July 2023

Dunsop Bridge

7.6 miles | 12.3 km | 234 m Ascent | 8.8 Naismith miles | Peter Lennard
Within the Bentham Footpath Group, we tend to think of ourselves as living “up North”, and indeed we do – but only by a few miles: It turns out that the geographic centre of Great Britain is (according to the Ordnance Survey) in Dunsop Bridge. Given this curious fact, how can we decline the temptation to start a walk right from the centre of the country?
That curiosity aside, Dunsop Bridge is a great place to walk, and is often described as being at the heart of the Forest of Bowland. This gentle walk heads out from the village up the banks of the Dunsop before striking out to the isolated farms at Beatrix. From there, we cross Rough Syke at the bottom of Oxenhurst Clough and then after a brief but steep climb, follow green lanes and a very minor road to the lovely village of Newton where we pick up the Hodder, to follow it downstream back to Dunsop Bridge.
En route, we follow the Ribble Valley Jubilee Trail over Giddy Bridge, and then past Knowlmere Manor, and Thorneyholme Hall where we see the confluence of the Dunsop and the Hodder. The walk ends back at Dunsop Bridge where ice cream beckons.
We recommend that you take waterproofs on this walk – be aware that Dunsop Bridge holds the record for the most intense rainfall in the UK with 117mm (4.6 in) falling in just 90 minutes on 8th August 1967.

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Claughton

7.5 miles | 12.1 km | 274 m Ascent | 8.9 Naismith miles | Alison Kinder
The road journey form Bentham to Lancaster is relatively mundane, making it easy to forget that that there are good walks on either side of the main road – as this excellent route shows. We start from the Bull Beck parking area on the A683 just east of Caton, then walk over fields to Brookhouse. A quiet country road takes us up to the wind farm at Caton Moor, with fantastic views across the valley and Morecambe Bay, before we head back down to the main road passing the quarries that feed the Claughton Brick works. We then cross the road and pass more evidence of the area’s railway history before coming through fields at the back of the brickworks to follow the banks of the Lune back to Bull Beck.
We list this walk as a “moderate” challenge, simply because it’s just over our 12km threshold. The route is generally quite easy and there are relatively few stiles, so if you normally prefer “easy” walks, don’t discount this one.

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Whitbarrow

6.7 miles | 10.8 km | 346 m Ascent | 8.5 Naismith miles | Terri Kwiecinska
In April this year, Bentham Footpath Group enjoyed a great walk at Storth and Arnside – that walk starts with a great view over the Kent estuary toward Whitbarrow Scar. This time we are on the other side of the estuary climbing Whitbarrow Scar and exploring the interesting geology of the area.
Whitbarrow Scar is designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest, a National Nature Reserve, and a Special Area of Conservation, but still manages to offer easily accessible walks without being too crowded.
The route we take is loosely based on the Whitbarrow Geotrail – you can purchase a booklet describing that at the starting point. If geology is not your thing don’t worry – there are great views, fossils, birds of prey, abundant wildflowers, monuments, abandoned mines, forest trails, and newts to be seen too.

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Hawes Mosaics (Part 2)

7.2 miles | 11.6 km | 261 m Ascent | 8.5 Naismith miles | Kate Rowe
In January 2023, Bentham Footpath Group enjoyed a fine walk from Appersett exploring parts of the Hawes 2000 Mosaic project. We saw about half of the 22 mosaics on that day, and we finish the task with this equally fine walk.
Starting from Hawes town centre, we head up to Burtersett, take Shaws Lane to Gayle, then head up Sleddale to see Aysgill Force. We return along a Green Lane back toward Gayle, before taking a final detour along Bands Lane and then the Cam Road.
A (very) brief section on the B6255 brings us to a path back over fields into Hawes. This is a great walk with fine views, add in the mosaics, a roman road, an impressive waterfall, and all the delights of Hawes, and we have a recipe for a perfect day.

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