Celebrating Allen's 16th birthday


Date - 26th August 2020 & 9th September 2020 Distance - 5.75 miles
Ascent -
Map - OL7
Start point - Old A6 road at Levens Bridge (SD 4960 8539)


Summits Achieved

No summits were reached on this walk



Allen was tapping away at the iPad, and then looked glumly at the screen.

"It's my 16th birthday tomorrow and I had hoped that we could go for a walk. But, the forecast is for heavy rain."

"What's the prospect for Wednesday?", asked Southey.

"Dry day."

"Well hopefully Dad will take us then to celebrate it", responded Tetley.

Allen's face brightened not only at this prospect, but because he saw Shaun, Little Eric and Grizzly arriving with the tea and cakes.

"I'll get the plates and mugs", called out Southey.

Tetley then gave Shaun a paw to fill them with steaming tea.

"Just what I need", cheered Allen.

"So for cakes, today I have made fruit scones and there is butter and jam", said Little Eric. "Grizzly had done chocolate coated flapjack."

"Lovely", said Tetley, helping himself to one of each.

There was quiet for a few minutes as we all happily munched away.

"The flapjack is delicious", said Southey with a look of ecstacy on his face."

"As are the scones", went on Shaun, taking a second.

Allen held his mug out for a refill, Tetley saying, "living up to your tea belly reputation I see."

So then our thoughts turned to walking. Allen said, "as it is my birthday it's only right I should go and ask Dad, when he gets back from Elaine's."

"We haven't come up with an idea", said Little Eric.

"I know", said Grizzly, "but perhaps Dad will have something in mind."

So a little later off Allen went. He was quite a while, but seeing the smile on his face when he returned we knew that a walk was on.

He said, "yes we are going on Wednesday. An old work colleague Alan Sattenstall has put details of a walk called the Hincaster Trailway. It is 2.5 miles, but Dad does not think there is any parking, so the plan is to park at Levens Bridge and walk to Hincaster, do the trailway and return by a different path."

"Sounds great", cheered Little Eric.

"And there will be additional interest as we will visit Hincaster Tunnel on the Northern Reaches of the Lancaster Canal", went on Allen.

"That will be new for us", said Tetley.

Grizzly had the iPad in paw. "There's a leaflet about the Trailway. I'll print it off, then I can tell you about what we see."

"Good idea", replied Shaun.

"Here's to Wednesday and celebrating your birthday Allen", cheered Southey. Then raising his mug said, "and here's to the best Dad in the world."

9th September 2020
We repeated this walk in the company of Uncle Eric. The day was dry with some sun, but quite breezy at times. It was lovely to have his company, and he was able to give us some extra information and insight into the section on the old trackbed. He also pointed out the parking area at the end of this section that we had completely failed to see before. Dad did not take the camera today, so all the pictures are from 26th August.


The Walk

The start point is on the now dead end spur that was once the A6 and part of the main road to Scotland.

"Just imagine the traffic jams there would be, had the M6 not been built", mused Tetley.

Dad now ready we settled in the rucksack and off we went down the road.

"There's the stile to the path we took through Levens Park", pointed Southey.

Immediately we crossed Levens Bridge over the River Kent. "That will make a lovely shot of the river flowing gently through the beautiful park", said Allen.

"There's the stile for the path that goes through the magnificent line of oaks. "Are we going that way today?", asked Little Eric.

"Well we could, and I think that was the route Alan took", replied Shaun. "However we should walk on to the far side of the cottages and then go left."

The signpost read Hincaster.

As Dad made to stride out, Tetley called out, "Levens Bridge Cottage is worth a picture for our tale. I like the big chimneys."

Then again Dad made to move on, when Grizzly called out, "look on the right. There's one of the defensive pill boxes from the Second World War." When we got home he looked it up and told us, "it is a Type F/WQ 24."

Finally Dad was able to stride out, the track being the concrete access to High Barns Farm. Peering, Grizzly said, "the date stone reads 1612. What changing times that house has seen."

Southey, who was again helping Shaun with directions to hone his skills, called out, "turn right and then over the stone step stile."

As Dad made to climb over, Tetley pointed to he boulder being the first step, "That's another of those Shap erratics brought down in the last ice age. You can just see the slight pinkish tinge of the granite."

So, beyond the stile we walked up the field, with the farm buildings on the left. Then at the end joined a track from the farm that climbed over the hill, and down to a gate by Hincaster Hall.

"Here's where we join the Trailway", said Shaun. "Go left through the gate then immediately right."

Beyond a gate we climbed over the hill with fine views to the Howgills and in front Farleton Fell. Dad took a picture, but commented, "the light is not right."

"Never mind", replied Southey, "we will have to repeat this section so perhaps you can get a better shot then."

The route dropped steeply down to the stile onto Pump Lane.

Southey said, "for now we go straight ahead on Pump Lane to Hincaster. But after the circuit of the Trailway we will come to this stile again and then go right."

At the road Shaun said, "go left."

This brought us to Hincaster village green.

"The seat and support is limestone, but in contrast on top is a glacial erratic, a boulder of Shap granite washed down in the last ice age," said Grizzly.

Then he said, "the houses are pretty unremarkable but for Hincaster House, some of which can be seen standing tall behind. It was rebuilt in 1860 by Henry Swinglehurst owner of the gunpowder works at Sedgwick."

"We go down the lane past Hincaster House and on past Bradley Farm", instructed Southey.

"Just before the railway bridge is the actual start of the Trailway circuit", said Allen.

From the road it was right, past some rail fence, that had this waymark specific for the Hincaster Trailway.

The path was level through the trees, passing the two very tall Scots Pines either side.

At the start, Grizzly pointed left, "the trackbed ran on that embankment and it was also the site of the signal box for Hincaster Junction."

This was a lovely section through the mature trees. Tetley commented, "the leaflet indicates that the ground is carpeted with bluebells in May. Perhaps we can come back and repeat the walk then, Dad?"

After a gate, Grizzly told us, "you can see that the embankment is now level with the path. So going ahead now we are now actually walking on the old trackbed of the line from Hincaster Junction to Arnside."

There were some information boards, that told us that some interesting seats had been installed.

"There's the Jubilee seat", said Little Eric.

"Good place to have our picture taken", insisted Southey.

Shortly we came to this seat. "That's the kissing seat", pointed Allen. "The two seats are have seats carved so that the occupants sit facing in opposite directions."

Walking on we came to a gate by some yuppie properties that had once been Greenside Farm.

"Left, then immediately left along Viver Lane", called out Shaun.

After a while we passed under the West Coast Mainline, Southey calling out, "it left now on Wellheads Lane parallel to the line."

In a field sheep were grazing, these two posing for Dad. "Darn", said Allen. "I should have shooed them off."

After a bit the road drifts away from the line, and where a lane goes off left, Grizzly pointed, "those two houses are original Railway workers cottages."

"Hmm", commented Little Eric. "I like the banding of different brick in the walls and the special bricks under the roof at the front and the raised brickwork on the gable end."

Uncle Eric told us, "the London Midland and Scottish railway company had different designs for properties such as this depending on the area. Also, if the where for a higher status employee, they were more ornate."

A little further, Grizzly pointed across to this stone building by the track.

He said, "that is the old Railway Warehouse used as a store for gunpowder from the works at Sedgwick."

"We saw the scant remains of those works through the trees from the far side of the River Kent", said Allen. "They are actually now in the grounds of a caravan site."

We walked on to come to bridge carrying the A590 dual carriageway. "Here's one of the sites being prepared for the forthcoming road upgrade", said Tetley.

A young man was at the gate, so Dad chatted to him a little while. His job is to coordinate the comings and goings of lorries.

Asking what was to be done, he said, "I'm not exactly sure, but it involves major resurfacing between the motorway and Brettargh Holt."

As we walked on Allen commented, "I bet these roadworks are going to cause some disruption at times."

Concentrating on the walk, Southey said, "we take that path left and join the Lancaster Canal Trail."

The path climbed passing under the railway, to bring us to Hincaster Tunnel.

Grizzly said, "the tunnel was completed on Christmas Day 1817. It is faced with limestone and lined with 4 million bricks made locally at Heversham. 377 yards in length, it was for short time the largest brick built structure in the north-west of England. As can be seen there is no towpath, as this saved money. So the boatmen would 'leg' their boats through the tunnel or alternatively they were hauled through using chains, while the horses would be led over the hill along the horsepath. The tunnel portals are listed buildings and the horsepath is classified as an ancient monument."

Before taking the horsepath, Dad walked down so we could get a closer look. Tetley asked, will you take our picture here, please?"

We now set off along the horsepath that passes through small tunnels for farm access and the railway, and on eventually dropping down to the road.

"The guide suggests going right to view the western end of the tunnel", called out Grizzly.

Dad walked down, so we could have a closer look and read the Transport Heritage plaque. Grizzly told us, "whilst the tunnel was completed in 1817, the canal was not officially opened until 18th June 1819. The route taken through Hincaster was to serve the Wakefield Gunpowder Works at Sedgwick."

Tetley said, "on another walk with Uncle Eric we saw where the wharf was for the loading of the boats. Also that one remaining rail of the tramway that brought the gunpowder to the canal."

Allen pointed, "look there is one of the loops for the chains to haul the boats through."

A gentleman passed us as we were walking back. He was cycling with his wife and unsurprisingly Dad got chatting. He told them a few things from the leaflet, which pleased them.

The gentleman said, "we like to find postboxes from the reign of Queen Victoria, and said there was one in Hincaster."

Dad introduced us and he told them that Little Eric likes postboxes too.

Finally Dad told them that this cottage was occupied by the canal worker whose job was to measure the water level every day, and if necessary, send a message with the postman to Killington Reservoir if topping up was needed.

Pointing left Grizzly said, "between the road and canal are 7 very tall sweet chestnut trees. They were planted in memory of brave Hincastrians who lost their lives in the 1st World War."

Strolling back, Shaun said, "we turn right down the access to Hincaster Hall to complete the trail."

"Hincaster Hall dates from the 16th century", Grizzly told us. "It was judged to be the 2nd prettiest in a competition in 1910. It features in Wainwright's 'Westmorland Heritage'."

Now we repeated the section over the hill.

Pausing at the top, Little Eric said, "the view to Farleton Fell, is much better. A picture is in order."

"Looking round, Allen called out, "that's a fine view of the Howgill Fells too."

Descended to the stile we had climbed before on to Pump Lane, and as Southey had said earlier, turn right along the narrow path.

Shortly Shaun pointed, "there the remains of the old pump."

"This was where the villagers drew their water prior to mains being installed", said Grizzly

The path was pretty overgrown. "Bet you are glad to be in long trousers to avoid nettle stings", commented Tetley.

"Aye lad. Very true."

Eventually the path ended at a stile, where beyond a narrow path ran through the huge field of maize...

...to a gap stile into a field. "That was an amazing path", called out Tetley.

"Oh I was waiting for some such comment", sighed Allen. "You did not disappoint. I could say it was a bit corny, but that is the wrong crop."

"We cross half right", advised Southey.

Then a clearly waymarked route took us through a gate in a barrier to enclose horses, and on to a gate, where the waymark pointed right to a gate into a huge field.

"That's not the route", called out Shaun. "There is no sign, but we must go left by the hedge."

This led to a stile on the lane by Mabbin Hall.

"This is Grievegate Lane and our route, right", advised Southey.

This Byway is a narrow enclosed path between walls and hedges. About half way a footpath went off left between these beautiful mature trees. "Reminds me of the oaks in Levens Park", commented Allen.

The vegetation being at its height made the path even narrower as this picture shows.

Eventually we joined a track by a very tall wall that led out to the A6 and then right to the car, passing on the left Levens Hall.

"What a super walk", cheered Allen. "A wonderful way to celebrate my birthday."

"Thanks Dad, as always", added Southey.

"Lunch now?", asked Tetley.

"Yes lad, I am going to the River Bela Cafe in Milnthorpe."

While we sat in the car to have our picnic, Dad had a breakfast with fries, then chocolate cake and tea. After the second walk with Uncle Eric, Dad went here again for a late lunch. He had fishcakes with salad. Bakewell Tart, and plenty of tea.

After he told us, "the cafe was busy!"

"That's good", said Little Eric.

So, home now after another grand day out.


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