1st February 1998
Leader - Joy Morgan
Meeting Place - Main Car Park, Bentham
As it is one of the Trust's purposes to preserve North Craven's heritage of public rights of way, it was appropriate to start the year with a walk which included High Bentham's Footpath No 14. A kilometre of this ancient route, linking Bentham and Ingleton, is threatened by the imposition of an extension of the Bentham Golf Course across the path.
A large group assembled at High Bentham car park and walked up through present housing to the point where the path strikes off from Robin Lane. The existing two holes of the golf course (across fairly level land with good sight lines) were passed without incident, though not many golfers had braved the cool, grey weather. Unfortunately, along the next section where the planned extension to the golf course will be, the low cloud obscured not only the view of Ingleborough, towards which we headed in a straight line, but the view of the Lake District Mountains to our left. We pondered the origins of the ponds on the low summits we climbed - probably the relics of former coal-pits.
Half a mile beyond Dumb Tom's Lane we struck eastwards on to another path towards Enter Farm. The disturbed nature of the terrain indicated more former mining activity associated with the Ingleton coalfield. At the farm, where in the summer caravans would be busy, a narrow track passed former clay-pits used for brick-making, and circled back via Brook House to Tatterthorn Lane. From there we returned to High Bentham following the bridle way and skirting the existing golf course. The lane's name, 'Occupation Lane', and the rectangular fields with their hawthorn hedges, are reminders of the enclosure which took place from Bentham Moor.
The Bentham area has much of interest to offer walkers. Thanks to 'Walks around Bentham' and 'Shorter Walks around Bentham', both published by the Bentham Footpath Group, and for the Group's zeal in way-marking and conservation, there is something for everyone.