Saturday, 22 September 2012

Open Spaces of a Different Kind!

There are wide open spaces .... and there are WIDE OPEN SPACES...

We love the big skies; the peace and tranquility; the open roads, the lack of traffic in rural France... We could go on and on extolling its virtues..

Where we used to live in the northwest of England is the opposite in so many ways but it, too, has its wide open spaces - though with a difference.

To the north of the region is the Lake District National Park, and a bit closer to home is the wilderness of the Forest of Bowland, designated an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) in 1964.

One of our favourite walks within the Forest, is a circuit from Stocks Reservoir, situated at the head of the Hodder Valley.

We have done the walk in all weathers....

.......When snow covers the ground it is a magical place!

The Forest is bounded by the towns of (clockwise from the north) Bentham, Settle, Clitheroe (Colin's home town!), Longridge, Garstang and Lancaster.

Clitheroe Castle dominates the town's skyline
Pendle Hill, of Pendle witches fame, is one of the best known features of the area...
Pendle from the Clitheroe side
It is separated from the main Bowland Fells by the Ribble Valley.
Bridge over the River Ribble
The upland parts of the Forest form an area of barren gritstone fells, deep valleys and peat moorland, with important areas of heather moorland and blanket bog.

Travelling south on the High Bentham to Slaidburn road, with Stocks Reservoir in the distance
Sounds hospitable???

This Sunday my son,  David, is taking part in a 100k cycle ride which takes in the hills of the Forest of Bowland, in aid of the Northwest Air Ambulance, The air ambulance performs a vital service particularly on these fells, as much of the land is not easily reached by road.

Fingers crossed the weather is kind on Sunday. And rather him than me on the long drag up those fells! I certainly think it would be a good deal easier to cycle 100k on the roads and with the gentler climate here in Indre-et-Loire.

That's when the difference really shows. Or maybe I'm getting soft in my old age...


Diane said...

Oh I hope the weather is cool and not windy for your son. Wind is just the worst!
Great photos and particularly love the first one. have a good day tomorrow, Diane

Colin and Elizabeth said...

Thank you, Diane. I love the first one too. The quality of light up there is always good and as the walk starts and finishes at the reservoir this is always a welcome sight, particularly on a cold winter day!

Anonymous said...

Sometimes, I really miss that rugged landscape! Good luck to David!

GaynorB said...

Hi Colin and Elizabeth,

It is a beautiful area. We keep promising ourselves a weekend at the Inn at Whitewell. Tom loves Lancaster and the Lakes. We are helping to move him back next weekend as he can't fit his bike in his car. His guitar has pride of place! We think we'll head on up to Ambleside.

Has David got a 'just giving website'? We are happy to sponsor him for such a challenging ride and a really deserving cause.

Email me any details address etc and i'll make a contribution.

Colin and Elizabeth said...

Thank you Gaynor and Tim. David's site is

He has successfully completed the 100k today! Congratulations David!