Sunday, 16th December 2012

Walk: Bolton- By-Bowland, King Henr'ís well, Fooden, Gisburn Bridge, Steep Wood, Gisburn Cotes, New Laithe, Dockber
Start Point: Car park at The Spread Eagle Sawley Grid Reference: SD 776 466
Distance: 10.5 miles Ascent: 735 feet
Time: 5.5 hours    
Weather: Cool with no wind, sunny all day
Comments: After the heavy rain of the previous Friday, Sunday dawned bright and sunny with no wind, a perfect day for walking albeit muddy underfoot as has been the case for most of the year. 15 walkers enjoyed a walk which started by heading along the River Ribble to the village of Bolton-by-Bowland, pausing to look at the remains of an ancient cross before heading into the village.

After photographing the stocks on the village green we headed up to the church of St Peter & St Paul where there has been a church on this site since 1190. From there it was onto King Henry Mews, so named because the Lancastrian King Henry VI retreated from the Yorkist army during the Wars of the Roses after his defeat at the Battle of Hexham in 1464. He lived at Bolton Hall, sheltered from his enemies by the then Lord of the Manor and House of Lancaster adherent, Sir Ralph Pudsey. Henry lived at the Hall for a year, prior to his capture and eventual execution at the Tower of London in 1471. The hall has long since disappeared and the Mews are a legacy of that era. Along the road to the mews there was time to look at the oak tree planted in 1911 to commemorate the coronation of King George the V before continuing on to King Henry's well. Legend has it that King Henry discovered a spring at Bolton Hall during his stay and this can be seen today housed in a purpose built stone 'house' which is now on private property.

From King Henry's well we followed the course of the Ribble up to Fooden Hall Farm before reaching the road and eventually Gisburn Bridge. Lunch was taken at the entrance to Coppice Farm as we began the homeward leg towards Sawley on the other side of the valley. Through coppices and muddy fields we joined the Ribble Way and climbed up through Steep Wood to Gisburn Cotes Hall. Shortly afterwards we reached the site of the Gisburn car boot sale where the many bizarre sculptures and pieces of artwork kept everyone amused.

After taking the obligatory photos it was down the track to Dockber Farm and back to Sawley where after a change of clothes we were joined by Betsy for another superb meal.

Thanks to all those who participated in making this a pleasant day out and as ever, to the Spread Eagle staff for their friendly service and excellent food

Scroll down to see photos of the walk

Gathering in the Spread Eagle car park - but we have 10.5 miles to go before our Christmas Dinner!


The fields are still very wet from Friday's rain


Crossing Skirden Beck


The tree marks the spot . . .


of the ancient cross base


The village green in Bolton-by-Bowland . . .


with the war memorial across the road


The church of St Peter and St Paul on the spot where . . .


there has been a church since 1190


The remains of an ancient cross as we walk along King Henry Mews


The oak tree planted in 1911 . . .


commemorates the coronation of King George V


King Henry's Well


The weir on the River Ribble


A legacy of the wet summer . . .


but why is Tony hanging onto the post?


Lesley reveals the problem!


A sunny bank for elevenses


No doubt where this path is going


Heading for . . .


the 16c Fooden Hall Farm, one of only two buildings in the country with a dovecote above the porch


A trap from days gone by


Crossing Park House Beck


Gisburn Bridge . . .


and from the other side


Back into the mud as we leave the road behind


but first we have to re-join the Ribble Way . . .


with a rather full River Ribble . . .


and climb out through Steep Wood


Crossing the first bridge . . .


and the second, of the Leyland to Colne railway line


A rather modern stone circle . . .


and Garry reckons he can save England . . .


but sadly, after only one shredded wheat for breakfast, he can't make the grade!


'Men forwards' as Tony and Ray admire 'the view from the loo' . . .


and ladies backwards


Lucky for some!


Sculptures in the woods . . .


and a bizarre bar


The it's time to head into Sawley . . .


to celebrate another successful year of walks


Phil tries the Rib-eye Steak topped by onion rings . . .


while Kath finishes off with Apple & Blackberry Crumble

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