Midge Walkers

Walk  No. 116

Three Rivers Walk 14th April 2018

Due to the extended distance, this was a Saturday walk, and attended by 9 adults. The starting point was the small village of Hurst Green in the Ribble Valley and connected in its history to the Jesuit school, Stonyhurst College.

Leaving the war memorial in the centre of the village at 11 a.m, we passed down the side of the Shireburn Arms to enter a field, which despite its downward slope, immediately presented us with exceedingly muddy terrain, making progress difficult. The sight of new born lambs covered with mud, probably made them wonder what sort of a world they had arrived in.

Further slipping and sliding brought us to the bottom of the field and across a stream and stile. The next field was no better and brought us to a gate, through which a steep downward incline necessitated holding on to the fence to assist in keeping an upright position and aid progress, until arriving at a footbridge at the base and a subsequent stile brought us to the bank of the River Ribble.

As the day was basically good, sight of Pendle Hill in the distance formed a beautiful backdrop, as we passed through a series of fields to emerge on to a tarmac drive, which after following for a short distance, re-joined the fields to arrive at a fisherman’s hut which allowed the ladies of the group to sit and we all enjoyed our first coffee break.

Situated at an elbow in the river, a point where the River Calder branched off, the bank opposite, formed nesting holes for Sand and House Martins, who in the main hadn’t taken up residence yet. It also allowed us to view the impressive Grade I 17th century Jacobean mansion of Hacking Hall, at one time owned by Sir Thomas (Judge) Walmesley along with his primary estate at Dunkenhalgh.

Continuing along the river bank with its displays of spring flowers, brought us to the third river, the Hodder, and onward to enter and pass through the farmyard of  Winkley Hall Farm and piggeries to emerge on to a road, which climbed to pass Winkley Hall and after a short distance, we branched right, passing what Reg assured us was probably the finest pig sty he had ever seen, and entered more boggy fields which after gaining the summit of the slope gave views of the College in the distance. Further progress down the slippery slope brought us out on Whalley Rd at a junction housing a bus shelter with seating to accommodate the majority. This was to be our lunch stop.

Being suitably revived, our route took us down the road to arrive at the Lower Hodder Bridge, where we paused to view the ruins of Cromwell’s Bridge, reported to be part of the route taken by Oliver Cromwell in 1648, leading his 8000-strong army, to the Battle of Preston.

Turning to the left and keeping the river to our right, the path led us to a tree lined route to pass alongside one of the former College buildings, now converted into private flats and a somewhat unique construction built into the hillside named Trout Cottage, built in 1995. Progressing through the trees, led us to the base of a steep stepped path which, after considerable exertion, we arrived at the summit and took a break. Those who had retained coats now seemed anxious to shed them.

The route now took us across a further field to exit on to a gravel lane via a gate, and arrive at the road where we turned right. Arriving at one of the gates into the College, we stopped and sat on the wall for our final coffee break.

Progressing along the road brought us to a footpath sign leading us into the College grounds, where we skirted the main building, dating back to 1593. Amongst its former students, it lays claim to 3 Saints, 7 archbishops, 7 Victoria Cross winners, a Peruvian president, a Bolivian president, a New Zealand Prime Minister and a signatory to the American Declaration of Independence.

Moving through the grounds and following the drive, ultimately brought us back into the village where we paused for further refreshment.

An analysis of the activity concluded that this had been a most enjoyable, 5 hours, having completed a distance of around 7 miles, and despite the ground condition in places, and failure of the promised wild life to appear at their designated places, we had all enjoyed the time together and look forward to the next outing.

Thanks to the organiser and all who attended.

Contents page