#19 Garstang & the Lancaster Canal

23 07 2010
23rd July 2010
with Mrs NLW
7.1 miles
Explorer OL41 (Forest of Bowland & Ribblesdale)
Warm, sunny
My first walk for a month, partly because of a twinge in my achilles tendon exacerbated by the last walk, and partly because I’ve been working. Mrs NLW is along for this one, she is immediately impressed by the size and design of the new Booth’s supermarket that we parked by in Garstang.
Setting on from Booths carpark we pass through a small part of Garstang and strike out towards the Lancaster Canal, passing a number of nice looking pubs and restaurants. At the can we head southeast crossing an aquaduct of the the River Wyre. The canal here is pristine, a small marina with quite a few beautifully kept narrow boats; as the canal winds its way out into the country the man-made tow-path gives way to a thin dirt track, we pass the ruined Greenhalgh Castle on the opposite bank as the sun beats down.
The canal works its way towards the M6 and the West Coast rail line, we pass a curious mix of industrial units and blantantly expensive houses. we leave the canal at bridge 53 at the corner of a field containing some young calves, and head west – traversing a number of fields whilst being constantly dive-bombed by flies!

Confluence of the Calder and the Wyre

Just north of the Catterall we cross a road and follow a path alomgside the River Calder until it’s confluence with the Wyre, shortly after appearing at the side of the A6. We cross the A6 going still westward through a field of bullocks and on to Arnwood House where we find a field housing 5 or 6 friendly donkeys. Still west further until Catterall Hall where we take a modern looking footbridge, then a path until we spring out into the back of St Helen’s church in the lovely village of Churchtown. There was a wedding service just about to start so we didn;t hang around – but in an age where church attendances are dropping – here was a church that looked like it had had money (well) spent on it.

Exiting Churchtown we cross the A 586 and head towards Kirkland Hall farm. Mrs NLW had duly noted a number of waymakers for the “Crumbly Lancashire Cheese Trail” and was chomping at the bit for a nice cheese based farm shop and possibly thought that Kirkland Hall Farm would be the location, but it wasn’t to be. There was however a treat for Mrs NLW, as we walked past the farmhouse a spaniel came running out and rolled over right in front of her and demanded a tummy rub!
We worked our way through farmland back to the A6 which we crossed again and descended down towards the Wyre. It was then an easy walk up the Wyre back to the canal aquaduct we had passed a couple of hours earlier. We had lunch on a bench at the canal marina, fighting off a number of hungry ducks (they will eat ionion bhaji evidently). We returned to the car via the High Street and a well earned ice-cream!
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