Garstang, Lancashire Sunday 30th October 2016

Today’s Walk

Strenuous Leader : Malcolm Chamberlain   Distance : 11.25 miles

We head south out of Garstang before turning east, passing the ruins of Greenhalgh Castle and crossing the railway line and M6 (this section is likely to be muddy). There is a gentle climb past Janet’s Hill Wood and Sullom Side, including distant views of Oakenclough Fell. We descend through the woods into the valley and the village of Calder Vale with its working mill. From Calder Vale we head north, climbing 100 metres to the radio masts and reservoirs. There is a half mile walk along the road to Grizedale Bridge before turning west through Holme Wood and ascending Nicky Nook. If the weather is clear there will be a good view of the coast from here. We descend Nicky Nook towards Scorton and pick up the Wyre Way to head back into Garstang.along tracks, fields, marsh, a short walk on road, gates and a few stiles. It could be wet underfoot.

Moderate Leader: Pam Chamberlain   Distance : 8.20 miles

We will leave the car park at Garstang via the Wyre Way to cross both the railway and motorways and make our way through Long Crossley Wood. On our way to Long Crossley Wood we will get our feet (and higher than ankles!!) wet crossing the first of a few streams. We will make our way to Grizedale Dock Reservoir and onwards to Grizedale Bridge and view both Grizedale Lea and Barnacre Reservoirs. Than across fields and stiles via the radio masts onto Long Lane for the trip back to Garstang via footpaths and the dismantled railway line. The paths and fields will be muddy and there is a plan B if the weather is inclement.

Leisurely Leaders: Margaret Black & Steve Balenski   Distance 7.50 miles

A short walk through the town will bring us to a disused railway track which crosses over the River Wye and leads to the pathway over the main railway line and M6. Then, with some intermittent level stretches, we continue with a very gradual walk uphill, across the farmland to the village of Calder Vale, stopping by the river for lunch. Retracing our way through the village, we descend back to Garstang with a mixture of farmland and some road walking, via the hamlet of Barnacre and, conditions permitting, Lady Hamiltons Well – it may be too wet. Expect plenty of wooden stiles, some mud and some very pleasant views along the way.

Easy Leaders : Joan Mcglinchey & Joan Balenski   Distance : 5.50 miles

It is a really flat walk apart from one small incline.

We start our walk on Health Trail and we make our way to Broom Hill, then cross the motorway at pt 17. At the junction of Higher Lane and Keeper Lane we turn right down Keeper Lane and head towards New Hall Farm and up the incline towards Clarkson Farm. We then recross the motorway back to town. There are not many stiles, and generally the tracks are good apart from mud on the field up to Clarksons Farm.

Notes on The Area

Garstang is a pretty village and a regular winner of Britain in bloom as well as being the world’s first Fairtrade pioneer. It nestles between Preston and Lancaster on the banks of the River Wyre and is also on the edge of the Bowland area. This idyllic market town epitomises some of the traits that best define Lancashire, picturesque towns and villages, lush countryside and serene rivers.

Garstang has a rich history dating as far back as the 11th Century and the Domesday Book. Long before the Norman Conquest, Garstang was a part of the Saxon manor of Cherestanc which covered an area which took in such villages and towns as Lytham, Pilling, Knott End and Cockersand. There is Greenhalgh Castle, and there was a spa with reputed medicinal properties. Garstang is likely to have come from the Saxon word which means meadow land.

The right to hold a market on each Thursday was granted by Edward II in1310.

The village is situated on the north/south route and the heyday of road and mail coaches brought prosperity and trade to the town. There was a brisk business at the inns and in the horse trade generally, with blacksmiths, coach builders, wheelwrights, and harness makers all in demand. It also became one of the most important agricultural centres in the county, and its status was recognised by the creation of a borough in 1879.

Cattle, which were driven down from Scotland and other northern counties often broke their journey at Garstang. Records show that as many as 3,000 cattle were once driven through the town in 1805. Doors and windows were boarded up for the protection of people and property. Another relic from the distant past is the ruins of Greenhalgh Castle, built in 1490 by the Earl of Derbyshire. In 1646, Greenhalgh was besieged by Cromwell’s army, and it was later dismantled. All that remains today is a tower. Visitors can view the tower on a number of free guided walks led by the Wyre Borough Council

There is a rich community life and strong religious presence with its beautiful Church of England church, a stately Roman Catholic church, and several fine chapels, covering the needs of the local populace. The Whitsuntide Walk is probably one of the biggest in the north of England; it is one of the highlights for the children of every denomination. For the visitor there are many festivals held throughout the year :- a walking festival and a children’s festival in May, the Garstang Show and an Art and Musical festival in August and a Victorian Christmas fair in December.

The Lancaster Canal which goes through the middle of the village is the longest stretch of lock free canal in the country, making it a popular destination for beginners and also more experienced boaters. The canal was opened in 1826 and was nicknamed the Black and White Canal because it was used to carry coal from the north and limestone from the south. The canal is navigable by boat for some 41 miles, winding through the Lancashire countryside.

Calder Vale is a village located on the River Calder in a deep valley with only a single road providing access. The village was founded by Quakers Jonathan and Richard Jackson and, in 1835, a cotton weaving mill – the Lappet Mill – was built, powered by the River Calder. The mill and mill pond still exist today. The Church of St John the Evangelist lies high above the village, linked to it by a woodland footpath. It was consecrated on 12th August 1863, and serves the village of Oakenclough in addition to Calder Vale. The village also contains a primary school which was built concurrently with the church.