Today was a day for a really gentle stroll, so Tim and Waj took an easy 2 mile circular route from the pretty village of Calder Vale, which sits at the edge of the Forest of Bowland. It really is quite an isolated spot in the valley bottom, and it is a great place to begin a walk that follows farm tracks, footpaths and riverside fields with only a couple of short steep sections.
Late Spring is a fantastic time in the Forest of Bowland. Bluebells (also known as ‘Hyacinthoides non-scripta’ for those horticulturalists amongst you) carpet the local woodland and there is always a pretty delightful display of other Spring wildflows to see too. In fact, the swathes of these rich violet-blue flowers are so impressive that there are guided walks every Sunday in May to see them – don’t forget that It is against the law to intentionally pick, uproot or destroy them though!
The River Calder that flows down into the valley from the fells above was originally used as the power source for the cotton mill that was built here in 1835, Lappet Mill. The mill is actually still a working cotton mill and is most well-known for manufacturing the cloth that makes the headshawls worn by Saudi Arabian men.
Along the way, do make sure that you pause to look into the far distance to take in the really lovely view to the west, which includes the old market town of Garstang, the River Wyre, and much further beyond to the coast. As you continue on your way you will catch sight of the fells of Bleasdale, which also has it’s own forest, a little less well known than the Forest of Bowland. It’s another area of wonderful ancient woodland to explore.