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

Winter Hill, Belmont and Anglezarke

Since the easing of lock down I’ve managed to get in a few walks, although I’ve been slow writing them up as being glued to the computer for most of the week means I’ve been reluctant to spend more time on it in my free time – I’d rather be out walking or relaxing with a book or film. But I’m going to be less shackled to the keyboard over the next few weeks so time to catch up!

I had to visit a clinic on the west side of Bolton a couple of weeks ago. This gave me an excuse to take the rest of the day off and drive over to Rivington on what was promising to be a decent day for a walk. I’d worked out a route up over Winter Hill, down to belmont village and then back over the moors.

I parked up on the drive up to the Hall barn, donned my boots and gear and set off. It was still during the school holidays so it was busy with families out for the day, but I’d picked a route to avoid the crowds who were mainly heading up to the top of the Pike. I skirted the bottom of the hill and then took a less frequented path and then a track on the southern boundary of the gardens.

I avoided the summit of the pike and walked down the track towards Pike Cottage where I planned to take the path up to Two Lads and then on to Winter Hill.

Looking over to the top of the Pike
There were a few people coming up and down the old road but it was still fairly quiet.

Reaching Pike Cottage I discovered that since I was last up here a snack bar had opened up. A good excuse to take a break with a brew and have a bite to eat and take in the views over to the Pike and across the South Lancashire Plain.

Time to set off again. I went through the gate and on to the path across the moor towards Two Lads

Looking back to the Pike

and on to the mast on top of Winter Hill

There’s Two Lads, a subsidary summit of Winter Hill, ahead.

There’s various theories as to how this little lump gets its name, but there’s two “lads” there these days, in the form of a couple of substantial cairns.

After a short stop to take in the views I set off over the moor towards the summit of Winter Hill. Fortunately the peat was reasonably dry so not too much clag to have to navigate!

On towards the TV mast – the cage is for maintenance workers – I definitely wouldn’t fancy going up in that!

I made my way across the top and then took the path that would take me down the east side of the hill and on to Belmont, my first time down this way.

It had turned into a lovely afternoon and as I descended there were great views over Turton Moor. Long range views were excellent and I could make out Pendle Hill, the Yorkshire Three peaks and, on the horizon to the north west, the Lakeland Fells.

Looking down to Belmont.

It was an enjoyable descent – not too steep (which is hard on the old knees these days) and with excellent views.

Towards the bottom of the hill I turned off onto the path that would take me to the main road and then on to Belmont village. It’s a small settlement that grew up around the cotton industry with a mill, dye works and other factories. When I was researching my family history I discovered that some of my ancestors lived there for a while, although I don’t have any connections there these days.

The stone cottages, which would have been home for workers in the mills and other factories, look attractive all cleaned up and, no doubt, would cost a packet to buy. I wonder whether any of my ancestors lived in one of them?

I turned up by the Black Dog pub – still shut due to the lockdown

and had a mooch around the graveyard of the Victorian neo-Gothic St peter’s church wondering whether I might find a gavestone for one of my ancestors. A slim hope of course as they would have been too poor to have a memorial.

I carried on towards Ward’s reservoir which was drained a number of years ago for safety reasons

and then crossed over the road on to a path that runs across the moors, heading west towards Anglezarke. I could hear the cry of a curlew and saw a lapwing and a couple of oystercatchers. Unfortunatly they’d flown off before I could snap a photo with my camera which I had to dig out of my rucksack, my phone camera not having an adequate zoom.

Arriving at Horden Stoops, I took a short diversion up the path towards Spitler’s Edge to take in the views northwards over to Great Hill and across Anglezarke,

and, in the other direction, over to Winter Hill

I’d orinially planned to take the Old Belmont Road along the bottom of Winter Hill and back to Rivington, but it was such a lovely afternoon that I decided to carry on west across the moor

The peat was reasonably dry and the going was good until I approached the ruins of Higher Hempshaws farm – it’s nearly always a quagmire underfoot here and it was true to form as I gingerly hopped across of clag trying to avid my boots becoming submerged in the morass.

I decided to stop for while in theruins. It’s always a good place to stop and sit, take in the view and contemplate life.

Someone else had had the same idea and was just setting off again as approached. As you do we said hello and exchanged a few words that chaned into a chat swapping stories about the moors and their history. Suddenly he changed subject and produced a leaflet from his pack. Turned out he was a Jehovah’s Witness and had decided to take the opportunity to try to convert me. A lost cause I’m afraid as I gave up on religion when I was about 13.

After a short break, I set off again, crossing over the young River Yarrow and following a path I’ve never taken before heading west towards another ruin known as “Old Rachel’s”.

There’s several ruined farms up on Anglezarke and the other nearby moors. It must have been a hard life up here, especially during the winter, but the farms were home for their occupants. However, they were all demolished at the beginning of the 20th Century by Liverpool Corporation as themoors are in the catchment area for the reservoirs at Anglezarke and Rivington they constructed.

The ruins of “Old Rachel’s

Looking back towards Spitler’s and Redmond’s Edges from “Old Rachel’s”

Looking over to Winter Hill

I carried on across the occasionally boggy ground until I reached the minor road near Wilcock’s farm. This old building certainly isn’t a ruin

There’s stables nearby (I passed a field of horses before I hit the road) and there’s also a small tidy looking campsite by the farm house.

Just past the farm I turned down a path that runs above Dean Wood – a wooded gulley that’s a protected Nature Reserve – and which took me to the end of the Yarrow Reservoir, ner to the dam. I carried on following the path through the woods and back to Rivington Village

A short walk across the fields and I was back at the car.

A decent walk – more than 10 miles with all my little diversions.

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.

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.

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

Great Hill and Anglezarke Moor

This period of good weather continues and trying to make the most of it I decided to take a day off work and head up back on to the moors. I drove over to White Coppice arriving around 10 o’clock. It was already busy, but there was no problem keeping my distance from other people out exercising and enjoying the sunshine.

I set off along the path that would take me up to Great Hill

Looking back towards Chorley and Healey Nab from the top of the slope.

and looking ahead to the summit of Great Hill. A familiar sight. I’ve walked up here too many times to count, but never get tired of it.

Millstone grit!

Reaching the ruined farm at Drinkwaters, a couple of walkers had beat me to the bench. I carried on walking,

passing a couple of “locals”.

Looking across to Winter Hill and Rivington Pike across Anglezarke Moor.

the view to the north east from the summit with Pendle Hill just about visible in the distance

I turned south to follow the path along Redmond and Spitler’s Edges

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and, just before reaching Belmont Road I turned south.

As I carried on along the path I heard a familiar bubbling cry and then 2 curlews appeared circling above me in the sky and across the moor. I tried to get a shot of them. This was my best effort – zoom in on the black blob in the sky. (if you can’t see it so well, perhaps a trip to Barnard castle is in order!!!)

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I carried on across the moor towards the ruined farms of Lower and Higher Hempshaws

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From there I decided to try a path I’d never walked down before, towards Sims, another ruined farm. Normally I’d follow a dirt track used by farmers but this route was more direct across the moor.

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It wasn’t a very distinct path, not well trod. That wasn’t surprising really as it waas across peat and if we hadn’t had such a long dry spell this would have been very wet underfoot and a quagmire in winter. Even so, the going wasn’t so easy in places.

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Reaching Sims I cut across the moor to Lead Mine Clough and then back up onto the peat to walk across to Round Loaf, which I’d visited only a week before.

There were two couples having a break on top. Keeping my distance I stopped for a bite to eat, taking in the view. This is a panorama of the ridge from Great Hill I’d traversed.

Leaving Round Loaf I carried on towards Hurst Hill, walking through a sea of bog cotton in bloom on the peat.

On the summit of Hurst Hill looking over the moors to Winter Hill

and over to Great Hill

After a short break I was off again, this time down a path that, despite many years spent up here, I’d never walked down before. It took me across the moorland in the direction of Anglezarke reservoir. The wooded hill in the mid ground is Healey Nab.

The path was faint in places as I made my way through the heather. I took a short diversion to take in the top of Grain Pole Hill – another first.

I carried on towards the minor road where there were a couple of cars parked up in a layby.

Leaving the moor

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I walked down the hill and then took the path to the left of the Goit (a watercourse linking the Roddlesworth and Anglezarke reservoirs

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back towards White Coppice.

Another great day up on the moors. It had been relatively busy, but I’d passed fewer people than I’d encountered when I’d been shopping at the Marks and Spencers food store a couple of days before – and it had been a lot easier to keep my distance from them.

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.

Walking around Rivington

The Japanese Gardens

It’s been a funny old year. Getting out during February and March was spoiled by the stormy weekends and now the weather has improved with the arrival of Spring, we’re “locked in” and restricted to local walks.

During March I took advantage of any “weather windows” to get out and about for some walks nearer to home and a few times a drove the few miles over to Rivington . There’s quite a few routes and some variety too – woodland, lakeside and wild moor land. Here’s a few shots I took during a couple of walks around there. It’ll probably be a while before I can get up there again – United Utilities, who own the land around here, have closed all of the car parks, and even if I could park up on the road, being 5 miles away I don’t know whether it would count as a “local walk”.

One of several Logia
View over to Winter Hill

Climbing up the Pike you pass through the Terraced Gardens which were created by Thomas Mawson between 1905 and 1925 for the soap magnate Lord Leverhulme. In recent years, a lot of work has been done restoring the gardens and making the structures safe and accessible.

The Pigeon Tower
View over the Italian Lake to the Pigeon Tower
The Italian lake
The Japanese Garden
Seven Arch Bridge
The Unitarian Chapel in Rivington Village
Looking over to Rivington Pike and Winter Hill from the far side of Yarrow Reservoir
The overflow “waterfall” from Yarrow Reservoir to Anglezarke Reservoir
View from the western shore of Lower Rivington Reservoir

Great Hill in Winter

Over the past few weeks I’ve been busy at work and not had much opportunity to get out and about. The last two weekends have been awful with Storm Ciara and then Storm Dennis sweeping in bringing high winds and torrential rain. So plans have had to be postponed. However, a couple of weeks ago, before the storms, I did manage to get out for a walk up on the moors. I drove over to White Coppice, on the outskirts of Chorley, and set off towards the moors to climb up Great Hill.

It was a chilly, grey winter’s day and very wet and muddy underfoot. But it didn’t rain and some broke through from time to time. In any case, it’s always good to get out on the moors. They might be bleak, but I like bleak.

I passed the cricket pitch – no matches there for a while yet!

and then took the path along the Goyt towards Brinscall

On and up through Wheelton Plantations

until I emerged onto the moor

There’s a rough track across the moor, so I didn’t have to wade through mud towards the ruined farm at Drinkwater

Looking towards the summit of Great Hill from the ruins

A short climb and I reached the wind shelter on the summit where I stopped for a brew from my flask

I took the path down in the direction of Spittler’s Edge and then cut across the foot of the hill towards another ruined farm

No sheep up on the moor at this time of year. They’re all down in the fields.

I managed to take a few atmospheric shots with my phone.

I’ve never been to Howarth, but I reckon the Brontes’ “wild and windy moors” aren’t much different than up here.

Looking back towards the top of Great Hill as I descended down the very muddy path towards White Coppice, trying to avoid the worst of the slutch.

Looking over towards Anglezarke Moor

Reaching the bottom of the hill, I took a short diversion up the brook to look at the old mine workings

Rather than go straight back to my car I decided to add on a couple of miles or so to my walk by diverting through Black Coppice towards Anglezarke reservoir

There’s Waterman’s Cottage

Looking across the reservoir towards the cottage

I followed the road along the bottom of Healy Nab heading back towards my starting point. Looking back over towards the moors – the cloud was starting to clear.

The sun was out when I reached the village, it’s rays lighting up the stone of the old cottages

Back at the car I changed out of my muddy boots and trousers (fortunatelyI keep a spare pair in the boot of the car) and set off back towards Chorley and then onwards to home.

A good day on the moors.