When will summer come this year?
Wednesday July 4th. Two Rivers Way. 16 miles from Rivington.
Leader: Norman Thomas. 23 walkers and 2 dogs.
Well, it may have been the 4th of July but summer is very late this year. A dire weather forecast did not put 23 walkers off and we all assembled at Rivington ready to face the elements. In the event we were very lucky, a couple of light showers and a hot, fairly sunny afternoon was the worst of it. However the ground is showing the effects of so much recent rain and it was mud, glorious mud over much of the terrain.
Norman began the day by explaining that the walk was a continuation of one from a few weeks earlier which traced the source of the Douglas and Yarrow rivers. Leaving Rivington we said the first of many "Hello Dougie" (River Douglas) as we crossed the bridge. The first part of the walk followed part of the Bolton Rotary Way and Norman's jungle training came in handy for the waist high nettles and brambles, to say nothing of a few bad stiles and lots of mud. After circuiting the Douglas Valley driving range we had a morning coffee stop at a mobile catering van there. Bacon butties for Peter, very good they smelt too. There was a light shower as we started off again, waterproofs on but not for long.
We made our way towards Wigan Golf Club where Norman pointed out the sign over the club house and we admired the black swans which have returned there. From here we walked to Worthington Lakes where the planned circuit of the lake was left out as we had 2 dogs with us. We ate lunch on the lake embankment and set off again in a shower, waterproofs on but not for long. We headed towards Coppull via various tracks and eventually came into Yarrow Valley Park. The sun was making an appearance now and it was warm too. Following the Yarrow along a rather muddy path brought us to Duxbury Park with a welcome stop for a drink. Walking up the A6 there was a detour into Fredericks for Ice Cream, with 40 flavours to choose from. Norman was anxious to gain some points lost for muddy ground!
The route now swung back towards Adlington via Chorley Golf club, crossing the motorway near the Bay Horse and down across the fields to Rivington Reservoir and back through the park to the cars for 4.45pm. A good day out for all. Thanks to Norman for leading the walk as only he can.
PS My boots need a good jet wash to get all the mud out.
PPS Tracy of mobile tea shop fame came without scones!! She has some serious making up to do.
Tuesday 10th July. Rivington Evening Stroll. Leader: John Plumb.
5 miles from Rivington Lower Barn. 19 walkers and 5 dogs.
Sunday 15th July. Manorland Meander.
18 miles from Haworth. Leader: Barbara Shelton. 28 walkers and 2 dogs.
A strong team of twenty eight people gathered in Haworth before most of the tourists were about, on a day which could actually be called a summer day. It was warm and sunny with a cooling breeze at times – perfect for walking.
The route was 18 miles long and heads initially to Penistone Hill, then south to cross the Worth Valley railway line before passing Manorlands which gives the walk its title. This is a Sue Ryder Care Centre in Oxenhope, and the route also passes the Sue Ryder charity shop in Haworth on the way back in. There is a badge for the route, and very nice it is too (Norman take note!)
We carried on in a southerly direction to pass Leeming reservoir then up onto Thornton Moor above the reservoir of the same name, taking our first break on a rocky bluff above a valley. We then headed north east for Denholme Gate, around Doe Park reservoir and on to lunch above Hewenden reservoir with impressive views of Hewenden viaduct, built in 1884 as part of the Great Northern Railway network, but disused since 1955.
After negotiating some tricky paths in Goitstock Wood we turned westwards at a caravan park to head across mainly farmland to Barcroft, over Brow Moor then dropped down to follow Bridgeholme Beck for a while. Then it was back over the railway line and steeply up into Haworth (the sting in the tail!). Liquid refreshment was enjoyed at the Fleece, a Taylors pub on Main Street with the most elevated beer garden I have ever seen!
Thanks to Viv and John for their help on the day.
Thank you to Andy for some of these pictures.
Wednesday July 18th. Heritage Trail Part 1
Please see write up under Heritage Trail on main menu.
Tuesday July 24th. Flashers Evening Meet. 5 miles from Pennington Flash.
Leader: Bob James. 23 walkers and two dogs.
My Thanks to the 23 who attended this charming stroll around one of Lancashire’s hidden gems.
At last, the rain had relented and pleasant weather accompanied the group who met just inside the entrance to the park in opposite the Robin Hood pub.
Walking from this (free) car park we approached the Flash – so named by the series of Flash floods 100+ years ago after subsidence of old coal mines collapsing over what was once a mix of farmland and colliery workings.
A word of caution to future visitors:- the main car park has a modest parking charge from Dawn till Dusk. It is frequented by zealous traffic wardens. I recently saw tickets being issued to unsuspecting motorists at 7 o’clock one Saturday evening.
In recent years the land has been reclaimed and transformed into a Boating Lake; Bird Sanctuary; nine-hole golf course and walk-ways for those seeking a touch of the outdoors without having to travel outside the area.
Our group followed much of the waterline as far as was possible with only slight detours to take in extra points of interest including the ‘Hides’ that offer vantage points for observing the wide range of birds and other wildlife that inhabit the park.
This was a comfortable walk for the group and comes highly recommended for anyone who has yet to visit this ‘chocolate box’ picture venue.
As a neighbour and therefore frequent jogger/walker of the Flash I appreciate its different shapes and moods through the seasons and differing times of day.
Give it a go someday.
Sunday July 29th. Flash Cordon. 22.6 miles (I'm ashamed to say) from Pennington Flash.
Leader: John Bullen. 27 walkers and 2 dogs
We’ll start with the apology – I’m really sorry to all who attended that this walk turned out nearly three miles longer than advertised. My fault, no excuses.
The theme of the walk was to see the work that has gone in over the last two decades from countryside and forestry commissions to reclaim land once devastated by Lancashire industry, mainly mining. Peter Alker, Parks Officer, Wigan Leisure and Culture Trust helped me put this route together. He showed me maps of the region from 1892 showing no water between Leigh and Wigan, although the fields were designated as “liable to flooding”. A map of the same region in 1906 shows a string of lakes between the two towns, “flashes” created by mining subsidence. In my youth in Leigh in the 60s and 70s Pennington Flash was a council tip and a dangerous place at that. Now it’s a major leisure attraction with sailing club, bird hides, golf course, kiddies’ park and a network of lovely footpaths. All this created on what was once desolate and devastated land. Now it’s something to be proud of.
And that was the story of the day – Pennington Flash, Viridor Wood, Three Sisters Country Park, Ince Moss, Scotsman’s and Pearson Flashes, Amberswood Common, Low Hall and back to Pennington Flash past the superb new Plank Lane Marina.
An early morning treat was a walk round the orchard of Lightshaw Meadows, a delightful surprise of a short circular tarmac path with picnic tables and superb bird hide amidst over 200 saplings which appear to be an imaginative variety of fruit bearing trees. What a delight this is going to be once those trees are established!
Three Sisters with a central lake is well worth a visit, although when we went the noise from the go-kart track was quite deafening. We took an early break (in the rain) on the benches of Arena Viewpoint with its stunning panorama across to Winter Hill. The stretch of the Leeds/Liverpool Canal from Abram into Wigan is quite stunning. The towpath having been block-paved from a National Lottery grant is perfect for walking, cycling or running. It runs through the heart of Wigan Flashes and the bird and butterfly life abounds. Our lunch venue was sat on the banks between Scotman’s Flash and the canal. The afternoon was a traipse through further new parkland developments all seemingly based around water and all on excellent footpaths with good access.
Leaving Bickershaw and heading back towards Leigh we were able to see what slagheaps are really like when they haven’t been touched - barren, uninviting, almost scary and certainly not places you’d want to visit again!!! And this is where I came unstuck on the mileage. Silly me I’d assumed that this was the easiest stretch of the walk to navigate. Only four days before the event did I discover that the paths I had intended to use are now blocked at the end by a ten foot high wire fence with all access points padlocked! All in preparation for a Peel Holdings housing development I am told. So I reiterate my apology to everyone – I should have gone and looked at this earlier!
Still the rain had stopped before lunch and we finished the day in glorious sunshine. Thanks everyone for coming along and being so patient and understanding!
Pics by Andy and Hilary.
Wednesday July 31st. Peel Park Evening Stroll.
Leader; Chris Greene
Many thanks to Chris for offering to lead this evening stroll. Unfortunately, nobody made the trip to Accrington to sample the delights that Chris had planned. Perhaps bad weather and distance were just too much.