WALK NO. 1. HA’PENNY BRIDGE – CUERDALE HALL – RIBBLESIDE FARM – LITTLE CUERDALE
The path descends to the riverside from the south-eastern corner of Ha’pcnny bridge, where there is a layby. Should this be full, the manager of the Tickled Trout and Mr. J. Coupe (farmer), have
kindly agreed to walkers using the far end of the car park and joining the path by going under the bridge.
This route includes the old way into Cuerdale Hall and extends for about three and three quarters of a mile.
Ha’penny Bridge derived its name from the halfpenny toll which so many people tried to avoid paying!
It was widened on the south side in 1937 and the new stone can be seen underneath. Whilst under construction, the temporary wooden arches and scaffolding were swept away by flood water.
FOLLOW THE RIVER DOWNSTREAM AND CROSS THE DYKE BY A SMALL, STONE BUILT BRIDGE.
Once over the dyke, you are in Cuerdale and the line of the old road is indicated by a slight rise in the land, where it goes across the field.
WALK ALONG THE RISE TO A SECOND LITTLE BRIDGE – CROSSING IT AND BEARING SLIGHTLY RIGHT. PASS BETWEEN THE HALL AND THE RIVER, MAKING FOR THE GATE BETWEEN TWO STONE WALLS.
Cucrdale Hall is a large, attractive house built in the 17th century. For a time it was the home of John Ketton, who was curate of St. Leonard’s-the-Less between 1875 and 1881. It was said he knew
every person and footpath in the area and if necessary, could have done a complete census of the parish.
If you wish, a left turn here, through the yard and up the farm road, will bring you out onto Cucrdale Lane.
FOLLOW THE LEFT-HAND WALL AND GO THROUGH THE NEXT GATE.
Downstream, near Mellings Wood, is a fording place and there is also a stone marking the spot where the Cucrdale Hoard wasfound in 1840. The silver was mainly Viking and weighed over three quarters of a hundred weight (40Kg). It included bullion, coins, ornaments and hack silver. According to local legend, if you stand on Walton Bidge, facing up the valley, you look over the wealth of England. There were those who, in the past, ploughed extra deep in order to locate this wealth and there were also those who believed that the treasure which was discovered, was only a part of that originally hidden!
GO ALONG THE LEFT-HAND HEDGESIDES, TRAVERSING TIIREE FIELDS AND THEN REJOINING THE RIVER NEAR RIBBLESIDE FARM.
Over the river is Mellings Wood and Mete House, together with the nearby site of Fishwick Hall. For several generations, the latter was the home of the Eaves family, who were descended from Cospatric de Samlesbury, (the first recorded Lord of the Manor). His great-grandaughter married John D’ewyas and in turn, their grandaughter married Gilbert de Southworth, who adopted the D’ewyas coat of arms (quartered with the colours reversed) and built the Over Hall of Samlesbury. Meanwhile, the name of D’ewyas underwent several changes, including D’eyvas and Eyves, before finally emerging as Eaves. A descendant of this branch served for a number of years as Abbot of St. Bencdict’s, Fort Augustus.
CONT INUE WALKING DOWNSTREAM, TURN LEFT THROUGH THE FARM GATE AND GO UP THE DRIVE.
Occasionally, in cold winters, this stretch of the river has been known to freeze over and there have been times when very severe hosts have made it possible for local people to skate as far as Ribchester.
Severe flooding has also occurred, when very wet weather has coincided with high tides. This has usually resulted in water covering the majority of the valley floor.
TURN LEFT AGAIN AND WALK ABOUT A MILE ALONG CUERDALE LANE.
As you near the top of Kalroe, a clear day will reveal extensive views along the flood plain to Ha’penny Bridge, with the Bowland and Longridge Fells in the distance.
A right-hand turn leading to Swaines Fold offers a pleasant walk to Higher Walton, with the choice of returning either through Sallom House or Potter Lane (Cuerdale).
Further along Cuerdale Lane is the left-hand road to Cuerdale Hall, which can provid an alternative route for those who dislike the noise of heavy traffic.
LOOK FOR THE STYLE ADJACENT TO THE LEFT-HAND RAILING OF THE MOTORWAY BRIDGE AND THEN GO ALONGSIDE THE M6 TO A STYLE BY A GATEWAY.
This Preston Bypass was Britains first stretch of Motorway and there is a large, triangular shaped monument between the on/off sliproads on the North-bound carriageway.
The fells again provide the backdrop to a pleasing view. Across the valley, in Brockholes, is Boilton Wood, where there used to be a spa. Its beneficial waters were highly regarded by the local people, but ironically it was filled in by a concemed landlord, worried about the health hazard to those who drank it!
DESCEND THE BANK TO A THIRD STILE BY THE MOTORWAY FENCE AND THEN TAKE A LEFT DIAGONAL LINE PAST AN OUTBARN.
This is known as Little Cuerdale and in days gone by, a lane went past here, across the line of the M6, through Cuerdale Wood and joined Cuerdale Lane near Potter Lane. Originally, this track was the line of the footpath, but it was diverted when the motorway was built. The end which joined Cuerdale Lane used to be called Squires Walk.
MAKE FOR A FURTHER STILE IN THE RIGHT-HAND CORNER OF THE FIELD AND CONTINUE ALONG A DIAGONAL LINE TO THE BRIDGE OVER THE BOUNDARY DYKE.
As you return to base, there is time to appreciate the solid mass which is Ha’pcnny Bridge and look for the remains of the timber supports of the original wooden bridge, which crossed the river at an angle.
One of these is frequently visible from the Ribble Way, on the opposite bank.