This was a route I have never walked and I didn’t know quite what to expect. I was planning a walk for the U3A and if this one wasn’t quite what I wanted I had another up my sleeve. However, the contingency plan was not required as this is a beautiful walk with extensive views in all directions. The paths are good to reasonable, if a bit muddy in places, and the route is easy to follow.
I started at the centre of Crosby parking by the Bowling Green. I haven’t been there since they build the new houses and Coop and the old-fashioned toilets that were so useful have now disappeared, although the gate remains! Crossing the main road requires care and then there is uphill section for some distance. The first part is the most arduous but it’s not too bad and with every step up you get a better view from where you have just come. A path beside the road has been created for a short distance and by the time we do this walk in May, it should be festooned with wild garlic.
We follow the Millenium Way all the way to West Baldwin, up hill and down dale. The maps show direct routes across fields but it is clear from sign markings that the farmers would prefer us to walk around the field, so please be considerate when you are walking across countryside. Some of these fields were very muddy today but I am hopeful that by May they will have dried out a bit. The views, especially to the west and north, make up for the terrain.
As you get close to West Baldwin, the route follows the river along a high track. This was a lovely section and I enjoyed listening to the water tumbling down into the valley below. West Baldwin is lovely and unspoilt, with some interesting and quaint houses and has a much-loved feel to it. The bridge is attractive in itself and a good place for a lunch stop. This is the half way point in this walk, at about 3 miles.
From here, we follow the road south through the village for a very short distance before taking a minor road uphill and going round a few corners before we drop onto what looks like an ancient track going down to a ford, with a tiny foot bridge for walkers. The track is stony but not difficult to traverse and as it goes uphill after the ford it becomes a grassy track leading to a small lane, which is wide and airy. From here you can retrace your footsteps in your mind’s eye as the vista unfolds in front of you.
This is our downwards stretch which takes us eventually to Glen Vine via tracks, a small amount of road and more fields. The stiles in the field section just beside Glen Vine need some attention. They are surmountable but you do need to take care. A couple of them can be avoided by going through gates, but not all of them. Arriving at the main Peel to Douglas Road, we turn right towards Glen Vine for a very short distance, before crossing over the road and following yet another stream (we have followed a lot of streams on this walk) through an old wood down to the old railway line. In all my years of walking I can’t believe I have walked down this path. It is clearly very popular as people have made higher and lower paths through it and created a swing over the stream for children to play.
The walk along the old railway track is very easy walking, and also interesting. There is a new nature reserve and I always enjoy looking at the wetlands just to the side of the track and thinking what life they have and how they developed over the years. The path was modernised in recent years to make it accessible for bikes, pushchairs and wheelchairs. It is settling in well now and doesn’t look quite so much like a road any more. The section from Glen Vine to Crosby is actually narrower and more appealing to me.
This is a walk I would definitely do again. It is not too demanding, with a total of 741 feet of ascent/descent and nothing too steep. Most of the uphill is in the section before West Baldwin. The distance is about 6.75 miles, which I confess was really too much me only 6 weeks after my operation but I am still glad I did it, and I shall look forward to taking our members around the route in May. Apologies for the poor quality of the photos. I obviously have some settings wrong on my camera, but they do give you a flavour of what to expect.