At the weekend me and my lovely wife wanted to go out for a little run/walk. However, with Lockdown 2.0 we didn’t want to drive too far. Helen had a look on Wikiloc and found what looked like a great little 8 mile loop starting and finishing in Abbeystead; all of it on the Wyre Way.
The Wyre Way follows the River Wyre from it’s source near Abbeystead all the way to Fleetwood where it flows into the sea. The route also has a circular loop at each end, and it was the circular loop at the source that we did.
Abbeystead is a popular spot for walkers, but as we were there nice and early the car park only had a couple of other cars. Setting off and once again I hadn’t checked to see which way the route went, so after a couple of minutes we backtracked and headed off anti-clockwise. Almost immediately we ran past Abbeystead House, built in 1886 for the 4th Earl of Sefton.
The picture doesn’t show just how big the house is, and this was as close as the footpath went. Over a little bridge and through a couple of fields on an amazingly sunny November morning. With no sheep we could even let Nelly off her lead for a scamper.
Sometimes it wasn’t obvious where the path headed but Helen’s Garmin was keen to ‘beep’ if we went too far off course. We then had a short section on the Trough Road, before heading back into the Forest of Bowland. Whoever lives in the shooter’s lodge was getting ready for Christmas, with a few very large turkeys.
As with all of the footpaths in the area there are very big ‘No Dogs’ signs, but when you read the small print on the Open Access Land information, it states that dogs are allowed as long as you keep to designated Public Rights of Way, which footpaths are.
We walked up the steep shooters track until a footpath sign took us to the left, where a couple of minutes later we were once again back-tracking to find where exactly the footpath went. This was the only time that we lost the path as the Wyre Way was on the whole very well marked.
There were a couple of very high ladder styles, which Nelly struggled with, although she hates to be carried even less. I have to say that the views were stunning.
We then dropped down to a farm in the tiny hamlet of Tarnbrook. A farmer shouted at us. We weren’t sure why as we were definitely on the footpath. It turned out that he was shouting about having a kennel full of Pointers. His wife rushed out of the farm to chat with us. She is the President of the UK Pointer Club and knew all about Hurstead Pointers, where Helen had picked little Nelly. As expected, having half a dozen pointers she was a fan of the breed. We laughed at the pointer foibles; poor recall and a love of chasing birds is very common, as is wanting to sleep on a human bed. I wouldn’t have any other dog. Later that day we looked at the Pointer Club website and it appears that pointers are often very good at agility or canicross. Even though Nelly is an old girl I would love to have a go at canicross, if she didn’t get too distracted.
From the farm we walked through a couple of muddy fields before returning back to the car. But, we hadn’t finished our run as there was a small one and a bit mile loop around the Abbeystead Reservoir. The path was slow going and muddy, but after passing a sad looking pond we came upon the impressive looking, although small, reservoir.
The reservoir forms an important part of the Lune/Wyre transfer scheme, where water is pumped from the Lune into the Wyre to supply the needs of the growing town of Garstang and the other towns downstream. In 1984 a group of 44 people were visiting the site, and unbeknown to anyone there had been a methane leek from a coal seem a mile underground, and when the pumps were turned on a subsequent explosion killed 8 people, while another 8 died of their injuries later in hospital.
I didn’t know any of this, but Helen remembered about it and had a look on Wikipedia. You really don’t expect a tragedy of that magnitude in a small Lancashire village.
Back at the car and there was a small queue of vehicles waiting for spaces, so we headed off as quick as possible. Another brilliant little run, just over 8 miles, and another thank you to Wikiloc.