Between March and mid April is the best time to find one of Lancashire’s rarest plants, which comes into flower early.
The plant is butterbur and normally the flowers are pink but there is a variety where the flowers are white. One of the few places where the white butterbur is found is on the river bank at Brungerley.
Butterbur takes its name from the fact that, before the invention of greaseproof paper, butter was wrapped up in one of the huge leaves which appear after the flowers have faded.
From the Three Millstones area turn right and follow the signs for Clitheroe.
Look for a little stream which runs parallel to the street and for little bridges which provide access for pretty colleges to the left.
Approach West Bradford Bridge and look for a footpath signed right to Brungerley. The route is well signed and initially follows the river.
Bear right and cross obvious stiles over fields and through a small area ofwoodland.
Cross a number of tributary streams leading left down to the Ribble and reach a number of small long disused limestone quarries.
Pass a farm complex to the right and meet the Clitheroe to Waddington road after a slight incline lined with trees.
Pass through a gate and turn left along the road to Brungerley Bridge. Just beyond the bridge look out for a sign indicating the Ribble Way.
Turn left onto a wide track into Brungerley Park.
During the Wars of the Roses, Henry VI, the weak Lancastrian King, was captured by the Yorkists at Brungerley stepping stones over the Ribble.
After his defeat at the Battle of Hexham in 1464 Henry was on the run and he was sheltered at Bolton Hall in Bolton-By-Bowland and at Waddington Hall before he was captured at Brungerley. He was taken to London where he died in “unsure circumstances”.
I think this is historical jargon for murder.
Later a bridge was built over the Ribble and until the the boundary changes of 1974 this was the border between Lancashire and Yorkshire.
Continue along Brungerley Park, keeping the River Ribble on the left.
It is here that you need to look out for the white Butterbur. The park has been laid out from yet more disused limestone quarries and is the place to look out for flowers and ferns.
Continue to follow the obvious track to reach Crosshill Quarry, which is now designated as a Nature Trail. Descend a steep but obvious path to reach a stile.
Cross the stile and continue to follow the obvious riverside path. Ignore all stiles leading to the left and right but follow the track to reach West Bradford Bridge.
At the Bridge turn left and continue back through West Bradford and return to the starting point.
It is interesting to find how little some of our villages have changed over the years. West Bradford village is evidence of this.
Brungerley Bridge has, however changed, because the pleasure grounds once found there have disappeared.
How to get there: Turn off the A59 bypass signed Chatburn. Continue straight ahead at a roundabout and pass the Castle Cement works on the right.
Cross a narrow bridge over the River Ribble and continue into West Bradford Village.
There is street parking close by and near the splendid Three Millstones pub which was converted from three farm buildings long ago.
Distance: Three Miles