Walk No. 3

WALK NO.3. THE MYERSCOUGH – DEAN LANE – BEZZA – PICKERING AND RIGBY FOLDS.

Unfortunately, this route of about three and a half miles covers a considerable length of the busy Whalley Road, but the beautiful views and serenity of Bezza compensate for this.

A car may be parked on a section of the original Whalley Road near The Myerscough and by a County Council Depot, (which is on the site of a wartime P.O.W. camp). Although there is a wide grass verge on this side of the main road, the footway follows the opposite side as far as Sumner’s Farm.

WALK TOWARDS PRESTON, PASSING THROUGH TURNER GREEN, TO DEAN LANE.

Whalley Road was turnpiked from Walton-le-Dale to Mellor Brook in 1754 and there were toll bars at the Five Barred Gate and Balderstone Gate, (just beyond Myerscough Smithy).

Also at Myerscough Smithy was a Congregational Mission which was started in 1818 and ran for several years before being transferred to Mellor Brook.

Turner Green used to be one of the important centres of Samlesbury, but there are few properties here now.

Opposite Sumner’s Farm was Birley’s, which consisted of a farm, cottage and buildings. They were demolished in the middle of the 19th century and were probably the homes of Jennet and Ellen Birley, who figured prominently in the Lancashire Witch Trials.

There was a parochial school operating at School House for most of the time between about 1732 and 1870 and a little cottage also existed across the lane.

According to legend, parishioners had planned to build their place of worship on this Green. However, as fast as the chapel was constructed by day, supernatural forces destroyed it at night – each time transferring it to a spot by the river. Eventually the builders conceded defeat and built St. Leonard’s-the-Less in it’s present position!

TURN RIGHT INTO DEAN LANE, WHICH RUNS LEVEL FOR A SHORT DISTANCE AND THEN DROPS DOWN TO BEZZA BROOK.

Presumably this is the lane with which an old record of 1701 deals, when it queries:

whether Jas Turner hath repaired his Highway from Derene Lane Yale (gate) to Beson Brooke, and weth he hath repaired his ditch lyeing betwixt Deren Lane and Chrofer Duckworths Close called the Over Long Field.

Where the lane borders Seed Park, it becomes increasingly wet, rough and overgrown.

CROSS THE BRIDGE AND WALK TO THE JUNCTION.

There is a small pool on the downstream side of the bridge, which hzis been used for a quick dip in hot weather by generations of youngsters!

Presumably a ford, or wooden bridge preceded this one which was built in 1860 by Mr. James F. Armistead of Bezza.

ln older times, Lancashire was a wild, desolate and inhospitable county. Few solitary places and old buildings were without some superstitious lore.

Samlesbury is no exception – here is the abode of the howling ghostly Bczza Skriker who reputedly haunts these parts. He assumes a variety of forms, (perhaps a white cow or horse), but more frequently the shape of a great shaggy dog, who has enormous feet and blazing eyes the size of saucers.

Appearences usually occur at the edge of dark, or on wild stormy nights; generally preceding some calamity or local death.

TURN RIGHT INTO BEZZA LANE, WHICH RISES THROUGH A CUTTING BEFORE GAINING LEVEL GROUND.

Bezza Farm, on the left, has been developed into a delightful nursery which is well worth a detour. If plants grow at Bezza, they will survive almost anywhere! Two modern extensions sandwich this lovely 17th century house and there is a lion in the garden which is a replica of those in Trafalgar Square.

A short column nearby is believed to be an old wayside cross.

CONTINUE IN A NORTH-EASTERLY DIRECTION ALONG THE HIGH RIDGE BETWEEN BEZZA BROOK AND THE RIBBLE.

This road is an ancient track – possibly pre-Roman – and would have been very busy in bygone times, when the population was concentrated in the Lower Hall area and along the flood plain.

Elston lies across the river, and the aqueduct carries the Thirlmere water supply to Manchester. Behind is the M6, with Lower Broekholes beyond.

About half a mile along the lane, indentations in a right-hand field indicate the site of Higher Bezza.

Once over the cattle grid, you are in Balderstone, with historic Marsden Well, down through the left-hand field. Here many people have been baptized during penal times and stories are also told of secret Masses in the nearby woods.

AFTER THE BOUNDARY GATE, THE LANE PASSES AN OUTBARN AND THE SERVICE ROADS TO MARSDEN HOUSE AND LOWER HOUSE FARMS, BEFORE REACHING THE WIDE GATES OF PICKERING FOLD.

TURN DOWN THE LANE, INTO THE YARD AND THROUGH A SMALL GATE AT THE RIGHT-HAND CORNER OF THE GARDEN.

DESCEND TO A SUBSTANTIAL FOOTBRIDGE AND CROSS BEZZA BROOK INTO SAMLESBURY. TURN LEFT, GO OVER A RECUMBENT WILLOW AND MAKE FOR THE SITLE, A FEW YARDS FURTHER UPSTREAM.

THE NEXT STILE CAN BE SEEN ON THE SKYLINE AS YOU CLIMB TO THE TOP OF THE BANK.

WALK ON A LEFT DIAGONAL TO A THIRD STILE WHICH GOES OVER AN IRON HURDLE WITHIN THE HEDGE AND WALK ALONG THE BALDERSTONE SIDE OF THE BOUNDARY.

TURN RIGHT AND FOLLOW THE HEDGESIDE TO RIGBY FOLD, WHERE THE PATH RETURNS TO SAMLESBURY AND GOES BETWEEN A WILLOW TREE AND A FARM BUILDING.

Another path leaves this point for Moorhouse Farm on Wood’s Brow.

Rigby Fold is mentioned in 1561, when Sir John Southworth was found disturbing the peace. He had sent his men to Lower Brockholes where, amongst other activities, they injured a servant and drove away twenty head of cattle. Half of them were impounded here and the others ended up in Clitheroe!

WALK DOWN THE SIDE OF THE GARDEN TO A STILE ONTO THE FARM ROAD, WHICH LEADS BACK TO BASE.

On the left is the main entrance to British Aerospace where 3,400 people are employed.

They supply the RAF, RN and over 30 other countries with aircraft. Hampden and Halifax bombers, Vampires,” Canberras and Lightnings have all been constructed here, together with the sub-assemblies of Jaguar and Tornado.

Work still continues on Tornado and there is involvement with the T.45 Goshawk, Harrier Jump Jet, Civil Airbus and the European Fighter Aircraft.

Samlesbury also develops, manufactures and applies composite materials.

The product support of all military aircraft is now centred at Samlesbury and they run a 24 hour service to all grounded aircraft. Although the runway is 1,500 metres long, flying operations ceased in 1988.

British Aerospace has been nominated for the Queen’s Award to Industry on seven occasions.