6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Lancashire Life today click here

Lancashire Walk - Hurst Green and Ribchester

PUBLISHED: 18:08 18 March 2013 | UPDATED: 18:29 01 February 2018

The war memorial at Hurst Green

The war memorial at Hurst Green

Carter leads a walk which follows the Ribble Way though the countryside around Ribchester

Ribchester’s position on the River Ribble was selected by the Romans to protect a ford, then a bridge, their road from Manchester to Hadrian’s Wall crossing at this point.

Their fort was called Bremetannacum and its history is recorded at the small museum in the village, great for students and anyone up in the history of the Roman occupation, less so for the casual visitor. They found a well preserved helmet here but the British Museum bagged it, which is a shame.



The name Ribchester is said to derive from ‘the fort on the Ribble’ but the Romans didn’t call the Ribble that, to them it was the Belisama from which Samlesbury is said to owe its origin. The obvious inference is that Ribble is a corruption of ripple although a ripple was an old agricultural term to describe a method of ploughing. All very confusing.

There is often a settlement wherever there is a bridge from the days when travellers would break their journey at a river crossing. The village which became established to supply the needs of the Roman fort would have continued once they left.

The church is 13th century although records are scanty for the period between then and the Civil Wars when Cromwell came this way leading his army towards Preston notching up another victory for the Roundheads. The village developed from the 18th century with the expansion of hand-loom weaving and it is from this time that many of the tidy cottages date.

For walkers one attraction is the Ribble Way which passes through the village. This long-distance trail starts where the river rises on the fells near the Ribblehead Viaduct and follows the winding course of the river to join the sea at Longton Marsh. The Way was inaugurated in 1985 and I would suggest that since then has not had much maintenance done to it.

The waymarking  is inadequate and much of the route requires the use of map and compass. Our walk this month follows it between Ribchester Bridge and Hurst Green partly along the very edge of the river where during the very wet summer of 2012 it was completely covered and impassable.

Park at Marles Wood near Salesbury Hall, now rebuilt and developed into a complex of houses and industrial units. The map shows the course of a Roman road here and I once tried to follow it walking east out of Ribchester. A farmer l shouted that I was trespassing to my indignation, replying that surely if the path was good enough for the Romans it was good enough for me. His reply left me in no doubt as to his opinion of the Romans, walkers and above all, me. I was given two minutes before he set his dog on me.

The fields here were to have been the location for the Royal Lancs Show some years back as a marble commemorative stone records with the optimistic phrase ‘A New Chapter Begins’ below. Sadly the sentiment proved short-lived since the show was rained off and the site abandoned.



Our walk leaves Marles Wood and takes the lane past Salesbury Hall and the ill-fated showground to Ribchester Bridge where the old de Tabley Arms is undergoing renovation and conversion into housing. Cross the bridge and turn right on a private lane that leads past heaps of timber to Dewhurst Farm where you can order supplies of logs for your wood burning stove. On entering the yard, look for a signboard directing Ribble Way walkers to the right via a narrow path leading to the river bank.

Turn left and pick your way along the riverside path, at first through young trees then entering woodland with a lot of fallen branches and flotsam and jetsam and at one point crossing a footbridge over a stream flowing into the river. Stay on this path until a sign indicates you can go no further, directing you over a stile, out of the wood and into a field with a steep bank ahead.



Signing here is insufficient but having climbed the bank don’t stray too much to the right where a line of trees marks the course of the river which we have now left behind us. Once you reach the top of the rising field, look ahead and seek out a gateway with a stile beside it. Here an ancient fingerpost is our only help in keeping to the route and as we go through the next field we pick up another as we climb again to a muddy gateway.

About here you should see the river ahead with the Dinckley Suspension Bridge looking oddly industrial.



Once through the muddy gateway, head to the corner of the next field and go through a hand gate to a lane and cross straight over to a further gate. This field descends gradually to the bottom where a stream has a footbridge across it which we take. Once over the bridge stick to the right hand boundary through two fields then in the third the path exits by way of a short track to emerge opposite the farm buildings of Trough House, a busy working farm through whose yard we pass.

From here the farm track climbs to become Lambing Clough Lane bringing us out at the main road through Hurst Green. There are three pubs in the village from which you can choose, each one welcoming and active and you could even try all three if you decide to bin the walk and get the bus home.

Return down Lambing Clough Lane with fine views of Pendle Hill and after passing through the yard of Trough House again take the narrow path through a plantation of conifers to where the Dinckley Suspension Bridge crosses the river. I am always surprised to find this bridge still standing, fully expecting it to have been carried away by the river in spate but it seems to survive. It certainly wobbles as you cross it but has stood for 60 years so may have plenty of life in it yet.

Cross the bridge and turn right to follow a good well-used path alongside the river to Marles Wood known in times past as Sale Wheel Woods, once the scene of a mass trespass to assert the right of way. Here the river narrows down to funnel through a rocky defile causing whirlpools, hence the word ‘wheel’ or ‘weal’, a spectacular sight after heavy rain. Finally take the steps and climb up to enter the car park by a gate and we are back at the car.

Compass points
Area of walk: Hurst Green and the outskirts of Ribchester
Distance: Six miles
Time to allow: 3-3 ½ hours
Map: OS Explorer 287 West Pennine Moors
Not suitable for wheelchair users or pushchairs

 

0 comments

More from Out & About

Wed, 00:00

Hearty breakfasts and delicious dinners are just two reasons for walking in this stunning area, as John Lenehan discovers

Read more
Bowland Walks
Wed, 00:00

There are few finer thing than exploring the countryside surrounding the many rivers situated across the county.

Read more
Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Victoria Smith always loved horses but her high pressure job meant she had little time to ride – until she met a deer in the Forest of Bowland

Read more
Equestrian
Monday, May 14, 2018

Developments underway and planned around the city are celebrating its proud heritage and building for the future

Read more
Preston
Wednesday, May 9, 2018

For almost 25 years, outdoor writers and photographers Dennis and Jan Kelsall have produced guides and articles covering many of the country’s popular walking destinations. Here, Dennis picks five of his favourites.

Read more
Lancaster
Friday, May 4, 2018

Ramsbottom is well known for its food and drink scene, but Rebekka O’Grady meets some arty residents that will inspire your creative side.

Read more
Ramsbottom
Thursday, May 3, 2018

A devastating riding accident may have saved Katherine Beaumont from a life of anxiety and stress. Now she is sharing her experience.

Read more
Equestrian

A unique community musical in Wigan is taking one of George Orwell’s most famous works from the page to the stage and making a song and dance about social inequality.

Read more
Wigan

When photographer Emma Campbell fell in love with Lakeland’s fell ponies she decided to raise their profile with a special project.

Read more
Equestrian photography
Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Our walking guide John Lenehan takes us on a towpath where you can see one of Lancashire’s great engineering feats.

Read more
Canals Chorley
Monday, April 9, 2018

A selection of walks in and around Bowland for outdoor types who like to end their hike on a high note – with some great food and drink.

Read more
Monday, April 9, 2018

From specialist soap to awarding winning ale, Staveley is proving to be a magnet for small businesses and visitors

Read more
Wednesday, April 4, 2018

The joy of spotting owls is described by The Lancashire Wildlife Trust’s Alan Wright who tells us where to find them and how to identify these elusive creatures.

Read more
Monday, April 2, 2018

It stretches the length of the Liverpool suburb, and over the years has hosted many shops and businesses. Rebekka O’Grady chats to those who currently call it home

Read more
Liverpool
 
Great British Holidays advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter


Subscribe or buy a mag today

Local Business Directory

Lancashire's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area



Property Search