Date - 30th November 2022 Distance - 4.5 miles
Ascent -
350 ft
Map - OL7
Start point - Layby on Stainton Road (SD 5061 8760)


Summits Achieved

No summits were reached on this walk



Allen and Tetley were reading, while Southey was looking out of the window with a mournful look on his face.

"What's the matter pal?", asked Tetley.

"It's seems a long time since we last went for a walk."

"It is a few weeks but not all that unusual, as this has happened in the past", agreed Allen. "Dad has been very busy with other things like concerts and theatre, and out for lunches and visiting friends."

"And whilst mild there have been some unsettled days this month", added Tetley. "We also have to realise that now the pandemic is over, Dad has resumed doing the things Allen mentioned. So there are less days for walking, and of course Dad needs to have quiet relaxing days to recharge."

Allen was about to pick up the iPad, when he spotted Shaun, Grizzly and Little Eric. "Ooh tea and cakes are on the way. Just the ticket."

This made Southey's face brighten, saying Allen's line, "I'm gasping for a cuppa."

"Ha ha", laughed Tetley. "You two are the arch tea bellies and cake stuffers."

Allen got the mugs and plates, then said, "I'll lend a paw the pour the tea."

"Thanks pal", replied Shaun. "It is Ramblears tea of course. We have a good supply as Dad bought a box when he went to Cockermouth."

Little Eric said, "Grizzly has made Chorley Cakes and there is butter to spread on them. I've done mincemeat slice. Then between us we made some chocolate coated flapjack."

"Oh pals you are really spoiling us", cried Southey. "We never take it for granted. If there was a teddy bear Bake Off, I am sure you would win!"

So with steaming mugs in paw and the delicious cakes on our plates there was quiet for a while.

Then after his fourth piece, Allen, picked up the iPad and opening the diary, said, "this will cheer you up Southey. There are a couple of days down for a walk with Uncle Eric this coming week. Wednesday and Thursday."

"Which day is best for the weather?", queried Shaun.


"Where to go", mused Grizzly.

"I don't know. We have walked everywhere near to home", said Tetley.

"I know that Uncle Eric has some walks to suggest, so maybe do one of those", went on Little Eric.

Well this is what was agreed when Dad spoke to Uncle Eric, and here is the account of out adventure.


The Walk

We awoke to find that the day was to be rather overcast but not too cold as there was no wind.

As Dad pulled out of the drive, Grizzly said, "where are we meeting up?"

"The walk actually starts in Sedgwick, but there are not many places to park. There is a long layby just off the A590 roundabout on the road into Sedgwick, so that's where we are parking."

As we left the A590 and joined the roundabout, Tetley called out, "that's Uncle Eric just in front of us. Perfect timing Dad."

Dad got ready, then our pals Barnaby and Lee, as always, went to say hello to Uncle Eric.

Meanwhile we got snuggled in the rucksack ready for the off. Uncle Eric said, "we continue along the road and then cross the River Kent at Force Bridge."

Here is the view looking upstream.

It may look calm, but just downstream it was thundering over the rocky steps.

"Through that stile ahead with the signpost", advised Shaun.

Scrutinising the map, Shaun commented, "our return route will be the path from Stainton. But, to start, we go up to the canal towpath."

"That must be where those trees are", pointed Allen.

The path was clear heading to the right end, where this defunct bridge spans the long closed and derelict course of the canal.

Our route was left, where there is no sign of the canal just a large field, with a couple of solitary trees, this being one.

"There is absolutely no sign of the canal here", commented Southey, as we made our way along the narrow path.

"Quite", agreed Grizzly. "The path leads to the road and our route is then ahead across the bridge over the A590 dual carriageway." Then pointing at the map, "We will follow the road then here, after about half a mile rejoin the towpath. So it looks like the gap in course of the canal is roughly on the line of the dual carriageway."

"Oh yes, I see", replied Southey. "You are very clever pal."

Joining the towpath, as we strolled along, Tetley remarked, "it would seem this part of the defunct canal is private land." Then pointing, "look there are two seats in that fenced off area, and signs of a little landscaping."

"Oh look", pointed Little Eric. "A very rustic bird table."

The path was littered with leaves from fallen from the trees. This is the view we had looking back.

Then Shaun suddenly called out, "look, no place like gnome!"

"Oh!", exclaimed Dad. "That was an awful pun."

"Well he certainly looks very cosy in that tree bole, out of the rain", remarked Allen.

The towpath brought us to the entrance 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."

Dad walked down, so we could have a closer look and read the Transport Heritage plaque.

Grizzly explained, "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."

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

Our inspection over we joined the horse path to climb steadily over the hill and down under the smaller tunnels to the other end.

This shot taken looking back shows the smaller tunnels. Tetley said, "the nearer one is for farm traffic, while the one behind carries the West Coast Main Line railway."

The path led to the road. Uncle Eric said, "we go left under the overpass to rejoin the towpath."

This led on and on eventually reaching the watered section by Sellet Hall and passing under Sellet Hall Bridge.

Ambling on, Shaun instructed, "At the next bridge we leave the canal, cross the bridge, and then take the narrow lane right leading to Stainton."

We passed the houses, Shaun again issuing his directions. "Just before the bridge over Stainton Beck, it is left through a gate, to keep near the beck an cross a stile into the next field."

Due to the unsettled weather, the beck was high near to the top of the arch of the bridge.

Beyond the stile the path was by the hedge to a corner. Here an inquisitive horse came over and nuzzled Dad.

"Wonder if it is hoping for and apple", laughed Southey.

Dad moved down and it went through the gap in the hedge which was also our route.

"Maybe it just wanted to get with its friend", pointed Little Eric.

It was now straight across the field to climb the stile on the far side onto a lane.

Southey said, "turn left and go round the corner, and then take the stile on the left."

There we climbed partly up the steep banking while keeping ahead to the far side of the field and another stile onto a lane.

Shaun said, "cross and go through gate opposite."

Keeping by the hedge the path led to a kissing gate. Beyond it was on by the hedge first right and then left by the field edge, and then about half way, over the stile in the hedge on the right into a large field.

On the far side of the next field we could see the large footbridge over the railway. "We need to make for that", called out Allen.

"First we need to cross the boundary into it", mused Tetley.

"Look there's a ladderstile", pointed Little Eric.

Dad climbed it only to stop dead, and then come down. "What's wrong", said Uncle Eric.

"All the treads on the far side are missing."

There's a gate to the right", pointed Shaun.

This was tied up and immoveable, so we had to squeeze through. However Dad accidentally caused part of the wall to collapse.

"Oh dear", called out Southey.

With Uncle Eric's help and advice Dad rebuilt it a best was possible leaving no gap between the wall and gate.

There was maize stubble in the field, Uncle Eric commenting, "getting across would have been more difficult in the summer."

At the far side there was a gap by a fallen stile. "This would have been the site of the original foot crossing, until the bridge was built for safety due to the fast speed of the trains", said Grizzly

A fenced path led right to the footbridge, and on far side a similar path led left to a stile on the right.

As we were crossing the bridge one of the Avanti pendelinos hurtled by, Dad just about being quick enough to get a shot.

It was now straight up over the hill crossing the gap stile at the top.

"We have to appear in every story", said Little Eric. "We can sit on the stile for our picture."

"Drop down and cross Well Heads Lane", advised Uncle Eric.

"I cannot see it", remarked Tetley.

It was hidden in the dip and only came into view as we neared the bottom of the hill.

There Uncle Eric said, "through the kissing gate, up the hill and then down along the path to the bridge over defunct canal."

Here we rejoined our outward route to the start.

Up to now Allen had been fortunate that there were no sheep to photograph, but here his luck deserted him.

"Darn", he called out as Dad lined up the camera.

"Oh well never mind pal", comforted Southey.

"Thank you Uncle Eric for your company, and for suggesting the walk. It had been very good, and some of the paths were definitely new", said Allen.

"You are welcome lads. Glad you liked it."

Goodbyes said, Dad drove off. Looking at the time Tetley said, "I guess you are going to River Bela Cafe for lunch."

"For sure lad, and of course you must come in too, and Barnaby and Lee."

Martyn and Sarah were surprised as Dad had only been there yesterday. Dad had the lovely Cumberland sausage chips and egg. Then delicious cherry lattice pie with custard and of course tea.

A lady sitting at the next table was intrigued by us saying "my grandchildren would have loved them". Dad explained about us and told her our names and mentioned the website.

"Can I take some pictures to show my grandchildren?"

"Of course", replied Dad, "they are never camera shy."

Dad also chatted with Martyn and Sarah, rounding off a good day.


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