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.

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”.

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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

A grey day around Rivington

Last week I was in Ireland working, but knew that with the short hours of daylight I was going to be stuck indoors in the hotel most evenings, so the Saturday before I set off I decided to get out for a walk. It was a grey day and as I had a long drive the next day decided to go somewhere local. So I drove the few miles over to Rivington.

Parking up near Rivington School I set off for a walk along the Rivington Lower Reservoir and see where I ended up.

Heading along the path from the car park towards “Liverpool Castle”

Then along the east shore of the reservoir

At the top end of the lake I crossed the dam and then took the path along the west shore of Rivington Upper Reservoir. Looking across the water I could see the tower on top of the Pike , the Terraced Gardens and the Pigeon Tower. The light wasn’t great and certainly not good for photos, though.

At the top of the second reservoir I crossed the dam and, deciding not to carry on along the Anglezarke reservoir took the path by the overflow waterfall up to the Yarrow Reservoir.

I then turned south, making my way along the side of the reservoir and then down through the woods to Rivington Village.

I stopped for a bite to eat and a brew from my flask on the village green and then had a quick look at the Rivington Unitarian Chapel

I spotted this plaque in the chapel grounds.

Intrigued, after I got home, I did a little research to find out more. According to Wikipedia

The Eagle Street College was an informal literary society established in 1885 at the home of James William Wallace in Eagle Street, Bolton, to read and discuss literary works, particularly the poetry of Walt Whitman,

There’s more information about this group here and here.

I carried on towards the Hall barn and then up the hill and through the terraced gardens (or “Chinese Gardens” as we used to call them when I was young). A lot of work has been done restoring the gardens and making the structures created for Lord Leverhulme safe and accessible. It was the first time I’d been up through the gardens since the restoration was completed a few months ago. They really have done a great job.

Looking up towards the “Pigeon Tower”.

I made my way along the track above the gardens and climbed up to the summit of the Pike.

There was low cloud over the top of Winter Hill hiding the television and communication masts.

On my way up the Pike I’d been passed by a procession of runners. While taking a break for a brew I had a chat with one of the Marshalls who told me that the runners were taking part in a marathon that would take them up and down the Pike 5 times. Rather them than me I’d say, but well done to them!

After a short break I set off back down the hill and back into the gardens, passing through the Japanese Garden. I’ve been through them many a time over the years but they been well spruced up by the restoration team. They would look better on a sunnier day in the Spring or Summer, but were still impressive in the murk.

I descended down through the gardens and then took the path through the woods at the foot of the hill and then onwards and back to the car park.

I’d ended up walking further than expected and I reckon that the fresh air had helped with my cold. It was only a short drive back home – less than 20 minutes. I had to pack my bag ready for my trip over the Irish sea the next day.

I’ve been running week long training courses in Ireland for about 15 years – including 4 or 5 a year for the past 9 years. But I’ve started to find them too tiring and so, as part of my plan to start slowing down, I’ve finally decided that this would be my last one. It’s not going to be the end of my trips to Ireland, though. I’ve promised to go over to Galway in March to run a half day seminar at the University (but that’s really an excuse to visit some friends!) and we’re planning to take some holdiays over there and explore more of the country as I (hopefully) start to have some more free time.

A walk around Rivington

The August Bank Holiday weekend was forecast to be a scorcher so I was determined to get out to make the most of what was likely to be the best weather for some time. But it was a Bank Holiday and I certainly didn’t fancy sitting in a lengthy traffic jam on the motorway. I also didn’t want to miss seeing the Rugby League Challenge Cup Final which was taking place at Wembley on the Saturday (I wasn’t going down to London but wanted to watch the match on TV, even though our biggest rivals were playing). Any road, with a little thought and planning I managed to devise a couple of routes that would allow me to get out on the hills which avoiding these problems.

On the Saturday morning I was up reasonably early and was soon heading out to drive the short distance to Rivington where I parked up on the car park up near the school. I’d decided to head up to the top of the Pike and then work my way back down and follow a route along the Yarrow and Rivington reservoirs back to the car.

Despite having been up the Pike many, many times I managed to find a path up through the terraced gardens I hadn’t followed before.

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I reached the top of the Pike. There were a few other people up there, but it would get busy later on a sunny Bank Holiday weekend.

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Long range visibility wasn’t so great, but I had a view down to the reservoirs

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and, in the opposite direction, over to Winter Hill (the path over the peaty moor looked rather glutinous after all the recent rain – glad I hadn’t decided to walk over there today)

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and looking over Anglezarke Moor to Great Hill. On a good day I’d have been able to see as far as Pendle Hill and the Yorkshire Dales, but not today.

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After a short rest I set off back down the hill, walking past the Pigeon Tower, recently restored – and a good job the volunteers have done too.

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Looking down towards Yarrow Reservoir.

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I followed the old road down the hill. It was very rough to say the least.

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I walked past the Hall Barn and then cut across the fields to Rivington Village where I stopped for a brew and a bacon butty at the village cafe. Refuelled, I took the path from the village over towards Yarrow Reservoir which I circumnavigated.

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Looking across the reservoir towards Winter Hill and Rivington Pike

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Looking down to Anglezarke Reservoir

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I took the path down beside the “waterfall” (the over flow from Yarrow Reservoir)

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and then crossed the dam between the Anglezarke and Upper Rivington Reservoirs.

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I followed the path southwards along the west shore. Looking across I could see Rivington Pike

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Reaching the dam, I crossed over and then took the path along the east shore of Lower Rivington Reservoir, diverting half way along to take a couple of photos of the “Saxon Barn” (officially Great Hall Barn). As I’d expected, although I hadn’t seen too many people up to now on my walk, the car park and cafe at the barn were heaving. A lot of people drive over here, park up stop for a brew and then maybe take a short stroll. But most don’t stray too far from their cars.

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Back on the path, I eventually reached “Liverpool Castle” – a folly based on the original Liverpool Castle (which no longer exists) by Lord Leverhulme, the local lad “made good” (he founded Lever Brothers, now part of Unilever) who used to own the land round here and created the Terraced Gardens.

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It was a short walk back to the car park where I changed out of my boots and, after stopping to fill up the car on the way home, arrived back in good time to watch Saints get stuffed in the Challenge Cup Final – so a great day all round!