Bowland & Pendle Summits
Ward's Stone is the highest point in the Forest of Bowland and is crowned by not one but two trig points.
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Ward's Stone Gallery: Click on the photos below to enlarge.
More about Ward's Stone: Ward's Stone is the highest point in the Forest of Bowland. The name of the fell comes from a large gritstone boulder that sits a few yards away from one of two trig points that surmount the wide summit plateau. The western trig point, next to Ward's Stone is marked on the map as standing at an altitude of 560m, the eastern trig point is given the slightly higher height of 561m. However, the top of the Ward's Stone rock is undoubtedly over a metre higher than the western trig point and thus higher than the 561m normally given as the height of the fell.
Ward's Stone forms part of a large wedge of moorland that sticks out from the main Bowland massif and which culminates to the west in the rocks of Clougha Pike. Water drains off north into the infant River Roeburn and Artle Beck both of which join the River Lune, while to the south all streams enter Tarnbrook Wyre one of the main feeders of the River Wyre.
Apart from the boulders in the immediate vicinity of Ward's Stone itself the underlying gritstone shows itself rather more than on most Bowland fells. Other notable outcrops include Thorn Crag, Hell Crag, the Gray Mare and Foal and the small rock whose natural sculpting has led to it being named 'Queen's Chair'.
Considering how rough many of the approaches are to Ward's Stone it is somewhat surprising to find that the extensive summit plateau is mainly grass. Rather strangely the occasional lonely looking peat hag rises up from the grass the grassy surrounds. The best view is from the western top and on a clear day gives fantastic views to Three Peaks country, the Lakeland fells, Morecambe Bay and even Snowdonia.
When I visited Ward's Stone I approached from Tarnbrook to the south making use of a shooter's track for the majority of the climb. It was an easy walk with good views to the south. By all accounts the path from Grit Fell to the west is rather desperate in places. What I can say is that the path heading off east to Wolfhole Crag could potentially be just as bad. I was lucky enough to be up there after a prolonged dry spell but even then we came across an unfortunate sheep that had fallen victim to a peat bog only a few days before. In wet conditions it would have potentially been a real hard slog.
While Ward's Stone is far too broad to be aesthetically pleasing from a distance I was quite surprised at how much I enjoyed it. There was a lot more rock in evidence than I had anticipated and the views were fantastic. A small plaque attached to the western base of the Ward's Stone rock is dedicated to the memory of 'Eddie' Flintoff who visited Ward's Stone every Easter weekend for 44 years. It is a fitting tribute to the man but also to the delights Ward's Stone has to offer to those adventurous enough to go and explore it.