Follow Nick Burton’s leisurely trek in the beautiful Bowland Fells

THE the gateway to the Bowland Fells the village of Dunsop Bridge takes its name from the road crossing over the River Dunsop, a short-lived river formed by the confluence of the Rivers Brennand and Whitendale less than a few miles north of the village.

The Dunsop joins the River Hodder next to Thorneyholme Hall, the former residence of the Bowland Forest Estate manager, the estate being purchased by the Towneley family in the 19th century.

The walk crosses the Hodder via an ornate footbridge carrying a water pipeline built by Blackburn Corporation Waterworks. Water flowing down the Dunsop Valley has been diverted since Victorian times to supply the town of Blackburn with drinking water.

South of the footbridge, the farmhouse at Burholme was once the home of Nicholas and Anne Waln, Quakers who became early settlers of Pennsylvania.

They sailed to America in 1682 and Nicholas became a prominent Philadelphia politician.

Facing the car park entrance turn right and walk along the lane past the Puddleducks Cafe towards the road bridge over the river.

The BT phone box on the left has a plaque in it marking it as the one closest to the geographical centre of the British Isles.

Do not cross over the bridge but turn right immediately after the cafe following the bridleway past the village playground.

Keep going straight ahead past the playground following the tarmac drive through a gate and an open field towards a row of cottages.

Pass through the gate to the left of the cottages and follow the track straight ahead crossing a stile and keeping the river on the immediate left. Cross the footbridge over the River Dunsop.

Turn left after the footbridge and now follow the access drive downstream with the river on the left.

The driveway passes cottages at Closes Barn on the right and goes through another gate straight ahead. Just keep to the drive and you soon arrive at houses back in the village next to the war memorial.

At the road turn left downhill towards the road bridge.

Do not cross the bridge but turn right along the farm track to Root Hill signed as a public footpath.

The track turns sharp right in front of farm buildings and a waymarked path junction is reached on the left.

Here, turn left and follow a permissive footpath straight ahead, which crosses stiles in the wall and runs through a field between the farms.

Follow the waymarkers here — the path runs diagonally left across the next field heading in the direction of the ornate footbridge and pipeline.

Further stiles are crossed before the path joins the River Hodder and leads to the steps of the bridge.

Cross the river at this bridge and turn sharp left. Keep to the riverside path keeping the river immediately on your left.

The path crosses a stream entering the river and goes straight ahead through a large pasture heading for the farm buildings next to Thorneyholme Hall.

Keep to the riverside and the path goes to the left of the buildings, turning right as the river bends right to reach the next bridge crossing point at the entrance to Thorneyholme.

Cross this and turn left along the magnificent tree-lined avenue leading back to the main road through the village.

Turn left along this and the car park is soon reached on the right. Refreshments are available in the village’s Puddleduck’s Cafe.

n Nick Burton’s book Wainwright’s Way, exploring Alfred Wainwright’s life on foot from Blackburn to Buttermere, is now available from all good bookshops, published by Frances Lincoln, price £13.99.