Another plague walk which we could do from home, and although this seems to be a popular walk for locals, we had never done it, and decided to do it both because of that and as we thought it would be less popular and hence less boot-churned muddy than others round Caton and the Bowland Fells. The short bit in Lawson’s wood was the exception!
From the appropriate Plague Stone in Brookhouse, by the Black Bull, head down Holme Lane, cross the A683 and carry on the track then muddy path towards the Waterworks Bridge. Turn left just before the bridge and follow the Luneside path to the “Crook”, under the bridge and back up left to the cycle path, left then right to “Woodies”, shut for refreshments now in lockdown. Contour north round the new memorial plantation on the thin path, up the roadside path to the “T” junction. Turn right on the minor road and climb through parkland then a small wood, with good views over the Lune valley to Caton and the Bowland Fells, past the grand Halton Park house, and at the next wood take the signed path, a track, right and on towards Hawkshead. Just before the farm, take the signed path left then through all the Highfields to Aughton, generally well signed, but tricky at the following points: leaving Lower Highfield, make sure you take the correct exit gate, the path should have a hedge on your left, which follow round and up to a wooden sign post ahead indicating right across the field to another gate and stile. At Middle Highfield, on reaching the first track/road, turn left then right just past the Old Farmhouse, the circular sign being hidden on the wall not facing you, then carry on straight across the next track; at Far Highfield the stile, not gate, is close to the farm. Down the steep hill and past Aughton Barns, where one worries about their future when the Lune floods as it does, carry on the track. As the Lune veers left, following the “U” round adds 1.4 miles to the walk, so carry straight on then right of the gradually widening Dyke by Aughton Woods. If you go round the loop, be careful to go SW soon, to circumnavigate a marsh/pond by a small sign post, the pond leading to a fenced ditch which is difficult to cross. The path goes left round the large crumbling barn. The exit of the ditch near Aughton Wood into the Lune can be crossed straightforwardly on large stones, leading to a boggy morrass though, with further mud through the lovely woods. A deviation up the concessionary path to Lawson’s meadow can be made, returning diagonally down the field. Across the waterworks bridge head back via the path to Bull beck bridge, right on the cycle path, first left to the road, left to the field path to Kirkbeck and home. This makes a 9.8 mile circuit if the Lune loop is included, with good views of the valley and Fells.