A riverside walk with trees, wildlife and heritage

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The walk takes you up the beautiful valley of the River Washburn, returning via Scaife Hall Farm to Blubberhouses.

Leave the car park the way you drove in and cross the A59 at the junction and turn right walking along the grass verge behind the safety barrier. Soon after crossing the bridge over the Washburn turn left down some steps to descend to the embankment. Just before the end of the safety barrier turn left down some steps to descend the embankment.

Follow the path between the cricket field and the river.

Go past a large mill pond on the right known as Low Dam. The valley broadens a little for a few hundred metres, and then narrows where the wooded slope on the right converges on the river: at this point the path meets a bridleway coming in from the right. For the short walk, just after an information board turn sharply right, back on yourself along a narrow path rising gently alongside an old mill race and past a new plantation on your left. For the longer walk, continue upstream.

The valley opens out with larch on the higher slopes to the left, and the oak trees of the ancient woodland at Hanging Wood on the far right. The dam of Thruscross Reservoir forms the head of this section of the Washburn Valley. At the ford and bridge cross over the river or rest your legs a while on a lovely bench before continuing. Bear right and climb up the sloping track, at the top continue straight on down the hard core track until you reach a level surfaced area below Thruscross Dam. This is a private parking area with a small stone utility building on the left.

Turn immediately right as you enter the car park and cross the surfaced area to a bridge, cross the bridge and immediately bear right along the riverside path back down stream. Alder trees predominate along the river.

Continue downstream with the river on your right until you meet the original path again at the first bridge. Retrace your steps downstream to where the path divides. Turn left just before the information panel climbing gently along a narrow path running alongside the old mill race and a new plantation. Note the crab-apple tree on the right of the path.

At the end of the new plantation a gate leads into a field. Continue through the gate and along the track to the next gate with a stile next to it. Note dogs must be on a lead across this field.

From here there are two choices of return: a) Take a permissive path, across the field to the right and return along an old mill race and back past the cricket ground. b) Or continue straight ahead on this bridleway along the track to the farm and the road.

For the permissive path: turn immediately right after going through the gate and follow the fence alongside the woodland down to the bottom where you will see the old mill race. Follow the fence along to a gate, go through the gate and over the mill race, turn left and continue following the mill race. You will pass through another gate, following the mill race and then over a small bridge. Soon after the bridge turn right down a concrete track into the cricket ground and out of a small gate onto the original riverside track. Retrace your steps downstream and back to the A59 road and car park, taking great care as you cross the busy road.

For the bridleway route: continue through the field along a well-defined track. Follow this track past Scaife Hall Farm and out onto the road. Bear right and continue downhill along the road, keeping close to the wall. The road meets the A59 at the bottom of the hill. Turn right along the grass verge. Cross the road when it is safe to do so and follow the path back to the car park.