Walkers are advised to carry OS Explorer map OL41.
- Surface:- Tracks, fields and roads. Kissing gates and stiles. Can be wet underfoot.
- Transport - Bus 66 & 67 (Mon - Sat)
- Dogs on a lead. Must be able to get over wooden and stone stiles
- Parking and Toilets - Downham Carpark
About this walk
Downham is owned by the Assheton family and means Dune Ham, or the "dwelling place among the little hills". The village of Downham is untouched and preserved, with no modern street lighting, road markings or satellite dishes on buildings. Many of the buildings were built in the 18th century with 20 of them being listed.
Richard Assheton bought the original manor of Downham in 1558, after he had already bought the Malham estate and Whalley Abbey. The current Downham Hall was built in 1835 and the church was built in 1910 although it has a 15th century tower. Why are the fields that shape?
The field shapes along this walk change from small and irregular ones close to the village which are ancient enclosures, to large rectangular fields which were enclosed in the 18th and 19th century.
Interesting traditional boundaries, hedgerows and dry stone walls are used to split fields up into pastures and to delineate ownership of land.
Walls tend to be on higher ground or moorland and hedgerows tend to be on the lower lying land.
Downham has really good examples of traditional field boundaries, look out for the mixture of hedgerows and dry stone walls on this walk.
Part way around the walk you will notice the change from gritstone to limestone in the walls, which reflects the local geology. Look out for this just after point 5 on this walk as the walls here are made from both stones.
Laying hedgerows is a traditional way of managing the trees and to keep them as a stock proof barrier. In the past, hedgerows were laid in both directions to fill in the gaps, however now they are always laid up hill.
ParkingPublic parking and toilets in village.
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