Lancashire walks - Scorton
- Credit: Archant
Blink and you’ll miss the turn-off to this lovely little village which has great walks and no less than three excellent watering holes. John Lenehen reports
Travellers looking for a good meal or a lovely walk are quite likely to miss the signpost for Scorton as they zoom between Preston and Lancaster on the busy A6.
I am willing to bet the majority ignore it and instead head for the better known town of Garstang with its independent shops, pubs and cafes. That is a shame as a short drive from the A6, following the Scorton sign, leads to one our most picturesque little villages. It sits as the gateway to the Bowland Fells and the famous Trough of Bowland where you will find some of the most beautiful walking country in Lancashire.
1. Leave the car park and follow the lane as it passes a house on the left and to a green sign saying No Vehicular Access Footpath Only then carry on with a lovely lake on the right. Cross two cattle grids then through a gate.
Note: Apple Store Café is part of the buildings of Wyresdale Park. It is famous for appearing on the Channel 4 television programme Country House Rescue. The family worked with presenter Ruth Watson to create the café and arrange open days. The lake is Wyresdale fisheries and was created by the owner and builder of Wyredale Park Captain Peter Ormrod 1869-1923, and was said to be the largest in Europe at the time.
2. Join a tarmac road and turn right a go uphill. The road forks and the left fork says private road. There is no footpath sign but carry on along the private road towards the buildings of Potters Hill Farm.
3. Just before the farmyard there is a diverted footpath sign and stile on the left. Cross the stile then at the end of the barn turn right then with the barn on your right carry straight on and through a gate. Do not be tempted at any time to enter the farmyard as there are dogs loose. Once through the gate there is a white footpath arrow on a post diagonally right follow this and then on to a metal gate with a footpath arrow on the reverse side of it. You will notice a small pond to the left once through the gate. The distinguishing feature is a large tree stump, keep to the left of this and head towards a metal gate. Go through this and, keeping a line of trees and a stream to your right, go straight on until on the right a metal gate with a stile next to it appears. Cross the stile into a tarmac road and then turn left and follow the road.
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4. The road reaches a T-junction at Brewers Lane. Turn right and follow the road.
5. Brewers Lane turns left downhill and heads towards a farm. Do not follow the road for at this point a track goes straight on with a footpath sign. Follow the track through a metal gate and then carry on until the track reaches a type of metal footbridge laid out on the track cross this. Ignore the obvious gate stile on the right just before the footbridge.
6. The track enters a wood through a gate and stile with a sign saying Trampers Trail on it. Follow the path through the woods eventually reaching Grizedale Reservoir. There is a signpost that says concessionary footpath to Grizedale Bridge, bridle path to Fell End Farm, and bridle to Nicky Nook and Scorton. Follow Nicky Nook and Scorton.
Note: Grizedale Reservoir was constructed in 1861-1863 to supply the Fylde with water. Grizedale itself is particularly noted as an ornithologist heaven and many species of woodland birds can be observed. I should also apologise to a couple who I asked if I could take their photo to go with this article only to find it was blurred when I put it on my computer. Should invest in new specs I think!
7. Keep on the track until another signpost on the right saying Nicky Nook and Scorton and Bridle path Grizedale Valley for Higher Lane. Follow Grizedale Valley and, with the reservoir on your left, follow the track down passing the reservoir dam also on the left. The path forks just past the dam and keep left. You are now in the beautiful wooded Grizedale Valley with a stream on the left of the track and a steep prominent hill on the right.
Note: The 215 metre hill is called Nicky Nook, a rather unusual name. When I first saw the signpost, I thought it related to a valley or hamlet.
8. Eventually the track reaches a metal gate and a four direction signpost next to a foot bridge. Once through the gate, turn right following the sign saying Higher Lane ¼ Mile. You are now on a path that forks left towards a metal gate. Ignore this and carry straight on and then the path climbs steeply left then right to a wooden gate stile that leads into a Tarmac road leading to the houses of Slean End.
9. Just past the end house of Slean End there is a stile on the left into a field. Cross the stile and head down hill then diagonally to the right there is a stile in a wire fence next to what appears to be a gate. Cross this and head diagonally left towards a square windowless building then cross a stile by the building leading left into drive, then turn right over a stile by the cattle grid. Follow the drive until it reaches Tithe Barn Lane then turn left and follow the lane downhill. The lane bends sharply right by some houses and then bends slowly left towards the motorway bridge.
10. On the centre of the bend there is a footpath sign and stile on the right just after a gate on the right. Go through the stile and onto a second stile that leads down some steps to a wooden footbridge. Cross this and go steeply uphill to a gate stile and cross this into a field and bear diagonally right up to the gable of a cottage with a telegraph pole next to it and a gate stile. Go through this and pass the front of the cottage on a track.
11. Enter Snow Hill Lane and turn right. Follow the lane back to the Apple Store Cottage.
Apple Store Café. www.wyresdalepark.co.uk/café-gardens
I deliberately started the walk at the Apple Store Café simply because it’s so good. The food is excellent and the setting of the café in what once was the green house of Wyresdale Park House gives it a unique feel. If there has to be a downside it is that it only opens Wednesday to Sunday.
The Priory Hotel: www.theprioryscorton.co.uk
A hotel offering first class accommodation, a restaurant and café bar and an outdoor clothing and cycle wear shop. The food again is excellent as is the beer.
The Barn: www.plantsandgifts.co.uk
The Barn in Scorton Village is also excellent again with home made food. It is also a garden centre and gift shop.
Start and Finish: Apple Store Café, Snow Hill Lane, Scorton, PR3 1BA
Terrain: Mostly good tracks and fields with some muddy sections in wet weather.
Distance: 4.5 Miles/7.24 Km
Map: OS Explorer 41 Forest of Bowland and Ribblesdale.
Facilities: Public toilets at Gubberford Lane.
Parking: The walk starts at the car park for the Apple Store Café but please ask at the café. Parking is available in Scorton but allow for the walk up Snow Hill Lane to the start.