Rivington and Winter Hill

The mini “early Summer” was coming to an end – cooler and wetter weather was forecast to arrive. So, before this came to pass I decided I’d get out for another walk, this time closer to home on the West Pennine Moors.

I drove over to Rivington and parked up between the barns, booted up and set off to climb up the Pike. Some work was taking place in the Terraced Gardens which had resulted in some of the paths being closed so I decided to climb up the old road to the north of the Pike

emerging near the Pigeon Tower

Rather than turning right towards the summit I turned left and set off down the old Belmont Road

Looking over Anglezarke Moor

and then took the path up to the top of Noon Hill

where I stopped for a while to take in the familiar views

The peat seemed to be dry after the good weather the previous week so I decided I’d head up to Winter Hill. The path over the moor up to the top is notoriously boggy but I thought I’d take a chance!

and it was dry at first but I soon hit a fairly lengthy boggy section so a little bog hopping was required, but I soldiered on and eventually hit dry ground again.

Long range visibility wasn’t great, so the Lakeland Mountains, Pendle Hill and the Three Peaks were hidden in the haze, but there were good views down to Belmont and the morrs beyond

I carried on over the ridge passing the forest of telecommunication masts, passing Scotsman’s stump commemorating the notorious murder of a travelling salesman on the moor in 1838.

“In memory of George Henderson, Traveller, native of Annan Dumfrieshire who was barbarously murdered on Rivington Moor at noonday November 9th 1838, in the 20th year of his age.”

Reading up about the murder I was surprised to discover that at the time Winter Hill wasn’t as bleak and lonely as I’d have expected. There were a number of mines up on the moor (there remains evidence of some of them if you look hard enough), a brick and tile works, an ale house and even some houses. There was what was probably a well trodden route between Smithhills near Bolton to Belmont and on towards Blackburn. George Henderson wasn’t lost, as might have been supposed, but was on his way to Belmont having enjoyed a pint or two at the alehouse on the moor. There were several people around on the moor that day who were able to act as witnesses at the trial of his murderer.

I carried on along the road past the TV transmitter

and then joined the path over the peat towards the minor summit of Two Lads

The cairns on Two Lads

I’m curious about the name of this summit. Did it originate because of the two cairns standing there or are the cairns a reflection of the name? One story is that two young men froze to death up there, but who they were, and when it happened are lost in the mist of time, if, indeed, it happened at all.

I set off down the path over the moor to Pike Cottage

Looking over to the summit of the Pike from the path to Pike Cottage

where there’s a small cafe. Time for a brew and a snack!

Refreshed I carried on along the track towards the Pike.

I decided against climbing tot he summit but carried on along the track and then descended down the steep path at the edge of the Terraced Gardens by the Ravine, which I’d first “discovered” during a walk at the beginning of the year

Looking up the Ravine
Looking back up the Ravine from the bottom

The Ravine is an “enhanced” natural feature, created by the landscape designer, Thomas Mawson, who was responsible for the design of the Terraced gardens. It had fallen badly into disrepair, but had been restored during the major renovation of the gardens in recent years. 

From the bottom of the Ravine it was easy going back along the gentle paths through the woods to the car.

7 thoughts on “Rivington and Winter Hill

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