: Our Heversham Trail
30th June 2020
recent attempt at a Great Little Walk from Heversham
failed. I had wanted to follow the old railway
track towards Arnside, something I was sure I had done
before. However the route down to the track was blocked
with no evidence that there were public access rights.
frustration we gave up. Later, sat at the comfort
of my desk, I could see that I was both right and wrong.
I had walked it back on BB1237
but when BOOTboys
tried again on BB1515
we had found it blocked.
was also right that there exists the Hincaster
local people dedicated to opening up sections of the
old track for the community. Slightly confusing,
they have produced a leaflet called The
that provides details of a walk around the area but
it doesn't follow the Trailway other than crossing it
twice. Today we would use that as the basis for
this Great Little Walk, Our Heversham Trail.
the Dallam School is in Corvid-19 lockdown, its Heversham
car park was empty so we took advantage of it then started
walking south out of the village. Shortly after
joining the A6 we turned into a meadow that led to a
bridge over the railway and to the drive of a mighty
fine building, Horncop House.
This had been the
home of J F Curwen who in 1930 published "The Ancient
Parish of Heversham with Milnthorpe including the hamlets
of Leasgill, Ackenthwaite and Rowell." This
is described as "very much a seminal work on
the history of Heversham and the surrounding area. Subsequent
publications on Heversham often draw heavily from this
source." That explains something which
will become clearer later.
the fields we could see St Anthony's Tower, built by
Henry Smithies to commemorate the passing of the 1832
Reform Bill. Apparently it was used by Dad's Army
as an observation post in the Second World Way. Sadly
there is no public access, so we followed Haverflatts
Lane round to Woodhouse then Greenside.
was Heversham Head which we approached from the east,
via a path on the edge of the woods then across fields.
At the summit is a trig point but a little lower
down is the Diarama, the interesting structure built
to commemorate the Millenium.
Three of the four
sides of its pyramidic top artistically depict the
local views whilst round its circular plinth the outline
of the distant landmarks are engraved.
was a welcome seat to enjoy a coffee and the vista,
provided of course that bare hands did not touch the
woodwork nor boots touch the large pile of cow plop unkindly
down, we passed the Old Grammar School, which I was
looking forward to seeing. I remembered it from
years ago as a derelict building but had heard that
it had been purchased and converted to a dwelling.
it has also been surrounded by high walls and dense
vegetation so there is nothing to be seen legitimately
of what has been done.
My attempts on the internet
to find recent information about the building proved
almost fruitless, merely the above photo taken many years ago.
I did find Roger Bingham's extensive account of the
some of which bears a strong resemblance to the Curwen
publication mentioned earlier so I presume that was
his primary source. Given the village in which
we live, there was one item in particular that caught
de Chamber of Milnthorpe in Heversham sues William Hodggeson
of Nateland and others for 100 shillings of debt
emerged onto the lane that drops down to St Peter's
rather fine church.
The Trail guide claims this
12th Century building to be one of the oldest churches
in Westmorland whilst the Heversham website goes one
further and reckons it to be THE oldest recorded church
in Westmorland. The Church
makes interesting reading.
in the present C-19 lockdown, the Church is not open
to visitors so we turned south back along the old A6
back to the school and the car.
time we had succeeded in creating a Great Little Walk,
one that I can see us repeating one day, perhaps to
watch from the Diarama the sunset on a late summer evening
before retiring to a local hostelry to celebrate its
re-opening. That would be nice.
Tuesday 30th June 2020