Western Howgills

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Saunterings:  Walking in North-West England

Saunterings is a set of reflections based upon walks around the counties of Cumbria, Lancashire and North Yorkshire in North-West England (as defined in the Preamble). Here is a list of all Saunterings so far.
If you'd like to give a comment, correction or update (all are very welcome) or to be notified by email when a new item is posted - please send an email to johnselfdrakkar@gmail.com.

This is one of several relatively short items about local walks during the first coronavirus lockdown, April - May 2020.

86.  Bluebells and Going Round the Lune Bend

There was only one local public footpath that we had never set foot upon – the one on the other side of the river around the long meander below Burton Wood (mentioned in 81). Well, there’s no time like the present – and you can say that again. I have several times walked or run on the north bank of the Lune between the Loyn Bridge at Hornby and the Waterworks Bridge, but that is a long walk or run and I had always taken a shortcut across the neck of the meander to avoid making it even longer. Today we would dutifully follow the footpath, enjoying new views of the Lune valley from all angles, 360 degrees of them.

bluebells lawson's field We crossed Waterworks Bridge to enter Lawson’s Wood and admire the bluebells. There was a fine but not the most fulsome display, we thought. The bracken, bramble and other undergrowth has advanced so much that the bluebells weren’t in their usual isolated glory. It has not rained for two weeks and we’ve had at least ten hours of sunshine on all but one of those days, so we cannot blame the bracken and bramble for thinking it was time to get a move on. At least the bluebells are proper British ones, upstanding and deep blue, not the so-called Spanish bluebells, frilly and light blue, that are taking over our gardens. Government regulations require me to make a comment about Brexit at this point but I cannot be bothered. Oh, I already have.

lune We emerged from the wood to follow our new path on the opposite bank of the Lune. First, we paused to watch the sand martins circling around and in and out of about thirty tunnels where, three weeks ago, we had spotted our first sand martins (79). It was interesting to view the Lune from a different perspective. We could see – especially now that the river was so low – the extensive masonry placed in the river to protect the banks on ‘our side’ from further erosion. As we walked on we saw too much Japanese knotweed, where later in the summer there will be too much Himalayan balsam (any at all is too much). We passed where the farmer boldly fords the river in his tractor and where we once, even more boldly, paddled over. We could do so now, the river being so low, but we pressed on.

Inland, the floodplain was totally quiet, apart from the birds, and totally flat, apart from some old river channels. There were extensive views to the Yorkshire Three Peaks, unobscured by the smoke that usually drifts from the Claughton Brickworks chimneys. We passed close by Over Lune Barn, which we have seen hundreds of times from the opposite side of the river, and continued on a bank, now far from the river, that may well have been the river bank 200 years ago (81). It was too warm for somnolent cows to stir themselves. At the river bend, where many large tree trunks had been deposited by floods, we took the shortcut (sshhh) back to Lawson’s Wood.

On the way back we saw a yellow butterfly. A brimstone? We don’t remember seeing brimstones here before.

    Date: April 24th 2020
    Start: SD543644, Brookhouse  (Map: OL41)
    Route: N – Waterworks Bridge – NW through Lawson’s Wood (upper permissive path) – S etc. around the meander, W through Lawson’s Wood (lower permissive path) – Waterworks Bridge – S – Brookhouse
    Distance: 5 miles;   Ascent: 40 metres



     87.   Around the Claughton Clay Pit
     85.   The Tarn Brook Heronry
             A list of all Saunterings so far

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    © John Self, Drakkar Press, 2018-

Blencathra

Top photo: The western Howgills from Dillicar; Bottom photo: Blencathra from Great Mell Fell