Date - 8th April 2020 & 3rd January 2021 Distance - 6 miles
Ascent -
Map - 296
Start point - Cable Street car park, Lancaster (SD 4786 6196)


Summits Achieved

No summits were reached on this walk



"The weather continues to be sunny and quite warm and looks settled for a while to come", commented Southey, looking out of the window.

"We deserve it after all the wind rain and floods in the latter months of 2019 and earlier this year", replied Allen. "Just such a shame that we cannot take advantage of this and go on the Lakeland Fells, but we have to observe the rules and stay home and local while the world is in the grip of the COVID-19 crisis."

"I know", said Little Eric as he arrived with Shaun and Grizzly. "I might have got some of my outstanding Wainwrights done, although I would not have wanted to pressurize Dad too much, as he will need to build his hill fitness up again."

Allen's eyes lit up. "Great cake and tea", he cheered rubbing his tummy in anticipation.

Soon the mugs were filled and we helped ourselves to cake.

"I have made chocolate coconut and cherry slice", said Grizzly, "while Little Eric has made apricot slice."

"They are both delicious", said Tetley.

There were murmurs of appreciation from the rest of us too.

So now our thoughts turned to walks. "As Southey said the weather is set fair, so I wonder if Dad will take us out on Wednesday?", mused Allen.

"I'm sure he will", replied Shaun, "so we need to come up with a plan."

There was quiet for a little while as we thought about this. Then Little Eric suggested, "we could go into Lancaster and park by the river then walk along the cycle path to say Halton, then cross the river at Denny Beck and return through the Training Camp."

"Hmm", said Tetley. "I think that is a good suggestion. We we finally be able to do the footpath again that was closed when the new bridge over the river for the M6 link was being built."

"Right" said Allen, "I'll go and ask Dad."

"We'll fill your mug tea belly, for when you get back."

"Thanks Shaun."

As returned the room the smile on his face told us that the walk was on.

"Great" cheered Southey, "here's to Wednesday."

3rd January 2021
Not wishing to travel too far, we decided to repeat this walk, to get our 2021 walks under way. To illustrate how different the weather was today, we have added a few pictures to the original story. Whilst the day was dry, the temperature was hardly above freezing. So in contrast to the mention of Dad's attire in April, today he was in long trousers, and t-shirt, jumper and coat. Snuggled down in the rucksack we had our fur to keep us warm.


The Walk

So another glorious sunny day greeted us. As we heard Dad shut the hatch on the car, we quickly settled on the front seat. He was in shorts and t-shirt. No surprise there!

It was only a very short drive into Lancaster, and with the lockdown few cars.

"So", said Shaun, "the plan is to park by the river, opposite the new flats."

However on arrival we found that like last time this had been taken over for works. "Oh", said Little Eric, "what now."

"I'll just drive round and use the one on Cable Street by the fire station, instead", replied Dad.

Soon ready Dad crossed the road and joined the path through the riverside park where Green Ayre railway station once stood. This was the Midland Railway terminus in Lancaster. From here a line ran to Morecambe. This was used for pioneering experimental electrification via overhead wires. Another line ran eastwards, with stations at Halton, Caton, Claughton and Hornby then joining at Wennington the line from Carnforth. The routes now form part of the network of foot/cycle paths.

"How lovely the daffodils look", pointed Grizzly. "Nice picture to start our story."

Contrast this with the day in January, the ground white under a light covering of snow.

Just ahead Skerton Bridge carries the main road over the River Lune.

Thanks to Wikipedia we can tell readers that the first stone was laid in June 1783 and the bridge was completed in September 1787 to a design by Thomas Harrison. The semi-elliptical arches allow it to have a flat road deck the first of its kind in England. Each arch spans 64 feet (19.5m) and the deck between the parapets is 33 feet (10.1m) wide.

Our way was under the arch added in about 1849 to accommodate the railway, and then walk the old trackbed, or so we thought.

If you look carefully you can see barriers in the distance. "The riverside path is closed", pointed Southey. "So what now?"

The reason for the closure is for works to install a wall and embankment, to protect properties from flooding after the damage caused in December 2015. The electricity sub station was flooded too, Tetley recalling, "there was some times without power until standby generators could be brought in. Hopefully these works will be sufficient to prevent a reoccurrence."

Shaun pointed, "there, we follow those diversion signs."

This was along Caton Road. Usually a busy road into and out of Lancaster, but eerily quiet due to the crisis. So much so that Dad was able to safely stand in the carriageway to line up this picture.

The most imposing structure along here with its clock tower has been occupied by Standfast & Barracks, who are fabric dyers and printers, since 1923. "Come on Dad get the camera out", called out Allen.

Further on Allen pointed, " the diversion signs indicate we should cross the road."

"Right lad", replied Dad.

Since April, Little Eric has become fascinated by post boxes and likes to collect pictures. So on the winters day he spotted these at the entrance to some industrial units off Caton Road. "Please take a picture for my collection, Dad. And will you take one of the parcel box. It's the first I have seen." Then he said, "is it alright for them to be added to our story, pals?"

"Yes", replied Allen. "Better than sheep pictures", he laughed.

We passed under the Lancaster Canal, then on towards the Holiday Inn Hotel.

Pointing across the road, Little Eric said, "what a colourful rockery."

Immediately before the hotel the signs directed us left to rejoined the cycleway.

"I'm going to follow that narrow path close to the river" pointed Dad.

As can be seen it was perilously close, but knowing Dad is sure footed we were not worried. In January the closure of the cycleway had been extended and access could only be made right beside the Lune West Bridge. It meant we could not follow the path close to the river. With the potential for snow and ice, it was perhaps as well.

By doing this we were able to fully appreciate the sheer scale of the Lune West Bridge constructed as part of the link road to the M6 that opened in 2016. "Wow", breathed Southey. "Impressive."

Shortly we then passed under the M6 bridge.

After the start of construction of the Preston by-pass that was the first motorway in Britain, the next priority was one to by-pass Lancaster and Carnforth. The River Lune was the major obstacle on the line of the By-pass. The design chosen for the 400 foot long bridge incorporated a reinforced concrete open spandrel fixed arch with a clear span of 230 feet and a rise of 44 feet. In casting such a large arch, massive support is necessary and the Contractor built a temporary timber gantry across the river to carry the scaffold and shuttering for the first half. On completion, this was lowered slightly, winched sideways as a complete unit on to a second gantry, raised to the correct level and used to form the second arch. Users of the motorway are, unfortunately, unaware of this impressive bridge in such an attractive setting. The full road was opened by 1962.

From here we rejoined the cycleway, but soon Tetley pointed, "there's another narrow path by the river. Let's follow that."

This gave us fine views across the river to Halton.

The path meandered, and near its end crossing this footbridge...

...and then shortly rejoin the cycle way at Denny Beck.

"That building was once Halton station", said Grizzly. "It is now the headquarters of Lancaster University Rowing Club."

"We can have our picture sitting on the platform", said Little Eric.

"Perfect", agreed Allen.

As Dad was doing this, a lady, Louise, from Caton saw us and asked Dad, "can I take their picture?"

"Of course", replied Dad. He then told her about us and mentioned the website.

She replied, "I will have a look."

Now using Denny Beck bridge, we crossed the river into Halton and going left.

Dad does not appear very often in our stories but this mirror gave him a chance. Laughing Tetley said, "Uncle Brian used to refer to Dad's legs as tree trunks."

The road here was busy in January, and waiting for traffic by the roundabout, caused Tetley to notice, "in that field are the remains of the Motte and Bailey castle."

Later Grizzly did some research. "You were quite right Tetley. Halton Castle was a motte and bailey fortification built in the late twelfth century by Roger de Poitou. It was one of a number of fortifications raised along the Lune Valley to control movement and enable taxation of this once rich and fertile territory. The castle was attacked and destroyed by a Scottish raid in 1322 and was never rebuilt. During the 2nd World War a look-out post was built on top of the motte, the foundations of which still survive. As can be seen too a flagpole stands on the top of the motte."

"Over the years we have visited and most of these fortifications in the Lune Valley", said Allen.

Diverting right we went to see and photograph St Wilfrid's Church.

Grizzly who likes to look round churches said, "in anticipation we would visit I looked it up on Wikipedia and made some notes." He then opened these up and told us, "the church is constructed of yellow sandstone rubble with a red tile roof the plan consisting of a nave, with a tower to the west, north aisle and chancel to the east. There is a two-storey porch on the south side of the nave, with timber framing to the upper storey, as we can see. The three-stage tower is 55 feet (17 m) tall with a crenellated parapet with pinnacles and dates from the 16th century. The remainder was built 1876–77 by Paley and Austin, and it is Grade II listed. Historically at the time of the Norman Conquest in 1066, Halton was the centre of a large manor that belonged to Earl Tostig Godwinson. There is evidence of a Christian site at Halton and there was probably an Anglo-Saxon minister there. There may have been a connection to Bishop Wilfrid (c. 633 – c. 709) and certainly by 1252, there was a church dedicated to St Wilfrid."

"Thank you pal", said Tetley.

He was not finished however, as he then pointed to this ancient cross.

Grizzly said, "this is Anglo Saxon and dates from the 11th century. The cross is carved sandstone, the base, measuring 1.5 metres (4 ft 11 in) by 1.4 metres (4 ft 7 in), with a shaft and cross head. 11th-century carvings on the shaft depict the legend of Sigurd. The figures at the top of the shaft are emblems of the four evangelists, St Matthew, St Mark, St Luke and St John, and below this are parts of four arched panels containing figures, but this part of the cross has been broken and lost. Of the cross head itself only the carved upper arm is original."

"You are very clever to have found all this out, pal", said Southey, "thank you."

"You're welcome." Then he said to Dad, "perhaps you could take a close up of some of the carving to add to our tale."

So the school day over, it was back to the road. Here a gentleman was washing his big landrover and we stopped to chat. He like Dad is missing the car wash.

Dad pointed, "you have teddy bears in the car."

"To entertain of the grand children", he replied. "We are missing seeing them and our friends and going out. I see you companions with you."

So Dad briefly told him all about us and some of our achievements and that we write stories of our adventures.

"I like that", he said.

So saying our goodbyes we strolled on passing under the motorway, with ahead the new bridge carrying the Bay Gateway over Halton Road.

"We don't go under that, rather take the path immediately left that will lead us under the Lune Lune West Bridge", instructed Shaun.

"I was hoping you could get a picture of the bridge, but the trees lining the river are making it difficult", commented Little Eric.

Dad persevered however, this being the best he could manage. " Really need to be in a boat", he stated.

The path led on. "That spring blossom will make a nice picture", pointed Allen.

Here we were walking through Halton Training Camp our exit being to the left of the fenced area.

"There is no one about", commented Southey.

"I don't think it is used all the time", replied Tetley.

When we got home Grizzly looked it up told us, "it is used for Cadet Training. There are various courses scheduled for July and August."

Beyond the path was narrow by the river, on and on passing under the Lune Aqueduct that carries the Lancaster Canal. On this side over the central arch are the words - 'To Public Prosperity'.

Climbing some steps it was left onwards by the river, after a while dropping down to this footbridge...

...and steeply up the far side and onwards, now high above the river, to soon turn right to Halton Road and walk left to its end where the road bends sharp right onto Aldrens Lane.

"That path left looks like a good option for the last part", pointed Shaun.

This took us over a wide green area coming close to by the river.

"Obviously high tide", pointed Tetley, seeing the tree trunks submerged.

The path led to Skerton Bridge that we crossed, to then walk down Parliament Street and so to the start.

"Thanks Dad, for a super day out" called out Little Eric.

"Just good to get out in these strangest of times, lads.

"And, thank you Grizzly for the research and imparting all the interesting information about the church and cross", said Allen.


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