Keep safe!

Keep safe!
You are responsible for your own safety and that of your dog. The walks listed in this blog are not detailed guides. Plan your route! Click the landrover image for safety advice from Bowland Pennine MRT.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Parlick, Fairsnape and Saddle Fell

The Forest of Bowland is a confusing place for dog walkers. Some parts of the fells are completely off limits to dogs, even on leads, whilst others welcome dogs and their owners provided of course they follow the rules which apply to that area of Access Land.

Our last visit to Parlick was New Years Day 2009. On that icy cold day I was somewhat frustrated that such a large area of land was off limits to me and my dog, including the summit of Fairsnape. Largely because of that, and the slightly longer journey time, we tend to visit the West Pennines instead.

One of our fellow tweeters, Mark Sutcliffe from Lakeland Walker Magazine ( recommended a return visit a few weeks ago. We had planned to go the following day but atrocious weather resulted in a postponement, until today.

After dropping my better half at work we drove through Chipping to the parking spaces at Fell Foot, just below Parlick. The weather wasn't too bad so we enjoyed some fine views over towards the coast as we rose steeply to the boundary fence which divides the Wolf Fell and Fairsnape Access Areas. Dogs are not allowed to cross the boundary so, keeping to the east side, we followed the path towards the summit of Fairsnape.

Unfortunately our fine views were soon lost to swirling mist but undeterred we continued upwards, through assorted snowdrifts and peat bogs, until we reached the point where the boundaries of Fairsnape, Wolf Fell and Brown Berry Plain meet.

From here we began our descent across the peat before joining a good path that led across to Saddle Fell, yet another area of Access Land where although dogs are allowed, they must be on the lead between March and December. Below the cloud, we enjoyed fine views once again, marvelling at the variety of landscapes, plantations, small lakes and farmland, carved out of the hillside below us.

On reaching Saddle End Farm we struggled over numerous awkward stiles and mud baths towards Wolfen Hall where we we greeted by a friendly farmer who thanked us for having the dog on a lead.

On the final stretch I reflected on my previous attitude to the dog ban on Fairsnape. Throughout our route we encountered many pheasants and the estate is very clearly focused on shooting. Whilst shooting has never appealed to me I can see that rampaging dogs are a threat to nesting birds. Personally though, I still think that a complete ban is unnecessary. With a dogs on leads policy I'd like to think that dog owners and the shooting fraternity could both enjoy what is a wonderful part of Lancashire. I'm greatf for the more tolerant approach taken in the areas we walked today.

It can be a bit tricky to navigate the Natural England website to get up to date Access maps showing the various restrictions on dogs so I included a photo below.

All in all a good walk in a great part of Lancashire. I mustn't leave it so long before we return again.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

More snow on Darwen Moor

One of today's better decisions was to not go out early, despite being awake at 5.30am. Much of the morning was spent listening to the rattle of hail and sleet against the windows before finally, sunshine and blue sky emerged from the grey.

There was no great thought needed to decide where to go today. A simple repeat of yesterday's walk on Darwen Moor and Roddlesworth. The only difference being that we began with the woods, there was even more snow and of course that we weren't caught in a blizzard.

Another good day!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A winter walk on Darwen Moor

There's nothing better than being out on the moors with the dog after a fresh snowfall. Especially if we're up an out early, with ours the first foot and paw prints of the day.

Yesterday saw the first snowfall of any significance to hit Lancashire this year and although nothing had really settled in Preston I knew we'd stand a good chance of a snowy walk on the West Pennine Moors.

It was just turning light when we arrived at our usual parking spot, the United Utilities car park between Abbey Village and Belmont, by the turn to Tockholes.

Our walk followed one of our regular routes up on to Darwen Moor where small streams of icy meltwater carved their way down the bridleway. On reaching the top we headed towards Darwen Tower, although low cloud initially any chance of a view. the dog was well happy chasing snowballs, wrapped up in the waterproof jacket that is reserved solely for days like today (particularly has he had a very short clip last week!)

As we neared the Tower the clouds lifted, giving fine views to the east and revealing a band of 'blackness' moving slowly over Preston. Unsure whether we were in for torrential rain or heavy snow we continued along the ridge before starting the descent down Lyons Den to Roddlesworth. Within five minutes we were in blizzard conditions but sure of our route and relatively close to the road there was still time for a photo opportunity!

By the time we reached the woods the snow had passed and we were soon back at the car, refreshed and very satisfied with our first snowy walk of the season.

Sunday, December 04, 2011

White Coppice, Healey Nab and the Reservoirs at Heapey

The weather is foul today. Cold and raining with the occasional hail storm thrown in. Just the day for an early morning walk around some of our favourite footpaths!

We parked up at the picturesque village of White Coppice and after the dogs usual photo opportunity by the cricket pavilion we took the bridleway towards Anglezarke, quickly reaching the dam.

Turning right along the road for a short distance we took the stepped path leading up from the reservoir, signed to Healey Nab. The word muddy doesn't adequately describe this stretch. Even the dog, who normally likes a muddy puddle, was unimpressed!

Reaching the higher ground on the top of Healey Nab we watched sheets of rain and hail moving slowly across Preston and Chorley, eventually obliterating any view we may have had. I counted us lucky though that we had any views at all from the summit cairn.

We descended through the woods, which can be busy with mountain bikers, towards Heapey. The dog was on lead here in parts as there are some steep drops in to the old quarry workings.

Finally, we joined the path adjoining the reservoirs where we endured numerous hailstorms and stalking cattle.

Despite the weather, a lovely walk!