Tetley's 24th Birthday Walk


an advance celebration of Grizzly's 18th birthday on 1st July


Date - 27th June 2022 Distance - 5.25 miles
Ascent -
Map - OL7 Start point - Layby on A65 (SD 5278 8901)


Summits Achieved

No summits were reached on this walk



Allen was looking intently tapping away on the iPad, as Southey and Tetley walked in, closely followed by Shaun, Grizzly and Little Eric, who were carrying the flasks and cake tins.

"What are you doing, pal", asked Southey.

Allen looked up, and was about to answer, when he saw Shaun with the flasks. "Oh, I'll tell you all, but let's have tea and cakes first. I'm gasping for a cuppa."

"So am I", laughed Southey.

"Not a surprise, as you two are the arch tea bellies and cake stuffers", chuckled Tetley.

"Well I've had a good teacher", replied Southey looking in Allen's direction.

The mugs were soon charged and Grizzly said, Little Eric has done some more apple and blueberry slice, as it went down so well last time. My offering is Chorley cakes. There's butter to lash on the top if you want."

Tetley was first off the mark today, taking two Chorley cakes and then reaching for the butter. "I just love these and you are absolutely ace at making them Grizzly."

Meanwhile Shaun had taken some of the apple slice. Then after a bite or two said, "it's scrumptious. Thank you Little Eric."

Readers might wonder why there was no sound from Allen and Southey. This was because by now they were each on their third cake, and both were holding out their mugs for a refill.

Shaun obliged, the two of them saying, "thanks pal", in unison.

Having curbed his curiosity for long enough Grizzly said, "what was it you were doing, Allen?"

"Dad's holiday in Northumberland is fast approaching, so I was looking to see if we could get a walk in before. This weekend Dad has a concert on Sunday, but because he is going to Elaine's on Tuesday it leaves Monday free. It is your 24th birthday, Tetley, so perhaps if I am at my persuasive best we can celebrate it with a walk."

"That would be just great", replied Tetley. "You really are so thoughtful pal. I truly love you to bits."

"I see Dad has other commitments next week, so not too far to the start, and say around 5 miles or so seems to be appropriate", mused Little Eric.

So we put our thinking caps on, all having more cake and tea to help!

Suddenly Grizzly grabbed the iPad and open the OS maps app, whizzing his paw over the screen. "We have done that walk through Levens Park many times, and at it's northern end we come to Hawes Bridge over the River Kent. There we walk round to join the drained section of the canal for the return. We have seen the path continuing north by the river, and have remarked about doing that. Well we could suggest that if we can make a round walk."

"Good idea", agreed Tetley. "First we need to get to Hawes Bridge."

Shaun was looking over his shoulder. "We could walk through Natland. It is a nice village to explore and there is the church to visit."

Allen said, "the best place I think to start is that layby below The Helm on the A65, where we met Uncle Eric for the walk up St Sunday's Beck."

"Agreed", replied Tetley. "From Hawes Bridge we then walk to Watercrook Farm and out to the road."

"And", pointed Little Eric, "return along the bridleway that follows the line of the filled in canal leaving it at Crowpark Bridge, and the footpaths via Cracalt Farm and High House to the road back to the start."

"Great", cheered Allen, "we have a route." Then draining his mug, and taking the iPad, went off to see Dad.

"I hope Dad agrees", said Southey worriedly. "He has been very busy this month, and he wants to be well for the holiday."

"I know pal", replied Tetley. "We are going to have to get him to take it a bit easier, for his own sakes."

Allen soon returned, and there was a wide smile on his face. "Dad is happy to do the walk, especially as it will celebrate your birthday, Tetley. He said too that it can be an advance celebration of your birthday Grizzly, which is the following Friday."

"Oh, that's kind."

"So roll on Monday", cheered Southey. "Here's to the best Dad in all the world", he went on raising his mug in salute.

"Amen to that", cried Little Eric.


The Walk

We awoke to find that is was to be a day was dry with some sun, but breezy the wind being cold when the sun did not shine.

Made no difference to Dad, who was in shorts of course.

Dad said, "Happy Birthday Tetley", giving him a hug. Then he went on, "I am not planning to start very early, so we will not be setting off until after 10:00."

"Ok", said Tetley.

We all the wished our pal Happy Birthday too, and exchanged hugs.

The drive was easy and uneventful, apart from Dad causing a little hold up as he did a U-turn to get into the layby, so pointing in the right direction for heading home later,

Once ready and with us tucked safely in the rucksack, Dad did not need any direction as the large sign reading, 'Natland' pointed the way for motorists, down Helm Lane.

This led down under the railway and passing a seat. "Ooh let's get our picture done for the story", suggested Southey.

So we settled companionably round Tetley, to mark his birthday.

Strolling on Grizzly remarked, "the flowers on the verges are beautiful. I love this time of year."

As we neared the village, Allen pointed, "look at that colourful knitted butterfly on that pole."

"We've seen examples of this before", remarked Tetley. "I recall there were once some by a gate on the lane towards Hawes Bridge."

Arriving in the centre of the village with its large village green...

...we saw a couple. The lady was taking a picture of the post box with on top a watering can covered with a knitted cosy and artificial flowers.

"I'll have to take that for you", Little Eric.

"Please Dad."

"How lovely", Dad then remarked to the couple.

Of course he got into conversation. They told him that they are from the North East and having a couple of days away. The gentleman said, "I have ancestors who came from this village in the 18th century."

Dad then showed them us, saying, "the lads come on all the walks and have done for many years." Then indicating which was Tetley, he said, "it's his 24th birthday so what better way for him to celebrate by having a walk."

They thought it was lovely Dad taking us on the walks. So saying our goodbyes, we walked along Hawes Lane, Southey saying, "that beautiful tree is worth a picture for the story."

Continuing we crossed Crow Park Bridge, and on to Hawes Bridge spanning the River Kent.

Grizzly said, "I downloaded some notes about this. The bridge is probably 18th century. Constructed in limestone rubble with rough dressed limestone copings to parapet. As we saw the two arches carry a single carriageway road over the Kent in a small limestone river gorge. Local legend has it that the body of Sir Charles de Leyburne of Cunswick Hall (Underbarrow and Bradleyfield Parish) was washed up here after being murdered and thrown into the river by his son Roger, who wished to come into his inheritance so he could marry. Roger is said to have committed suicide when the body was found and his ghost haunts Cunswick Scar. The bridge is Grade II listed."

"Thank you pal as always for the history lesson", said Tetley.

The river was flowing fast after rain as can be seen in this shot looking upstream.

Having crossed back to the Natland side, Shaun said, "there's the path we want, through the angling association car park."

Striding on the path soon exited the woodland via a stile into open pastures. There followed a succession of these via gates and stiles in the wall, with views of the river.

"It's high and fast flowing", commented Southey.

"That's because the River Kent is quite short. Rising in the Kentmere valley to pass through Kendal and finally out into Morecambe Bay. Because of this, after heavy rains it rises very quickly, but then the level soon drops", informed Tetley.

Sheep were grazing in some of the pastures.

"Oh no....", huffed Allen, as he saw Dad get the camera out. "Here goes the sheep picture free story again."

"I'll just take two", said Dad.

"Hmph, Ok", replied Allen.

"Well it is my birthday and I do not mind sheep pictures", went on Tetley.

Coming to the final field, occupied by cows, Little Eric called out, "it's sods law, they are sitting on the path."

Dad skirted round to the left, the cows totally ignoring us, and continued via a kissing gate to the access to Watercrook Farm.

"Like many we have seen, it looks to no longer be a working farm but residential properties", commented Shaun.

Here turning right we soon came to Natland Road. Southey instructed, "turn right and soon we will take the path bearing off right."

The signpost told us this was the Lancaster Canal Trail. The trail goes south to Tewitfield, beyond which the canal is fully navigable, to is southern end at Preston. The other sign indicated where we would leave it today at Crow Park Bridge.

Here is the initial path.

This soon led to a gate onto an enclosed compound that was for some works that were being undertaken. Another gate on the far side allowed us to continue, following the long filled in canal route.

Here the next section was a narrow path between fences with verdant vegetation either side.

Seeing nettles, Grizzly said, "be careful Dad. We do not want you to get stung."

"I will take care, lad."

We met a young couple along here. "Hello again", Dad said. We had met them on the river path. They were doing the same route but in the opposite direction.

Eventually the path exited into open pastures, where there was a fine view to The Helm. "We have climbed that a few times", commented Allen. "Most notably on your 70th birthday, when everywhere was closed due to lockdown during the pandemic."

There was no sign that there had ever been a canal, other than when we passed under Natland Hall Bridge. "Even here it's filled in and only the edging stones of the towpath can be seen", commented Shaun.

Striding out we soon reached Crow Park Bridge, here leaving the towpath to exit onto the road. At the corner just before the road crosses the bridge stands this lovely house called Hawes Bank.

As we crossed Crow Park Bridge, Shaun advised, "take the signed stile on the right."

"Thanks lad", replied Dad.

A clear path led across the field to a stone step stile, and then across the next field to gates into Cracult Farm.

We followed the waymarks indicating the route was along the concrete track. Then Shaun said, "we go through this gate on the left, then on ahead to that stone step stile."

This led to a narrow enclosed and overgrown path avoiding the farmyard.

"More nettles", warned Grizzly.

"Ouch", called out Dad. "Even with my best efforts I have got a little stung. Never mind it has happened before and the discomfit will soon pass."

This path exited onto the farm access, which we followed to the road."

"Go right a few yards, then follow the path signed to High House", instructed Southey.

So over the stone step stile, we crossed the pasture, to climb the next stone step stile in the far wall, and then proceeded across the pasture to climb this stone step stile tucked in the corner.

Veering left beyond up the narrow part of the field, a final stone step stile brought us onto Helm Lane once more.

"We would like to visit the church Dad, if you don't mind", said Grizzly.

"Of course lads."

So Dad headed left to the village green by which stands St Mark's Church.

Grizzly said, "the first church in Natland was built in 1246, and this was replaced by a new church on a different site in 1735. This was replaced again in 1825 on the site of the present church. As the size of the local population increased, the church became inadequate for its congregation, and in 1908 it was decided to demolish it and replace it with a larger building. The foundation stone was laid on 29 June 1909, and the new church was consecrated in 7 November 1910.

St Mark's is constructed in Lancaster sandstone and in stone from Darley Dale, with a green slate roof and stone ridge. The tower is in three stages on a plinth with diagonal buttresses, and has a battlemented parapet. At the northeast corner of the tower is a stair turret, also battlemented, that rises higher than the tower."

Moving inside Dad took this shot along the nave to the chancel. Grizzly pointed out, "the nave has four-bays, there is a north , and south aisle, and the chancel has three-bays "

Pointing to the organ, Grizzly told us, "this was made by Conacher of Huddersfield, and was partly rebuilt in 1987 by Holmes and Swift.

We walked up into the chancel to view the impressive east window.

Grizzly informed us, "the stained glass in the east window is a memorial to the Second World War; it was designed by Gerald E. R. Smith and made in the studio of A K Nicholson."

"Thank you pal for all the information, we appreciate the research you do", said Tetley.

So we wandered round some more then made to leave, and as we did, Southey said, "I love how that pillar has been decorated. I final picture to end our story."

So now all that remained was to return along Helm Lane to the car.

"Thank you Dad for a taking us on a lovely walk on my birthday. It has made the day special. We truly are very fortunate to have been on so many wonderful adventures over the years", said Tetley.

"You are the best Dad in the world", went on Allen. "We love you so much."


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