Saturday, July 31, 2010

Marles Wood to Dinckley Footbridge - River Ribble Walk

River Ribble at Marles Wood
River Ribble at Marles Wood

Taking a chance with the showery weather, I took my eldest three off for a walk along the River Ribble from Marles Wood down to Dinckley Footbridge.  Marles Wood is a quiet and beautiful piece of woodland close to Salesbury Hall, to the west of the Roman village of Ribchester.

There is a purpose-built car park at Marles Wood.  To find it, take a sharp left after the Ribchester Bridge if coming from Ribchester, or a right just before the bridge if coming from the A59 - it is easily missed - then follow the lane past Salesbury hall.  The car park is on the left.  The area is covered by the OS Explorer 287 map, falling just outside the Explorer OL41 which covers most of Bowland and Ribblesdale.

Marles Wood near Ribchester
Marles Wood

The path through Marles Wood is easy to follow, but is unsuitable for most wheelchair and pushchair users, as it initially descends down a series of irregular steps, and is muddy and rutted in places.  Mountain biking is not allowed.

Oak Bracket Fungus
Oak Bracket Fungus

The woodland is of mixed native trees, mostly deciduous with the odd Scots Pine.  There are plenty of fine Oak and Beech specimens, along with Sycamore, Birch, Alder, Holly and Elder.

Jew's Ear fungus - from legend that Judas hung himself on an elder
Jew's Ear fungus - from legend that Judas hung himself on an elder

The woodland floor supports a good variety of wild flowers and fungi, and the smell of wild garlic hangs heavy in the air.  The invasive Himalayan Balsam is present, as in all places wet and woody these days, but hasn't got the upper hand here yet.

Woodland fungus
Woodland fungus

Woodland fungus - holds pool of water
Woodland fungus - holds pool of water

The River Ribble is splendid at this point, wide and shallow and popular with fly fishermen and pebble-skimmers alike.  We saw fish surfacing to snatch insects, fry swimming in the shallows, and a pair of Grey Wagtails cruising along above the water.

Hol, Rob and Chris by the Ribble
Hol, Rob and Chris by the Ribble

Himalayan balsam - invasive
Himalayan Balsam - invasive

Haw ripening on Hawthorn
Haw ripening on Hawthorn

Leaving the woods, the path continues alongside the Ribble through open boggy meadows, which support more diverse plant and animal species.  We saw a variey of fungi, and the Thistles and other wild flowers were alive with insects.

Chris skimming stones
Chris skimming stones

Thistle
Thistle

Rob, Chris and Hol climbing a dead tree
Rob, Chris and Hol climbing a dead tree

Yellow meadow fungus
Yellow meadow fungus

Meadow fungus - unusual shape
Meadow fungus - unusual shape

Metallic green beetle
Metallic green beetle

Dinckley Footbridge - Holly rests
Dinckley Footbridge - Holly rests

We walked as far as the Dinckley Footbridge before turning back, although public footpaths continue on to Dinckley on the same side, and across the bridge towards Hurst Green.  It is possible to cross the bridge, then join the Ribble Way running in the opposite direction on the other side to make a circular walk.

Spot the Roe Deer
Spot the Roe Deer

A great treat for the kids heading back was to spot some Roe Deer in the distance.  This one hid, then some younger deer came bounding past.

This really is a great spot for walkers, anglers, picnickers and naturalists - just don't tell everyone about it!

No comments:

Post a Comment