I have always been interested in the history of steam railways and strolling in the countryside.
This walk combines the two and is seen at its best in the autumn.
In 1849 a railway line was built from Lancaster Green Ayre station (alas no more) along the valley of the River Lune to reach a terminus at the lovely little village of Wennington.
It was constructed by the North Western Railway Company and it was soon known as the Little North Western to distinguish it from the much more important London North Western Railway.
The London-based company was never very efficient and was always short of rolling stock. They even bought some stock which was either too wide, too low or too heavy.
The width of the doors, in particular, meant that if they were opened on entry to the stations the passengers were in danger of being swept away. Despite this the line was only closed to passengers in 1966 and I often travelled on it. The track is now a linear footpath leading into the heart of Lancaster and is an excellent nature reserve.
From the car park and cafe area follow the signs for the Millennium Walk and descend a set of wooden steps to reach the old railway track. Turn left.
Cross the old railway bridge. To the left is the sweep of the River Lune and to the right is a substantial road bridge and a long wall whixch surrounds it. Approach a seat to the left.
At the seat turn right to reach a gate and a sign indicationg a riverside walk. Descend a field with the river down to the right. Approach another gate.
Pass through this gate and cross the narrow country road. almost straight away pass through another substantial gate to enter what has become known as the Memorial Forest. This is being constantly added to by families wishing to remember a loved one by planting a tree. Here is a place where the greedy mallards are always waiting to be fed by the side of the river.
From the picnic site retrace your steps to the start of point 4.
Ascend the track through the field and just before reaching point 3 look to the left to see a footpath leading down to the river. Descend towards the Lune.
Approach a wooden footbridge over a tributary stream. Cross the bridge and find a set of steps leading down to the main river. Spend some time under the huge arches of the railway bridge and look for the marks made by the workmen’s tools. Retrace your steps to reach point 3. Turn left at the seat as you approach point 2. Instead of ascending the steps to the car park bear sharp right and walk up a track to a substantial car park.
From here there are magnificent views over the Lune. This view was painted by Turner before the railway and road bridges were built.
He later returned and painted the then new railway bridge. Turn left from the picnic site and return to the starting point.