First walk of 2022 – Rivington and Anglezarke

You have to make the most of any good weather during the winter months and last week, Tuesday promised to be a fine, if cold day, so I decided to get out for a walk on the moors. I had considered travelling further afield but the hours of daylight are short in January and I wasn’t up early enough to travel up to the Lakes or Dales.

I drove over to Rivington and parked up near the barns. I hadn’t decided on an exact route, but had in mind several options, taking into account how bad it was underfoot. The moors are notoriously boggy after wet weather and we’d had plenty of that recently. But it had been cold with a hard frost for a couple of nights and I had hopes that would reduce the risk of sinking into the mire, which is how it largely, at least, worked out.

I’d decided to start by climbing up to the top of the Pike through the Terraced Gardens, knowing that would be dry underfoot on the paved paths.

I branched off the main haul, which was quite busy, opting to follow a path I’d never been down before, which led tot he South Lodge

Carrying on I reached the rather stunning Ravine. I know these slopes pretty well after many years of wandering through the gardens, but I’d never seen it before. Looking at the information board I could see that it was an “enhanced” natural feature, part of the original design by Mawson, that had fallen badly into disrepair, but had been restored during the major renovation of the gardens in recent years. The restoration team had certainly done an excellent job.

I crossed the ravine part way up and snapped photographs looking up

and down!

I carreied on and climbed the hill up to the Japenese gardens with its lake, that acts as a reservoir feeding the waters of the ravine.

I carried on and took the old road, walking round the top of the Pike

and climbed up to the summit from the south – an unusual route for me.

On a sunny, if cold day, there were quite a few people on the summit. I stopped for a while for a brew and a bite to eat taking in the views. Long range visibility wasn’t so good but there were good views over the moors towards Winter Hill

and towards Noon Hill and Anglezarke.

The moors looked tempting but in winter tend to be something of a morass of wet, boggy peat. However, it was cold and the ground was partially frozen, especially on northern facing slopes shaded from the sun, which gave some support and minimised the risk of sinking too deep into the bog, so I chanced it, taking the path over the moor towards Noon Hill.

As I expected, there were some significant stretches of bog but with them partially frozen, my boots didn’t get too wet and muddy.

The summit of Noon Hill is crowned by a cairn on top of a prehistoric burial mound which is a Scheduled Monument.

I stopped for a while sitting on a convenient rock to drink a hot coffee from my flask and admire the views over the moors.

I took the path down to the old Belmont road and walked a short distance along the rough track back towards the Pike before descending down a steep path towards the new road.

The road is a favourite run for motorcyclists, particularly at weekends when they zoom along at speeds well above the legal limit, but on this ocassion ti was quiet with very little traffic. I walked a short distance along the road before taking the path across the moor and headed towards the ruined farm known as Old Rachels.

Old Rachel’s
View over the moors from Old Rachel’s

After a brief rest I carried on westwards turning off down another path across the peat towards Simms, where there’s the remains of another two farms.

Path across the moor towards Simms
Carrying on along the path the Simms
Looking back across the moor towards Winter Hill from Simms

From there I joined the track towards Lead Mine Clough

Lonely trees
Lead mine clough

Then down the valley besides the river and then on to Yarrow Reservoir.

The view across Yarrow Reservoir over to Winter Hill and Rivington Pike

along the reservoir and descended beside the overflow down to Anglezarke Reservoir. I crossed the dam and then took the track along Higher Rivington Reservoir then made my way to Rivington Village. It’s a small collection of dwellings with a couple of churches, and more of a hamlet really, but quite attractive

Rivington hamlet
The village stocks
Rivington Congregational church

I finished off my coffee sitting in the sunshine in the Congrational Church graveyard. It was then only a short distance back to the car.

It had been a grand walk on a sunny winter’s day, and I’d explored a few paths I’ve never been down before despite my long aquaintance with these moors. The weather turned the next day and since then it’s been mainly wet, grey and miserable. But the sun pops out now and again and I’ll be off out again, work permitting – you’ve gt to make the most of it in the winter.

Anglezarke circular

A couple of weeks ago, on Saturday, I fancied another walk, but didnt feel like driving too far, so the obvious choice was to head over to the West Pennine Moors, only 20 minutes drive from home. I reckoned the peat would be dry so I worked out a route that included going “off piste”, keeping fingers crossed that I wouldn’t get bogged down!

I parked up at Rivington near the barns and set off at about 9 o’clock. It was grey and cloudy but sunshine was promised – although it arrived later than forecast.

I cut across to Rivington village and then through the field and by the brook, cutting up the path alongside Dean Wood Nature Reserve

up to the campsite at Wilcock’s farm.

I crossed the road and climbed over the stile and followed a less well used path onto the moor. After the dry weather he going was good, although it wouldn’t necessarily be like that in the winter.

I followed the path across the moor towards Old Rachel’s, one of a significant number on ruined farms on Anglezarke Moor. At one time people lived here. It must have been a bleak setting in winter, but it was a family home. However, the farms were bought and demolished by Liverpool Corporation after the Anglezarke and Rivington reservoirs were constructed, allegedly to protect the water supply.

On reaching Old Rachel’s I stopped for a while for a rest and to take in the views

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Old Rachel’s today
and how it used to look (source Wikipedia)

and was treated to the sight of a large flock of lapwings flying overhead.

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I carried on to Hempshaws and then on towards Horden Stoops.

There was only a mini-quagmire after Hempshaws – it’s usually very boggy here – which agured good for later in the walk. I got a close up view of a lapwing flying above the moor as I neared Horden Stoops.

Then I turned north following the path over Spitler’s and Redmond’s Edges over to Great Hill. The high cloud hadn’t cleared and there was a stiff breeze and I was glad I’d brought a fleece with me.

I climber to the summit of Great Hill and then stopped for a while in the shelter out of the wind for a bite to eat.

I descended down the path towards Drinkwaters but before I reached the ruin I took the path down towards another ruin, Great Hill Farm.

I doubled back along the Bottom of Great Hill towards the Edges,

getting close up views of a curlew. It flew over head a few times and then landed on the grass not far from the path. I must have been close to its nest. I tried to get a close up with my phone – this is the best I could do

Reaching the stile at the bottom of the path up to the top of Great Hill I turned onto the open moor and more or less followed a path over the pet heading towards Round Loaf. It was squidgy in a few places, and the path wasn’t always easy to trace, but it was generally OK.

There was plenty of bog cotton blooming

I stopped for a break on top of the tumulus

Winter Hill and Rivington Pike across the moor
Looking back to Great Hill

and then set off again across the peat towards Hurst Hill.

Looking back towards Round Loaf and Great Hill
The cairn on Hurst Hill

After enjoying the views for a while I headed down the path towards Moor Road.

Looking towards Healy Nab

Joining the road I walked along the tarmac for half a mile or so past Manor Farm

until I reached Jepson’s Gate where I took the path that headed back towards the moors.

The cloud had begun to disperse and is was getting hotter, especially in the sun.

I joined the path that cut across the fields towards Parson’s Bullogh and Allance Bridge.

The Yarrow at Allance Bridge

Reaching the road, I decided to walk back to Rivington beside the reservoirs so follwed the road a short distance before taking the path along Yarrow Reservoir.

Looking over Yarrow Reservoir towards the moors

I cut down the path down past the overflow (which, given the dry weather of late, wasn’t flowing) and then crossed the dam to join the path along the north side of Lower Rivington reservoir.

I crossed the dam between the two Rivington reservoirs stopping to watch the dingys sailing on the water of the Upper reservoir.

I follwed the the lake side path back to the Saxon barn and then up the road to my car.

The route

Rivington and Anglezarke – Before the Storm

Well, the last few weeks we’ve seen the return of the usual British summer weather – rain and more rain with some occasional sunshine – and a couple of storms. Last Thursday, with wind and rain warnings for the following few days appearing on my phone from the Met Office app, I decided to make the most of what looked like a potentially half decent day and get out for a walk. The wind had already started to pick up so I thought it best to stay local and so headed up to Rivington to set out for a walk up on the moors. There were plenty of parking spaces mid morning – although it would be heaving when I returned in the afternoon.

It was quite pleasant and sunny when I set off, although a little windy.

I headed past the Hall barn and set off along the path towards the Pike

and climbed up through the Ornamental gardens.

I hadn’t intended to climb up to the top of the Pike, but I can never resist a hill, so that was the first of my diversions.

Visibility wasn’t too bad so there were good views from the top on a fine morning.

Back down the top I took the track past the Pigeon Tower

and carried on along the old Belmont Road (now a track) heading towards Anglezarke Moor.

It was wet underfoot in places. But, no worries, I was wearing my boots and I quite enjoying splashing in the puddles (yes I know, second childhood!)

reaching the modern Belmont Road, I crossed over on to the moor, passing the source of the Yarrow.

I now had several options but decided against walking over the edge to Great Hill as that would have extended my walk further than I wanted. So instead I took the path heading westwards over the moor. Going was good at first

but, given all the rain we’d had recently, as expected, some bog hopping was required as I approached the ruined farms at Hempshaws (it’s always bad here)

But after Hempshaws I was walking on a track used by farmers so it was considerably drier underfoot.

I carried on along the track across the moorland, past the various ruined farms, until I reach Lead Mine Valley.

Good views, as usual, over towards Winter Hill and Rivington Pike.

I climbed up the hill to the other side of the Clough intending to take the path through the fields down to Yarrow Reservoir. However I could see that they were occupied by herds of cattle including cows accompanied by their calves and a few young bulls. I’m not usually worried by cows but they can be dangerous if they think their young could be threatened and I definitely not keen on walking through a field with bulls in it. Another change of route was required so I went back down the hill and walked down the valley following the river towards the reservoir

The water looks dirty and brown due to the peat it flows through higher up the clough.

Reaching the reservoir I followed the western shoreline, taking the gravel track, rather than the path through the fields on the eastern side – I’d had enough of mud by now. Reaching Rivington village I followed the path along the shore of the Lower reservoir as far as the Saxon barn. The Go Ape was open and there were plenty of daredevils walking on the ropes up in the trees and sliding down the zip wires and plenty of people congregating by the barn. But it was easy enough to avoid the crowds as I made my way back to the car.

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The last Sunday in May was another hot and sunny day so I decided I should make the most of it and get back up the moors before the rains arrived and turned the currently dry blanket bogs back into a quagmire!

I decided I’d park up n the outskirts of Rivington and then walk round the Upper Rivington and Anglezarke reservoirs before heading up on to the moors. I set out early but when I arrived at my intended destination the car parks were all pretty full even at 9 o’clock in the morning. I parked up on the dam separating the two Rivington reservoirs and set up along the path on the west shore. It was very busy with cyclists, runners and dog walkers, none of whom seemed to think it was necessary to move over to keep 2 metres apart. I was glad when I reached Anglezarke reservoir. It was considerably quieter walking along the shore.

Looking over towards Black Coppice and Great Hill

At the top end of the reservoir by Healey Nab I walked along the minor road across the top end of the reservoir and then took the path along the eastern shore.

About a third of the way along the lake I took the path up the hill towards the moors. Past the old farmhouse

A short walk along Moor Road and then I climbed over the stile onto the moor.

As I climbed higher I could see cloud in the sky over in the east beyond Great Hill. That wasn’t forecast.

As I got closer I realised that it was, in fact, a cloud of smoke. The barbecue brigade had been out and set fire to the peat over on Darwen Moor.

The moorland up here is a classic “Blanket Bog” of peat covered by sphagnum moss, heather, bilberry and cottongrass. With the recent long sunny dry spell the peat has dried out and it doesn’t take much to set it alight leading to the sort of highly damaging fires we witnessed a couple of years ago up on Winter Hill.

The fire did, indeed, appear to have been started by a disposable barbecue. It’s incredible to think that people are stupid enough to think that it’s appropriate to use these things up on the dry moorland. Luckily the local fire brigades managed to get the fire under control so it didn’t spread too far. There’s been a fire the day before up on Winter Hill and Rivington Pike. again the Fire Service managed to put it out before it spread too far.

The view towards Winter Hill and Rivington Pike

Anyway, carrying on along the moor I walked over Hurst Hill and on to Round Loaf, believed to be a Neolithic or Bronze Age bowl barrow or burial mound – the first of three prehistoric sites I’d visit during my walk.

On top of Round Loaf

From Round Loaf I headed south over the Moor, crossing over Devil’s Ditch which is thought to be the remains of a Neolithic boundary

Looking back over the moor to Round Loaf

and across to Redmond and Spitlers’ Edges

reaching Lead Mine’s Clough, rather than walk down besides the brook I took the past heading east back up onto the moorland

and made my way towards Pike Stones, the third Prehistoric site up on Anglezarke

The site comprises a collection of stones that used to be a Neolithic burial mound. There are several large slabs of millstone grit which at one time would have stood upright to form a burial chamber. Its a scheduled Ancient Monument

The stones themselves don’t look much, but it doesn’t take too much imagination to picture what they looked like when they were upright. Originally they would have been covered over with earth to form a mound and the stones themselves wouldn’t have been visible. However, the mound must have been a fairly impressive sight when it was standing, especially given the prominent location on a high ridge overlooking the South Lancashire Plain.

From Pikestones I set off towards Jepson’s gate

then cut back east along the track

then took the path south across the fields

towards Yarrow Reservoir

Reaching the road, I crossed over Allance Bridge

and took the path through the fields on the east side of the reservoir

passing a few locals

It had quiet for most of my walk – I’d seen few people – but reaching the track at the end of Yarrow Reservoir it became very busy. There were groups of people, many who didn’t seem to be concerned about maintaining “social distancing”. I was glad to finally get back into my car.

Overall it had been an enjoyable walk, but I’d learned a lesson. keep away from Rivington on a fine day

Return to the Moors

Like most people – but unlike a certain Gollum like Government advisor – as best as I can I’ve been sticking to both the letter and the spirit of the Government’s requirements and advice to try to control the spread of the Covid-19 virus. That means I’ve been working for home and sticking to local walks in the Plantations, respecting best I can “social distancing”. However, since last week we’ve been “allowed” to travel further for exercise and as Wednesday was a hot and sunny day, I decided to bunk off work during the afternoon, drive 7 miles over to Rivington and get out for a walk up on the Moors.

The car parks around Rivington were jammed, to say the least, but I avoided the crowds around the “honeypots” and rather than head up the Pike, which would have been heaving with people, set off down a quiet path heading towards Anglezarke.

I took the path to the east of Yarrow reservoir, passing only a handful of people

and quite a few sheep

including a number of a black breed (not sure what they were).

At Allance Bridge, rather than take the track up Lead Mine Clough I cut up the track up across the rough fields

with great views over the moors

and towards Winter Hill.

Over the stile onto the open access land.

Passing more sheep.

I cut across the peat, covered with cotton grass, heading towards the modest summit of Hurst Hill. With all the dry weather we’ve had while we’ve all been locked down the ground was dry (it’s usually a quagmire) but as there wasn’t a definite path the going across the rough ground was hard work.

Reaching the summit I stopped for a chat with a couple of other walkers (keeping 2 metres apart), one who lived very close to the house where I lived during my teenage years.

Long range visibility was poor

but there were good views over the moors

My next objective, along a more definite path, was Round Loaf, a prehistoric (Late Neolithic or Bronze Age) bowl barrow burial mound, which is a Scheduled Monument.

There’s a number of prehistoric relics in the area, including Pikestones, a collection of stones that used to be a Neolithic burial mound, which is only a short distance away.

Climbing to the top of the tumulus there were good views over the moors to Rivington Pike and Winter Hill

and, in the opposite direction, towards Great Hill.

I had a number of options of routes to follow but I decided to make my way back over the rough peat towards Lead Mine Clough,

where I crossed over the river and then cut across on the path heading east.

I walked a short distance along the track used by the local farmers towards the ruined farm known as “Sims”

and the took the path towards Rivington

Looking back.

I crossed the young River Yarrow

Looking back again.

The path took me across rough ground and then through a field of horses before I reached the road.

It was only a short distance to the start of the path I’d walked along earlier on the east side of the Yarrow Reservoir. I retraced my steps back towards Rivington, passing the dam where there were a few small well separated groups sun bathing.

I took the path back to Rivington village, past the Chapel and then across the fields back to my car completing a 9 mile circuit.

After being restricted to walking through woodland for the past couple of months it had been good to get up on some rougher, open country. I’ll definitely be back up on the moors again a few times over the next few weeks.

Anglezarke Circular

The beginning of the week after my rather damp (but enjoyable) break in Borrowdale, the weather changed becoming bright and sunny. Unfortunately I couldn’t take more days off work but I did manage to finish work early on the Tuesday so that I could get out for a walk. Despite the long days, I didn’t have time to drive up to the Lake District, so decided on a walk up on the West Lancashire Moors, starting from the pleasant hamlet of White Coppice near Chorley.

For a while now I’ve had it in mind to complete a circular walk around Anglezarke Moor and the long hours of daylight meant that was going to be possible.

After parking up my car I walked past the cricket pitch

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and then started the climb up towards Great Hill

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Looking back towards White Coppice, Chorley and the Lancashire plain.

At the top of the brew, the summit of Great Hill came into view

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A couple of locals were keeping an eye on me

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I walked past the ruined farm at Drinkwaters

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Looking across the moors to Winter Hill in the south with it’s TV and communication masts

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I soon reached the summit

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and stopped a while for a snack and to take in the views. It was a little hazy so the longer range views weren’t so good, but I over to the east I could see Darwen Tower and just about make out Pendle Hill

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and there were no problems seeing Winter Hill and Rivington Pike

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On good days it’s possible to see as far as the Lakes, the Yorkshire Dales, Snowdonia and the Irish Sea, but not today.

I set off along the paved path across the peat covered moorland heading south to cross Redmond Edge and Spitler’s Edge. When I used to walk over these moors as a teenager, this would have meant crossing a quagmire, even after a relatively dry spell, but some time ago the “engineered” path was laid, making this a much drier experience.

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The cotton grass (“bog cotton”) was coming into bloom

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Heading towards Spittler’s Edge

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Crossing the Edge

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Just before the Belmont Road, I turned off and started to head in a westerly direction over Anglezarke Moor

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passing the ruined farm at Hempshaw’s

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I continued across the moor

Looking back towards Redmond’s and Spitler’s Edges

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and across to Winter Hill

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Eventually, I reached Lead Mine Clough

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climbed the hill and then took the path towards Jepson’s Gate

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A short walk along the quiet road to Manor farm

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and I took the path across the field and then down to Higher Bullough reservoir

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I then took the path southwards along the much larger Anglezarke Reservoir

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Crossing the road, I followed the path parallel to the Goyt (the watercourse that connects the Roddlesworth and Anglezarke reservoirs back towards White Coppice

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Plenty of evidence of the industrial activity that took place on these moors many years ago

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Arriving back at the cricket field

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I headed back to my car for the drive home.

A fine 12 mile walk, making the most of a fine afternoon.

A walk on the moors

On Saturday I decided to get out for a walk up on the moors. I’d plotted a circular route from near Horwich, along the Rivington and Yarrow reservoirs, along Lead Mine Clough, then skirting Anglezarke moor before cutting across to Rivington Pike and then back down to the reservoir.

It was a grey, misty morning but the weather forecast predicted that it would clear up around midday for a couple of hours before the rain came in.

I parked up and set off along the muddy path from the car park

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passing the replica of Liverpool castle Lord Leverhulme had built

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and then reaching the path along Rivington lower reservoir

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I carried on to the end of the artificial lake, crossing the dam and then following the road along the western shore of the Upper reservoir. Rivington Pike and Winter Hill were hidden in the low cloud.

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At the end of the lake I crossed over to the eastern side and climbed up to Yarrow reservoir, following the path along the water and then along the minor road until I reached Allance Bridge

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then I took the path along the River Yarrow up Lead Mines Clough. The name gives away what used to go on around here. At one time there were mine workings along the river and the waters were used to process the ore.

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I took the path that headed east up on to the moor, following the track used by the local sheep farmers. There had been quite a few people enjoying the paths along the reservoirs – walking, on their bikes and on horseback – but it was very quiet on the moor – I only saw a couple of mountain bikers in the 4 or 5 miles before I reached the Belmont road.

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It was grey and misty, but as I walked over the moor, passing the ruined farms at Simms and Hempshaws, the mist began to clear

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The mist hadn’t cleared on Winter Hill – the main mast was still obscured in the low cloud

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I crossed over the Belmont road and took the old track that would take me up across the moor to the top of Rivington Pike

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It looked grey and desolate, but it was brighter looking back over to Anglezarke

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After a relatively easy, gradual climb I reached the pigeon tower that has been undergoing renovation along with the paths, gardens and other structures that make up the “Chinese Gardens” created for Lord Leverhulme on the slopes of the Pike.

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I continued along the track and, although I hadn’t originally planned to climb to the top I can never resist climbing a hill!

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I took in the views over to Winter Hill (now free of mist)

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and back down to the reservoirs

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After taking in the views, I made my way down the hill through the terraced gardens

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Reaching Rivington Hall Barn I headed along the path through the woods, making my way back towards the car park I’d left a few hours before. 5 minutes before I reached the car it started to rain – the Met Office had got it right.

A good 10 mile walk only a few miles from home.

Up on the moors

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Last Saturday, after a tough few days at work, I decided I needed to get out for a walk. It was a warm day and we probably haven’t got many of those left this year!

I wasn’t able to get out to the Lakes or Dales so decided on a walk closer to home. So it was off to White Coppice to set off up Great Hill and Anglezarke.  It’s a walk I’ve blogged about before but here’s a few pictures from a pleasant day up on the moors.

Starting and finishing at White Coppice near one of the lodges that used to supply water to the mill that used to be there many years ago.

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Past the picturesque cricket pitch

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Then up onto the moors

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Anglezarke and Great Hill Circular

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After a pretty miserable start to the year the last week has seen us experiencing some good, warm, weather, with blue skies and sunshine. Having been stuck indoors for most of the week I decided to take Friday afternoon off and get out in the fresh air for a walk. I didn’t want to stray too far so drove the eight miles or so over to Anglezarke, to go for a walk on the moors that have been my stomping ground ever since I was a young teenager.

I parked up at the viewpoint overlooking Anglezarke reservoir and walked the short distance up the road to Jepson’s Gate where I was able to gain access to the moor.  Despite being surrounded by some significant towns the West Pennine moors wild and remote.

I did a favourite circular route of about 6 miles which toko me 3 hours including 3 short stops. It’s a mix of wild moorland and a walk through woodlands along the reservoir at Anglezarke. While I was up on the moor I only passed 2 people coming the opposite way but saw three curlews, a number of skylarks and plenty of sheep.

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There were more people around when I descended back into the valley to walk along the reservoir.

From Jepson’s gate

I cut across the open access path over to Pikestones, the ruins of a Neolithic long barrow.

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It can be heavy going across the peat, especially as there isn’t a properly defined path, but as there’s been very little rain of late it was quite dry underfoot.

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I then cut across the moor heading towards Round Loaf, a Neolithic round barrow  which is a dominant feature on the relatively flat moorland landscape(there are a number of prehistoric remains on the moors here).

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I climbed to the top of the mound and rested for a while. Visibility today was limited – on a good day it’s possible to see the mountains of the Lake District and Snowdonia, but it was hazy in the distance. But there were good views of Winter Hill and Rivington Pike to the south east

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and towards the summit of Great Hill to the north

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my next destination. I cut across the moor trying to follow an indistinct path. Fortunately it was dry underfoot as the peat can be quagmire. There were a few ditches and rivulets that had to be traversed.

I climbed up towards the summit and took another short break while taking in the views.

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Then I walked along the ridge and took the path that would lead down to White Coppice. I passed the ruined Drinkwaters farm (it must have been a difficult life living up here) whose only residents were sheep sheltering in the shade.

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Eventually I descended down to White Coppice, a small hamlet with a manicured cricket pitch and attractive cottages at the foot of the moors

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I took the path along the Goyt, a channel that takes water from the reservoir at Roddlesworth across to the one at Anglezarke. The landscape changed to pleasant woodland providing some welcome relief from the direct sun

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Reaching Waterman’s cottage

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a short walk along the road and I was on the path that took me along the east side of Anglezarke reservoir

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with a short diversion past the smaller Bullough reservoir

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and then through the woodland on the shore of it’s larger companion

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Then it was a short climb up the hill back to the viewpoint to rejoin the car.

The route. (Image produced from the Ordnance Survey Get-a-map service. Image reproduced with kind permission of Ordnance Survey and Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland.)