Garstang Walking Festival

6th - 14th May 2017

Today sees the start of the Garstang Walking Festival. Over the next week a large number of guided walks have been arranged from a range of different venues across Wyre Borough led by countryside rangers and volunteers.
The festival was launched by Wyre Council to encourage people to visit its lovely countryside. This year the theme is “Foreshore to Fells” highlighting the fact that the River Wyre, the longest river to flow entirely through Lancashire, links the high hills of Bowland with Morecambe Bay offering the outdoor enthusiast a rich variety of habitats to explore.
 

Walks are graded from those which all abilities can easily accomplish (flat, surfaced paths, no stiles and suitable for wheelchairs and buggies) to the very hard (limited paths, rough walking and steep climbs). Participants will need to have stout footwear or walking boots, all weather clothing and for longer walks a packed lunch and drink. In the programme 18 venues are listed offering 46 guided walks or health walks (which are provided throughout the year.)

 

Health walks and short walks lasting up to an hour are free. Half day walks cost £3.50 (Concessions £2.50). Full day walks cost £4.50 (Concessions £3.50) Check out the programme on www.wyre.gov.uk website. Booking enquiries phone 01995 602125.

 

I know many readers like the concept of walking but are hesitant to give it a go. Even the wonderful walks described in this column week after week fail to induce them to take those first steps into the great outdoors. Well Garstang Walking Festival with its programme of walks to suit every ability is an ideal introduction to the simple and beneficial joys of countryside walking.

The walk described below is not directly connected with the festival but starts at one of its venues and is offered as a taster of what might be expected.
 

Start: Calder Vale War memorial. PR3 1SH GR: SD 530 455

 

 

Fact file:
Distance: 2 miles 3k
 

Time: 1 – 1 ½ hours

Summary: Mainly easy walking on lanes and farm tracks.

Map: OS OL 41 The Forest of Bowland

Directions:
1. From the war memorial head downhill into the old centre of the village.

 

Cross the River Calder to reach “the Square” in front of the mill and Methodist chapel. (Alternative starting place at weekends.)

 

Bear left passing Long Row on the right to enter the woods on a footpath leading up to the church. The path quickly passes the old mill lodge – an attractive artificial lake on the right. After 500yds arrive at the rear gates of the churchyard.

 

Keep ahead to pass the old school house to reach a junction. (During term time readers are asked follow the concessionary path around to the right of the school playground to reach this point.

 

2. Turn right. Now on an unsurfaced lane keep ahead past Lower Landskill Farm and then follow the farm road as it bends to the left heading uphill with a wall to the right. In 200yds after cattle grid arrive at a corner before the road turns right for Landskill Farm.
 

3. Follow the track downhill to Landskill Farm. When you reach it turn right through its yard. Ignore the path on the left to Cobble Hey and continue on a concrete track on the far side passing the farm house on your right.

 

After 200yds the track turns right. Here take a footpath on the left through the left of two metal gates. Bearing right cross pasture to reach and go through a wooden kissing gate and then continue on the same diagonal course

 

to reach the River Calder. Cross the footbridge

 

and turn right on a lane leading back to Calder Vale.

POI Calder Vale. It was water that brought early industry to this secluded valley. The first cotton mill was built in 1835 and the remains of the old mill race that powered it are evident in the first part of the walk. Calder Vale then is an industrial settlement – the old terraces put there to house the workers. The mill owners, the Jackson family, were Quakers so did not encourage alcohol which is why the village does not possess a pub. Remarkably the mill is still in operation producing the material used in keffiyehs – the traditional Arab headdress.
Friends of Garstang Walking Festival: This voluntary group was formed to support the Countryside Ranger team in organising and coordinating the Festival. Tel: Les on 01995 672230 for more information. Every credit should be given to the Friends and Rangers for their dedication and time in creating a first class Lancashire event.