ACKENTHWAITE & HEVERSHAM from MILNTHORPE

 


Summary

Date - 29th September 2021 Distance - 6 miles
Ascent -
460 ft
Map - OL7 Start point - Pay & display car park, Milnthorpe (SD 4956 8148)

 

Summits Achieved

No summits were reached on this walk

 

Preface

Southey and Tetley were looking mournfully out of the window as another rain shower beat against the glass.

Tetley said, "Dad has been talking about how low Haweswater and Thirlmere are after the prolonged dry spell. Normally it is expected they are 70% full but just now they are barely one third full. So he has been saying we need lots of rain."

"Seemingly his prayers have been answered", replied Southey with a laugh.

Allen came trotting in. "The Lake District and Dalesman magazines have arrived. Here are your copies pals." He too glanced out of the window. "As I heard you say Southey, Dad has got his wish for rain to fill the reservoirs."

"We are supposed to be walking with Uncle Eric on Wednesday. We can only hope for a dry day", said Tetley.

Grabbing the iPad Allen made to open it up, but stopped with his paw in the air. "Ahh tea and cakes", he cried, seeing Shaun with Little Eric riding on his back and accompanied by Grizzly coming into the room.

"Everything stops for tea, as far as Allen is concerned", laughed Tetley as he got the mugs and plates. "I'll lend a paw filling the mugs."

"Thanks pal", said Shaun. "It's Ramblears tea of course."

Grizzly announced, cakes today are peach and apricot slice that Little Eric has made, and from me chocolate coated flapjack."

"Ooh lovely", cheered Southey taking one of each and putting the same on Allen's plate."

So all content we sat quietly while yet another shower beat against the window.

"The peach slice is delicious", said Allen taking another piece.

"So I see", laughed Little Eric. "That's your fourth, but I am just glad you like it."

"Complements Grizzly on the flapjack", said Shaun. "It is scrumptious."

Finishing his cake and taking another sip from his mug, Allen then picked up the iPad and opened the Met Office page for Morecambe. "Oh dear, the forecast is for heavy showers on Wednesday. Not good at all."

"We are walking from Milnthorpe", said Shaun. "I know it is not many miles away, but what is the forecast for there?"

"The nearest forecast location is Levens Hall", replied Allen. Then his face brightened. "Well the forecast for there is sunny periods all day with just a very small chance of an occasional shower. Just shows how localised the weather can be."

"There's a couple of days to go so let's hope the forecast stays the same", said Little Eric.

"Yes pal", agreed Grizzly, "I am looking forward to exploring these new paths."

 

The Walk

The arrangement was to meet Uncle Eric at the pay and display car park just along the road towards Arnside, in Milnthorpe.

The forecast had stayed the same, and it was raining as Dad got his kit into the car.

Little Eric was peering out of the window looking to the north. "the skies are blue, so we can only hope that is over Milnthorpe."

"I'm ready" called out Dad.

"OK", replied Tetley, as we dashed out, calling goodbye to our other pals, and settling on the front seat.

The rain persisted for part of the way then suddenly it was left behind and when we arrived in Milnthorpe there were sunny periods that were to persist all day. This was in contrast to Morecambe where the skies stayed dark, and talking to the postman later he said there had been frequent heavy showers.

Uncle Eric was already there Dad pulling in next to him. Then Lee who always comes to see him with his pal Barnaby, tapped on the window to attract his attention and waved.

Uncle Eric smiled and waved back, then got out of his car.

"Good morning Uncle Eric", called out Allen, on our behalf. "We are really looking forward to the walk."

"Hi Lads, good to see you,"

There was then a little discussion about the contrasting weather, as he and Dad looked south towards Morecambe.

We quickly settled in the rucksack, and Dad soon ready, this as shouldered and off we went.

Uncle Eric said, "we walk along the road to the traffic lights then cross and continue through the village.

This quite imposing building stands on the left side occupied by the Green Dental Practice.

Seeing that the streets either side are called Police Square, Grizzly mused, "I wonder if at one time this was Milnthorpe Police Station?" Doing some research later he told us, "I cannot find any pictures on the Internet, so my musing has to remain speculation."

On the opposite side just a little way along stands St Thomas' Church.

Dad said, "Eric do you mind waiting while I take a picture."

"No, not at all."

"I have some notes on this", said Grizzly. "St Thomas' was built between 1835–37, in limestone with sandstone dressings, to a design by the Kendal architect George Webster, providing accommodation for a congregation of 600. The chancel was added in 1883 by Joseph Bintley, and in 1912  architects Austin and Paley carried out alterations at the west end of the church. The plan is nave, chancel and west tower. There is a ring of six bells, cast in 1912 by John Taylor & Co of Loughborough."

It was nice to see churches open again after the lockdowns and Dad took us inside to have a look and snapped this shot along the nave to the chancel.

"Thank you pal for your insights. You always add interest to our walks", said Southey.

As we strolled on we came to Laburnum House, on the wall of which is an information plaque about its history.

This told us, it dates from about 1828 possibly designed by George Webster, and is said to have contained Milnthorpe's first water closet. In the 1830s the Misses Burrow ran a girls' school from here. Later residents included Dr Wilson in the 1850s, Dr McLeod c1910 and, in the interwar period the Kendal brewer A J Miles whose son Richard won the DFC in 1941. In 1954 the house attracted worldwide attention when its tenant, Dr Edward Hopkinson, claimed, after his electricity had been cut off, to have illuminated his house by generating power from an 'atomic egg'. Eventually after a sensational trial, 'Dr Hoppy' was found guilty of 'stealing electricity from the public supply'.

"Well I never!" exclaimed Tetley.

Soon we left Milnthorpe behind and came to the hamlet of Ackenthwaite. Here Uncle Eric met a friend from the Railway Society who was waiting for the 555 to Lancaster, and they chatted until the bus arrived.

Seeing the post box just a few yards further, Little Eric called out, "please take a picture Dad. It is a standard pillar box dating from the reign of Queen Elizabeth II."

Shortly Uncle Eric pointed across the road. "That house was once the local smithy.

Reaching the end of the hamlet, Uncle Eric said, "we go along this narrow lane left, as far as the house called Cragg Yeat."

Just past the corner Little Eric called out again. "Look a wall post box." Then looking closely he went on "it dates from the reign of King George VI."

He needed to say no more as Dad already had the camera out.

As we reached Cragg Yeat, Shaun said, "we must be taking that path left through the gate by that signpost.

"That's right", agreed Uncle Eric, "we go all the way to Haverflatts Lane."

He then pointed out the route. "Cross the field to the gate in the hedge then up by the hedge on the left to a stile and on to the brow."

As Dad strode on Allen said, "that shapely tree to the right will make a nice shot."

Tetley pointed, "that is St Anthony's Tower over to the left. Can you tell us anything about it, Grizzly."

"Yes pal, I have my notes somewhere. Ahh here they are. It is a folly in the shape of a Tower dating from the early 19th century, and is recorded as being in existence by 1832. Standing two storeys it is built of stone rubble with a dressed stone corniced parapet and unglazed window openings. The first floor is accessed by a flight of external steps. Visible from some considerable distance all round, notably from Dallam Towers, whose owner in 1832 prevented any further extension of the development along Church Street in Milnthorpe, so that the view of the folly from his house was not obscured."

"Thank you again pal", said Tetley.

Having crossed one stile we came to this gap stile on the brow. "That's a bit unusual with dressed slate linings", commented Uncle Eric.

Crossing the field beyond a narrow stile took us on to Haverflatts Lane, Shaun saying, "it is through the stile on the opposite side."

The path led to a gate, where Uncle Eric said, "it is right here by the hedge."

"What a lovely view to Heversham Head", pointed Tetley.

"We have been up there twice with you Uncle Eric. First on 31st December 2002, and then 17th January 2007."

"Your memory never ceases to amaze me, pal", said Southey in wonder.

The path now skirted the boundary wall of Lower Haverflatts to a stile by the gate at the corner. Crossing the next field, Little Eric pointed, "look a waymarker designed for bears and sheep."

Just before the gate it was over the ladderstile on the right and then in 30 yards through the gap stile in the left hedge.

Heading on our progress was stopped by Allen calling out, "just look at the superb view of the Howgills."

"Yes", sighed Shaun. "We have had many wonderful days exploring all those hills."

Shortly a stepped gap stile allowed progress over the cross wall. "Take care here", said Uncle Eric. "I fell off the stile last time."

"Oh dear", said Grizzly. "I hope you did not hurt yourself."

"No lad, I fell onto the grass thankfully."

Here it is after Dad and Uncle Eric had got safely over this time. The problem is the lower through stone that has a slope and when wet ones foot tends to slip off.

"It reminds me of that stile on the Grayrigg walk", said Dad.

"Oh yes", said Tetley. "Again the stone had a slope and it was so wet, before we knew it you had slipped off."

"I am just glad that I landed on my front and not you lads."

"Oh no", called out Allen seeing the sheep grazing. "I hope they run off."

However they just stood and posed for Dad.

"Hmph!", growled Allen as Dad snapped away.

At the end of the field we exited by a rather Heath Robison gate - a pallet tied with string, onto Woodhouse Lane.

"We came to this point in the opposite direction on our walk from Levens Bridge", said Tetley. "To access the railway we go left a few yards then through the stile by the gate to the right."

A short downward slope brought is to the track bed, that we had viewed before on that walk. "Today we get to explore it", said Little Eric, excitedly.

Just lovely strolling along through the trees to either side. Suddenly an over bridge appeared. "that carries Woodhouse Lane", informed Uncle Eric. "We will have to come back to here and use those steps to the lane later."

To get the best picture Dad walked part way up the steps. Uncle Eric, who does not take many pictures, was getting his camera out too, and Dad said, "this is the best vantage point."

Just beyond there was a notice board, and Uncle Eric said, "this is the start point of the Heversham Nature Trail. There are a series of numbered posts that have pictures of animals and insects. I tried to identify them but could not make them out. Perhaps you will have better luck lads."

"We must try to identify them all", said Shaun. "It will be a test of observation."

"I'll write them down as you call out the names", volunteered Southey, getting the note pad and pen ready.

So off we went one or other of us calling out as we spotted the posts. "Please take a picture of one to illustrate the story", said Grizzly.

Each post has a handled swivel section that when turned reveals the picture for identification.

Finally just after post number 14, further progress not possible beyond the bridge carrying the access to a house, due to tall metal gates that are securely padlocked.

Uncle Eric pointed. "if you look carefully the bridge over the A6 can just about be seen. On the other side of that was Heversham station, of which the platform still remains. I suspect the land beyond the gates is owned by Park House Farm."

"Is it possible to see the platform?", asked Allen.

"Not really", replied Uncle Eric. "Any access would be via the drive to Park House Farm, which is not a public right of way."

Turning back, Little Eric said, "how have we done with the nature trail."

"Pretty good, but we missed numbers 2 and 6", replied Southey.

"More detective work then", laughed Grizzly.

If we look out for the number before the missing ones we will know when to keep our eyes peeled", suggested Uncle Eric.

"Great idea", agreed Tetley.

The missed posts were spotted , so completing our assignment, and here are the results -

1

Rabbit

8

Deer

2

Squirrel

9

Bee on yellow flower

3

Frog

10

Dormouse

4

Bat

11

Owl

5

Fox

12

Butterfly

6

Dragonfly

13

Hedgehog

7

Yellow bird

14

Pheasant

Climbing the steps to a surfaced track, it was left a few yards onto Woodhouse Lane, Uncle Eric saying, "go right and walk down through Heversham village."

Little Eric remarked, "there is the matter of our picture, as we have to appear in each story."

Passing the churchyard, Dad said, "there's a seat by the wall. You can sit there."

At the corner, stands the impressive St Peters' Church.

Finding his notes, Grizzly told us, "the oldest fabric in the present church dates from the 12th century. Additions and alterations were made during the 14th, 15th and 16th centuries.  Rebuilding took place following a fire in 1601. A considerable restoration was undertaken in 1868 by the architects Paley and Austin, who also added the tower. The restoration included rebuilding the north arcade, partly rebuilding the chancel arch, renewing the roofs of the chancel, and the aisles, and replacing the seating in the church. The building is constructed mainly in limestone rubble with sandstone dressings, the vestry and the east wall of the chancel being in sandstone. The roofs are covered in lead. The plan of the church consists of a three-bay nave with clerestory, a two-bay chancel, north and south aisles with chapels at the east ends, a north vestry, a south porch, and a west tower. The tower itself is in three stages with buttresses, a pyramidal roof, and a southwest stair turret. The architectural style of the body of the church is Perpendicular. The south arcade is Norman, and the tower is in Early English style."

"Wow pal, thanks for such a detailed insight", said Southey.

"Just one more thing", went on Grizzly. "Until St Thomas' Church was built in Milnthorpe, the villagers came here to worship. That is why the road north from the traffic lights in Milnthorpe is called Church Street."

Shaun gave instructions. "we go left here and walk down past Dallam School to the A6 then opposite the entrance to Park House Farm take the footpath left across the pasture."

Here looking right there was a fine view of the Kent Estuary with the railway viaduct at Arnside, and Grange to the right.

At the far left corner a fence barred access to the kissing gate. "Hmm", mused Little Eric.

"Ahh", said Shaun. "There is another kissing gate in the hedge further back."

Beyond a narrow path led right to the kissing gate onto the access track to a large house.

By this we took the footpath right across the field up and down hill. "I could not find my way here" said Uncle Eric. We were determined not to be beaten, and after going to the far corner, Southey pointed, "I can only think it is that gate over to the right we need to get through."

"It is padlocked shut", pointed Little Eric.

Then Tetley said, "ahh there is a stile just round to the right. It is hard to spot being hidden by the tree."

"Good", said Uncle Eric, "mystery solved."

We were now on the very narrow hedged Kirkgate Lane. "Hope we don't meet a vehicle, there is nowhere to go", said Grizzly.

Fairly soon we came to the junction with two options right. "It's the right fork", said Shaun. "Haverflatts Lane."

This was equally narrow and were glad of the field gateway to stand in to let the DPD van, that filled the lane completely, pass.

Striding on we had another fine view of St Anthony's Tower.

So close to access it, but we noted all the gates to the right had signs reading 'private no public access'. The land is part of Dallam Towers estate.

After a while the lane widened as we approached Milnthorpe, where we followed the outward route to the cars.

There had been some fine views including to the Lakeland Fells, of Coniston Old Man, Wetherlam, Bowfell and Langdale Pikes. Just too distant to get a decent picture.

"Thank you Uncle Eric", said Tetley, on our behalf. "That was a most interesting and lovely walk, and on paths none of us had walked before. We really appreciate you devising the route and we have thoroughly enjoyed it."

"I am glad lads."

Further dates were fixed before goodbyes were said.

Checking the time, Dad said, "I'm going to the River Bela Cafe for lunch. Do you want to come along Eric."

"If you don't mind, no", replied Uncle Eric.

As we drove off, Allen said, "I know we normally go in, but we have our picnic to eat. So, we will stay in the car and let our pals Barnaby and Lee go in today."

Martyn and Sarah were pleased to see Dad and he had a chatty time. To eat he had the sausage, cheese and caramalised onion chutney pannini with fries, followed by a delicious slice of carrot cake. Tea of course to wash it down.

As we drove home, Tetley said, "it has been a grand day out!"

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