come to the sunken track called Rodhill Lane. Along the way Shaun pointed to a stile in the left fence. "That's where we would have come to on the lower path, so it did not make any real difference."

Rodhill Lane, wet and stony...

...dropped ever down and down passing through a number of waymarked gates, although clearly there was no alternative route.

At its far end we joined a farm track coming to the building called Rodhill Gate. "Look" called out Little Eric, "they have a Royal Mail postbox. One from the reign of King George VI"

"Surely its not a collection box", said Southey.

"No lad", replied Dad, "it is just for their private use for deliveries."

Past the house Shaun instructed, "go left and then head towards Hague Farm."

This was reached by dropping down to stile at a fence corner then across two fields and into the farmyard. Allen said, "I don't think the path has been walked for a long time, as only you have left a track across."

At the farmyard is this well. Peering over, Grizzly commented, "it is not used."

"OK, through the yard and out by two metal gates and up the grassy slope", called out Southey

At the top he then said, "now down right and over the footbridge spanning Hell Syke, and drift left to a stile onto the road."

"I guess it is straight across through that kissing gate", pointed Tetley.

"Yes pal", agreed Shaun.

Walking the track, shortly Southey pointed, "we leave it here and go down by the fence, cross the footbridge over Holden Beck, and then go round left and keep right beside the wood."

Crossed the next field and through a kissing gate near a large tree, to then follow the path uphill passing the remains of an ancient cross.

"Seems a good place to have our picture taken for inclusion in the story", called out Little Eric.

"Thanks Dad", said Shaun, as we settled back into the rucksack. "Now we just drop down to the left corner and cross a stile onto a tarmac drive, that leads to the road and so right over Skirden Bridge to the car park."

"Right lads", said Dad, "before we finish let's explore the village as Dad walked along Main Street...

...and past the interesting houses... the village green...

...and on up to the impressive parish church dedicated to St Peter and St Paul. There had been a church here since 1190, but little is known of it. Parts of the current church date from the 13th century. In the middle of the 15th century Sir Ralph Pudsay, Lord of the Manor of Bolton, began rebuilding the church that was completed in 1466. The tower is said to have been designed by King Henry VI, who was sheltered by Sir Ralph in 1464.

"Can we go inside?, asked Grizzly.

"Sure lad."

The vicar was there and Dad a short conversation with him, and he told us not to miss the large tomb between the chancel and side chapel.

Inside Dad took these shots, first of the nave....

...and then the chancel with the impressive east window.

Then at the west end under the tower the font. This was made in the 16th century. The eight shields surrounding the bowl are those of the families connected with the Pudsay's or of importance in the district. The one facing the camera is the Pudsay shield itself. A small brass fillet on four sides of the bowl has a Latin inscription asking your prayers for the souls of Sir Ralph Pudsay, Lady Edwina his wife, and William their son, Rector of the Church.

And finally here is the Pudsay Tomb. The top is inscribed showing Sir Ralph with his three wives, not all at the same time of course, and 25 children some of whom did not survive infancy. Dad is sorry not to get a picture of the top, but standing on a chair in his dirty boots was definitely not an option.

"That was fascinating", said Grizzly. Thanks Dad, I love visiting churches."

"And thank you for taking us on the walk as always", added Southey. "My what a lucky group we are."

So, Dad now got changed out of his muddy gear and then drove to Elaine's. We had our picnic on the drive, so that we could come in with Dad.

They were pleased to see Dad and he got to chat with Sue, who told us that the tearooms had been busy all week. To eat he had cottage pie with cabbage, peas and carrots and lovely gravy. Then rhubarb crumble and custard, and tea of course. Elaine came down and Dad had a little chat were her.

So then it was home after a nice day, and another new section of countryside explored. Happy times.


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