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1 March, 2009

Walk: Littledale, near Lancaster

Another oddly late start today: somehow I didn't get round to leaving for a cycle ride or walk until about 15:30, which didn't leave a lot of daylight.  Hence, I just went as far as Littledale, between Clougha and Caton Moor, hoping to find Littledale Hall.

As the accompanying photos show, the weather wasn't great, particularly on high ground; as, by definition, the photos don't show, few images were worth publishing. At least I scouted and refined a route for a future visit.

I started at The Cragg, at the highest point on Littledale Road; the ride out from Lancaster was rather more strenuous than the walk itself, particularly the final steep hill.
After locking my bike to a fence, I headed across mildly muddy fields to Skelbow Barn, extremely muddy & undulating fields to Bellhill Farm, then a concrete road to Field Head Farm. In hindsight, I'm not sure whether I'd bother with this section again, other than as part of an alternative route up Clougha. A less circuitous (but still circular) walk to Littledale Hall could start at Udale Bridge, on the Crossgill side of the Littledale Road hill, and follow a well-surfaced farm track.

Littledale Hall wasn't quite as I'd expected, resembling a farm or mill complex rather than a manor house – there were no grand architectural details to photograph, or at least none I could see from the footpath. Maybe next time.
Likewise with my other objective of the day, a disused Free Church nearby, which I'd read about online. It's a striking building now only used as a drafty barn: all the external features of a Victorian chapel, but rendered in miniature and in the middle of a sheep pasture. Well worth seeing, but the light had already gone from the valley by 17:20, so I only managed to take a couple of photos. Maybe next time....

The path past the chapel came out at the hairpin bend between Crossgill and Caton Moor. If I ever wanted a really short walk to the Free Church and Littledale Hall (~500 m each way), this'd be the place to start, though this 'starting point' is 4 km (horizontally, plus ~100 m vertically) from Brookhouse, so it'd be more likely to be a brief diversion on a ride over Caton Moor and/or Roeburndale. At least there's a reasonable place to lock a bike, eliminating the need to replicate the final stage of today's walk, back up the steep hill to The Cragg and my bike.

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