Date - 18th February 2020 Distance - 4 miles
Ascent -
Map - OL41 Start point - Hornby car park (SD 5853 6867)


Summits Achieved

No summits were reached on this walk



We were sitting quietly having tea and cakes and discussing the weather and its affect on our getting out to walk.

"Storm Dennis has not brought the same amount of rain as Ciara, but the winds are worse", said Little Eric, as it howled outside the window.

"It's a bit scary to be honest this afternoon, so Dad made a wise decision to stay at home", went on Grizzly.

"Allen was looking at the iPad and said mournfully, "there does not seem to any sign of the winds dying down over the next week and there are more bands of rain on the way for most days."

"Looks like we be confined to barracks for another week then", said Southey. "At least the delicious cakes cheer us up."

"Quite", agreed Shaun. "The cherry and ginger scones are scrumptious, Grizzly."

"As is the millionaires shortbread", enthused Allen to his pal Little Eric who had made it. At the same time he took another piece.

"That's your fourth, cake stuffer", laughed Tetley. "You certainly take after Dad."

"He does", said Dad from the doorway.

"Would you like some cake", asked Grizzly.

"Yes please." Dad tucked in then said, "I have to tell you that Uncle Eric has had a fall and hurt himself and so is not able to go walking with us this coming week."

"Is he alright?", said Little Eric with concern in his voice.

"Yes. No bones broken thankfully, just a lot of bruising, so making moving about uncomfortable. The forecast is very uncertain for this week, but it looks like Tuesday morning will be dry, so I have decided to take you walking. To maximise the time I do not want to have to drive too far. So, we are going to do walk 20 from the Lancashire walks book. This starts in Hornby, and goes by the Wenning to its confluence with the River Lune then along to Loyn Bridge and then the road back to Hornby."

"That sounds fine", said Tetley. "I have a feeling though that we might have done this, as an extension to the Three Rivers Walk."

"You know lad, I do remember us walking down by the Wenning, but I thought it was a there and back and on the same side as the car park."

Shaun said, "to settle it let's have a look in the binder. The Three Rivers Walk is no. 29."

This done, Allen pulled out the instructions and turning then over read the extension Dad had devised. "You were right Tetley. This is the same as that in the Lancashire Walks book. It was 2005 when we walked this."

"Oh well, never mind", said Dad. "There is one thing though in 2005, Little Eric and Southey had not been adopted, so it will be new for them."

"Make it all the more enjoyable for Little Eric and I", said Southey.

"It does not matter, just great to get out in the fresh air", cheered Shaun.


The Walk

The weather window was quite short this morning, so parked by the river, Dad quickly got ready while we hunkered down in the rucksack, and soon after 09:00 off we went.

"We cross the bridge", called out Shaun then take the path on the opposite side of the River Wenning from the car park."

First Dad paused to take this of the weir on the River Wenning, with the privately owned Grade I listed Hornby Castle behind.

At the far side of the bridge a path tucked tightly by the corner doubles back then turns right by the river. Paved, as can be seen, at first it soon became a narrow soil trod.

Shortly, steps over banking....

...led to this stile into pastures beyond.

The winds was quite strong, and in Dad's face. "We are the lucky ones in the rucksack out of the wind", commented Grizzly.

To our and Dad's surprise, the fields were quite dry underfoot. "Makes a welcome change", said Dad. "Can't wait for the countryside to dry out, whenever that will be."

"Not for a while, according to the forecast", replied Allen.

There was debris, indicating how high the river had been. "I wonder if that was during storm Ciara, the weekend before last?", mused Southey.

Soon now we arrived at the confluence, where the River Wenning, which starts a little south of Clapham at the confluence of Austwick Beck and Clapham Beck, empties into the River Lune.

Facing a waymark pointed our route right.

"I know we should always be grateful for waymarks", said Shaun, "but this one seems somewhat superfluous as ahead or left would have us in the rivers."

Walked across the fields parallel to the River Lune, with ahead to the right Priory Farm standing on a mound.

"I suppose the reason it is raised will be to protect if from flooding when the river bursts its banks", mused Tetley.

As a result of visiting Hornby church later, we discovered that the farm stands on the sight of Hornby Priory. This was an English Premonstratensian monastic house, dedicated to St Wilfrid, and a dependent cell of Croxton Abbey in Leicestershire. It was probably founded by Roger de Montbegon around 1172, and dissolved in 1538. The site was bought by Thomas Stanley, 2nd Baron Monteagle and Henry Croft in 1544. There are no visible remains of the priory.

In Hornby church are these remains of standing stone crosses and medieval tombstones (not pictured), which came from Priory Farm, and possibly indicate the site of an earlier 8th century church/monastery.

Clear of the hedge, we had this fine view of the river full after the seemingly constant rains lately.

A waymark indicated keeping left below a steep bank and on by the river to then shortly climb the bank where Loyn Bridge coming into view. "That's as far as we go", called out Tetley.

"I did some research on Wikipedia about the bridge and this is what I found out", said Grizzly. "It carries the minor road between the villages of Hornby and Gressingham, and replaced an older bridge, which is thought to have been constructed with timber decking between stone piers. The date the present bridge was built is unknown, but is considered to have been after 1591, when the previous bridge was described as being 'in a dangerous condition'."

"Designated as a Grade II* listed by English Heritage, it is constructed in sandstone blocks. The three segmental arches measure 52 feet (15.8 m), 62 feet 6 inches (19.1 m) and 53 feet (16.2 m) respectively and there are triangular cutwaters containing refuges for pedestrians. The carriageway is 12 feet (3.7 m) wide, and the maximum width of the bridge at the points of the piers is 33 feet 6 inches (10.2 m).  Other than replacing the parapet with more modern stonework, and replacing the original paving of the carriageway with a tarmacadam surface, there has been no change since it was built. It is described as being 'surprisingly impressive for a route that has little significance nowadays'."

Grizzly then went on, "following storm Desmond on 5th December 2015 damage due to debris caused the bridge to be closed for an extended period. Extensive temporary protection for the bridge and bank were required , along with infill in the bridge piers. It finally reopened on 22nd April 2016."

"Thanks pal" said Southey. "It is always interesting to know more about things we see on our walks."

"We cross to that metal kissing gate", pointed Shaun.

This took us into Marl Hole Wood, the narrow trod meandering on above the river.

About halfway the path was blocked by a fallen tree. "Oh heck", called out Little Eric.

"Never mind lad", replied Dad, "I am sure we can get past." This was achieved with a little agility from Dad. .

Onwards the path was perilously close to the edge of the bank, so Dad took care. None of us fancied a bath in the cold waters. Soon we approached Loyn Bridge....

... the path veering away up steps to a gate onto the narrow road to Gressingham. Here we met a gentleman from Hornby out with his dog. He was doing the same route but in reverse. Dad chatted briefly.

Although not our route, Dad walked out onto the bridge for another fine view upstream of the River Lune.

The road is quite busy, leading to the village of Gressingham and to the road on the other side of the valley. Over a 24 hour period Wednesday/Thursday it rained continuously, such that the road was completely flooded on the Gressingham side of the bridge. Seeing the picture on Facebook, Grizzly commented, "makes me wonder if we would have been able to get along the path in Marl House Wood."

Turning now towards Hornby, we diverted left over the stile to visit again the Castle Stede motte & bailey.

This shot is taken from the road, and shows the banking surrounding the bailey and the motte covered in trees and seen below in close-up.

Making no apologies we include this lecture given by our pal Grizzly, from our previous visit in April 2013.

"From what I have been able to find, the site is called Castle Stede, and dates from the mid 12th century being the best preserved example of a motte and bailey in Lancashire. The castle utilises the northwest end of a natural ridge projecting almost to the River Lune with the motte rising some 50ft (15m) above the riverside meadows. Except on the north side, where the ground drops away, the motte is surrounded by a wide and deep ditch. The large oval bailey, stands to the west of the motte, and as can be seen is defended by the rampart and ditch on its southern side and on the north and northwest by the steep slope down to the river."

"What is that building?", pointed Southey.

"A pill box", replied Dad. "It one of many such fortifications that were built during the Second World War. The narrow openings would have been used for defenders to fire their weapons at the enemy."

Further research told us that about 28,000 pillboxes and hardened field fortifications were constructed in England in 1940 as part of the British anti-invasion preparations of World War II. This is a Type 22 example. Thankfully they never had to be used for the purpose they were intended, due to the heroic efforts of "The Few", who defeated the Luftwaffe in the Battle of Britain. Thereby forcing the Germans to abandon invasion plans.

On the road, it was left leading to its junction with the A683 and so right, down into Hornby. By the school campus, Allen called out, "look a seat. Picture time."

"Oh yes", agreed Little Eric.

"Can we visit the church?", asked Grizzly.

"Of course lad", replied Dad. "I know how interested you are."

So here is St Margaret's. A church was on the site in 1338. As well as the tower, in 1514, Lord Mounteagle arranged for the rebuilding of the chancel but this was incomplete when he died in 1524. In 1817 the old nave was demolished and replaced by a new nave. In 1888–89 a restoration was carried out by the Lancaster architects Paley, Austin & Paley. The nave was largely rebuilt, arcades and a clerestory were inserted, the church was reroofed and refloored, and the west gallery was removed. The box pews were replaced by modern seating, the vestry was converted into an organ chamber, and a new vestry was built. All this was done at an estimated cost of £3,000 (equivalent to £340,000 in 2019). (source Wikipedia)

The oldest part of the current church is the tower which was built by Sir Edward Stanley, Lord Mounteagle, in 1514. It is octagonal and in three stages, with two upper stages being set diagonally to the base. The parapet is embattled with pinnacles. The middle stage has a clock and a plaque carved with the Mounteagle arms. (source Wikipedia)

Inside, here is first, the nave....

...and then the chancel and altar...

...and finally the font. The elaborate cover is part of the 1888-89 restoration.

"Thank you Dad", said Grizzly, as we strolled back to the car.

We met the gentleman we had seen earlier at Loyne Bridge who was doing the walk in reverse. Dad said, "hello."

He replied, "I got through the where the tree had fallen." Dad had warned him about this, although he was in fact already aware.

On the far side of the bridge Dad took this picture of the Flower Bank.

"Why did you take it?", asked Southey.

Tetley was quick with the reply. "Because pal, the building used to house a branch of Nat West bank, that like so many bank branches has been closed. It is nice to see that its association has been retained in the current name."

We were ready to get into the warm of the car, so quickly scrambled out of the rucksack. Dad kindly put the heated seat on as we drove home. A brief stop was made in Caton to get diesel. We were home by 11:45 which was good timing as the rain came on about 12:10!

"Thanks Dad", said Tetley on behalf of us all. "It was good to get some fresh air."


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