Chipping Cheese Walk

 To my mind LS Lowry has a lot to answer for! Thanks to him every southerner has an image of the north peppered with dark satanic mills set within monotone and dreary townscapes. I speak from experience as a Londoner who first came to Lancashire in my 20s staying with my future wife Eileen and in-laws. I was taken on an outing to Chipping and could scarcely believe my eyes – was this sylvan paradise in heavily industrial Lancashire? When John Hargreaves sent me this route I was reminded of that first magical contact with the countryside of the north west of England. The magic has never worn off and I’m still happily married to Eileen!

Start: Chipping; pay and display car park near St Bartholomew’s Church on Church Raike, PR3 2QL
Map: OS Explorer 1:25,000 OL41 Forest of Bowland & Ribblesdale
Distance: 3.2 miles circular clockwise; Height gain 450ft
Time: less than 2 hours.
Grade: Easy, along metalled roads and graded farm tracks with a short section along an unmade woodland path.
Directions:
1. Leave the car park and go up the hill along Church Raike for 200 yards. Fork right down Malt Kiln Brow alongside Chipping Brook for almost ½ mile passing the site of the recently demolished Berry’s chair works and the ancient water-powered Kirk Mill and mill pond

 

to reach Procter's Cheese factory

 

at Saunders Raike just before Tweedy’s Court. Procter’s prepares and markets a variety of cheeses under the ‘Kick-Ass’ brand recognisable by the yellow label with the image of a bucking donkey, hence the name. The full flavoured extra mature black waxed-coated cheddar and the strong green wax-coated Lancashire cheeses have proven to be very popular.

 

Leave the cheese factory and continue up the hill for ¾ mile, passing Nan King’s Farm, Fish House Lane / Wolfen Mill and Peacock Hey Farm to reach the crossroads with Saddle End farm track just beyond the highest point of the walk.

 

2. Turn right over the cattle grid along the track for another ¾ mile, crossing Dobson’s Brook passing through Windy Hills Farm and Birchen Lee

 

to reach Laund Farm where sheep’s milk products are prepared.

3. Laund Farm is run by the Stott family who have spent their working lives perfecting their breeds of Swaledale and Leicester commercial sheep and Friesland milking sheep. The result is the highest quality prime Bowland lamb and award winning sheep products of milk, cheese, and yoghurt. The creamy taste and texture of sheep milk is thanks to a higher fat content than cow’s milk - 6.7% compared to 2.5%. However, the fat globules are much smaller so the body is able to digest them more efficiently.

 

Leave Laund Farm down the hill for ½ mile passing Leagram Hall

 

to reach a cattle grid and the back road into Chipping. Turn right and immediately turn right again through a small gate

 

into the wood along a pleasant 350 yard unmade woodland path.

 

Then back on the road at Leagram Lodge for the final stretch to return to the picturesque village, thought to have been founded as early as 620AD. As you cross the bridge on Talbot Street you can see on the left the waterwheel from Chipping Mill (built in 1792),

 

one of seven mills powered by Chipping Brook in the 1800s.

POI
· A wide selection of Chipping cheeses are available at the Farm Shop next to St Mary’s RC School opposite the Cobbled Corner Cafe. Refreshments can also be obtained in the Sun Inn and Tillotsons Arms (now named Tilly's, once called The Buck) but in the low-season it pays to check the opening times beforehand.
· Next door to Tilly’s is Brabin’s Shop, said to be Britain’s longest trading shop, now a general store, café and Post Office.
· The Sun Inn is a 17th century pub thought to be the most haunted pub in Lancashire, haunted by Lizzie Dean. She was a pretty twenty year old serving wench at the pub and in 1835 met and fell in love with a local lad, who told her he was deeply in love with her. He proposed to her but after having his wicked way with her he laughed and said he no longer wanted to marry her. This broke her heart and to make matters worse he arranged to marry her best friend. On the day of the wedding, Lizzie climbed the stairs to the pub attic overlooking the church yard, wrote a suicide note and hanged herself. Her note said she wanted to be buried close to the church so her ex-lover and best friend would have to walk past her grave every time they went to church.

 

The headstone of her grave records that she died on 5th November 1835." Her tormented soul is still said to roam the bar and lounge at the Sun Inn.