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.

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

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

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!

A walk around the “little Lake District”

The weather over the last few weeks has been up and down – some days warm and sunny and then a return to winter. Last Friday came at the end of an unseasonably warm week. I was able to finish up work early and get out for a walk so I decided to drive the few miles over to Rivington and go for a wander around the reservoirs.

With its string of reservoirs and moorland hills, when I was young my mother would refer to Rivington as the “Little Lake District” and although the lakes are man-made and not as large as those in Cumbria, and the hills aren’t as high and rugged, it’s a fair point.

I parked up on the car park near Rivington High School and set off for a walk that would take me around the chain of reservoirs that stretch from Horwich over to the bottom of Healey Nab near Chorley, The route wasn’t as strenuous as my walk up on St Sunday Crag the week before, but it had plenty of interest.

I headed over to the replica of Liverpool Castle

A good view over to Rivington Pike

Following the path along the reservoir

with a short diversion to have a look at the Great Hall Barn

I crossed over the dam that divides the Lower and Upper Rivington reservoirs

and then took the path along the west shore of the lake. Unlike when I was here on a misty morning a few weeks ago, there was a good view over to Rivington Pike and Winter Hill

Carrying on along the quiet country lane

At the end of the Upper Rivington reservoir I crossed the road over the dam and took the path along the west shore of Anglezarke reservoir

The route veered away from the lakeside for a while, but not too far.

Looking over to Anglezarke Moor and Great Hill

Diverting from the reservoir for a while I took the path up towards Healey Nab, passing an old, flooded quarry

up through the woods

When I was a teenager we lived in at house at the bottom of the hill, on the other side, and this was my stomping ground. The trees were young then, but some 40 odd years later they’ve grown to the extent that they block the view over the town.

Heading back down towards Anglezarke, this used to be a favourite view in my youth (the photo doesn’t do it justice)

I passed the flooded quarry we knew as Bluewaters

and then made my way back to the shore of Anglezarke reservoir

I crossed over the dam to the east shore, walkng along a short stretch of road past Waterman’s cottage

and then took the path through the fields along the eastern shore

Part way along I cut across the path past High Bullogh reservoir (the smallest in the string of the man-made lakes it was the first to be created)

and climbed the hill emerging on the road opposite High Bullough farm

After a short walk along the road I reached Jepson’s Gate

and took the path through the fields and on to the moors

I passed the monument to the aircrew that died when a Halifax bomber crashed on the moors near here during WWII

and then descended down the hill to Lead Mine Clough

I followed the path down the valley to Allance Bridge, until I reached Yarrow reservoir. I then took the path through the fields on the the east side of the reservoir and then along the small river

eventually emerging at Rivington village. A small group of buildings, it’s a hamlet, really – but has two churches!

I cut across through Lever Park up to Rivington Hall Barn

I walked round the back of the barn and took the path through the woods

and after about another mile was back at the car park.

A good walk on a beautiful afternoon! And after a 20 minute drive I was back home. Time for a brew!