512 Duddel Wood, Ribchester

Whether you know it as milkmaid, lady's smock, or its Sunday best name of Cardamine pratensis, the cuckoo flower makes a lovely splash of colour in the meadows beside the River Ribble. Yet although known right back to the Romans, it is surprisingly not associated with a cure for anything. In Germany its reputation is even worse, for bringing the flower indoors invites a lightning strike, while in Austria anyone picking it will be bitten by an adder. Experts say the leaves are edible, though you'll enjoy it much more by just looking! But spring brings many other flowers in the woods and along the river banks with primroses, wood anemones and bluebells. This little bit of quiet countryside, its wooded cloughs and impressive river deserve to be better known, with a don't miss Roman Museum at the end of the day.

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LOCATION: Eight miles east of Preston
START: Ribchester Roman Museum car park, signed from B6245, toilets
Grid ref: SD649353 Postcode: PR3 3YE
DISTANCE: 6 miles
GRADE: Moderate, brook crossing awkward after heavy rain
TIME: 3 hours
MAP: Explorer - West Pennine Moors Landranger 102
NOTE: Museum open every day
EN ROUTE: Ribble Way, Stydd, Salesbury, Dinckley

This walk was originally published by
The Manchester Evening News

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