Trough of Bowland
|Trough of Bowland|
|Location Map ( geo)|
|Yorkshire • Lancashire|
The Trough of Bowland is a scenic pass, albeit a slow one, forming the 'direct' route between Clitheroe and Lancaster. Leaving Dunsop Bridge in Yorkshire, which 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 crossing into Lancashire and dropping back down to reach 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 rammed right against the contour lines and has barriers to prevent you from falling down into the Langden Brook below. Be cautious of motorcycles on this stretch as it is very popular when weather is good!
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. Twistier 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 and again the A6. However, the 'trough' road heads towards another hill and becomes a proper road in its own right, with two lanes and markings! The pass is truly behind now as the road climbs to pass the Jubilee Tower (excellent views of Morecambe Bay) at approximately 290m above sea level before dropping very rapidly down to Quernmore. 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. As said, it isn't a particularly fast route but it is truly scenic.