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Trough of Bowland

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Trough of Bowland
Location Map ( geo)
Cameraicon.png View gallery (3)
From:  Dunsop Bridge
To:  Lancaster
Yorkshire • Lancashire
Highway Authority
Trough of Bowland

The Trough of Bowland is a scenic pass, albeit a slow one, forming the 'direct' route between Clitheroe and Lancaster. Leaving Dunsop Bridge in what was once part of Yorkshire but has been within the red rose county since 1974, and its phone box that claims to be the geographic centre of Great Britain, the road strikes north west climbing to a summit of 295m (just shy of 1000ft) above sea level before dropping back down into Lancaster itself.


Upon leaving Dunsop Bridge, a cattle grid is reached before the first mile is clear, giving an indication of the type of scenery the route passes through. The road barely ever widens beyond a 'wide' single track road, which means that oncoming vehicles will require some give and take, especially on the steep ascent up towards Sykes Nab where the road is forced heavily against the contour lines and has barriers to prevent traffic from falling down into the Langden Brook below. In good weather this can be a magnet for motorcyclists, not all of which take their self-preservation seriously, so be advised to take care!

There is a relatively quick section from Sykes towards a sudden and steep climb up to the summit. When the road levels out at the top it resumes being relatively quick. Very twisty sections will follow before a junction is reached just west of Marshaw. Turning here will eventually drop you back to the A6 at Scorton. A second junction provides access to Abbeystead, site of a terrible gas explosion in 1984, and again the A6. However, the 'trough' road heads towards another hill and even widens out to have two lanes! The pass is truly behind now as the road climbs to pass the Jubilee Tower (this gives excellent views of Morecambe Bay and the Heysham power stations, if that sort of thing appeals) at approximately 290m above sea level before dropping very rapidly down to Quernmore (pronounced KWOR-mər, and locals will correct people who get it wrong!). The Conder valley has a spot height of 53m, which gives an indication of the scale of the drop from the second summit at the Jubilee Tower. It then climbs sharply once more onto the ridge east of Lancaster. Eventually the road passes under the M6, and drops into the eastern suburbs of Lancashire's county town, in the shadow of the Ashton Memorial.

Signs direct traffic from Lancaster city centre towards Clitheroe, via the Trough, but the return journey is not given the same luxury. It's a very scenic, but slow, 26 miles.

Trough of Bowland
Related Pictures
View gallery (3)
Trough of Bowland, between Dunsop Bridge and Lancaster. - Coppermine - 1441.JPGTrough of Bowland, between Dunsop Bridge and Lancaster. - Coppermine - 1440.JPGTrough of Bowland.jpg
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