Meandering

My idiosyncratic progress up the Kent got off to a contrary start on New Year’s Day when we walked downstream rather than up. On our second visit, we recommenced from a point slightly further up river than our previous highest point, leaving out a short section between New Barns and just short of Arnside Coast Guard station. Today we further sabotaged the integrity of the project by walking from Levens Bridge…

…thus neglecting a substantial section of the river from Arnside Promenade. The thing is, we hadn’t originally intended to walk by the river at all. We were headed for Scout Scar, but when I realised how cold the wind was, and with stronger winds forecast, I made a snap decision to stop short and stay lower down. As it transpires, last night’s BBC forecast was very accurate – it was chucking it down at six when S woke up. By the time it was light the rain had stopped and the sky was clearing and when we started our walk the sun was beaming down from a clear blue sky.

On Monday the Kent flooded and there was plenty of evidence of that inundation here – a tide line of leaves, grass and rubbish running through a field perhaps 100 yards from the usual course of the river and a similar draping of detritus on all trees and fences close to the river. You can see some of that debris on this tree trunk – whether it was itself left by the river I don’t know.

Inevitably, we had to stop for a while to throw stones into the swiftly flowing Kent…

I watched jackdaws in the tall trees nearby and then the tiniest notion of red in a tree top drew my attention to a woodpecker – my first of the year.

This was to be a retread of a walk that the boys and I did last May and having discussed that walk, we were all on the look out for the goats and deer that reside here in Levens Park. All that we encountered however was a convention of Barbour jacket wearers who were out shooting pheasant. Once upon a time, this might have got my goat, but since I’m happy to eat pheasant I can’t really object anymore.

After leaving the deer park the field paths stray a little way from the river, but then a minor lane, now a dead end, brings you to a path beside the river which passes beneath the dual carriageway of the A590 – the main road into the South Lakes. Under the bridge we marvelled at the loud hum of the speeding traffic and the rhythm of the thuds as tyres bumped over the expansion joints in the bridge. Music of road bridges anyone? (Perhaps best left to avant garde nutcases like Einsturzende Neubauten)

Just beyond the bridge, the lane passes Force Falls…

The river was still running very high and the falls were very impressive today. The white water on the left obscures a man made fish ladder, although the lowest step still stands out as very straight and concrete. On a couple of occasions I have seen salmon leaping here – mainly in the main stream and not the ladder.

This view is from the parking space of some cottages which are right by the falls.

‘How exciting for the people who live here’ was A’s view.

Beyond the falls, the Kent flows in a shallow ravine and there are more small falls. Very noisy and impressive, but difficult to photograph. A road bridge enabled us to cross the river and as we crossed a dipper flew past heading down into the roaring spume.

TBH was very impressed with this elegant iron railing alongside the lane. It seems a trifle grand for a stock fence…

…but the top of the tower that can just be made out in the background gives the game away. It’s part of Sedgwick House, presumably once the country residence of some landed pheasant shooter, but now I believe, divided into flats.

We recrossed the A590 – this time above it on a road bridge, before reentering the deer park.

From here the path follows an avenue of tall trees. The hollow tree which B clambered inside last time was eagerly anticipated, but when we got there we discovered that having grown since then he can no longer get in!

We had to settle for the nearby tree stump remnants of a former hollow tree, with a new tree growing Phoenix like in its centre.

We had just about given up on the idea of encountering the deer when…

B in particular was entranced and was desperate to get closer for a better view of antlers. TBH managed to partially placate him by finding sticks to use so that he could have his own antlers.

A meanwhile found this little limestone seat to take a rest…

I was fascinated by the bark on some of the trees, like this Green Man we passed:

 

A little hide and seek was in order…

Several of the trees have trunks which bristle with branches above a certain height like this – I have a feeling that it might be characteristic of lime trees, but I shall have to do some research to confirm that.

A enjoyed the odd bulges in this tree trunk, as I did last spring.

I have no idea about what causes them.

From the high bank here we watched a pair of dippers in and out of the shallow water which flowed over shingle near the far bank.

As we arrived back at Levens Bridge and the end of our walk, we finally sighted the Bagot goats…

Although the river is only a few miles from its source in the hills in the Lake District, and is very fast flowing, it does manage to squeeze in a few gentle meanders as it nears the sea…

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Meandering

4 thoughts on “Meandering

  1. River walking is such a great thing to do.

    I remember shadowing the river Wharfe for several days on The Dales Way. And of course I followed the river Aragon recently in Spain.

    I’ve also walked our local long-distance path, The Trent Valley Way, which begins SW of Nottingham and ends at West Stockwith where the Chesterfield Canal meets the river Trent.

  2. fatdogwalks says:

    I was about to say I hadn’t done any river walking then realised I had done a couple of “river” walks, one of them yesterday! To be fair they weren’t exactly river walks more coastal walks following the Forth Estuary along the Fife Coastal Path. Now I’m wondering where riverbank ends and coast begins? Where the salt water starts? I’ve no idea but am now intrigued.

    Thoroughly enjoyed the post Mark. Felt heart sorry for the wee one when he discovered he was too big for the tree. Great to see sunshine in January.

  3. beatingthebounds says:

    Yes – I’m really enjoying my piecemeal exploration. I’ve wondered too about where estuary river bank becomes Morecambe bay coast. On the south side (our side!) I’ve always felt that turning the corner at Arnside Point brings new views and often a little shelter from the wind and so to me that is the start of the river. Looking at the map it seems now that much stronger cases could be made for either Park Point or Blackstone point. We didn’t get as far as Perk Point on New Year’s Day, but no doubt I shall walk that way at some point.
    On the north side Humphrey Head Point seems to offer a very clearly distinct and satisfying terminus. Beside which it’s a grand spot and I’m glad of the excuse to revisit.

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