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Bowland & Pendle Walks

Ward's Stone & Wolfhole Crag

Date: 3rd May 2010
Distance: 11.6 miles
Ascent: 1863 feet
Time: 6 hours 20mins
With: Matt
Start Grid Ref: SD604538

Walk Summary:
A fantastic walk to Ward's Stone, the highest point in Bowland, and then on to Wolfhole Crag one of the most remote places in Lancashire.

Route Summary: Tower Lodge - Tarnbrook - Ward's Stone - Wolfhole Crag - Brennand Great Hill - Millers House - White Moor - Tower Lodge

Photos: Click on the photos below to enlarge.

Hawthornthwaite Fell
The western trig point on Ward's Stone
Matt on Ward's Stone
Looking to Lakeland
Ward's Stone
Looking to Wolfhole Crag from the eastern side of Ward's Stone
Even in an extended dry period peat bogs can be lethal
Looking back towards Ward's Stone
The trig point on Wolfhole Crag
Wolfhole Crag
Matt on 'Turf' rock
Ward's Stone from Brennand Great Hill
Whins Brow from Millers House

Walk Detail: It had been almost a year since I'd last stepped foot in the Bowland AONB, at the same time this was Matt's introduction to the area.

It was another fine day, if a little cold in the wind, and once again the current dry spell made the underfoot conditions much easier than they might have been. The initial walk from Tower Lodge to Tarnbrook and then up the side of Tarnsike Clough was mostly on well made tracks.

From near the top of the clough we struck out for the western top of Ward's Stone which provided us with our first really good views of the day with the Dales and the Lake District forming the northern horizon.

Ward's Stone is quite unusual in that its broad summit features two trig points separated by about 1000 metres. The western trig point is supposedly a metre lower than the eastern one. However both seem to be overtopped by the large gritstone boulder that gives the fell it's name. This would suggest that height of the fell should actually be higher than the 561m it is commonly accorded.

Wherever the actual summit there is no doubt the western trig point has much the finer view and immediate surrounds. The traverse of the plateau to the eastern trig point was made on surprisingly grassy terrain with only a few isolated peat hags and a boundary stone in the way of features.

From the eastern summit we set off on the long walk to Wolfhole Crag. By all accounts this is normally quite a boggy affair but with the dry conditions proved to be remarkably easy. We did come across one nasty bog though which had recently claimed the life of an unfortunate ewe - a stark reminder that even in good conditions we shouldn't take things for granted.

Wolfhole Crag is one of the more isolated Bowland fells and even though it was a bank holiday I was very surprised that we encountered at least five other people while we were up there. The large gritstone boulders provided us both with some fun scrambling and there was also a very fine view to the south Bowland heights.

We returned via Great Brennand Hill and the rash of stones marked on the map as Millers House. While rougher ground was encountered it was still fairly easy going and the views remained good for most of the way - the prospect of the Wyre Valley from Brennand Great Hill being particularly good.

Finally I had been to the highest point in Bowland and it did not disappoint. We were very lucky with the weather and the dry ground - having seen the large tracts of peat at close quarters I can appreciate that this would have been a real hard slog after a prolonged wet spell.

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