#5 Leighton Moss

20 07 2011
20th July 2011
solo
4.9 miles
Explorer OL7 (The English Lakes – South-eastern area)
Overcast

Leighton Moss (picture from Google Earth)

I was originally intending to tackle the Salterforth walk, but the weather forecast for Arnside was considerably more favourable than that for the Pennines. I started by parking in the ‘lay-by’ on Thrang Brow Lane next to the junction with Storrs Lane, and head into the Yealand Hall allotment.  The allotment is a wooded section full of examples of the limestone pavement Arnside is well-known for, it is at this point that I realise the camera is not charged – so all photos will be from Google Earth.

I descend gently through he woodland for about half a mile before coming across a series of pastures and the entrance to Gait Barrows National Nature Reserve. After crossing a meadow full of summer flowers I head into the woods that flank Hawes Water. I head north over a rickety board-walk, and then as I pass the northern edge of the lake I look for a gate on the left as instructed in the book, I locate a gate and follow a path beyond it until I realise that it ends abruptly at a stream, I guess the gate may have been added since the book was written. This is a happy accident though – as when I turn to retrace my steps two small roe deer suddenly bolt from within a few yards of me. Back on the path I soon find the gate I am looking for – it’s only 50 yards higher than the forst one I tried, but it’s the other side of a fence, and the stream seems to have gone underground.

Challan Hall

The path links to a stoney track that head south along the western side of the lake. After a while I climb through a narrow stile and across an open pasture below Challan Hall where I exchange pleasantries with a couple holidaying there, and then continue across a couple of more fields until I hit a train line, this is the line between Carnforth and Barrow. I cross (quite gingerly as it’s on a bend) and across a field onto Red Bridge Lane. I didn’t realise it at the time but at this point I am only 100yds from the start point of walk #6 ‘Around Silverdale’. I head south along the road for a couple of hundred yards and then down Moss Lane until just before the bridge back over the track I take a narrow gate on the right which runs downhill through a field so that I can cross the track the dangerous way once more. Having negotiated a rather chunky stone stile on the opposite side I weave through a narrow band of woodland and onto a wide track at the entrance to Trowbarrow limeworks, here the book tells me to cross the track and follow a narrow path which bears right – this path however beared left so I returned to the wide track and followed it until I came to the mentioned path on the right which gives access to Silverdale golf course.

Hawes Water

I crossed a couple of fairways to a wall corner in the middle of the course – from which I can make out a footpath marker at the top of the course, and cross another couple of fairways (one in use) before reaching the marker on the crest of the hill. From here I drop down to a woodland path which emerges onto Storrs Lane just a few yards above the causeway of RSPB Leighton Moss. Half way along the causeway is the public hide, I spend a couple of minutes inside, but it’s rather warm and stuffy, and there’s little wildlife to be seen. I see a couple of birds as I continue along the causeway, I think they were just young pheasants though.

On the far side I climb slowly uphill past the B&B at Grisedale farm, and head along the road towards Leighton Hall Home Farm. Just before the hall I turn north through a field of bullocks, and then through a series of pastures separated by the creakiest metal gates ever made. The final field house some bulls, some fairly large and horned; at this point I had almost caught up with 3 other walkers – and it was with some relief that I figured I could probably outrun at least two of them, and that even if I couldn’t, at least there was someone there to raise the alarm! Crossing the field passed without incident though and at the far end an alley between two cottage spat me out on Silverdale Road just a stones thrown from the car.

I hadn’t been particularly looking forward to this walk, I suspected from the map that it would be fairly flat and dull, but far from it, I’ll probably do it again sometime.

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