Wednesday, 27th January    2010




Walk: Hawthornthwaite, Catshaw, Lentworth Hall, Christ Church at Over Wyresdale, Stoops Bridge
Start Point: Stoops Bridge, Abbeystead Grid Reference: SD 563 543
Distance: 4 miles Ascent: 600 feet
Time: 2.5 hrs    
Weather: Drizzle and mist
Comments:  Abbeystead is a small picturesque village located in the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, in Lancashire. Abbeystead lies close to the Trough of Bowland but even in medieval times, was considered part of Wyresdale rather than within the domain of the powerful local magnate, the Lord of Bowland.
Little is known of the history of Abbeystead before the Norman Conquest, except that it was occupied from at least the middle of the prehistoric period.
The name is derived from “The site of the Abbey” and relates to the short lived presence of a house of Cistercian Monks in the reign of Henry ll. The traditional site of the monk’s house is just below the junction of the Marshaw Wyre and the Tarnbrook Wyre, on the north side of the reservoir.
There are a number of notable buildings in the Abbeystead area: the Cawthorne Endowed School, rebuilt in the 19th century; Holme Farm opposite, also 19th century; and Abbeystead House, built in 1886 for the Earl of Sefton. (info from Wikipedia).

After booking meals at The Fleece at Dolphinholme the group started the walk from Stoops Bridge at Abbeystead. Parking was in short supply because the Wednesday Long walk was also departing from same place. Bill, our leader and “Carer”, set off down stream of the River Wyre towards Dolphinholme. After a couple of false starts in Hinberry Wood the group of thirty one eventually reached Hawthornthwaite before crossing Cam Brook at Cam Clough. Through the damp and murk the group headed for Little Catshaw and Catshaw Hall before descending to the Wyre and Long Bridge (see photograph of hefty bridge for light footed ramblers). Over the bridge a flight of slippery stones steps took the party out of Long Wood to Lentworth Hall/Lentworth House. At Lentworth House the group came across a metal garden seat that caused some curiosity. On the top rail was the date “May 14 2003” and lower down the initials “PME” with a Croquet Mallet and Balls on the backrest. By this time the drizzle had turned to mist which shrouded the landmarks. One of the landmarks was the Parish Church of Christ Church at Over Wyresdale. It was only as the party ascended from Lentworth that the image of the church could be seen at the top of the hill shrouded in thick mist. In the grave yard at the rear of the church snowdrops could be seen as they were about to fully open. The thick mist at Far House Barn temporarily disorientated the leader and the group thought that they might have to swim across Abbeystead reservoir, but a look at the map and a grid reference from a GPS soon had Bill on the right track again. All too quickly the group found themselves walking down the lane past the village school and inquisitive children at play. Upon returning to The Fleece at Dolphinholme the group enjoyed lunch by the fire.

Scroll down to see photos of the walk

Reflections in a pool at Stoops Bridge


General direction at the start of the walk


Walk the plank - no thanks


Bill wrestles with his map


Stuart, the Gate Keeper


The Steeplechase, over stile, bridge and steps


A bridge over white water


Fallen timbers


One of many inclines


The River Wyre


A hefty bridge for light-footed walkers


An incline of slippery stone steps


Bill, the good shepherd, guides his flock through the mists of Wyresdale


Ramblers in the mists of time


. . . and the North Wind Doth Blow


A resting place for . . .


the cameraman's wife


The Parish Church of Christ Church Over Wyre


On the way to the church


A sign at the rear exit of the church


Are these the first snowdrops?


Lych-gate, Christ Church


Boot washers in the River Wyre


Stoops Bridge

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