Date - 11th June 2020 Distance - 7 miles
Ascent -
Map - OL41
Start point - Brock Valley picnic site car park (SD 5487 4606)


Summits Achieved

Name Height (ft) Height (m) Grid Ref
Beacon Fell 873 266 SD 5681 4283



Allen and Tetley, were sitting quietly reading, when Shaun, Little Eric and Grizzly arrived.

"Ooh tea", cheered Allen. "I'm...

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

"I know", replied Allen. "I truly do take after Dad for my liking for tea. Uncle Brian called Dad a tea belly, and that is what I am too."

As he had been speaking, Allen had collected the mugs together, and now helped Shaun pour the tea.

"Thank you pal."

"What's the cake offering today?", asked Tetley.

Grizzly replied. "Little Eric made blueberry slice, as we know you all like it."

"Mmm, yes", agreed Allen.

"From me", said Grizzly, "there are Chorley cakes. I have not tried to make them before, so I hope that you like my effort."

We all tried these first, and there were murmurs of delight. "They are just delicious", said Shaun. "You can certainly make them again for me."

"And me", said Allen and Little Eric together.

"Me too", called out Tetley.

Allen then took a piece of blueberry slice, and was just about to take a bite, when he said, "where's my tea belly and cake stuffer pal, Southey? Just not like him to miss tea and cakes."

"Not sure", said Grizzly. "Like you Allen, he can smell tea a mile off, so I'm sure he will be here very soon."

And he was right, as just a few minutes later, he came dashing into the room, calling out, "there is news of our next possible walk on Thursday."

"That's great pal", said Grizzly, "but you better have your tea and cake, before Allen scoffs the lot."

"Hey, you are not doing so bad yourself", Allen replied.

So we sat patiently.

"The Chorley cakes are scrumptious", Grizzly. For a first try they have come out really well. And the blueberry slice is delicious as always Little Eric. You both are so kind to make them."

"It's no bother", replied Little Eric. "We both enjoy baking."

Putting his mug down Southey then said, "Dad has been looking at the Lancashire walks book and fancies going to Darwen. From there we can climb to Darwen Tower. It is a well known landmark, from a distance looking rather like a rocket. Actually it was erected to celebrate Queen Victoria's diamond jubilee. Then down and in a circle to the start."

"Sounds good", cheered Allen.


The Walk

Well you know the saying, the best laid plans...etc.

We awoke on Thursday to find the wind bending the trees over.

Tetley got the iPad and looked at the forecast for Darwen. "It shows wind gusts in excess of 40 miles per hour. That will not make for a pleasant time out on the hill."

"We have been out in such conditions in the past", said Grizzly. "Like the day we climbed Ladyside Pike. Dad got blown over twice. Not a pleasant experience for any of us. And there have been other days like that."

"Like when we climbed Ingleborough", remarked Tetley. "Dad took our picture at the trig point, but all other walkers were sensibly huddled in the shelter."

"Does that mean we will not be going walking today", said Southey disappointedly.

"Let's go an see what Dad thinks", replied Allen.

Seeing us coming Dad said, "I know what you are going to say. I view of the wind I would rather leave Darwen Tower for a calmer day. After all it had been there since 1896. But I still plan to take you out today, and have found another walk in the Lancashire book. This takes in Beacon Fell and Bleasdale that I know we have been to before, but the rest is in the Brock valley, and that will be new territory."

"Yippee", cheered Southey, "that sounds great."

"We better get the picnic packed", called out Little Eric.

"We'll all lend a paw", said Tetley.

Meanwhile Dad got his gear loaded and we were soon on our way. "How do we get there?", asked Shaun.

Dad replied, "we take the route from Galgate into the Forest of Bowland. Through Oakenclough, the down to the end of Delph Lane. In the past we have always turned left, but today we go right."

So we sat enjoying the scenery, eventually passing the house called Stang Yule. "We took a path behind that on one of the walks in 2015", said Southey. "I have always wondered how the name came about and if there is any particular significance."

"I am sure we tried to find out back in 2015, but if I recall right, we were not successful", replied Grizzly.

At the end of Delph Lane, Dad went right. "Ok", he said. "We keep along here for some way then it will double back, and soon then we take the minor road left."

This road dropped steeply in some tight bends to bring us to Brock Valley picnic site. "Here's our start point", said Dad as he pulled in.

It is surrounded by trees with a number of paths leading off in different directions. Just about three other cars were there as Dad got ready.

"What's that over there?", pointed Southey.

"An old mill wheel" replied Tetley. "Is there some faded writing or design in the centre square?"

We peered closely, Allen saying, "it's hard to tell, but I think not. Perhaps there was an once an information board that has disappeared."

Shaun had the instructions now and the map in paw. "It's right out of the car park, over the bridge then right on White Lee Lane."

Initially this climbed and then the quiet tree lined lane stretched out before us.

It ended at its junction with Bleasdale Lane.

"Right here", called out Shaun, "then very soon it will be over a stile to the left."

Looking ahead, Little Eric said, "I remember the instructions say there is one steep climb. I guess this is it."

"Yes pal", replied Tetley. "We are heading for Beacon Fell now."

We crossed the field then the ascent became steep though woodland and more fields where trees had been planted. There are two memorial plantations. Here is part of the first.

Beside the path stands this memorial stone.

"What an amazing view", said Grizzly, "out across the Fylde to the coast."

The dark clouds in the distance were to be of no bother, as the wind was from the east today and blowing them away. On the coast of course is Blackpool. We could see the famous Tower. Hard to spot in the photograph, but if you peer closely you might just make it out on the horizon just a little right of centre.

As the gradient levelled we soon reached the narrow road that encircles Beacon Fell Country Park.

"We cross and follow that good track opposite", instructed Shaun.

"Look at those foxgloves", pointed Allen, "what a pretty and colourful sight.

Strolling on the track descended to bring us to the visitor centre, that was of course currently closed due to COVID-19, but nevertheless there were lots of people out walking here.

"There's the Orme Sight sculpture", pointed Little Eric. "Have you got anything to tell us about it, Grizzly?", he asked.

"Sure pal. As you can see from the plaques, it is by the artist Thompson Dagnall, and was unveiled on the 30th September 1995 by Sir John Johnson, chairman of the Countryside Commission, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of Beacon Fell Country Park. Dagnall responds to the usual claim of viewpoints that "on a clear day, you can see [distant hill]" – and the unlikelihood of actually managing it, even if one squints. It was possible to peer through the statue's eye from behind and, supposedly, see the Great Orme 100 km away on the North Wales coast. Unfortunately, I understand the hole is now blocked, 'due to vandalism'."

"Thanks pal", said Southey. "So, by my reckoning this year marks the 50th anniversary of the park. I wonder if another sculpture is planned to mark this?"

" Which way now, Shaun", asked Little Eric.

"Along that cobbled path."

"Ha ha", laughed Tetley. "Reminds me of the song from Wizard of Oz, 'Follow the Yellow Brick Road'."

"Perhaps they should actually paint it", went on Little Eric, chuckling.

So Dad skipped along, (well not really!), the path then coming by a wall where there was a gap.

"Look", cried Allen. "A snake."

"Wow", said Southey. "That's brilliant."

Grizzly went on, "this is another sculpture by Thompson Dagnall."

Shortly coming to a crossroads, Shaun called out, "we go left."

Soon, looking right, Allen called out, "there's another sculpture. A dragonfly."

It now became a game of who could spot the sculptures.

Little Eric won the next round, pointing, "there's an owl. That looks to be a relatively recent addition."

Then at the top of the rise where the path bent left, Southey called out, "look, over there on the right, a large sitting owl."

Shortly we exited the trees and arrived at the summit of Beacon Fell.

This shot was taken just before we set off again. When we actually arrived two young ladies were taking their pictures at the trig point. So we waited patiently until they had finished then sat at the bottom, as it was far too windy to sit on top.

Ready to set off, Allen asked, "which way now?"

Shaun replied, "we follow that path dropping to woodland and then, where it joins a wider path go left."

Coming to a crossroads, Shaun called out, "it's right now."

Tetley pointed left, "there's a toad sculpture, that has coins hammered in."

The track right descended through dense conifers. Tetley said, "we have been along here in 2015, but coming in the opposite direction."

It led to the road again, where Shaun said, we cross and take that path diagonally opposite."

"Wow!", exclaimed Southey. "That's a super view of Fair Snape Fell and Parlick that we climbed a couple of weeks ago."

The path dropped to the stile seen in the bottom left of the above picture, then it was across the field, the frequent yellow topped marker posts leaving us in no doubt where the path was.

At the trees a multitude of waymarks indicated the various paths. "We go right", advised Shaun.

The grassy track led to a stile by a gate to the farm, where there is this pretty pond.

The waymark clearly pointed us left along the surfaced access to the road. "Which way pal?", asked Little Eric."

"Right and follow round the corner until we get to Wickens Barn."

There Shaun then told us, "just a little way past, it is left over the stile in the wall."

A fenced rather overgrown path skirts the barn grounds, and then it was right across the fields to a gap. Passed through then on in the direction, with fence on right, to a stile and steps down to road at Bleasdale.

Tetley said, "all this from the road we walked in the opposite direction in 2015."

"We go left now", advised Shaun.

"Oh, a post box", pointed Little Eric. "Please take a picture, Dad."

"Seems a lick of paint wouldn't go amiss", commented Allen.

"Ooh, look there", called out Southey pointing left. "That's quite an impressive tree house."

Very soon Shaun said, "it's right along that tarmac drive, and then take the left fork, leading up to the school and village hall. "

Approaching these, Shaun called out, "before the school we should turn left along a lane."

"Right lad", replied Dad, "but I wonder if you would like to have a look at the church. It is not too much further along this lane."

"That would be nice", said Grizzly. "I have a feeling that we may have visited back in 2015 on one of the Bowland walks, but cannot remember for definite.

The section from the village was very exposed, and the wind was blowing fiercely, so it was nice to be able to sit in the lee of the church on a seat and we took the time to have a little snack.

"Just in case we did this, I have researched a little information about the church and the saint that it is dedicated to", said Grizzly. "It is probably the only church anywhere that is dedicated to St Eadmer. It was rebuilt in 1835 by John Dewhurst and was enlarged in 1897, when the chancel was added. It carries Grade II listed status. St Eadmer, born about 1060, was an English historian, theologian and ecclesiastic. He is known for being a contemporary biographer of his archbishop and companion St. Anselm in his Vita Anslemi, and for his Historia novorum in Anglia, which presents the public face of Anselm. Eadmer died about 1126."

"Thank you pal", said Little Eric. "It is excellently maintained, the churchyard is so neat too."

"Right said Dad, "time to set off again and get battered by the wind."

He strode out purposefully to pass the school and take the lane as Shaun had instructed, who then said, "in about 200 yards we go left."

There was no sign, but Tetley pointed, "must be through this gate."

The route was pretty clear across the pastures and aiming for Weaver's Farm.

Almost there, Southey pointed, "aww look Herdwicks. I know we have avoided sheep pictures so far, but I am sure Allen, you will not object to our lovely Herdwicks appearing."

"No pal Herdwicks are OK." He then said with a laugh, "oh and look Shaun, they have been shorn."

"Hmm", said Shaun, "don't go getting any ideas as far as I am concerned."

Proceeding on through the farm we reached the road, and crossed to the stile opposite.

Over this, Shaun said, "I do not think this is correct, as the instructions say to go right along the lane a few yards then take the path up the embankment."

Little Eric pointed, "Just ahead on the right there is another stile in the fence, will that get us on track?"

So Dad crossed this and then saw the rising path we should have taken from the lane.

The path led on by the edge of the woodland with a fence to the left and the River Brock below. Coming to a stile in the fence we crossed as waymarked to then continue same direction. After a while we recrossed fence via a stile and then followed the path as it dropped to the bottom of the valley. Headed on and on through the woods, to then emerge into large open clearings.

Finally a stile took us into grounds that are Waddecar Scout Activity Centre.

"We keep on the main track through here", advised Shaun.

In fields there were buttercups and these by the path. "Make a nice picture Dad", said Grizzly.

"After we pass the toilets, the track will go sharp left uphill", said Shaun. "There we go straight across the field keeping to the left and onto a narrow path that will very soon join a bridleway that we follow uphill...

"to Snape Rake Lane, and then go right."

We passed a couple walking with their young child on his bike. They spotted us and commented.

Soon the tarmac ended and a rough wet track descended towards the valley.

"Look at that large fungi on the tree", commented Allen.

Coming to the river, Shaun said, "we ignore the footbridge across the river, and take this soil track left."

This led on and on through the woods with the river close by to the right, Dad finally, where there was a break in the trees, being successful in getting a picture. Unsurprisingly after all the weeks of dry weather it was very low.

Eventually we came into another clearing with a white house.

"The path takes us left of the house, then we will join its access road", said Shaun. "We keep on this for a while but then take a path right going downhill."

This was unlikely to be signed, so we kept our eyes peeled. It was Little Eric who called out, "this must be it."

This brought us by the river again the path leading on for quite a distance to Brock Mill and passing the house reached the road, where right over the bridge we arrived at the car park.

"My", said Tetley. "It's packed." And seeing cars driving round looking for spaces he remarked, "reminds me of Ambleside!"

"What a super walk", said Southey. "Thank you so much as always Dad for taking us."

"You are welcome lads. I cannot imagine not having you in the rucksack with me. And all the stories you write will be reminders of these days out, when perhaps I can no longer do the walks."

"Let's hope that is a long long time away", replied Tetley earnestly.

And so a very happy band Dad drove us home. It had truly been a grand day out.


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