There are much nicer counties – or so people say, But have they walked along Pendle’s Green Way?

Or seen the wild geese winging over the Lune?

Or clmbed Winter Hill by the light of the Moon?

Benita Moore (1995)

Benita is still remembered fondly by those who read the works of the former librarian who died much too soon. Always full of Lanky twang and good humour but, as the above lines show, she was no mean poet. I also love walks along the Lune to see the geese in winter but in the summer months the Crook of Lune is a wonderful walk.

A disused railway line, two grand old bridges, a sweeping curve of a river and a pretty stretch of woodland make this a walk to remember. The views here are so impressive that famous painters, including Turner, have been attracted to this area.

My Walk From the car park and café follow the signs for for the Millennium walk and descend a set of wooden steps to reach the track of the old railway. This was built in 1849 by the North Western Railway company and connected Lonsdale to Green Ayre station in Lancaster. The line ceased to operate in 1966 and is now a linear nature reserve.

Turn left and cross the old railway bridge. To the left is the sweep (or Crook) of the river Lune and to the right is a substantial road bridge. Continue to follow the old track to reach a seat on the left.

At the seat turn right to pass through a gate and here is a sign indicating “riverside walk”. Descend a field with the river down to the right. Approach another gate.

Pass through this gate and carefully cross the road. Turn left and then almost immediately right through a gate into the Memorial Forest. This is being added to as people plant a tree in memory of a loved one who has died. Here there is a smashing little picnic site by the river and is populated by ducks very eager to share your meal. Then retrace your steps and just before Point 3 look out to the left to see a footpath leading down to the river. Descend this track to reach the river Lune.

Approach a wooden footbridge over a tributary stream. Cross this bridge to find a solid set of steps leading down to the main river. Continue to reach the huge arches of the railway bridge and look out for the marks made by the masons who built the bridge. These marks were not made as a boast. If the bridge collapsed the marks would identify the men who built it! Now retrace the route to point 3. Turn left at the seat and approach point 2. Instead of ascending the steps to the car park bear right and walk up the track to reach a substantial car park.

From here there are magnificent views of the Crook of Lune. This view was painted by JMW Turner (1775-1850) before the railway and road bridges were built. Just before his death Turner returned and painted the railway bridge.

Turner spent some time in our part of the country and he painted scenes of Morecambe Bay and Towneley Hall in Burnley. Turn left from the picnic site and return to the car park and the starting point.


Nearby at Halton is a fascinating slice of even older history. Overlooking the church is a hill on which once stood an ancient wooden castle. This was one of the homes of Earl Tostig who was the brother of King Harold, killed at the Battle of Hastings. William of Normandy took over the Saxon lands and his followers decided that their power base would be at Lancaster where they built a huge castle. They thought that Halton Castle could be a focus for a Saxon rebellion.

The church is dedicated to St Wilfrid, the seventh century cleric, and in the churchyard is an attractive cross which has a fascinating mix of Christian and pagan symbols. This shows that early Christians were almost, but not quite, sure that the new religion had replaced the pagan beliefs.