Our Community Projects and Activities Officer Helen has been racking up some miles this year testing our circular River Walk routes and leading them as guided walks. Below she tells us more about some of the highlights of the series of guided walks and her walk recommendations for getting out and enjoying the Ribble catchment.
As part of our Ribble Life Together project, we had a target of 15 circular River Walks to create. We are pleased to say that all 15 routes are now available to download from our Ribble Life Together website. This summer and autumn, we also ran all of the routes as guided walks. For the majority of the routes, we organised guest speakers to provide information along the walk. Some of our guest speakers included the Ghillie for Darwen Moor, volunteers from Chipping Local History Society, Andrew Newsham (former Ribble Pilot Skipper) and Chris Hudson (Chartered Civil Engineer).
Our walk routes vary in length and difficulty and are dotted throughout the catchment. Our shortest walk is Riversway Docklands, a 2.2 mile stroll round the Docks in Preston. This route is also on well-surfaced paths and pavements, so is suitable for people with limited mobility and families with prams and bikes/scooters. Other routes are more challenging and feature inclines, uneven terrain and stiles. Fantastic views of the Ribble catchment can be enjoyed on all of the routes. I can particularly recommend the Darwen Tower, Stainforth and Sabden routes on clear, bright days.
Where possible, we have engineered the routes to pass Ribble Trust project sites such as fish passes and woodlands. These are highlighted in the walk leaflets along with other points of interest such as local landmarks. The Hyndburn Brook route visits Dunkenhalgh and Oakenshaw, two of our Ribble Life Together fish passage projects. Some hidden gems I have discovered whilst testing and writing the routes are Catrigg Foss near Stainforth (a waterfall in a wooded gorge), the ruins of Hollinshead Hall on the Darwen Tower route, the vaccary walls above Sabden and the fairy bridge over Bashall Brook.
My favourite route is the Darwen Tower walk as it passes through the peaceful woods of Sunnyhurst and Tockholes before climbing to Jubilee Tower to take in the panoramic views. I also really enjoy the Calder and Brun route though the countryside surrounding Burnley. The Stainforth walk route allows views of the Yorkshire Three Peaks on a clear day and offers the opportunity to visit two waterfalls. Please note, if you do this route, I recommend having access to an OS map whilst walking as there are so few landmarks, it’s easy to stray from the suggested route.
Walking off the indulgences of the Christmas period is the perfect excuse to explore somewhere new in the Ribble catchment. We hope you enjoy the routes as much as we’ve enjoyed creating them!