|The Pennine Way|
From Pinhaw, across Craven to Pen-y-ghent
Yet another misty morning but still pleasant for walking. I left Buckley Green and dropped down into the Worth valley towards the reservoir to turn left and pass Ponden Hall. This was built in 1680, extensively renovated in 1801 and is another place with a Brontës association - reputedly the Thrushcross Grange of 'Wuthering Heights'.
|Ponden & Haworth||Type||Phone|
|Haworth||YH||0870 770 5858|
|Ponden House||B&B, camping||01535 644154|
|Upper Heights Farm||B&B||01535 644592|
The farm track continues high above the reservoir until a right turn leads sharply down to the reservoir side and over a bridge to the Colne to Haworth road (Haworth is 4 kilometres to the right). An indistinct path then climbs up through the paddocks of Dean Fields. On the left is Dean Clough sheltering the house of Throstles Nest, 'throstles' being the Old English name for the song thrush. The Pennine Way then leads into the woods at Crag Bottom, climbing to meet a road. A little way along the road, the track departs uphill (right) at Old Crag Bottom farm to ascend Crag Top with good (slightly hazy for me) views back over the reservoir and to the far slopes of the Worth Valley. Old Crag Bottom boasts a fine set of mullioned windows.
The path then follows a stone wall up to Old Bess Hill where the wall ends and the path continues on as a wide, clear and increasingly marshy track. The path does not visit the Wolf Stones (300 metres to the east) which are named after previous inhabitants of these moors but on a fine day they may be worth a detour for the view. The marshy nature of the ground is emphasised by a couple of peaty ponds nearby and the name of this area - The Sea. The boggiest part of the track is at a stile over the next fence.
|Ickornshaw & Cowling||Type||Phone|
|Winterhouse Barn||B&B||01535 632234|
|Woodland House||B&B||01535 637886|
The path eventually becomes drier and sandy after it hops over Cat Stones Hill. It descends to pass a stone wind-shelter where there is an excellent view to the west. Further on a stone wall is joined and the path follows it down to Further and Nigher Dean Holes (derelict farmhouses). The view ahead is of green pastures and meadows with the Cowling Parish Church framed by trees in a gap in the hills. Another field and the path crosses over the top of Lumb Head where Lumb Beck forms a good waterfall dropping over broad rocky shelves. A walled track then leads to flowery pastures and into Ickornshaw (too early for the pub again!) with the village of Cowling nearby.
Past Ickornshaw the Pennine Way goes through fields to bypass a school and housing estate, meeting a minor road. After the charming Gill Bridge, there is some pleasant farmland walking most the way to Lothersdale (except for half a kilometre on a country lane). There is a steady but gentle climb first to Low Stubbing and then to High Stubbing. In the fields around you there are surprising banks of bluebells and primroses - these are usually woodland flowers. The lane is joined on the crest of Cowling Hill, followed to Over House farm and abandoned at the next corner for fields into Lothersdale. Lothersdale was my lunch stop and I can recommend it - Lothersdale is an interesting little village (NB. post-office shop for provisions) and the Hare and Hounds Inn is pretty good. Take the chance to walk down the steps from the carpark across the road down to Lothersdale Beck and look along the beck into the mill-race tunnel.
|Burlington House||B&B||01535 634635|
Looking back to Lothersdale from Pinhaw Beacon
With the inner man satisfied, I passed through more enclosed pastureland and climbed up to the moorland of Elslack Moor. The sandy and dry path wanders through heather to the grassy Pinhaw Beacon and its Ordnance Survey pillar (388 metres). The weather had cleared enough (just some high clouds) to give great views both back over Lothersdale and forward to Pen-y-ghent. Here I was joined by 4 other trampers - last seen passing my window at Buckley Green.
From the beacon, the Pennine Way drops past the hollows of an old quarry to a T-junction on a road and follows the northward road (Clogger Lane) for 500 metres. The Pennine Way leaves the lane through a gate for a path by a stone wall through moorland. At a wall-stile a couple of blokes left us to drop down to the youth hostel in Earby. The other 2 blokes and me continued down through the fields past Brown House farm and under an old railway line to Thornton-in-Craven and our B&B.
That night I had the choice of walking 2 kilometres either to Earby for fish and chips or the other way towards Elslack to a restaurant. I went to the restaurant for a great meal of giant black puddings with an evening stroll back to digest the meal.