Lesley Tate sets off from Gisburn for this long and enjoyable walk to Bracewell, and encounters some curious cows on the way.
IT was back to Pendle for this circular walk with some lovely far reaching views from Gisburn to Bracewell and back again. Paths - in my experience - tend not to be as well maintained as the more walked routes in the Yorkshire Dales National Park. Footpath signs are often difficult to find and spasmodic - although there are the distinctive Lancashire County Council wooden footbridges marking the way - but it's more than wise to take a map and allow an extra hour for when you get lost. When I went, there were lots of curious cows out in the fields, which made me wish I'd left the dogs behind - so, if you're intent on taking a dog along, keep it under close control as aways and, if you get chased, remember, let go of the dog and sprint to the nearest stile.
1 From the A59, opposite the new Strawberry Fields development on the Skipton side of Gisburn, take the marked footpath next to farm drive. Cross the field, diagonally, heading for fence. About three quarters of way up far boundary, you will find wall stile. Over field to next stile. Over another field, keeping copse to left and then down to wooden footbridge. Follow the path as it goes up hill to a stone stile, cross over field, head for right of raised mound and then join track down to copse, over new stile into woodland.
2 Continue on path through wood and go over stile, into field - freestanding stone house on right. Bear left, down to wooden footbridge and over stile onto farmtrack. Left on track and follow it all way to Bracewell.
3 Over cattle grid, and right onto road into village for a short way. Just before Bracewell Church, take the footpath on right, next to entrance to King Henry's Parlour. Through five bar gate and into delightful garden area, passing tennis court on left, and allotment garden on right. Over stile into field, and head for fence, at about 11am. Don't go over stile and follow white arrows along the side of the fence uphill and then down again, keeping fence on your left. At the almost bottom of the field, pick up the yellow arrows and follow the path as it head towards some earthworks, featuring mounds. Enter earthworks, and go to left of mound and wind turbine, to pick up footpath heading to farm. Pass through farm and take signed footpath on right, before you go out onto road. Follow track uphill to gate. Go right, keeping wall on left and then following white arrow, left again, keeping fence on left, down to wooden footbridge. Keeping to left of field, head for far corner and over stone stile to narrow and winding path which eventually comes out at Hesketh House Farm.
4 Passing farm on right, keep to farm track as it heads up hill to gate and take path, heading straight across to pick up farm track. Head for large farm and follow track through farm with its attractive white cottage on left. Ignore footpath signs off to right, and keep passing through farm and out onto track. Stay on track for some distance, and you will eventually come back to A59 where you started.
Distance: About seven miles
Difficulty level: Easy
Terrain: Fields, farm tracks, quiet roads
Livestock: Cattle and sheep
Parking: Considerate parking in Gisburn
OS Map: Landranger 103