Sun 11th Feb, 2007
(FoB) Bowland Walk
Members present: Dave Shotton, Dave Wylie, Dave Bone (poor Dave turnout), Iain McCallum, Lorna Marsland, Christine Beeston, and Lester Payne. Peter Walker, Frank Williams and Virginia Castick get 1/3 tick for a shorter variation.
Guests present: Nicoletta Bobola.
The village of Chipping was a popular spot on a damp, grey Sunday morning. KMC members trickled in, with tales of navigational feats on the country lanes with the 'assistance' of police speed traps and road-works at a critical junction in Longridge. As the waterproof shrouded KMC gathered, we nearly sucked in another small group in the car park, and then nearly doubled the membership of the KMC as 3 coach loads of walkers passed through the car park - never did find out where they went. The walk started in gentle rain at the statutory 10:15 time, wending our way along the road past the chair factory to the sawmill. No hint of the snows of the days before, although half the ducks on the sawmill pond were skating on thin ice. Then it was off up the slope into the muddy fields - traction trauma.
The rain did stop in a couple of miles and the bulk of the walk was dry - some blue sky appeared by the time elevenses were had short of Dinkling Green farm. At Higher Fence Wood farm, we were rounded up by the farm dog (any dog that has to practice on a flock of chickens has to have a few screws loose), but it couldn't keep 3 from breaking away for a shorter day's return. Onwards and over Mellor Knoll where the fine view's distant fells were still shrouded in grey. Down to the Trough road where a keen wind was blowing down the valley. Iain, the connoisseur of luncheon sites, picked a wall in a field for lunch. A quick break as body temperatures plummeted - in retrospect, perhaps the other side of the wall would have been better.
The valley past Langden castle (where another group foolishly thought they should follow us as we obviously knew where we were going) was straight forward. There was much sign of considerable water flow and flooding in the valley, but the spreading of the river eased the river crossing. No one made a spectacle of themselves... Then up the steep valley sides to the head of the semi-frozen moor. Clear blue skies at this point and excellent views north. The fence was followed, up and down in deep groughs, with people arriving from varying directions at the summit of Fair Snape Fell. Across the peat stripped plateau to the freshly painted Trig point for the promised view south - shrouded in haze and an ominous grey cloud sitting on the ground towards the M6. On the final stretch now and the dribbling rain returned in desultory fashion. An easy yomp round the curve of the escarpment and up (some complaint here) to the final top of Parlick with its rather ineffective circular windbreak (for dwarves).
Steeply down the heavily eroded hillside into the gloom and we followed the roads back to Chipping, finishing at ~17:30. Some seemed to think the walk longer than my 12 miles! Still, a reasonable day that opened some eyes to the possibilities of an infrequently visited area. I have some more routes on the books for future walks. Thanks to those who came and made it an enjoyable day.
In the immortal words "Don't Panic", this is not a walk in the same mould as my Wild Wales Walks (it's not Wales)! Cries of "elitist" have led me to pull out one of my favourite local winter walks - and it's easy too, honest. So anyone can get round this one. Let's go to the Forest of Bowland for a mix of a walk, farmland, woods, tracks, steep valleys, a few bogs (required), a hop over a hill, and timing arranged for sunset on the final hill (mandatory). Plus it's not very far away. Even before the CRoW act, there were more routes available than shown on the map, but I'll leave those for a future walk as they are a bit tougher.
There are two routes - one is an extension, which is available if the group is able and willing on the day. Landranger map 102 suggested. Start point: The Village Car park in Chipping (GR621433, to find it, turn left in front of church, arriving from south), which itself can be reached via Preston and Longridge.
Start Time: 10:15am.
Route: Take the road NE out of Chipping and down to the saw mill works - after feeding the ducks on the pond, take the footpath to Birchen Lee, turn right, then left to skirt Park Gate. Follow the open track to Lickhurst farm, cross the stream (bridge) then up the hill to Dinkling Green, then some trickier route following, past Higher Fence Wood. Now for the "Chicken Run" into the woods, and a fine section up to the col by Mellor Knoll, where a fine view opens out. A long easy descent to Hareden follows, where the optional extension turns off (road and track to Brennard farm with a return over Whin Fell, with an even finer view). Otherwise we have to dodge the Trough traffic for a kilometer. Past the Water Works on the track to Langden Castle (which is a misnomer). We cross the river and take the track up the valley - the path climbs up the steep valleyside onto the moor and the bogs (a fine section). Follow fence to Fair Snape Fell and out to Parlick where a fine view, particularly after sunset, is had. Down to the road by Fell Foot, and turn left to return to the car and the facilities of the village.
Distance: 12miles (~550m ascent). [extension adds 3.5miles 250m ascent].
I shall be in the Pub the week before to gather expressions of interest and offer lifts to those who need it.