Wednesday, 20th April 2016

Walk: Mere Sands Wood, Rufford Branch of the Leeds/Liverpool Canal
Start Point: Rufford Arms, A59, Rufford Grid Reference: SD 459 168
Distance: 5.2 miles Ascent: Minimum
Time: 2.45 hours
Weather: Wall to wall sunshine and not a cloud in sight.  Quite warm for April

Crossing the A59 the group headed down a track to pass Park Farm.  The buildings were larger and grander than normal and a number of people were curious as to its use.  An old map refers to the site as “The Farm Yard” and its close proximity to Rufford New Hall would suggest that Park Farm was at one time part of the Halls estate.  Continuing along tracks over very flat fertile land the group arrived at Mere Sands Wood, a Nature Reserve, and took an anticlockwise path around its perimeter to emerge into Rufford.  Between 1974 and 1982 sand was quarried from Mere Sands Wood for glass making. 

After following paths alongside deep drainage ditches the group re crossed the A59 (The Causeway) to join the Rufford Branch of the Leeds/Liverpool Canal.  The branch is a link between the River Douglas and the main Leeds/Liverpool Canal.  By using this link small vessels such as narrow boats can also navigate the River Douglas and River Ribble to reach the Millennium Link and then the Lancaster Canal.  A pleasant sunbathing break was taken at the Rufford Locks before sauntering along the canal, passing the rear of Rufford Old Hall on the way back to the Rufford Arms.  A pleasant meal, with very efficient service, was enjoyed by all.  A good, level walk with no stiles or similar obstructions or mud.  No need to clean boots today.

About to depart from the Rufford Arms

Using the diversion around Park Farm

North, South, East or West take your choice

Feeding time

A few interested parties

To the woods

Information in Mere Sands Wood

Not water, but plastic to protect crops

On the periphery of Mere Sands Wood

A memorial in the form of a squirrel

A plan of Mere Sands Wood

A crop of winter wheat with Mere Sands Wood in the background

Part of the land drainage system at Rufford

Joining the Rufford Branch of the Leeds Liverpool Canal

Incubating perhaps

Sunbathing at a lock near to Rufford

Rufford Church and the Rufford Branch Canal

One of the two marinas at Rufford

Artists at work

Plenty of equipment

A canal scene

Part of the rear of Rufford Old Hall

Another view of the rear of Rufford Old Hall

The group await the stragglers and photographer

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