Crumbly Cheese Walk
The call to walk on “a route as flat as it gets, good under foot and a distance of barely 6 miles”, didn’t take into consideration the draw of Preston North End and various other distractions, which kept the majority of our regulars away, and as such only 4 assembled in the car park of Catterall Village Hall at 11.15a.m. on Saturday 17th October.
Commencing along the road and crossing a bridge over the Wyre, we immediately negotiated a stile and took a course through 3 open gated fields, eventually exiting on to a lane, which after a short distance brought us to Sturzaker House Farm and cottages, at one time a former cheese making site. From here we joined the canal tow path at bridge 53.
As the weather was being particularly kind to us, it equally prompted barge owners to pursue their leisurely cruising activities, perhaps for the last time this year. Continuing the route for some distance and finding a suitable bench we sat on the bank and made short work of the picnic which we had been encouraged to fetch. Being suitably refreshed, the tow path brought us to the Wyre Aquaduct constructed by John Rennie in 1797, a major construction for its time and shortly afterwards we reached the Garstang basin adjacent to the Tithebarn eating establishment, where we left the canal side and crossed a stile into a field heading towards the A6 and the giant wind turbine. A double stile and gate brought us to the main road, which we crossed passing Cross House Farm and Pump House subsequently taking a route through the farmyard behind the Dewlay site, being a fully functional cheese factory.
Going through a gate and following a route across a field brought us to Kirkland Hall which clearly was undergoing some major renovations and after a short distance and another farmyard linked to Kirkland Hall Farm, again a former cheese producer, we followed a lane which brought us to the main road to St Michaels and crossed into Churchtown village with its 17th century houses and St Hellens Church dating back to the 15th century.
We took time to enter the church and view some of the ancient artefacts and toured the bell tower with its ring of 6 bells where an explanation of the working of the bells was given. Exiting through the graveyard we soon crossed a footbridge over the Wyre and entered the vicinity of Catterall Hall where we again took a stop and consumed the remaining coffee in our flasks.
Through a gate and over a field and second gate, brought us to Old Lancaster Rd, where we crossed the main A6, taking the road through Collinsons Industrial Estate, the hopper feed manufacturers and turning at the River Calder took a route over an area of waste land emerging into the playing fields to the rear of our starting point with the time at 3.35p.m.
As had been suggested, with the weather being favourable and the comparative flat nature and quality of the route’ scenery, made for an afternoon’s entertainment which we all agreed had been most enjoyable and amongst the best we had undertaken.