December Ramble – Gisburn Forest
Having trodden new ground last month, this month’s walk was on more familiar territory in the Ribble valley. Jim was back in charge and he chose a pleasant ramble along a selection of marked footpaths in the Gisburn Forest.
Meeting as usual in Longridge, the five of us managed to fit into one car for the enjoyable drive to Slaidburn and on to the forest car park. The Gisburn Forest contains an extensive network of excellent public footpaths and cycle tracks and walkers and cyclists seem to co-exist quite well with each other.
Starting from the car park, we walked north and west, heading for Stocks Reservoir, the source of much of our drinking water in this region and walking a little way on a quiet country lane which gave us a splendid view of this large body of water and Bleasdale Fell beyond. Now it was back to the forest where we were overtaken by a cycling couple, the lady obviously suffering with a binding brake. We passed them a little time later undertaking brake repairs. Looking around us, we saw a number of bird boxes fastened to the trees. It was suggested that these may be for bats, not birds.
This was turning out to be an excellent day, with sun and clear blue skies. Most of the snow and ice of the previous weeks had now gone, although there were some tricky patches of sheet ice. We were now climbing steadily up to the highest part of the walk. The cycling couple passed us, brakes now free and speeding on their way. We then made a detour around a youth hostel and re-joined our outbound track back to the car park.
This type of walk is ideal for the middle of winter, with short days and doubtful weather. Our thanks to Jim for organising our outing and transporting us throughout the day.
Linda & Eddie Grange