Having opted for a sober new years eve it was good to be up and out early, despite the bitter cold, for a new years day trip up Parlick Fell in the Forest of Bowland. It was a good walk, but highlighted the restrictions and inconsistancies of dog walking on the Access Land in the area.
Our route began at Fell Foot, a mile or so from Chipping. Having beaten the crowds we parked easily on the roadside and began the incredably steep climb towards the top of Parlick Fell. After half a mile a more gentle path led over a stile, offering some respite from the steep climb. Here though we failed to spot the damaged "no dogs allowed" sign which marked the edge of the Fair Snape Fell Access Area. We should have continued steeply to the summit of Parlick but unaware of our error we continued on to the coll of Nick's Chair, where more prominant "no dogs allowed" signs highlighted our crime. Fortunately a gate led through to the adjacent Wolf Fell Access Area, which does allow dogs under control. Legal once more we continued alongside the wall towards the top of Fair Snape Fell until the biting wind and the realisation that given the summit of Fair Snape was off limits to dog walkers caused us to head back to the summit of Parlick Fell and back down to our start.
It was strange to be in such wild territory knowing that despite the welcome Access Agreements of recent years, much of the area remains off limits to dog walkers. Fortunately, the Wolf Fell Access Order dates back to the 1970's and has different terms, meaning you can at last enjoy some of the finest views in Lancashire with your dog. I'm inclined to think that at least some of those who would be unlikely to keep their dog under control would be unlikely to observe the restrictions that exist (the maximum £20 fine on conviction doesn't seem much of a deterrent) and do wonder what the point is provided dog owners stick to any concessionary paths, but such is life! The dog had a great time albeit on the flexi lead for much of the way and has slept well this afternoon.
Make sure you look at the maps showing the Wolf Fell Access Area, where you and your dog CAN walk, and the Fairsnape and Saddle Fell Areas where you CAN'T walk
Doggy rating 5/10 - A lovely short walk but the restrictions severely limit the options for dog walker