Along the Hodder – Part 2

So, it was time to set out again following the Hodder in the opposite direction to my morning jaunt – upstream this time.I was following a route I’d seen on Bowland Climber’s blog. It wasn’t as long and looked a little easier than the downstream route.

So I set off in the same direction as during the morning, but turned off the track over a stile and into the fields just before the bridge over the Hodder at Thorneyholme Hall.

It would be wet and boggy underfoot during the winter and when the weather had been wet, but we hadn’t seen much rain for a few weeks.

The path ran parrallel to the river through the fields

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At Boarsden, the path passed a farm house with a very tidy garden of flowers

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and emerged on the quite Dunsop Bridge to Newton road. The route included a walk on the tarmac for about half a mile before I was back in the fields.

I spotted some cattle at the bottom of the next field – it didn’t look like there were any bulls this time! The path led down to teh river and a rather rickety looking suspension footbridge (I’d passed another one earlier in the walk

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This was the view looking down at the river from the middle of the bridge

and looking back at the bridge from the other side

I crossed another field until I reached a minor road heading back in the direction of Dunsop Bridge. I carried on until I reached the curiously named Giddy Bridge where I stopped for a break to top up my blood sugar.

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Carrying the track passed through fields of sheep heading towards Knowlmere Manor

approaching the river bank at one point

The Hall came into view

Doing a little research after the walk I discovered that it’s a private house but I couldn’t find anything else about the occupants. It has a plethora (a good word that!) of chimneys. The original owners must have needed to keep the house warm given it’s remote location close to the moors which must be pretty wild and windy at times. I wouldn’t like to have to shell out for their heating bills.

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The track carried on past the house through more fields

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I should have branched off as I got near to Dunsop Bridge, but missed the junction and found myself passing Lower Thorneyholme Farm. Realising my mistake and trying to minimise the diversion I cheekily followed the farm track back towards the river. I then took the riverside path a short distance towards Thorneyhome hall and crossed the bridge over the Hodder and walked the short distance back to the car park.

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The cafe had closed, so I had to make do with a drink of water from my reserve bottle in the car boot! Time to change out of my boots and drive home. It had been a good day in beautiful countryside. I don’t think it will be too long before I’m back in Bowland.

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.

Back on the Moors

The 29th March was the start of the easing off of the latest lockdown. Outdoor activity was, to a limited extent, now allowed. “Stay at home” no longer required although “travel should be minimised”.

During the lockdown I’ve been following the rules and restricted walking to routes from the front door, but I’ve been itching to get back out into wilder country and, with a mini-heatwave forecast, on Tuesday I was up early and driving the few miles over to Rivington for a long awaited wander over the West Pennine Moors. Of course, plenty of other people had the same idea, but I was hoping by choosing my route I’d be able to avoid he crowds. I wasn’t completely succesful, though.

I parked up near the Hall barn and then set off to climb up through the terraced gardens. I’d gone about half a mile when I realised I’d left a bottle of water in the car. I had a couple of litres in my bladder ( the one in my rucksack, that is) but on a hot day I didn’t want to run out, so back to the car to collect the bottle.

I reached the track which ascends the side of the hill and at the 7 arch bridge I climbed up the steps

reaching the Italian gardens where I could see my first objective – the Pigeon Tower

Climbing up I stopped to take in the view over the moors

before setting off down the old Belmont Road. A few others had the same idea but I only encountered about half a dozen people along this stretch of the walk. Most visitors to Rivi were heading in the other direction towards the tower on the summit of the hill.

Looking across to moors I could make out Spitler’s Edge and Great Hill.

I took a short diversion to climb up Noon Hill, which is a subsidary summit of Winter Hill. It’s topped by a Bronze Age burial mound, which is a Scheduled Monument. The site was excavated n 1958 and 1963/64 by Bolton and District Archaeology Society (now Bolton Archaeology and Egyptology Society), when cremated remains of an adult male, an adult female and a child were found along with pottery and flint tools.

On a fine day, it’s a good viewpoint too. There’s the masts on the top of Winter Hill

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the summit of Rivington Pike

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and good views over the moors to the north

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I cut down back to the old Belmont Road and after a short while reached the modern road.

I walked along a short stretch of tarmac, taking care to avoid being hit by the idiots on their motorbikes and a sporty BMW (this is a favourite route for motorists and bikers who think they’re motor racing stars) until I reached the start of the path which would take me over to Great Hill.

I passed a muddy puddle that’s the source of the River Yarrow

and set off up the flagged path.

This route is over peat morrland and is notoriously boggy. But the flagged path makes it passable and it’s a popular walk, and on a sunny day I passed quite a few people coming the other way – possibly including a certain fellow blogger.

There’s several points on the route where flags haven’t been laid , or have sunk into the bog.

It’s a very plaeant walk along Spitler and Redmond’s Edges, with good views across the wild moorland. There was a distant hum from the M61 over tot he west, but the main sound was the song of the numerous skylarks as they climbed up into the clear blue sky.

I reached the stile at the bottom of the summit of Great Hill

and was soon on top.There were a few people sheltering fromt the wind in the shelter, but I managed to bag a seat and grabbed a bite to eat while I took ing the views.

Refreshed, I set off down the hill. I soon reached the ruined farm at Drinkwaters.

This is a popular spot to stop, have a bite to eat and take in the view, and a couple of groups of walkers were doing just that. But the old farm was looking a little more dilapidated than normal (I’ve been coming up here since I was a young teenager). Turns out that United Utilities – the company that owns the moors up here since our water was privatised – were responsible. They’d had some work taking place to create a truning space for emergency vehicles in case of a fire up on the moor and the contractors, either delibrately or accidentaly, demolished a section of wall. This has provoked outrage amongst the walking fraternity. United Utilities explanation is that it asn’t part of the contractor’s remit but as they deemed the wall “unsafe” they decided to knock it down. Not sure I believe them to be honest. They claim that they will have the wall rebuilt – so look out for pink pigs flying over the moor. (News reports here and here)

I carried on down the track reaching the Rambler’s signpost

There were quite a few people coming up the path from Chorley.

I decided on a diversion and turned north along the track across Wheelton Moor

There’s several old shooting butts along this track, reminders of when this was the grouse shooting domain of wealthy landowners. At one time, not that long ago, I wouldn’t have been allowed up here

I turned off the track and took the path down towards Wheelton Plantation

past a ruined farm and a small quarry

and entered the woods.

I walked down through the woods until, at the bottom of the hill, I reached the Goyt, the water course that links the Roddlesworth and Anglezarke Reservoirs. The path was busy with walkers, cyclists and families enjoying the fine day, with one large group of older walkers inconsideratly walking slowly and blocking the path.

It didn’t take long to reach White Coppice where I stopped and rested on one of the benches overlooking the cricket pitch.

The village is something of a honey pot so it was busy with groups of picknickers.

After my short break I carried on, taking the path along the Goyt towards Anglezarke reservoir,

where I took the path along the east side of the man-made lake.

I turned off and climbed up the slope past High Bullough Reservoir. Although the smallest of the chain of reservoirs in the valley, it was the first to be constructed in 1850 to serve the nearby town of Chorley (where I grew up). Today it’s no longer used and there was little water to be seen between the dams

I carried on up the hill emerging opposite the old Manor House Farm – originally known as High Bullough – hence the name of the reservoir.

A short walk along the tarmaced road and I reached Jepson’s Gate leading me back on to the fringes of the moor.

I decided to visit the memorial to the Wellington Bomber that crashed near here during the war

where there’s a great view over to Winter Hill and Rivington Pike.

I had intended to take the path through the fields down to Parson’s Bullough and Allance Bridge but I could see the path was a bit of a quagmire in places, so decided instead to walk down into Lead MIne Clough. The river here is another honey pot and there were several family groups picnicking and getting their feet wet in the cool water on what had become a very hot afternoon.

Reaching Allance Bridge I looked over the ramparts at the the River Yarrow as it entered the reservoir – no longer a muddly puddle!

A short walk up the road and I crossed the stile and took the path through the fields to the east of the Yarrow Resevoir

I carried on along the path through the woods beside the small stream and then up through the fields

emerging at Rivington village, across from the old Unitarian Chapel

It wasn’t far back to the car now, through the meadow and passing the “host of daffodils” (even if I wasn’t on the banks of Ullswater).

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.

Whistling Down the Wind

My daughter has been back home from the Netherlands for a few weeks. She’d had a bad experience with the coronavirus and wanted to spend some time back home to rest and get over it properly. It’s a nasty illness and some effects can persist. Having had a few walks out locally, last Friday promised to be a hot, sunny day and I was able to take some time away from the computer. So along with her brother we decided to get out for a walk. She’s a film buff so I suggested a drive over to Downham where she’d be able to see some film locations.

Downham is very picturesque, small village at the bottom of Pendle Hill. The properties are all owned by the Assheton family who rent or lease them out and they don’t allow residents to install overhead electricity lines, aerials or satellite dishes. This has made the village a popular location for filming period TV programmes and films, including the BBC One series Born and Bred. More notably it was the main location for the 1961 Bryan Forbes film, Whistle Down the Wind.

It took a little longer than expected to arrive in Downham. Setting off on Friday afternoon during the peak holiday period is never such a good idea, and the M61 was jammed right back to just before Chorley. So I turned off at the junction and set off across country. Although it’s an area I know well as it’s been a while since I drove down these quieter roads and lanes I missed a couple of turnings, extending the journey a little.

It was busy in the village when we arrived with day trippers, and the village car park was full, but we had no trouble parking in a safe place on the roadside near the (now closed) Assheton Arms. Walking down through the village we passed a number of locations used in Whistle Down the Wind. They looked pretty much the same 60 years later, although they were now in colour 😉

We crossed the village car park stopping off to look at the plaque commemorating the film in the information centre

Then set off along the path across the fields towards Worsall farm, the main film location.

We skirted the bottom of Worsall Hill, which features at the beginning of the film when Hayley Mills and her film sister and brother are seen running across and down it.

The path took us past the farmhouse

which was the home of the Bostock family in the film.

The barn where the children discovered the suspected murderer (played by Alan Bates) who they mistook for Jesus, was nearby, although I didn’t get a shot.

We walked down the farm track (now concreted over) and went through the gate on to the minor road which we followed back to the village.

We stopped for a while and treated ourselves to an ice cream, resting, in a socially distanced manner, on one of the tables on the lawn

Some threatening clouds had appeared in the sky and we felt a touch of rain, but we decided we’d carry on allong our planned route, based on the one walked by Shazza a few weeks ago. There’s no shortage of pretty, old stone houses in the village

We were soon cutting through the fields heading in the direction of Pendle Hill (no intention of climbing it, this time).

We made our way up across the fields of sheep until we reached the restored barn

where we turned left through more fields before turning left and heading north.

Looking north east we could see Pen-y-ghent and Ingleborough in the Yorkshire Dales on the horizon

Carrying through more fields of sheep, we didn’t see another human being until we were getting close to Downham,

We eventually reached the minor road that took us back into the village and our car.

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.

A walk from Littleborough to Todmorden

For my second walk during the hot and sunny Bank Holiday weekend, not wanting to endure the inevitably busy traffic, I decided to take the train over to Littleborough. I’d worked out a route that would take me over to Todmorden, taking in a stretch of the Pennine Way. It was a long walk but doable. As it happens I ended up extending it a little.

Arriving at the station, a short walk along the road I was on a minor road that crossed the canal and then became a track that was soon out into the fields. A path then took me through some woods, past a farm and then past the golf course with views of the hills opening up.

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The low cloud that was hanging over Wigan and Manchester had cleared by the time I reached Littleborough. It was sunny and becoming hot and there was barely a breeze. The wind turbines on the hills were completely still.

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The line of pylons carrying power cables that stretch out over the moors brought to mind a poem by Stephen Spender that I’d studied for my O Level in English Literature. Here’s an extract

The Pylons

The secret of these hills was stone, and cottages
Of that stone made,
And crumbling roads
That turned on sudden hidden villages

Now over these small hills, they have built the concrete
That trails black wire
Pylons, those pillars
Bare like nude giant girls that have no secret.

by Stephen Spender (extract)
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Can’t say I’ve seen many nude girls that look quite like that, mind!

I guess that the modern day equivalent are the Wind Turbines of which I could see plenty on the nearby hills during my walk.

I’d originally planned to climb up the “Roman road”, that would let me join the Pennine Way to the north of Blackstone Edge. As it happens as I reached the path that would lead me to the start of the ascent, looking up to Blackstone Edge I decided to divert and climb the edge, taking the path up to the south of the summit, adding 2 or 3 miles to my planned route.

Looking down to Hollingworth Lake as I climbed

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A couple of curious locals ahead

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The top of Blackstone Edge ahead

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It didn’t take too long to reach the top of the hill with it’s jumble of millstone grit bolders

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I stopped by the trig point for a short break and a bite to eat. Just like on Friday, long range visibility wasn’t so great but the views over the moors were still OK.

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I was now on the Pennine way so followed the path heading northwards. Looking back to the Edge.

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I reached the Aiggin stone

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The Pennine Way then descended down the “Roman road”

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before turning north by the drain – a waterway taking water from one of the reservoirs that feed the Rochdale canal

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It wasn’t too long before I reached the White Horse pub on the A58 which runs over the Pennines from Littleborough to Halifax.

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Crossing over there’s a short walk stretch of road before the Pennine way continues along a gravel path that’s used a a service road for a string of reservoirs.

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This path extends for a few miles and is pretty flat. It’s reputedly the easiest stretch of the Pennine Way. The lack of inclines means it’s also one of the least interesting stretches, but on a fine day there were good views over the moors and the water in the reservoirs was a lovely bright blue.

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About a mile along the track I reached this little bridge, which I crossed and then walked along to an outcrop of millstone grit in a former quarry

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Inscribed on the rock is a poem

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This one of the Stanza Stones – poems by Simon Armitage (the new Poet Laureate) inscribed on rocks on the moors between Marsden (his home town) and Ilkley, all about an aspect of the water which frequently falls on these moors. This is the Rain Stone

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Unusually (!) it wasn’t raining today, but it had been a few days before and the moors off the path were wet and boggy.

Rejoining the path I carried on heading north passing a string of small reservoirs.

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After passing the last of the reservoirs, the path continued over the boggy moor. Fortunately flagstones have been laid down over the boggiest section other it would have meant walking through a quagmire. There’s a reason why Simon Armitage located his Stanza Stones up here!

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Soon, Stoodley Pike came into view

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It didn’t look so far off, but sometimes your eyes can deceive you!

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Carrying on, Todmorden and the nearby villages came into view down in the valley

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and looking in the opposite direction towards Cragg Vale, home of the Coiners

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My plan was to descend down the Calderdale Way and follow it to Todmorden where I’d catch the train back to Wigan. Looking north along the Pennine Way, Stoodley Pike didn’t look so far off and I was tempted to continue onwards.

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But I’d extended my walk by a few miles already by tackling Blackstone Edge so I decided to stick to my original intention.

The path was an old packhorse trail and had been paved, making the walking relatively easy.

I was greeted by a couple of sheep as I entered the small village of Mankinholes

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It’s small village of old traditional Pennine houses, an ancient settlement, going back to the 13th century, and some of the houses were built in the 17 th century. They would probably have been originally occupied by textile workers, weavers and spinners, who worked from home, so the houses have the typical rows of mullioned windows that allowed maximum light into the first floor work rooms.

I reckon that later on, after the Industrial Revolution had killed off the domestic textile industry, the occupants probably went to work in the mill in nearby Lumbutts – there’s an old path across the fields between the two villages and that was what I followed.

Lumbutts isn’t as old, coming into existence along with the mill in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

Reaching Lumbutts I passed the local pub which, on a Bank Holiday afternoon, was busy with customers enjoying a meal and a pint.

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Time was getting on so I didn’t stop but carried on to have a look at the village chapel

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It’s rather a large chapel for a small village but probably served the surrounding area. It was only constructed in 1911, replacing an earlier building. The ground floor was used for the Sunday School with the main chapel above it.

I rejoined the Calderdale way which carried on along the road and down the hill towards the old mill. The only thing left is the unusual old tower.

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The mill was water powered and the tower contained three water wheels, one on top of the other, powered from lodges on the hills above.

I carried on along the road for a while passing the rows of terraced workers’ houses

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A short while further on the Calderdale Way turned off the road to start crossing some fields. Looking across to Stoodley Pike

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I passed a number of old, traditional houses which are now expensive, desirable residences

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Soon I could see Todmordem, but it was still a way off

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I carried on along the Calderdale way through fields and along a country lane, eventually arriving at the small former textile town down in the bottom of the narrow valley.

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Todmorden used to split by the border between Lancashire and Yorkshire and the neo-Classical Town Hall actually straddles the border.

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Since Local Government reorganisation it’s been entirely in West Yorkshire, but remnants of the old loyalties remain. My walk had taken me from Littleborough in Lancashire (well, Greater Manchester these days) and across the border into West Yorkshire. But it would be difficult to tell the difference as the landscape and architecture across the South Pennines is essentially the same.

I’d run out of water a couple of miles before reaching the town (should have stopped at that pub!) so needed to get some cold liquid. It was nearly 5 o’clock and everything seemed shut but I managed to find an off licence were I was able to buy a couple of bottles of diet coke from the fridge for a couple of quid. The cold liquid and caffeine were more than welcome and I quickly downed the contents of one of the bottles saving the second for the journey home.

I didn’t have too much time to look round before the next train was due so I made my way to the station. It was running 10 minutes late and I might have otherwise missed it (although they run every half hour). Just over an hour later I was back in Wigan.

Another grand walk on what was probably going to be the last sunny day for a while. I also feel that September is the beginning of Autumn, so this was my last walk during this year’s summer. But Autumn can be a good time for walks too – so fingers crossed!

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.

Spring Break

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It’s been a long haul from Christmas this year with Easter being so late – I wish they’d fix the date! So I was glad to be able to take a week off work last week to go away for a few days. We found ourselves a cottage for 4 nights just outside Cartmel at the foot of Hampsfell.

Cartmel is a small, attractive village to the north of the treacherous sands of Morecambe Bay, which is something of a “honeypot” with an old Priory church, old houses and other buildings, a number of touristy shops, a Michelin 2 star restaurant, four pubs and the smallest racecourse in the UK. The village is just to the south of the Lake District National Park, although our cottage, one of a small group of properties, was just inside the National Park boundary. Historically the Cartmel peninsula, together with nearby Furness, the other side of the Leven estuary, were part of Lancashire. Cut off from the rest of the county the area was often known as “Lancashire over the sands”. Following local government reorganisation in 1974 it was absorbed by the newly created county of Cumbria.

This old map shows the pre-1974 county boundaries and includes the area north of Morecambe Bay which is now incorporated into Cumbria.

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Although seemingly cut off from the rest of the county the area was accessed via routes over the sands of Morecambe Bay. The tide recedes from the bay leaving behind a vast area of sand and mudflats criss-crossed by a number of river channels and notorious for it’s quicksands. Until the Furness railway was opened in 1857, crossing the sands was a major route of communication. It was a dangerous crossing, though, and many people were trapped by quicksands and a rapidly rising tide, losing their lives. According to Wikipedia Cartmel apparently means “sandbank by rocky ground“, from the Old Norse kartr (rocky ground) and melr, reflecting it’s location a few miles north of the bay.

We were lucky to have some decent weather – cool, but sunny – so managed to have a good break taking in some walks, a visit to a stately home and even some art! So, lots to write up, but for a starter here’s a few photos we took in and around the village and our cottage.

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