Ladle Lane is one of those delightful walled paths which invite you to explore. It leaves the village of Crosby Garrett heading due west through fields still marked by the signs of medieval ploughs. It has drystone walls either side and in places it looks like it once had a paved or pitched stone surface.
It is narrow so not likely to have been a drove route for cattle but if you follow it along you find it eventually does a dog leg south and the path then heads over the open fell all the way down to the ancient ford over the river Lune near the village of Wath (an old Norse word meaning ford). On the way it passes Rigg End where we believe there was once accommodation for packhorse trains.
In places the lane is set deep into the surrounding fields forming what’s called a holloway. These are formed over centuries of erosion by people and animals along with water draining down it. Interestingly, a LIDAR photograph of the lane’s course through the fields west of Crosby Garrett shows that the lane cuts across the medieval ridge and furrow systems rather than respecting them so we can infer that the lane is post-medieval.
A closer look at LIDAR imaging also shows that at the dog leg south, the east west route continues on as an earthwork towards Little Asby and the site of the medieval St Leonard’s Chapel. We’ve already written about the monastic land holdings around Great and Little Asby and the east-west packhorse routes which carried farm goods from the monastic granges to the mother house and on to markets further afield. However, as we’ve already suggested this route seems to cut across rather than respect the medieval field systems so we can’t say for certain that this route started in monastic times.
The drystone walls alongside this fascinating lane were in need of repair so a group of our Dales Volunteers were recently joined by some local volunteers and they cleared the fallen stones and rebuilt several broken sections of the wall.
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