Breaking news: #Stonehenge may have been a second-hand circle brought from Wales! — The Heritage Journal

If ever the folly of building a mile of destructive new roads across the Stonehenge World Heritage landscape needed stressing to the world (see yesterday’s article) then this is it. There is still so much to learn at Stonehenge, and destroying huge amounts of precious evidence by driving a mile of new dual carriageways across […]

Breaking news: #Stonehenge may have been a second-hand circle brought from Wales! — The Heritage Journal

Walking the Local Paths

I wrote this three years ago. We had no idea then just how important local paths were to become in these days of pandemic.

So please help the Ramblers claim those 49000 miles of paths that are not yet on the Definitive Map.

Fight this government’s proposals to make your freedom to roam in our own countryside a criminal offence.

And keep walking ALL your local paths.

If you are a British rambler, you tend to take individual footpaths and bridleways for granted, linking them together to design a longer walk for the day.

I know walkers, determined as they are to arrive at their destination, who scarcely see or examine the path they are on.

We all do it from time to time. Yet look more carefully and you can find out much about the history of the landscape you are walking through.

The great dramatic tracks – the old Roman roads, the prehistoric ridgeways and so on – tend to get noticed. But the simple paths linking village to village, farmhouse to church, are just as important and worthy of note.

Our footpaths and bridleways are an absolutely vital resource for every country walker. During my campaigning days, landowning organisations were continually pressing for the “rationalisation” of the path network, seeking to get rid of many of our precious rights of way and pushing walkers on to unimaginatively routed and compromised core paths.

Thankfully, walking campaign groups resisted much of this, though some rambling footpath officers too readily agreed diversions which were not in the best interests of ramblers.

Core paths are still promoted by some local authorities. With austerity budget cuts, some highway authorities are not spending enough on the entire network, singling out just some of the more popular walks.

Yet walkers bring billions of pound into the British countryside, so this is a false economy. And the best way to keep ALL paths opened and maintained is to get as many walkers as possible out on to them.

One idea is to look at designing shorter long-distance walks on little used rights of way.

My old group of the Ramblers Association in Teignmouth and Dawlish in Devon http://www.teignramblers.org.uk/ did this with the creation of the Teignmouth and Dawlish Way – 18 miles around some little visited wilder countryside. Many other rambling groups have done something similar.

You don’t have to be in a group to design such a route. You can do it yourself and produce your own booklet to sell online or in local bookshops.

Or why not just walk all the local paths in your locality, reporting any problems to the local highway authority and the Ramblers – who have a useful path problems app on their website http://www.ramblers.org.uk/

Planning Application For Permanent Vehicular Access To Black Moss & Swellands. — Path Watch

Swellands reservoir. A planning application has been submitted to the Peak Park by The Canal & Rivers Trust to build a road into Black Moss & Swellands Reservoir from the A62. This quiet area has no vehicle access and the character of the moors here will be changed by a development on this scale. The […]

Planning Application For Permanent Vehicular Access To Black Moss & Swellands. — Path Watch

Unlocking Landscapes: London’s historic Great North Wood with Chris Schüler — Daniel Greenwood

I’m delighted to be able to post the first episode of my podcast, Unlocking Landscapes. This episode is with author Chris Schüler about his upcoming book The Wood that Built London. It’s about London’s historic Great North Wood, which I have posted about many times on this blog. It’s a long episode, but that’s because […]

Unlocking Landscapes: London’s historic Great North Wood with Chris Schüler — Daniel Greenwood

A Walk to see Two Knights Jousting

A frosty walk across the fields, with the snow-capped Pennines in the distance, to see two knights jousting.

No, not some timeslip, but fascinating just the same. There really are two knights jousting – sort of – on this very pleasant path and lane walk. And all the more mysterious because I can’t quite find just why they are there.

The Distant Pennines

A good hard frost makes for good field walking, taking away that muddy sinking feeling that comes with the usual wet weather. And what better than through the uncrowded pastures of Cumbria’s Eden Valley.

The Pennines – the highest point of that long range, with Cross Fell and the three great pikes of Knock, Dufton and Murton standing stark as sentinels against that long ridge.

Frozen Fields

From Colby we followed the lane (a very quiet lane) to Bolton, a small village of fewer than five hundred folk, not the more famous northern conurbation. It also has one of the finest old churches in Cumbria.

And it is in the wall on the back of the church that you will find the two knights a-jousting inscribed on a stone. One knight posher than the other, as indicated by the pennon on his lance. Both it would seem wearing armour dating from the time of King Henry II. Which is an interesting period for me, being the author of a tetralogy of novels about Robin Hood (Loxley, Wolfshead, Villain and Legend).

Two Knights Jousting

I can find no explanation as to why this inscribed stone is there – or where it came from. (If you have definitive knowledge please do comment below). But it is a most marvellous link with the past. Not far away from Bolton are the ruins of Bewley Castle. A weekend retreat for the medieval bishops of Carlisle, so perhaps that’s the link.

A gravestone worn away
A Haunting Figure from the Past

On the other side of the church is the carved figure of a woman which might be Norman in origin.

Bolton Church

And along the village street, a fine village hall – a memorial to the locals who fought in The Great War.

Bolton Memorial Hall

We wandered back along the lanes considering all these remnants of our history.

Once the pandemic is over do put Bolton church on your list of places to see. A little gem.

(c) Test and pictures: John and Anne Bainbridge.

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