The September Ramble – Around Elswick
The Fylde Plain used to be an extensive area of marshland that started to be drained in the late eighteenth century and is now regarded as one of the most fertile areas of farm land in the country.
Our walk this month was centred on the pretty village of Elswick and our small group of four plus two canine firths, Clyde and Moray, met at Elswick village hall for the start of the walk.
Heading north through the village, we came to Bonds Ice-cream Parlour, which we hoped to visit on the next lap. We now walked along Bonds Lane. The weather was just perfect for walking in flat country, (it doesn’t get much flatter than the Fylde), with bright, clear warm sunshine and excellent views eastward towards Longridge Fell, Parlick and Beacon Fell.
Leaving the lane, we now entered fields and encountered the first of twenty-two stiles on this walk. Now it was fields; a short road section; field and again road followed by the start of the most challenging part of the walk. Our route took us through a farm, but the anti-hiker farmer has neglected the stile, which was lethal, the paddock was overgrown, an electric fence crossed the path and a small field had been planted with corn without leaving a path. However we were able to navigate round this nightmare into an easy field, but that was full of cows. Now dogs and cows don’t mix, but they all behaved themselves.
Now the real fun started. We encountered a large cornfield and should have had a path across it. Needless to say, it didn’t, so we had to go around. Was there a path to use? No. The acquired technique was to hold our sticks just in front of our faces to deflect the leaves and blast through. It worked! After the fun and games, we found a horizontal gate post to sit on and enjoy a leisurely lunch. Afterwards we did a road section and passed a collection of straw figures, such as a scarecrow in the form of a clown. These were very well done. We were now at the hamlet of Wharles and passing the Eagle and Child pub, we made a right turn and shortly re-entered the fields. Throughout the walk we noticed the abundance of fruit on the trees: sloe, blackberries, apples and many more.
At this point we were close to HMS Inskip, the government radio station whose tall masts can be seen lit up from Longridge and in addition to the main masts, there is a whole forest of smaller structures.
We were now heading back to Elswick and passed by some areas of woodland where the dogs managed to flush out some grouse and guinea fowl. For the final leg of our walk, we followed the main drainage ditch, stopping to water the dogs at the large water tanks provided for the cattle.
A pleasant, enjoyable walk of seven miles in perfect weather and now it was to Bonds for a well-earned “Double Scoop”.
Linda and Eddie Grange