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Lancashire Walk - Bury Ramblers go from Longridge to Chipping

PUBLISHED: 14:10 08 February 2011 | UPDATED: 16:11 19 January 2016

Keith Carter joins the Bury Ramblers for wet walk from Longridge to Chipping

Waking to damp, overcast skies, it takes an effort to stick to the plan and head out for a spot of rambling. I had arranged to go out with Bury Ramblers, a group whose programme of walks had listed Longridge to Chipping for their walk on this particular Sunday.

Having lived in the area for more than 30 years this is my own stamping ground and familiar to me from having devised a fantastic walk (that’s enough exaggeration, Ed) known as the Chipping Three Peaks linking Longridge Fell, Beacon Fell and Parlick. I had met their Footpaths Officer Stewart Brady on a chance encounter high up on the Dunsop plateau when he had witnessed me plunging up to my waist in a black, peaty bog from which I had emerged like the Monster from the Black Lagoon.

He told me he was researching a walk for Bury Ramblers and in no time we had agreed I should accompany them on one of their outings.

Bury Ramblers is part of the Greater Manchester and High Peak Area of the Ramblers Association and with 350 members is dedicated to providing an excellent day out led by one of an experienced group of leaders who, judging by their current programme, devise walks in a wide range of areas. I was pleased to note that Lancashire forms the heartland of their walking, showing that they are conscious of the wonderful opportunities to be had in their own county.

The club is run by a committee of ten, most of whom were out on the day I spent with them. The web site www.buryramblers.co.uk is probably the first step for anyone interested in joining. Ed Husband designed it, and a good job he has made of it too.

Ken Hayes led our walk, a well-planned circular route via lanes, field paths, farm tracks and bridleways to Chipping. Inevitably there were numerous stiles to climb and the damp conditions meant these were slippery and treacherous, slowing down progress as 28 ramblers clambered over them.

The terrain was a combination of sheep pasture and set-aside land where marsh grass dominated. Everywhere the going was heavy and wet where bad drainage had created boggy areas. The Bleasdale Fells loomed ahead illuminated briefly by a hint of sunshine, the remnants of snow streaking the fell with patches of brilliant white against the washed-out brown. The fields were empty of sheep, no doubt safely indoors until lambing time.

Having parked at Longridge Civic Hall, Ken led his party through residential streets to John Smith Park and picked up the line of the old railway that used to bring stone down from the quarries above the town. Stone from Longridge went to build the Liverpool and Fleetwood Docks as well as the Harris Library and Town Hall in Preston.

Our route took us along Long Lane to join the Longridge to Chipping Road, passing the Derby Arms, a common pub name in these parts, and the excellent local farm shop Littletown Dairy, famous round here for fresh food and locally-sourced meat. Then it was up the drive to Ferrari’s Restaurant and on by way of quiet lanes and field paths seldom used judging by the absence of any sign-posting or way marks.

Thanks to Ken’s route finding he led us safely to Chipping without incident. Ken’s wife Jen was waiting for us, a shoulder injury limiting her to joining the walk for the return leg only. â Sandwiches and coffee sufficed for lunch although we could have availed ourselves of Chipping’s two pubs and the superb café, the Cobbled Corner, beloved of cyclists. Many is the time I have made this the destination of a bike ride here.

Bury Ramblers has a membership of 350, including people aged from 12 to 80. Walks are scheduled on most Sundays with a mid-week evening ramble once the clocks go forward. Members use their own cars to get to the start of walks except on about seven occasions through the year when a coach is laid on to more far-flung places. There are usually three classes of walk depending on severity, grades ‘C’ for moderate walks with limited ascent, ‘B’ for moderate to strenuous and ‘A’ described as ‘strenuous’. This sounds a bit intimidating but the A walks are always well supported. There are still plenty of people who relish the prospect of tackling a demanding walk and good luck to them.

Our return route saw the group winding its way along Windy Street to leave Chipping by the packhorse bridge at Town End to enter the meadows below the looming presence of Longridge Fell. Walking with a new group always brings the added pleasure of wide ranging conversation and, falling into step with John Clements, in his bow tie, Stewart Brady, Ian Pickup and Jean Ashton sporting her Bury FC colours. Ken and Jen are in the process of walking the French Pyrenees from end to end and I have myself collaborated in producing a walkers’ guide to the trail known as the GR10 so we had notes to compare. There was no danger of walking in silence, that’s for sure!

As we approached Longridge, spirits remained high, the group not discouraged by the ‘rainy marching in the painful field’ although boots and gaiters resembled the footwear of World War One infantrymen. Never mind, it takes more than a little mud to dampen the stout hearts of the Bury Ramblers.

Compass points

Area of walk: Longridge Circular via Chipping

Start: Longridge Civic Hall

Distance: 11 miles

Time taken: 6 hours

Maps: OS Explorer Maps 286,287 and OL41

Refreshments: Cobble Corner Café, Chipping, Towneley Arms, Longridge

Toilets: Car Park, Chipping

Useful web site: www.buryramblers.com

Anyone interested in joining contact Simon Holder, email sholder@btinternet.com

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