Going: All tarmac roads. Plenty of hills to climb, particularly
between Broughton Mills and Stephenson Ground. If done anti-clockwise, perhaps to take
advantage of the pub at Broughton Mills near the end, there's a long, long pull back to
the main road!
Total Distance: 8.5 miles
The Lickle Valley, near Broughton-in-Furness, is one of Lakelands secrets, known only by a few. Served by narrow, tortuous roads, it doesnt welcome the motorist, who rarely ventures past the fine old pub at Broughton Mills. An area ideally explored by bike then!
This ride starts at the square in Broughton, and heads away up the Coniston road, which is followed for just over a mile, with a good view developing across the lower part of the valley. A left fork leads down a long hill all the way to the valley floor and Broughton Mills, which once had a wool industry. I should come clean about the hills on this outing at this point there are plenty of them, and some are pretty steep, and the short length of the ride is deceiving. But the hard work is more than repaid by the beauty of the surroundings.
Cross the Lickle at the bridge and bear right past the church. The road soon begins a long climb, with a tumbling beck far below. Take a right turn, and continue the climb through thin woodland along the valley side. The rugged Dunnerdale Fells become visible on the left, and you might notice that several of the farms are called grounds, as in Jackson Ground for example. This is the result of an agreement Furness Abbey made with illegal settlers in the early 16th century, to enclose small parcels of lands for use as farms. There are many such examples in High Furness.
By Stephenson Ground you will have reached a height of 750ft; intrepid mountain bikers can, and do, follow the bridleway on from here to the source of the Lickle, but this is not for the faint-hearted! The road now drops steeply down to the river once more at Water Yeat Bridge. A few yards before the bridge, by the side of the road an odd circular structure was once a potash pit. Here bracken and birch were burnt to produce potash. After more processing, this made a soft soap used for cleaning wool.
A little further one, the car park at Hawk Bridge stands by the lovely Appletree Worth Beck, at the foot of a secluded side valley, with the remains of an abandoned farm.
The return follows the opposite side of the valley, along a broad ridge. At the scissors junction go straight across, rather than down to the right. Although you are climbing again, things are much shorter and gentler now, and a steep descent soon leads down to a junction, where a left turn leads back to the main road into Broughton.
The Blacksmith's Arms at Broughton Mills. Very nice! Several pubs in Broughton too.
Appletree Worth Beck, from the road bridge.
The Lickle Valley, looking south-west, from the road on the east side. Black Combe is lurking in the mist, and Broughton Mills is down in the bottom of the valley.
The Lickle Valley, looking north, from the road on the east side. Stephenson Ground is visible at the white buildings at middle left. The River Lickle flows down the narrow cleft visible at upper right. Caw, a 1700 ft hill, is hidden in the mist at top left.
Home page of the Blacksmiths Arms
Some gen on the north-west of England textile industry, and the role of potash!
Any comments on the cycling pages would be gratefully received!
Copyright J Chambers 2005. Unauthorised reproduction not allowed. May be printed
for personal use only.
Open Country Prints, Main Street, Baycliff, Ulverston, Cumbria
LA12 9RN, England