Our circular route in this north-west corner of the Bowland Fells is entirely on designated Access Land, so we are free to wander throughout this interesting and sometimes desolate landscape.
However this is rough country so our route uses existing paths and estate roads throughout, the walking is enjoyable and interesting. In poor weather, care is needed in this desolate landscape.
This moorland habitat supports much wildlife, many birds such as grouse, lapwings, curlews and if you are lucky you may see hen harriers.
But this wild moorland is managed for grouse shooting by the landowner. If it were mine, I wouldn’t be shooting! I would open it for people to enjoy the wildlife and with it adventure, with hides and shelters mingling into the landscape, where visitors could enjoy and study this natural world and all its creatures. But alas, it wasn’t gifted to me!
Between August and early Spring, heather burning is carried out, no doubt destroying the chances of preserving blanket bog, peat-hags and the wildlife habitat, however this does give the opportunity to an elite few who make a hobby of killing wild birds, no doubt this blood sport brings financial reward to the landowner. Who are the custodians of the land?
On our walk, we visit the airy perch of Clougha Pike, our route is made more interesting by the rocky outcrops throughout our ascent and the excellent views across Morecambe Bay.
Take a moment to reflect, only a few thousand years ago, the Northern Hemisphere glaciation caused sea levels to fall over 100m, a land-bridge connected Britain to Ireland and maybe the Isle of Man wasn’t an island, from Clougha, the sea was many miles away and distant views were less abundant due to woodland. There’s no doubt the natural cycles of change on Planet Earth completely transform the landscape.
From the summit of Clougha Pike, we follow the high ground toward Grit Fell before taking the path across Plover Moss to an estate road.
A short detour to the art installation ‘Clougha Pike’ by land artist Andy Goldsworthy is rewarding, I’m fascinated by the openings and the shape of the inner space, ‘a symmetrical ovoidal’.
From the outcrop below Plover Moss, we take an excellent path crossing the source of the Conder to the edge of the Access Land before contouring over the edge of the moorland overlooking Littledale. We cross Ottergear Bridge, it carries the water from Thirlmere to Manchester. We return to the car park along the old quarry tracks.