Walkers are advised to carry OS Explorer map OL41.
The walk starts and finishes in Chipping, a picturesque village on the slopes above the River Loud. This is a conservation area with stone-built cottages, 17th century school and almshouses endowned by John Brabin, dryer and cloth merchant. The village has a number of shops and eating places. Brabin's shop, gallery and tearoom is the oldest continuously trading shop in Britain, established in 1668.
Kirk Mill was originally a water-powered corn mill and there are documents showing that the mill dates back to the 1400s. It was converted into a cotton spinning mill in 1785 by a company using building plans and water powered machines based on Sir Richard Arkwright's designs. The water wheel is still in place and it measures 6m in diameter and 1.5 wide. Cotton spinning ended here in 1866, when supplies of raw cotton ran short during the American Civil War. In the late 19th Century Berry's established a joinery and chair making business in the mill, but the old buildings have been little altered. Berry's closed in 2011 and Kirk Mill remains as the last Arkwright-style mill in Lancashire.
Leagram Hall was originally the Deer Park Lodge which acted as an occasional home to the park owner, and as a hunting lodge for vsiting noblemen and the park keeper. It was built in an 'H' shape, probably of timber and plaster and with a rush thatch roof. This lodge was later replaced with stone structures between the 1770s and 1860s by father and son, Thomas and George Weld, who inherited the estate from the Shireburn family. The current Leagram Hall was built in 1965 and is still owned by the Weld-Blundell family.
The Pale, or deer park boundary, consisted of earthworks constructed in the middle of the 14th century. At Leagram the pale is over 10km long and stretched from here up to Stanley common, round to Knot Hill and Loud Mythom, then along the river to Gibbon Bridge and Pale, before returning to Chipping. A ditch 2.4m wide and 1.2m deep was dug, with an embankment on the outside and a palesbord or timber fence on top. Thorn bushes would also be planted on the inside of the bank to keep deer away from the fence. The pale encircled the park to keep fallow deer in and poachers out. This is one of the best remaining sections of the pale that you will see on the walk. For further information about the "A leap in the Park Project" visit: www.forestofbowland.com/aleapinthepark
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