GALGATE, POTTERS BROOK, COCKERHAM & THURNHAM
from CONDOR GREEN

 


Summary

Date - 25th January 2021 Distance - 9 miles
Ascent -
620 ft
Map - 296 Start point - Car park at Condor Green (SD 4570 5614)

 

Summits Achieved

No summits were reached on this walk

 

Preface

Having been out on Friday, it was a restful weekend for Dad and us. All was well too, as the tea and cakes had arrived. We had steaming mugs in paw and were munching away on the delicious offerings from Grizzly and Little Eric.

"The chocolate caramel shortbread is scrumptious Little Eric", said Allen with a look of delight on his face, as he took his fourth piece.

"You truly are a cake stuffer", laughed Tetley. "Still if it makes you happy that's fine."

"You're not doing to bad yourself, Southey", said Allen. "That's you third or maybe fourth Chorley Cake."

"Grizzly is ace at making them, and they are just so so delicious." Then he said, "I'm sorry there is not contribution from me today."

"That's ok pal", replied Grizzly. "You do not have to join us baking every time."

Little Eric turned our thoughts to walking by asking, what are the prospects for the weather this coming week."

Tetley grabbed the iPad, and quickly navigated to the Met Office app. "Hmm, pretty unsettled again. However Monday looks to be fine with some sun, and also Wednesday.

"Perhaps Dad will agree to take us out on Monday then", mused Southey. "We just need a suggestion."

"There is an idea that Dad and I have formulated", said Shaun. "Most of us will have done the majority of the paths in the past, but I feel sure they will probably be new to you Southey. The idea is to park at Condor Green. Walk to the main road and then along the lane, the first part of which we have walked a few times to Webster's Farm. This time we'll follow it all the way to the canal, then go south, to Potters Brook. Leave the canal there and cross the fields to Cockerham. Through the village to join paths over the fields to Thurnham and so the Glasson Branch of the canal and back to the start."

"Sounds great", cheered Little Eric. "How far is it?"

"Around 9 miles", replied Shaun. "Dad was happy about that."

"It will make a nice change", said Tetley. "Even if we have done most of it before, we have not done this exact route, so I am all for it."

"Me too", called out Southey. "Let's hope Dad will take us on Monday."

Being the best Dad in all the world, of course he did, and here is the tale of our adventure.

 

The Walk

We awoke to what was to be a nice day. Dry from the sky with some sun, but a chilly wind at times.

"All it seems to do is rain at present, so we have to grasp the chance to walk when we can", said Tetley. "Dad wants to start walking soon around 10:00, so we need to be ready for the off by 09:30."

Dad's gear loaded, we then dashed out to the car, calling "goodbye pals, see you later."

"Have good time", called back Wray. "Take care and tell Dad to be careful on the muddy paths."

We were familiar with the drive as it is the route to Glasson Dock, but just before that turning off the A588, we took the narrow lane by The Stork Inn. This soon ends in the car park on the Lune Millennium path.

Whilst overnight it had just rained in Morecambe, it was clear there had been a light covering of snow here. Dad gingerly got out of the car, and walked to the back. "Oops it's a bit slippy. I must be very careful."

Soon ready we then hopped in the rucksack and snuggled down. This then shouldered by Dad, we headed out the way we had come in.

The path from Lancaster leading to the car park had once been the railway branch line from Lancaster to Glasson Dock. "The line closed in September 1964", said Grizzly. "The car park was the site of Condor Green station." Then pointing right he went on, "there's the old viaduct that carried the line over the River Condor. It is now a continuation of the footpath and cycleway to Glasson Dock."

By the main road we passed The Stork Inn. "It is still shrouded with scaffolding, but good progress had been made to rebuild it after the disastrous fire just a year ago that gutted the building", commented Tetley.

As Dad crossed the road, Little Eric called out. "There's the Condor Green post box. You know I like having pictures of them. Will you take this one for me please?"

"You always ask so nicely lad. How can I refuse."

Just to the right a short muddy path led to the lane off the main road. "This leads eventually to Galgate", said Shaun consulting the map. "We follow it as far as the Lancaster Canal. By the time we get there we will have walked about two miles.

So it meandered with a number of sharp bends and over a hill at one point, as can be seen in this shot taken by Berry's Farm.

The lane led us past scattered houses and farms, one being Scale House Farm.

Soon then we passed the buildings of Sellerley, a dairy farm operated under the name of Grazing Cow Ltd. As we passed a barn, Southey said, "I like that image of a cow."

The lane seemed never ending, but rounding the next corner, Allen pointed. "look I can see where the road goes over the canal bridge."

Soon we were there, Shaun pointing, "there's the slope down to the towpath of the Lancaster Canal."

We paused there while Dad took this nice shot of Ellel Hall Bridge. "Nice light on the stonework", commented Grizzly.

Looking up from the map Southey said, "we are right on the edge of Galgate", pointing to the houses on the far side.

In a little way we passed under Galgate Bridge and then by Galgate marina. "That will make a lovely picture with the barges and the trees reflected in the canal", said Tetley.

"By your command", replied Dad.

Soon then we arrived at Junction Bridge. "This is the start of the Glasson Branch of the Lancaster Canal", said Shaun. "The bridge, which we have to cross, allows for the continuation of the towpath on the main canal."

"There are no locks on the main canal, but the Glasson Branch has seven", said Grizzly. Then seeing a questioning look on Southey's face, he went on. "In relation to the main canal there are no locks on the currently navigable route. But if the Northern Reaches are ever reopened there will then again be locks with the restoration of those just north of Tewitfield that we walked past last month."

"Thanks pal", said Southey, "you have answered the question I was about to ask."

After a few minutes, Little Eric pointed, "those trees catching the sun, away to the left will make a nice picture."

Shortly the canal entered woodland. "What's that building I can glimpse through the trees?", asked Southey.

"Ellel Grange", replied Grizzly. "Originally a country house built 1857-9, probably by John Weightman, for William Preston. It is currently a Christian Ministries Centre. Just a shame the trees stop us getting a decent picture."

When writing the story, we found this image on the Ellel website. We hope they do not mind us reproducing it here.

At the next bridge, Southey asked, "why has it got fancy balustrades?"

Tetley said, "this bridge carries the access drive to Ellel Grange. When the canal was being constructed they had to get permission from the landowners through which it was to run. Here, the owner of the Grange gave his permission on the understanding that the bridge should be built in a manner befitting his property."

"Thank you pal. You lads are a mine of information."

Just a little further we passed the grounds of Cragg House Farm with this small lake. Grizzly told us, "the building with the spire is Kings Lee Chapel in the grounds of Ellel Grange. Sadly the Grade 11* listed building is derelict, but fundraising is under way to see it restored."

Strolling on we passed under Hay Carr Bridge and then reach Potters Brook Bridge. "This is where we leave the canal, up that wide flight of steps", said Shaun. "Then on the lane we turn right. We are heading for Holly House Farm."

Soon the access road bent left and we could see Holly House in the distance

Allen's attention however was drawn to the house away across the fields to the right. "According to the map that is Hay Carr."

"I looked it up", said Grizzly. "Hay Carr was built in 1750 by an agricultural pioneer named Thomas Lamb. Various additions were made in and around 1850. The house was once owned by the Sandeman Port family."

Later we all looked it up, and found a document by estate agents Savills for Hay Carr. Inside it is truly a magnificent property.

Strolling on we soon passed Holly House Farm. "That's an impressive date stone", commented Southey.

Continuing the track led to its end at the yard of Centre Farm. "Where now, Shaun?", asked Little Eric.

"Through that facing gate and across the field to the right corner."

There it was through the open gateway and then on by hedge on right to stile in right corner.

Tetley said, "the ground underfoot is rather soft after all the rains, but the fields here are not a boggy as I thought they might be."

"Aye lad, so far so good", replied Dad.

The waymark directed us right. Shaun said, "we cross that footbridge, and keep ahead by the hedge and through the open gateway."

Little Eric peered at the map. "the footbridge spans the River Cocker."

Through the gateway, we walked 20 yards, to where the path went right. "Yuck!", called out Allen. "That looks very muddy. Better to use the footbridge and stile combination, Dad."

"Quite lad, even if the plank of the bridge looks rather rotten."

Safely over Dad turned left as directed by the waymark. "We are heading for a stile in the facing boundary, about halfway from the corner", advised Shaun.

"Hmm", said Southey as we arrived there, "the stile has collapsed."

Dad made short work of climbing the fence, then we walked on by the hedge on the right. Halfway a stile crossed this. Then we kept on in the same direction over the hill, to drop down to stile onto a narrow fenced/hedged path to road at Cockerham.

"Turn right", instructed Shaun

Soon Little Eric called out, "there's the wall post box here." Then looking closely he said, "it dates from the reign of King George VI."

Seeing the collection times and day indicator, Grizzly said, "seems to be a bit late today."

Soon we came to the road junction at which stands the Manor Inn.

"We were last here with Uncle Eric in 2009", reminisced Tetley. "I remember that the plan had been to have lunch at the Manor Inn, but it was closed."

"We had our picture taken on that seat on the little green at the junction", said Shaun.

"That's right", said Little Eric. "We could do that again now, if it was not for the cyclist sitting on it."

"Never mind, let's sit on one in front of the pub instead", suggested Southey.

We paused here to have some cake and tea. Dad was content with a couple of biscuits and some water.

Settled again in the rucksack, Shaun told us, "we walk along the road towards Lancaster."

Dad crossed to the other side to take advantage of pavement. Passing Rectory Gardens, Grizzly said, "I like that memorial seat to the fallen in the wars."

"Our route is along the access drive to Batty Hill Farm", said Southey, giving Shaun a paw with the directions.

Shortly Little Eric, pointing to the sign, called out, "must be here."

Passing the buildings there was a choice of tracks. "We want the one heading north, so it is left", informed Shaun.

Looking ahead, Allen said, "oh heck, that looks extremely muddy. Just look at the puddles."

"At least on the first part I can walk on the grass verge", replied Dad.

He still had to paddle through some deepish puddles and mud, especially after it bent right. "Lots of slip sliding", laughed Southey.

Finally we got to the end at a gate into a huge pasture. "Phew, I'm glad that section is done", said Dad with relief in his voice.

"We now head diagonally right to the far side", instructed Southey.

After few minutes, Allen said, "I think I can see a gap in the hedge."

"Right lad, but first let's go and have a look at that pond over to the right. There might be a nice picture", said Dad.

Dad now went left to the spot Allen had indicated to find the stile and footbridge hidden in the hedge. "It might be a challenge getting through there in the summer when the leaves are on the hedge and trees", commented Tetley.

"We should now head to Cock Hall Farm, keeping to the left of the buildings", said Shaun. "Then at the cross fence go right."

There the ground had been churned up, so Dad circled round to the right to reach the tarmac drive. "We want to get to Thurnham church, so just go right along the drive."

"This is a bonus Dad. Change from the soft fields", said Little Eric

Dad was able to stride out and soon we arrived at the church.

Grizzly said, "this is the Roman Catholic church of St Thomas and Elizabeth built 1847-8 by Charles Hansom. It comprises a nave, lower chancel, north and south aisles. The tower has three stages, with bell openings that are within sunken panels and are of 2 pointed lights with a quatrefoil under a pointed head. The tower is surmounted by an octagonal spire, that has two stages of lucarnes, that is the dormer type openings. To the north side is the gabled porch, with a moulded pointed arch and a statue niche above. We can see the east window. This has 4 trefoiled lights under a pointed head with Y-tracery and 3 large quatrefoils."

We went to have a closer look and Allen said, "what is that building in the churchyard?"

"I have the answer for you", said Grizzly. "This is the Gillow mausoleum. It dates from around 1830 and is built of sandstone, in the Egyptian style. It is buttressed on the corners, and has a coved moulded cornice. On each side are doorways with architraves, and on the south front are four recessed Egyptian columns with bud bases, reeded bands, fluting and bell capitals with papyrus decoration. The first burial was in 1836. It carries Grade 11* listed status."

"Thank you", said Allen. "Once again pal you have duly educated us. Every day is a school day."

"So what's our route?" asked Little Eric.

"Just as we got to the church there is a path right over waymarked stile", replied Southey. "That's our route down by Back Wood.

Very soon this brought us to another stile by the end of the wood where as can be seen in the picture below, we then cut across to corner of the field to the stile in the left hand fence, just being approached by a lady and gentleman.

After the next stile Shaun said, "we go half right to the bridge at lock 4 on the Glasson Branch of the canal."

As we crossed the bridge, Tetley said, "huh, there is no access to the towpath."

"Well we just go left down the field as indicated by the waymark, and at least we will get on the towpath at the next bridge", advised Shaun.

Then in a few yards Allen pointed, "there's a gap stile onto the towpath."

It was very muddy along here and at one particular bit Dad stepped to the right slightly on a slope as he did not want to risk falling into the canal. However his boots totally lost traction and he ended up on his side, getting lots of mud on his coat and trousers.

"Darn", called out Dad, getting up and trying to brush some of the mud off, only to get his hands covered in it. "Are you alright lads?"

"Yes Dad, are you?" asked Southey trying not to laugh.

"Yes fine. But, my trousers are for the wash as soon as we get home."

Drying his hands, he then stopped to take this of the canal through Bailey Bridge.

Ahead where the water seems to end is lock 5. Reaching there, Tetley said, "that might make a nice shot to Thurnham Mill Hotel with the Heysham Nuclear Power stations in the distance."

Onwards then past the hotel to leave the canal at Thurnham Bridge and join the A588. Just before Little Eric suggested. "Those trees by the road, will make a nice shot Dad."

Going right and in a few hundred yards we came to The Stork Inn and took the lane left to the car park. "I know we may have included it in another story, but that bird mosaic, will nicely round off our adventure today", said Allen.

"That was a lovely and interesting walk", said Southey. "I have enjoyed it very much."

"Yes" agreed Little Eric. "Even though I have done most of the paths before it was a different route."

"Just great to be out in the fresh air", said Grizzly. "Nice to perhaps repeat too in drier conditions in the summer."

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