YOU can follow the course of the River Lune on foot all the way from the heart of Lancaster upstream to the elegant Cumbrian border town of Kirkby Lonsdale.
The whole route is 16 miles and this much shorter walk gives a taste of the official ‘Lune Valley Ramble’ by exploring the river bank close to the Cumbria county boundary.
Whittington is an unspoilt Lune Valley farming village with its own parkland estate linked to Whittington Hall.
The church of St Michael the Archangel stands on the site of a ‘motte and bailey’ castle, one of numerous medieval fortifications found in riverside villages along the banks of the River Lune in both Lancashire and Westmorland.
The River Lune has always provided a natural corridor for transport and on the east bank of the river opposite Whittington are the remains of the Roman fort of Over Burrow, which once guarded the main south-north Roman road from Ribchester to Hadrian’s Wall.
1. Start at the junction where Church Lane and the B6254 meet. Turn left from this junction in the direction of Kirkby Lonsdale.
When the houses soon end on the right join the signed footpath on the same side, which begins at a gate.
Turn right and follow this path along a field edge with a hedge on the right. Keep to the waymarked path which passes through several gateways near the entrance to a farm on the right. It continues along a hedge side and meets a track.
The official route of the path from here keeps to the right of the track continuing straight ahead to meet it again at a footbridge over a drain.
2. Cross the footbridge and follow a hedged track straight ahead to reach the riverbank of the Lune.
Turn right along the river bank (left if you want to walk into Kirkby Lonsdale two miles away) and follow it downstream (southwards) in the direction of Lancaster.
The riverside is now followed for the next one-and-a-quarter miles and several stiles are crossed.
After about a third of a mile cross a stile to the left of a gateway and a wooden pavilion. Continue straight ahead after crossing a cattle grid until the end of a farm track is reached on the right.
3. Turn right along the track and leave the riverside here. The farm track (Coneygarth Lane) is followed for three-quarters-of-a-mile and leads back to the B6254 in Whittington village opposite a park lodge.
Cross the road with care and join the signed footpath to the right of the lodge driveway that leads through gates.
A fenced path now crosses parkland in the direction of the church. Go through the gates at the far end of the parkland to walk through the churchyard and climb the steps to the church.
4. After exploring the church and yard follow the path around the side of the church to reach gates on to the residential lane.
Turn right to return to the junction with the B6254 Kirkby Lonsdale-Carnforth road and your original starting point.
Turn right here if you want to explore the main village street.
Nick Burton will be leading a history walk - Bowland’s American Settlers - looking at the Quaker history of the Hodder Valley. Meet at Dunsop Bridge car park at 10.15am today. £5 per adult. For more information visit www.allroutesnorth.co.uk