Outdoor Discoveries

It's amazing how things develop. After all, this blog started out as a news section for the rest of the website. With encouragement from readers, it has become a place for relating my countryside wanderings and musings about the world of outdoor activity. Walking, cycling and photography all are part of what I do out-of-doors and, hopefully, they will continue to inspire me to keep adding entries on here. Of course, there needs to be something of interest to you, dear reader, too and I hope that's the case. Thanks for coming.

The addressing of oversights or just some new places to explore?

28th October 2009

My day out among the limestone pavements and outcrops near Ingleton had me taking a bus ride through a part of the world where I hadn't been before. Unusually for me, the journey there and away again took me around by Lancaster with a bus ride up the Lune valley to Ingleton itself. Even under grey skies, the potential of the area with its pretty villages (Hornby looked interesting with its castle by the River Wenning) was apparent. Unsurprisingly, there is a trail through all of this and it's called the Lune Valley Ramble and its not the only one either. Its 16-17 miles from Kirkby Lonsdale to Lancaster would make for a long day of walking but riverside hiking isn't as strenuous as trotting over hill and dale and a regular bus service (Stagecoach Lancaster 81A/81B) allows for some some truncation if needed. You might need to find a quieter day for this type of thing though but winter is ahead of us so that may make places less peopled. The combination of easy gradients and proximity has as much appeal on a warm day in Yorkshire as it does in Cumbria or Staffordshire and a few walks have taken me past fleshpots in these counties since the start of the year. Saying that, a quick look along the route of the LVR confirms that the types of gathering spots that allows occasional amblers to congregate are absent so things may never feel as busy as the those lower reaches of Wharfedale on that faultless day at the end of September though that of course does change around Lancaster, an interesting city to explore in its own right and one at which I only have taken fleeting stolen looks. If the LVR ever was found to be busy, then there are other options like the Lunesdale Walk, which should keep you occupied for a few days by the looks of things.

While on the subject of missed walking opportunities in Lancashire, it would be remiss of me if I didn't mention the Forest of Bowland that bounds on the above and the AONB's website has plenty of ideas for active enjoyment of the places, either on foot or on a bike, that I passed while plying the way between Lancaster and Ingleton a few weeks back. In this context, the word "forest" refers to hunting grounds rather than woodland and it is very apt usage given recent history. Until the advent of the countryside rights of way act that established tracts of access land, there were few rights of way through these hills and the establishment of that precious enhanced access involved overcoming any objections from the Duke of Westminster. Since that's changed, there really should be no excuse for my not paying this hilly area surrounded by disparate conurbations like Lancaster, Clitheroe and Settle a visit. Of these, Clitheroe seems the easiest point of approach without a car with bus services B10 and B11 conveying you from its train station. There may be other ways into these uplands but a spot of further research is in order to find out what they might be. That should put paid to any sense of there being hills not at all that far away from me that are not so accessible. They may be quieter too so that should be good enough reason to play the connoisseur and pay them a call.

Up until now, my only exploration of Lancashire's countryside on foot was among the South Pennines near Burnley and pondering alluring locations like the Lune Valley or the Forest of Bowland may result in something happening. For now, I'll retain them as ideas and that has to be better than passing through while going to the delights of Cumbria or Scotland; only skirting them on the way to Yorkshire is an equal oversight and an ironic one given the happenings of history. With the ever shorter days of winter coming upon us, having somewhere new to explore that isn't so far away only can be a good thing.

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