A wander round the reservoirs

We’ve had a spate of pretty decent weather during September so trying to take advantage of it I took an afternoon off work last week and drove over to Rivington. I fancied a relatively easy, low level walk to wind down from work, so decided that a circumnavigation of Lower Rivington, Anglezarke and Yarrow reservoirs would do the job. I ended up extending it a little and did manage a bit of a climb and a short section on the edge of the moors.

I parked up but kept away from the crowds that cluster around the Saxon barn cutting across the fields over to Rivington village, where there was an attractive display of wild flowers on the green.

I then walked down to the dam that separates the two Rivington reservoirs, crossing it and taking the metalled path on the west side of the lake.

It was bright and sunny as I strolled down the leafy lane.

I reached the next dam which separates the Lower Rivington and Anglezarke reservoirs and, after waiting for a small group of elderly walkers climb over the other side of the stile I took my turn, and then followed the path along the shore.

Initially the path took me through fields then half a mile or so on a minor road before a turning down a farm lane and returning to walking past fields with views over to the moors.

Approaching Healy Nab the path took me through shady woodland

and then back past fields of sheep.

At the end of the track I reached the minor road from Heapy to Anglezarke, just opposite this old farmhouse. The date above the door was 1696 – but I reckon it’s been extended and modernised since them!

I decided to extend the walk a little by diverting down the narrow hedge lined lane to White Coppice, a familiar route from my teenage years when I used to walk from our home on the other side of the Nab over to Great Hill.

I soon reached the pleasant hamlet

resting on a bench facing the cricket field for a drink and a snack. It looked like there hadn’t been a match on the field for some time – no doubt due to the Covid-19 restrictions.

Setting off again I took the path along the Goyt towards Anglezarke reservoir. Although it had been sunny up until now, cloud were blowing in from the east – not the usual direction as the prevailing wind is from the west.

Reaching the small Upper Bullough reservoir (this was the first reservoir to be constructed around here) I cut up on the path up the hill

emerging opposite manor farm – another old farmhouse that has undergone substantial extension and modifications.

I walked along the road for about half a mile until I reached Jepson’s Gate

and followed the path towards the moors

However, today I turned right to take the path through the fields down to Yarrow reservoir, which had been occupied by cattle with their calves and a few young bulls the last time I was walking up here.

Great views towards the moors

Winter Hill and Rivington Pike over the fields

The path descended close to Allance bridge.

I decided to take the path through the fields to the east of Yarrow reservoir and then back to my car via Rivington village.

Another good walk in familiar territory only a few miles from home.

Anglezarke

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