14th April 2018: Ings Stroll – Ken Day
A glorious walk, with glorious views on a glorious day with excellent company. How could it possible be bettered? Well surprises indeed added to the enjoyment.
Shortly after turning off the lane at Grassgarth, what at first looked like a tumble of rocks, closer inspection revealed an enclosure with a relic wall stretching for over 50 meters. The next field was even more remarkable. Sue spotted a drain system, covered with slate over which grass had offered camouflage. This led to a platform area where a number of machined stone blocks were sitting in nearby bushes. In he adjacent stream, running from Borrans Reservoir, were the remains of a 19th Century water pipe. Clearly some sort of industry, possibly a mill had once been located in the area. How would we know? Jennifer agreed to search the Historical and Environment Record.
We continued on a leisurely stroll with views to Weatherlam. Crinkle Crags and the Langdale Pikes, passing beautiful old farmsteads on our way down into the village of Ings.
A change to clean shoes were required before entering the 18th Century parish church of St Ann. Members who heard the talk given by Andy Lowe on Lakeland Churches may remember that this church was bestowed by Robert Bateman, local lad made good, who spent his adult life in the marble industry at Livorno, Italy.
As we opened the door we were greeted by a magnificent organ recital. The organist turned out to be a very knowledgeable local historian. She showed us behind the scenes of the Church, pointing out how the marble floor bequeathed by Robert Bateman had been adapted as well as revealing the marble inlay on the altar, which itself had been extended. Into the vestry where war time carvings on the back of the organ were displayed, and where we were also shown an 1855 tapestry of the Church. But equally important was the fact that our organist was able to say that the industrial site we had come across was indeed a former mill. Advising us of the location of Reston Hall, which Bateman had built but never lived in, we adjourned for a pleasant late lunch at the Watermill Inn.
What a pity that there were only four of us on the walk.
24th February 2018: Burneside to Kendal and back – Stephe Cove
On Saturday 24th February, a glorious day with a hint of spring between the bitter gusts of wind, Stephe Cove led a well attended walk which could have been entitled “Three Rivers and a Quirky Mill”. Setting off from Burneside we walked first to Sprint Mill, beside the tumbling Sprint River. The mill has stood since 1840 and been used for fulling for the woollen industry, and some of its features can still be found if you looked beyond the “contents”. This is a collector’s paradise with a difference. The owner, Edward Acland met us and took us on a wonderful journey. He and his wife have lived here since the 1970s developing the smallholding of 15 acres where waste is used as a resource, and by living off the land letting nature provide. First he showed us the hand turned machinery he still uses for chopping up straw, and another for chopping fruit etc. In the mill itself there are complete boats, including a currach made of wickerwork and hides Edward has built, and bits of boats, tools and bits of tools, dozens of carpenter’s planes, drawers and shelves, ledges and beams brimming with the known and unknown, old and not so old, carvings and sculptures, and in one corner a tray laid out with a child’s toy zoo! We were guided from room to room down and up stairs as Edward talked about his collections with pride. Shelves of jars contained anything from bat droppings to different coloured sawdust, wood shavings, paint scrapings; the list is endless. In the middle of one room amongst the furniture were sacks of potatoes, stacks of withies, sticks and wood. On every wall were wonderful patterned collages made up of different coloured wood shavings, sawdust, twine, and paint.
All too soon we were guided outside across the Sprint River by a footbridge he had built, to be shown what can be done with a plot of land. Edward bought 7 acres to use environmentally, and he showed us how he had divided the land into 10 small plots with different uses. One was for a hay meadow with all its wild flowers, another used as an orchard, and the wide boundaries contained a row of damson trees and a small coppice wood in different stages of development. Some of the hazel was used for his biomass fuel, some was sold to make the walls for yurts.
This was an experience not to be forgotten and a definite plan to revisit.
We had almost forgotten the walk; however, our leader dragged us away across fields to have lunch in the sun by the Mint River. This was followed to its confluence with the Kent River which led us back towards Kendal and then back to Burneside.
27th January 2018: Coniston Copper – Mervyn Cooper
The forecast was a source of optimism, but the heavy rain in Millom and the flooded road on the way to Coniston were telling a different story. Well, we went anyway and the rain stopped and, although the wind blew, we set off up the hill.
Mervyn, full of information about the copper mines and practising for future LDNP guided walks, took us up to Red Dell bringing in history, geology and lurid tales of why not to jump across mine shafts shouting “Geronimo” and why not to fall into wheel pits while the machinery was still in motion.
I was surprised that we managed to cross the spillway at Levers Water where we huddled in a hollow for lunch. Then down to Boulder Valley and back round to the Paddy End Works where the wind was really strong.
After a look round the Upper and Lower Bonsor Mills, where the collection of machinery has been joined by some water wheels rescued from Nent Head, we left Coppermines Valley. We crossed the beck at Miners Bridge and came down into the village past the Copper Wharf where the old railway line been extended beyond the station to take away the slate and copper ore.
Then it started to rain. But we didn’t care by then because we’d had a great day out. Thanks Mervyn
3rd December 2017: Around Stickle Pike and Rock Art? – Gail Batten
This was a glorious walk on a glorious day.
We started by looking at the cairn field just to the north east of Kiln Bank Cross. Retracing our steps, we next visited the large burial cairn by the roadside. Then it was off to the base of Stickle Pike to examine a WW11 Home Guard defence pit. Taking the track to the east and south of Stickle Tarn, we encountered several ring cairns which not have been previously recorded, where we also discovered enigmatic stones across the path, similar to but larger than those on Woodland Fell and Langdale.
From there we carried on south to a bronze age hut circle where we picked up the path turning east, joining the packhorse track, past Hovel Knot and the cruik barn and on to Scrithwaite Farm.
Then began the long, arduous climb north up towards Hare Hall where we diverted from the track up to a knoll where several outcrops bear, what appear to be ‘cup marks’ or bronze age ‘Rock Art’. Picking up the trail leading directly ahead we continued up, passing mine workings then down a beautiful miners road to join the road just below Kiln Bank Cross and our cars.
Five and half miles in four and a half hours, with plenty to see and talk about.
Well done Gail.
13th November 2017: The Green to Thwaites and Return – Ken Lindley
Amazing! We had twenty people start the walk and almost that number when we finished. (Several left when they were close to their homes near the end of the return leg.) Ken had thoroughly researched this walk which was full of historical interest.
We met at Pin Hole car park, Strands. Heading for Green Road Station we passed the old pumping station that, until the 1960s, supplied water from Black Beck to Millom Iron Works. Green Road did not originally have a station, goods and passengers being picked up at track-side. From there it was a leisurely, if muddy, stroll on the embankment to Lady Hall, crossing the railway on two occasions. At Lady Hall we had a pleasant lunch break, enjoying the sun and views from Jeff and Adrienne’s garden. On then through Lady Hall spotting the former Glebe Pub, now a private home, commanding an enviable position. From there it was a steady climb to the A595 and the site of a 14th Century bloomery, which History Group members helped to excavate in 2016. Next, with permission, we entered the gardens of Beck Bank farm for the stiff climb to Banks Wood, with its numerous charcoal pitsteads. Near the summit was a wonderful potash kiln in need of minor remedial work to prevent the vent collapsing. But that was outshone just a few hundred yards further on by a second potash kiln that worked in tandem with another, now collapsed, by its side. We then joined the lane leading back down to the A595 and made our way to Broadgate to examine, a pretty much intact, water wheel used to drive machinery for the neighbouring wood yard.
Crossing the main road and finding our way blocked by a trailer, on Ricky’s advice, we took a slight detour across open country. Ken led us to the mill pond that fed a woollen mill which made army blankets and rag matting among many other products. On then to Arnaby, where in a private garden we were shown the remains of a substantial 16th Century house which had its own brewery. Ken than pointed out the site of the site of Arnaby Tarn now dry, which might once have been a retting pond.
It was then just a few hundred yards back to our cars.
A most enjoyable day, excellent companionship and fine weather. Well done Ken, we will be looking to you for another walk next season!
13th November 2017: Ladyhall and the Green – Ken Lindley
Ladyhall is a quiet, ‘out of the way’ hamlet; a farming community with very little through traffic. lt was not always so, lt was once the main route for travellers to and from Hallthwaites, The Green, \Millom, as well as traffic crossing the ford. There was enough through traffic to keep two pubs in business and like most communities it had its own Chapel of Ease, now better known as Marrs Cottage. Sulphur mining provided employment in the nineteenth century. Now crossing the busy A595 at Buckman Brow, the footpath takes us through Duddon Bank. Two years ago during alterations to the driveway entrance a thick bed of Bloomery waste was found. The Duddon Valley History Group were called in to investigate and record their findings. Samples were sent for carbon dating. lron smelting had been going on at the site as early as the fourteenth century. Below the waste was found a shard of flint; dropped there during the Neolithic period. Four thousand years ago.
As we make our way up through woods we see several Pitsteads. Level platforms cut into the hillside where charcoal was made to supply the lron smelting operation close by the river Duddon and built by the Cunsey Company in 1736. Leaving the path, about 2/3rds of the way up the hillside, about 40 yards of on left there is a fine example of a Potash kiln, also known as a Elyeing Hearth. Potash, made from the burning of bracken, was important in the washing of wool. The ash, mixed with lime and tallow was boiled up to make a soft liquid soap and used for centuries, up to the mid nineteenth century. Returning to the path, we continue on up and over the style in the wall. 50 yds on, on the left is a fine example of a lime kiln. There was a second kiln adjoining but was at some time destroyed. Close bye there is a deep trench; a limestone outcrop from where the kilns were feed. Heading now for Broadgate we pass a fine example of a ‘crook framed’ building. lt is private property so permission should the sought. Crook, or cruck frame was a method of building, common from the 13th century through to the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries.
Next to the bridge at Broadgate is a date stone. 1829 must be when the bridge was constructed. ln a building nearby is a well preserved overshot water wheel. There to run machinery in the adjoining buildings.
Taking a direct route across the fields, we head for Hallthwaites. ln the last field we cross before entering the village, the river was dammed to supply water power to the spinning and weaving mill and walk mill Following the beck into the village we can see the dye mill and the tentering ground, where the cloth was stretched over a frame to dry. Also in this field was an iron smelting bloomery; similar to the one found on Buckman Brow.
28th October 2017: Arnside Tower to Jenny Brown’s Point – Dave Hughes
Three set out in the wet with the promise of an improving forecast and met a fourth at Silverdale – good job we’d set off and not left Lindsay waiting in vain. The walk took us through woods to Arnside tower, an interesting ruin that you see from the train, then through the caravan site and down to the beach at The Cove (no relation). We ate lunch in the shelter of a wall with the wind roaring overhead as if we were by the M6. We wandered along the coast and through the village to Jack Scout. an area of limestone crags with a wonderful limestone seat looking out over the bay. Lindsay has walked the area a lot but hadn’t known about this. Down the lane we went to Jenny Brown’s Point and the mysterious remains that are getting the full archaeologicl treatemnt over the next week or so. Lindsay’s fossil fish looked more like a plant to to me but impressive none the less. There’s a steepish climb from the beach and then it was through the woods and across the fields back to the car. And it only rained a little bit. Stephe
7th October 2017: Holme Mills – Jennifer Gallagher
23rd September 2017: Lancaster Canal – Bob Bell
Although only 5 members of the DVLHG took part on the walk – all who did so had an enjoyable day. The train from Foxfield to Carnforth was on time and the walk duly commenced from Carnforth station at the appointed hour. We first joined the Kendal – Lancaster canal at the Canal Turn public house in Carnforth. This was clearly the basin for Carnforth where coal and other general cargo would have been discharged throughout the 19th century. The whole of the canal from Preston to Kendal Gas Works was still in use until 1947 for the transport of coal & coke. Although in reality the heyday of this canal was between 1800 and 1840 – prior to the arrival of the railways. The canal – known as the “Black & White Canal” – was still of commercial use into the 20th century as it carried limestone from the quarries at Holme & Burton-in- Kendal south whilst coal was carried north.
There are vestiges of the “old world” all along the towpath where we walked. Milestones are still in place here and there showing distances from one end of the canal on one side and from the other end of the canal on the reverse side. The bridges over the canal are all of a similar “beautiful” style numbered as chance would have it from 125 at Carnforth to 100 close to the Waterwitch public house in Lancaster where our walk finished. The original arches are designed uniformally so that on the tow-path side there is extra height to allow the horses to drag the barges safely underneath. On nearly all the bridges the rope marks are still to be seen where they chafed as the horses dragged the fully laden barges below.
As well as the “old world” the canal has also had to adjust to the needs of the “new world” and a very fine modern bridge has been built to carry the new 21st century Heysham –M6 Link Road over the canal.
The highlight of our walk was of course the Lune Aqueduct. Built by John Rennie in 1794 and open for business in 1797 its construction almost bankrupted the canal at the start. It is a remarkable piece of engineering for the period and by following the contours of the countryside it meant that no locks were required on the canal all the way from Preston to Tewitfield – a distance of 42 miles. When the canal enters Lancaster we could see where former mills and their warehouses (now converted to industrial units and modern apartments) were constructed to make use of the canal. The Waterwitch public house is itself the conversion of a large stable block adjoining the main cargo basin In Lancaster city centre.
For those unable to join us on the day of the walk I would highly recommend it. The towpath is level and either tarmac or at worst gravel for the entire 9 miles of the route. There are no potholes and we had no problem even with puddles as the day of our walk was dry. This meant that the reflections of the sky in the water and the constant turning of the canal were a delight for us all. We never knew quite what was round the next corner. For anyone who feels that he/she would not wish to walk 9 miles it is worth remembering that much of the canal from Carnforth to Hest Bank adjoins the A6 where the “555” bus service Lancaster – Keswick passes each hour. This bus service was in the past a favourite of Lancaster University students heading for the Lake District at weekends and is now even more appreciated by those of us who have bus passes.
16th September 2017: White Maiden – Keith Nixon