Still going strong in June
| Tuesday June 28th.
Crompton's Way. 5 mile evening stroll.
32 Walkers and 8 dogs.
The walk leaders Kirsty & Phil had just returned from Ibiza & thankfully bought the sun back with them. The night was warm and sunny as 32 walkers and 8 dogs turned out for some Bolton history.
Setting off from the old School House in Harwood the walk went through Bradshaw Cricket club quickly arriving at the remaining porch of Bradshaw Hall. We had time to read the information plaque before continuing through the woody path until we reached Jumbles Country park.
We continued on over past Hollands nurseries before arriving at Canon Slade’s playing fields where there was a much needed water stop. Here the leaders were judged on their choice of sweets (fruit jellies, fudge & Turkish delights) - there was something to please everyone!
We then continued to the ‘Hall in the Wood’ where Samuel Crompton famously invented the spinning mule in the 17th century and where a museum still exists. The walk then proceeded on down Crompton Way until we reached Firwood Fold, the birthplace of Samuel Crompton. Here there there was an information board for us to read. Finally it was onward through Longsight park to watch the last of the golfers before arriving back – overall a historical & enjoyable jaunt!
Wednesday June 29th.
Enchanted Hills. 10 miles from Adlington. A Plodder Walk.
14 Walkers and 2 dogs.
On a day that threatened showers and sunshine I am pleased to say we experienced only the latter. In ideal walking conditions with very clear views some 14 walkers and two dogs set off from the Bay Horse.
The walk was based on the book written by George Birtill,(still available from Amazon-used books) The book describes the area of the West Pennine Moors close to Adlington and Chorley and contains a great deal of the history associated with the area.
Mr Birtill dedicates the book to his mother and writes,’From Leyland, my native village, one can see in the distance a range of hills, with Great Hill at one end and Rivington Pike and Winter Hill at the other. My mother used to take me as a small boy to Bent Lane where one got an excellent view of them. She always referred to them as ‘The Hills’and because they seemed so remote and unlike the flat lands of Leyland, I always regarded them as ‘The Enchanted Hills’.
We commenced our walk by admiring the view across to Parbold, Ashurst and Billinge Hill. The top of Babylon Lane is 500 feet above sea level and I always enjoy the walk from home to the Bay Horse because of the views (nothing to do with enjoying the excellent beer). The area next to the Bay Horse was a Blacksmiths and Turners serving the need to shoe the many horse involved in transporting stone used in the building of the Reservoirs.
Crossing the motorway we travelled to Shaw Place, seat of the Willoughby Family, powerful local land owners. From here we looked out across some very green fields to Blindhurst Farm, Dill Hall and the Yew Tree Inn. Behind Blindhurst farm are woodlands which were at one time a hunting area for Royalty and stretched into Bolton as far as Deane. Dill Hall was at one time a bakery where the local weavers brought their dough to be baked. The fire was on wheels so that when the oven got too hot the fire could be removed. The Yew Tree Inn was know to locals as the Frozen Mop.
We walked across the fields of Blindhurst Farm to the Street,the origins of which go back to Roman times,connecting Blackrod to a military camp near by.
Crossing the dam between the Anklezarke Reservoir and the Upper Rivington Reservoir we climbed up to the Yarrow Reservoir. From here we walked around the reservoir towards Lead Mine Clough but turning off at Alance Bridge we climbed up, through some wonderful countryside to Jepsons Gate. From here we admired the views of Winter Hill, across the Lancashire plain and as far as Blackpool Tower.This track leading up to Jepson’s Gate also dates back to Roman times giving them excellent views to keep the natives under observation.
Amongst the ruined farm houses locally is one that rejoiced in the name Pewitt Hall, a tribute to the bird life on the hill tops. It was in this remote and rough area that Flemish weavers came having fled from terrible persecution in their homeland. They were noted for their industriousness and eked out a living in places where English farmers refused to go. It can be said in truth that they brought handloom weaving to this part of Lancashire.
Passing on we passed the Manor House dating back to 1604,the reign of James the First,the residency of the Shaw family. Passing down through Spen Wood we reached Chorley Reservoir, the first of the five local reservoirs to be built in 1850. Surrounded by woods it is also the most picturesque. Skirting Anklezarke Reservoir we headed for Waterman’s Cottage and took the old path down to White Coppice. Here we enjoyed a sunny lunch seating on the benches normally used by people watching the cricket. Unfortunately there was no cricket but we watched the groundsman prepare the pitch for the next match.
Returning along the new bridleway we headed past Waterman’s cottage to the far end of the Anklezarke Reservoir and admired the views down the reservoir. Climbing up the path towards Healey’s Nab we turned left along the path which overlooks the reservoir for about a mile and eventually comes out on Back Lane. Along the lane we passed a cultivated roadside border very well tended by the cottages opposite.
Turning right down a bridle path we crossed the river Yarrow,passing the former Fever Hospital, which is now a small estate of expensive houses. We crossed the motorway and headed for the Chorley Golf Club.(en route noting some Thirlmere Aqueduct gates!)The ancient track leading to the Club House, formerly the Hall on the Hill, affords some stunning views across to the West Pennine Moors.
Following the Adlington Way we passed more Aqueduct gates and arrived back at The Bay Horse for 2.35pm, more or less on time.
Reg took the opportunity during the day to say where the Plodders were up to and hopefully a list of walks will appear on the East Lancs website following meetings of the Plodders after their walks. A brief summary of the present position will be on the website soon.
A pleasant end of walk drink and sandwiches in the comfortable bar of the Bay Horse completed a good day out. The Plodders hope that this format of walks/meetings will lead to an interesting set of future walks.