Sunny April days are perfect for a ramble round a beautiful reservoir. Lancashire has its fair share of man-made lakes that provide water to homes and industry in the county. Some like Entwistle Reservoir at Edgworth near Bolton have a good footpath meandering round them, making a great circuit popular with families, dog walkers, runners and just about anyone who wishes to immerse themselves in some lovely Lancashire countryside.
Inspired by a post on Eunice’s blog , Wil , Hugo and I made Entwistle Reservoir our chosen destination one Saturday morning. There is free parking on the car park on Batridge Road right next to the path entrance. It was a bright morning but a little chilly as we set off on our walk.
The trail hugs the water and makes for a pleasant 2.5 miles, though there are plenty of opportunities to wander off the beaten track through woodland or up into surrounding moorland. We mostly stuck to the footpath though.
Entwistle Reservoir has a rather lovely art installation on the Northern shore , a metal heron sculpture called ‘The Wader’ which stands in the water. I love finding sculptures so was very happy to see him. 🙂 As for real life wildlife, we didn’t actually see any heron, though there were plenty of Canada Geese and cormorants.
And so back to the car park after crossing over the bridge. The Bolton Water Company plaque features an Elephant. Elephants have a connection with the nearby town because of cotton trading links between Bolton and India.
We still had a bit of exploring left in us before lunch. A footpath from the car park leads through a woody valley to another reservoir. Wayoh Reservoir also has a waterside path and seemed quieter than Entwistle. From here you can continue on walking to Jumbles Country park and really make a day of it. An idea for the future maybe…
Nearby both reservoirs on Overshores Rd is the unusually named Strawberry Duck pub! It is here we headed for a dinner of huge fish finger butties, sat outside in the sun. The area of Entwistle is named from the Old English ened and twisla which means a river fork frequented by ducks. Not sure where the strawberry association comes from though. 🙂
The Strawberry Duck is very near a request stop train station on the route to Manchester , so we may catch the train instead next time.
This afternoon we donned our waterproofs and walking boots, packed a lunch and flask of coffee and headed to the centre of the UK !
The pretty village of Dunsop Bridge in the Trough Of Bowland is the nearest village to National Grid reference SD63770 56550 Hanging Stones. Apparently this area has been determined to be the exact centre of the country.
From the village car park ( £1.40 charge for four hours) we walked past the green and took the tarmacked track to the left of Puddleducks Tea Rooms and Post Office. From here we followed the lane through a couple of farm cottages and up through the valley as far as the water pumping station and back.
Hugo really enjoyed dipping in and out of the brook and chasing sticks. 🙂
Meanwhile the weather was a mixture of sunshine and hale stones, plus it was blowing a bit of a hooley.
I think the weather conditions frightened off most of the wildlife. I saw a few ducks and the odd pheasant. Lots of purple catkins on the alder trees gave the countryside a lilac hue.
I think the scenery in the Trough is every bit as beautiful as in the Yorkshire Dales or the Lake District.
We didn’t venture further than this water tower but I’m sure we will return one day soon and follow the lane up into the fells.
We turned back and headed for Dunsop Bridge. This walk covered five miles in total.
It was lovely to see bunches of wild snowdrops growing by the stream and dotted round the village. Hopefully Spring is on its way..
Pendle Sculpture Trail in Aitken Wood near Barley is a great little walk that is brimming with eye catching sculptures. I’ve blogged about this trail before here , and it’s now somewhere we love to bring Hugo. Over time some of the sculptures have naturally eroded but a few more have recently been added too. We visited on a foggy Monday morning, driving through the village of Downham and over a misty Pendle Hill.
There is ample parking in the car park in Barley ( £1 charge) which has a cafe & information centre. No maps featuring the new art installations were available on our visit ,but hopefully this will be remedied soon. To access the Sculpture Trail we made our way through the village , passing the Pendle Inn on our left and then Barley Garage, before following the signs up past two reservoirs and on to Aitken Wood.
The original Sculptures are very much inspired by the tale of the Pendle Witches. In the 1600s nine local women and one man were accused of witchcraft and tried and hung in Lancaster, as part of the Lancashire Witch trials. Of course they were no doubt innocent victims of the superstitious times they lived in. Other sculptures are inspired by the natural world and there are yet more, with a hint of the supernatural about them.
The fog really adds to the atmosphere of the walk don’t you think? At one point I heard some bizarre sounds, that Wil and Hugo seemed completely oblivious to. Some very strange clickings & chattering’s from deep in the woods. Maybe I was letting the surroundings get to me, but I didn’t investigate further. Wil said I had probably heard a toad. Hmmmmm!
I was definitely starting to believe I was in a Grimm’s Fairy tale by this point. More and more supernatural beings were emerging from the fog.
Also dotted around the woods are several ceramic plaques, one for each of the accused witches.
As we were leaving Aitken Wood I heard a lot of activity in some conifer trees. Looking up, I saw a flock of crossbills , my first ever. A magic moment indeed.
Are there any interesting sculpture trails near you?
I wasn’t sure that I would post about this walk we did last weekend from Ramsbottom and up through Holcombe onto the Moors, as it was such a foggy day that we saw no views to speak of. But there again it was quite atmospheric ambling through the mist searching for the Peel Monument, a tower erected in memoriam to a famed son of nearby Bury, the conservative MP and twice prime minister ‘ Sir Robert Peel’.
We had originally planned to do this circular moorland walk but due to the fog we only got as far as the tower, which was literally obscured by the murky gloom. After following a few confused looking walkers up the hill, we turned round and took a wall side path to the right and after a few minutes the tower loomed above us, emerging from the mist like a great grey ghost. On a clearer day I bet the surrounding views are impressive. The monument is sometimes open to the public and has a viewing platform, from which to admire the surrounding Lancashire and Manchester countryside.
In the end we only managed to walk 4 miles because visibility was so poor. However this is a great reason to return and try again. 🙂
Over the past few months we have been checking out lots of local pubs, all in the name of blog research, of course. 😉 I actually have the #walk1000miles challenge to thank for this post. If it wasn’t for hearing about this great walking incentive from the lovely Christine , I probably would never have given my walking boots such welly…or discovered how easy it is to reach all these lovely Ribble Valley hostelries on foot, from my home town of Clitheroe. As you probably know by now, we do have the perfect pub dog, a certain bouncy black lab called Hugo. He has definitely enjoyed some longer weekend walks recently….as well as a few extra treats!
As ever if you are walking in the countryside, please keep dogs on lead where there are livestock, shut gates behind you securely and always pick up after your pooch.
Resident Labradors. 🙂
The Aspinall in Spring.
By the fire.
The Aspinall Arms, Mitton. Book in advance for a table with your dog, and he will be saved a place, brought water and given a saucer of dog biscuits at this attractive former Coaching Inn . Yep the Aspinall Arms is one very pooch friendly pub! Even though we have only visited here with Hugo for morning coffee ( the bar opens at 10.30am) or afternoon drinks, Hugo was still brought water, treats and made a fuss of. The Aspinall makes the most of it’s enviable riverside location and has a large beer garden, looking over the Ribble. There is a handy muddy boots & dog wash in the courtyard outside and every last Sunday of the month, an organized 3 mile dog walk starts from the pub, with complimentary bacon butties and brews. www.aspinallarmsmitton.co.ukWalk. 4 miles there and back. Head down Henthorn rd, through Shuttleworth farm and follow the Ribble Way to Mitton, where you will see The Aspinall Arms on the riverside. Retrace your steps home.
Hugo in a Downham meadow.
The Assheton Arms, Downham. We arrived at this historic Grade II listed village pub one Sunday morning for coffee and sat out front enjoying the May sunshine. Inside you can dine with your dog in the relaxed bar area and enjoy the Seafood Pub Company menu. Bagsy the cosy nook by the fire. 🙂 Walkers may be happy to know that the Assheton Arms opens early for weekend breakfasts too. On our visit water bowls were provided and Hugo was brought a sausage . If you wish to stay here with your four legged friend, there are pet-friendly rooms available. www.asshetonarms.comWalk. 8 miles there and back. Cross the A59 and walk to the village of Worston , using the cycleway. After the Calf’s Head pub turn left along a track with a public footpath sign. Continue through fields passing Worsaw Hill on the left and Pendle Hill on the right. Once in Downham the pub is at the top of the village. Retrace your footsteps back, perhaps stopping for a pint in Worston. 😉
The Brown Cow, Chatburn. Newly refurbished with an attractive beer garden, the Brown Cow was our destination for a Saturday walk and lunch with family. Dogs are welcome in the bar area and Hugo was given a treat by a friendly member of staff. We all enjoyed our food which was great value for money. I particularly liked the pudding! Unfortunately I forgot to take any photos here. 😦 Walk. 6 miles there and back. Walk through Brungerly Park, turn left at the otter sculpture and follow the footpath along the river to West Bradford Bridge. Cross over the road and follow the riverside on the right hand side path. Eventually it takes you up through a patch of woodland and fields into Chatburn. The pub is the second of the two pubs on the left. Retrace your steps back to Clitheroe.
The Buck Inn, Grindleton. Since our walk to this friendly village pub, I think it may have temporarily stopped serving food. But business as usual when it comes to enjoying a pint of good real ale and the Buck has a roaring fire to snuggle next to on cold days. Walk. 6 miles there and back. Walk through Brungerly Park, turn left at the Otter sculpture and follow the footpath along the river to West Bradford Bridge. Cross over the road and follow the riverside on the left hand side path. Eventually it will take you into the village of Grindleton where you will find The Buck on the main road out of the village. Retrace your steps back into town.
The Calf’s Head, Worston. The large beer garden complete with stream and views of Pendle Hill is definitely a big draw for this popular watering hole and eaterie. On a Winter’s day walk with Hugo however, we enjoyed sitting by the roaring fire in the bar area. One of the friendly staff brought Hugo an ice cream tub of water and there are dog treats available at the bar. www.calfshead.comWalk. 4 miles there and back. Cross the A59 , turn left and use the cycle way to walk into Worston. The pub is a short walk through the village on the right. Retrace your footsteps back.
Tasty Lunch Wrap.
Enjoying a pint.
Whalley Abbey Gatehouse.
The Dog Inn, Whalley. Originally this traditional village Inn was called The Spotted Dog! Having a canine name pretty much guarantees a warm welcome to four-legged friends and their humans. Hugo was given lots of fuss and attention by the bubbly bar attendant and we enjoyed a delicious and great value light lunch and refreshments. www.dog-innwhalley.co.uk Walk. 9miles there and back. Head out of Clitheroe up Whalley Road, turning right after Barraclough house. Walk along the country lane until you reach a small hamlet, bear left round the side of a cottage and go through a gate. Follow a trodden path through Standen Hey, crossing over the railway and walk through fields until you cross Barrow Brook and enter a small wooded area that brings you to Mitton Road. Cross the road , turn left and walk a short way before turning right up a track. From there follow the footpath signs to Whalley, eventually going under the busy A59, Whalley Viaduct and through the abbey gatehouse. The Dog is on the main street in the village where you will find other pubs, bars and shops. If you fancy a few pints you could always cut this walk short and catch a bus or train back to Clitheroe. If not, retrace your steps back to town.
The Edisford Bridge, Clitheroe. Clitheroe is surrounded by lovely pubs and Inns in the neighboring countryside. However, if you don’t wish to venture to far, The Edisford Bridge sits on the outkirts of the town, looking down towards the river and the bridge that it is named after. Why not combine some splashing time in the Ribble with a pint or meal here. Although dogs are allowed in the bar area, there are only two tables that you can dine at with your dog, so booking is advisable. Outdoor seating at the front and beer garden at the rear. Walk. 3 mile circular route. Walk to the end of Woone Lane then bear right past a new housing estate and down a track towards fields. Head under the railway bridge and follow the stream down the fields until you get to Henthorn road. Cross over and continue straight ahead and join the Ribble Way. Follow the river towards the bridge. You will see the Edisford Bridge Pub over the bridge and up the hill on your left. To return, walk down the hill, over the bridge and follow the road into Clitheroe.
The Lower Buck, Waddington. All three of the pretty village of Waddington’s pubs welcome dogs , so be prepared to be spoilt for choice. The Lower Buck has three open fires and serves good hearty food. This is a proper family friendly and dog friendly pub that embraces muddy paws with open arms…..or at least plenty of friendly warmth and a couple of treats. Lots of fuss from the locals too. www.lowerbuck.comWalk. 6 miles Circular. Wander down Back Commons fields and walk along the Ribble, Waddow Hall is across the river on your left. Walk across Brungerly Bridge and along the road 1.5 miles into Waddington village. The Lower Buck is past St Helens Church on your left. Head back using the back roads to Clitheroe, cut through the grounds of Waddow Hall, cross Brungerly Bridge and retrace your steps along the river.
There be logs!
Stained glass at All Hallows Church.
Three Fishes, Mitton. One of the welcoming Ribble Valley Inns group, this flagged floored country pub has colourful contemporary interiors , crackling log fires and a good selection of local cask ales. Having eaten here with family before , I know that the food is pretty good too. On our visit with Hugo , we were given a very warm reception. I’m not sure he has ever had so much fuss and attention! There again, our naughty Labrador now seems to take it as a given, that bar staff are there especially to give him a treat. 🙂 The nearby medieval All Hallows Church with its alabaster tombs is well worth a visit. And just down the road is another pet friendly pub, The Aspinall Arms. www.thethreefishes.com Walk 5 mile circular. Setting off from Edisford Bridge, walk along the road for 800 yards , turn left onto a farm lane ( with a sign for holiday cottages) and follow the footpath signs that lead you over stiles, through fields and eventually onto Church Lane in Mitton. Turn left at the church and you will see The Three Fishes. To return, turn right as you leave and head over the bridge to The Aspinall Arms pub. Cross a stile to the right of the pub, head up through the fields and follow the Ribble Way signs back to Edisford.
Waddy Arms Interior.
A great spot!
Coronation Gardens in Waddington.
The Waddington Arms, Waddington. James Places pubs in the Ribble Valley are all very welcoming to four-legged friends. The Waddy Arms in the centre of the village is no exception.Boasting outdoor seating to the front and rear, flagged floors and roaring fires, this warm country Inn serves good food & ales and has dog-friendly rooms. Hugo loved the crunchy bonio biscuits he was given by the chatty bar staff. www.waddingtonarms.co.ukWalk. 6 miles Circular. See Lower Buck, Waddington Walk.
Dog friendly hikes and exploring, mostly around New England. Our Adventures includes: waterfalls, the beach, conservation land, lighthouses, state parks, the woods, the mountains, statues, and castles.
This is my diary of the wildlife where I live in Oxfordshire, and sometimes the places I visit. I am a 16 year old young naturalist with a passion for British wildlife, especially Badgers and Hares. I have been blogging since May 2013 and you can read my old blog posts at www.appletonwildlifediary.blogspot.co.uk