Strenuous Leader : Carole Rankin Distance : 10.00 miles
Today we visit The Shire in search of Hobbits. From Hurst Green we go through Higher Deer House, Stock Bridge and Fell Side Farm to climb onto Longridge Fell (the highest point of the walk 306m, 1004ft) for some great views. Then Kemple End, on to admire the splendour of Stonyhurst College and then Lower Hodder Bridge. From here we follow the Ribble Way and Tolkien Trail back to Hurst Green, braving rampaging sheep on the way!!!
Please note it was extremely muddy on the recce so parts of the route have been changed from what I had originally planned.
Leisurely Leader : Joan McGlinchey Distance : 6-7 miles
Joan has been unable to do the reccee mainly due to the weather being poor whenever she had planned to do it. So, it is going to be a bit of a combined effort. She will do the main part of the easy walk but add extra to it, such as going further on up to the view point.
EasyLeaders : Cynthia Prescott & Hazel Anderton Distance 4-5 miles
Note: We have been promised some coffee or tea at the Bayley Arms near the community car park as we thought that there is no café in the village. From the pub the walk starts with a pleasant walk through woods, near a stream and along good paths and tracks. After a short section along Longridge Road we head down a track to Bayley Hall and through what was the farmyard. We see the remains of the moat, or maybe it is a Ha Ha seeing that the Hall is up on a hill, and then walk down through a little glade to a footbridge and then head up to the church and back to the village. The walk is generally some gentle ups and downs but has a steeper climb towards the end of the walk. There are only a few stiles but it is likely to be muddy after the recent poor weather.
The planned walk is only 4 miles but if it is a nice day Cynthia will lead another mile for those who wish through the grounds of Stonyhurst College which she says are very pleasant.
Notes On The Area
The village of Hurst Green lies on the north side of the River Ribble, between Clitheroe and Ribchester. It was visited by Oliver Cromwell and his army of Ironsides in August 1648. They camped at nearby Stonyhurst Park as he passed through to take on the Royalist army at Walton Bridge near Preston.
For many years the main industry here was farming, but the village’s prosperity began to grow significantly when Sir Nicholas Shireburne (or Shireburn) of Stonyhurst Hall ensured that his tenants were taught the skills of spinning and weaving, even keeping rooms in his hall for “as many as could spare time from their families to become proficient”, Nor did his generosity stop there for he provided everyone with yarn and looms “whereby the countryside around began to prosper and the village became full of busy little mills, rows of workers cottages, and the sound of rushing water”. Nowadays the main source of income is farming, tourism and employment at the college.
Stonyhurst College originally belonged to the Bayley family and later to the Shireburns. In 1592 Sir Richard Shireburn began to build a new house here which was to remain the family home until the death of Sir Nicholas, the last Shireburn, in 1717. The mansion subsequently fell into disrepair, and in 1794 it was handed over to the Society of Jesuits. Stonyhurst has since then, been considerably extended, and is now one of England’s most eminent public schools. The many priceless treasures in the college museum include the embroidered cap of Sir Thomas More (1478-1535), Catherine of Aragon’s religious robes, and a cloak of Henry II which was later worn by Henry VIII at the Field of the Cloth of Gold (1520). Much older than any of these however, is the 7th century copy of St John’s Gospel – the oldest surviving English bound book. The magnificent west front is flanked by the beautiful St Peter’s Church, built in 1832-5 and modelled upon Kings College Chapel, Cambridge. Some of Stonyhurst’s famous ex-pupils include the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and the actor Charles Laughton.
It was near Hurst Green in around 1826 that a certain John L McAdam, an engineer famous for his roadmaking ideas, invented a road surface named ‘tarmacadam’ in his honour, or tarmac as it is better known today.
Longridge Fell is the most southerly named ‘Fell’ in the country. Its summit stands at 1148 ft. The extensive plantations consist mainly of sitka spruce, larch and lodgepole pine, and provide an ideal habitat for the shy roe deer. Birds to look out for are sparrow hawk, kestrel, short-eared owl, and tawny owl.