The Valley of St Sunday's Beck.

Start. Oxenholme.

Route. Oxenholme - Old Hutton Road (B6254) - Underhelm Wood - Underhelm Farm - Syphon Well - Beehive - Strickley Bridge - Strickley - Blease Hall - Bleasehall Wood - St Sunday's Beck - Stang - Barrows Green - Oxenholme.

Notes. Coronavirus again forced us to walk from home, I'm beginning to think this deadly disease has a silver lining, focusing our minds on walking new ground. Today we walked part of the valley of St Sunday's Beck, discovering a real gem in the process. We've lived on the west side of The Helm over thirty years, never venturing into the valleys on the east side, lock down has changed that and, I'm quite glad, for now.

Today saw us heading north through Oxenholme, we climbed the hill behind the Railway Station, the B6254 Old Hutton Road. Passed the Station Inn we walked ignoring the paths ascending The Helm, our route was just over the hill a narrow lane that runs behind The Helm servicing a number of farms. This narrow ribbon of tarmac lined with spring flora guided us to a finger-post announcing the start of a public footpath, after checking the map we followed it.

An overgrown lane guided us to Underhelm Farm, we wandered passed the farm buildings, on the opposite side a gate allowed access to sheep pastures (no sign), another check of the map confirmed this was our route. Through a large field we walked, map in hand, we entered the next field to be greeted by a Syphon Well and row of air valves, the map confirmed we were still on route. After passing the air valves we emerged at the oddly named Beehive, one or two houses on the road side, the tarmac of the B6254 again became our companion. The road guided us over Beehive Bridge and Strickley Bridge to gain access to the entrance to Strickley Farm. Half way up the drive a discrete arrow pointed the way, we again checked the map before climbing the hill.

Over the hill then down the other side we wandered, over a foot-bridge, our first view of St Sunday's Beck, the path then deposited us at Blease Hall, a fine old building with mullion windows and a long history. We turned right at the hall wandered through a small industrial yard then out onto field paths, field paths then guided us to Bleasehall Wood and, what a stunning time of year to visit. Beneath the tree canopy the forest floor was a deep shade of blue, millions upon millions of bluebells carpeted the ground, we've lived in the area half our lives and never heard of this place, a well kept secret.

We continued through the wood then a couple of cow pastures, our companion on this stretch St Sunday's Beck, at the far end of the second field a narrow foot-bridge ushered us across it's crystal clear waters. After ascending the next field we entered Stang, a scattering of dwellings and tarmac lane. Said lane guided us a few yards to the point where a foot-path and bridleway met, after consulting the map we opted for the foot-path. Over a couple of hills we wandered, short sharp climbs followed by swift descents, at the foot of the second hill we exited the fields entering Barrows Green opposite the Punch Bowl, pity the pubs are all locked down, all that remained just under a mile of roadside rambling back to Oxenholme.

view route map.


Bluebells decorate the road side in Underhelm Wood.

View taken over the valley of Strickley Beck, to the far left Beehive, the sprawling farm in the middle distance being Strickley, reaching across the horizon, grey today the Middleton Fells.

The narrow ribbon of tarmac guiding us to Underhelm Farm.

Marking the line of the Thirlmere Aqueduct a Syphon Well baring the coat of arms of Manchester Corporation Water Works, the aqueduct stretches 95.9 miles to be precise built between 1890-1925 to slack the thirst of the good citizens of Greater Manchester.

Looking back to Strickley, Beehive (the few houses on the road side) and the northern end of The Helm.

Footbridge over St Sunday's Beck.

Gate guarding the boundary between sheep pastures and the scattering of houses at Blease Hall.

Strolling through sheep pastures south of Blease Hall, looking to Low Bleaze across the valley of St Sunday's Beck.

A familiar building, another Syphon Well, this time on the edge of Bleasehall Wood backed by The Helm.

Bleasehall Wood a stunning place to walk in Spring.

Follow the path through the delights of Bleasehall Wood.

Near Stang looking to The Helm.

Near Helm End looking across green fields towards the Middleton Fells, pity about the Armistead Wind farm.

The final descent with Barrows Green in sight.

back to top

back to list