'Appenings in August

Wednesday August 30th. Plodder Walk. Seventh Stanza Stone. 10 miles. Leader: Mike Lee.


Eight walkers and one dog met in the car park at Marsden Station for the “Seventh Stanza Stone” Plodder walk.

Exiting by the rear of the car park, we climbed straight up the valley side to Slaithwaite Moor, covering a big chunk of the promised 2000 ft of ascent in the first mile. Having crossed the moor, we descended steeply to the Scammonden valley and its two reservoirs: the Scammonden Reservoir and the earlier Deanhead Reservoir.

Big Lottery funding has provided wide stone paths around the larger reservoir and we followed one of these along the west side, passing below Deanhead church. Much of the village of Deanhead was submerged when the reservoirs were built, but the church and school remained above the level of the water. The vicarage also survived, but on the other side of the reservoir, and is now used by a sailing club.

The Scammonden Reservoir was built at the same time as the M62 and the motorway embankment forms the dam of the reservoir. The path we followed goes across the dam, just a few feet below the M62 traffic.

A short climb from the dam took us to the car park, where we stopped for lunch. But just before the car park we stopped at what is now claimed to be the seventh of Simon Armitage’s stanza stones.

Six of the stones, each carved with a different poem inspired by water, are spread along the Stanza Trail between Marsden and Ilkley. The seventh was put in a secret location where it might be stumbled across by passing walkers. The story goes that this secret location was the stream bank at Lumb Falls, near Hebden Bridge, but the stone was washed away by flood waters and lost. So the stone we visited is now regarded as the seventh stone.

After lunch, a short, but steep climb took us to the ridge separating the Scammonden and Colne valleys and we started our descent down the side of the Colne Valley back towards Marsden. This wasn’t all downhill, because our route took us through the heavily wooded Bradshaw Clough at the head of Merry Dale; a steep descent into the clough, followed by an even steeper climb out. The road into the clough starts as an ordinary tarmac lane, but rapidly becomes steeper and passable only on foot. To unwary drivers it looks like a convenient way across the valley, but an unconventional sign at the start of the lane warns naive sat-nav followers to use their brain and think again before proceeding further.

On our way down the Colne Valley we passed several displays of the Yorkshire White Rose and this prompted Ken to give us a short tutorial on the correct form of the rose and how it should be displayed. Armed with this knowledge, we were able to spot two instances of the rose being displayed upside-down!

The last couple of miles of our route coincided with the ancient pack-horse trail from Halifax to Marsden, marked with modern sculptures funded by the Big Lottery Fund.

Also this section of route took us past Slaithwaite Hall and some of us chatted to a lady who lived there. She confirmed that the walk leader’s pronunciation of Slaithwaite was that used by locals.

Thanks to everyone who came.

Mike Lee



Saturday August 26th. Roundabout Garstang (Wyre Way Part 3.) 19 miles. Leaders: Caroline Tennant, Hilary Scott.


7 walkers and Alf dog met at Scorton picnic site.  Maude dog sent her apologies, but had had a big day out on the Friday.  Bravely most opted for shorts, even after the jungle of thorns, nettles and biting insects of section 2.

We set off towards Scorton village.  The first surprise came when we were expecting to find a huge muddy puddle with a gate and broken stile to tackle - instead we found a big muddy puddle with a decking bridge and a pristine gate to pass through.  Dry feet and paws all round and no climbing.   A short road section took us over the Wyre and towards the Lancaster canal.  On the way we were careful to be quiet passing Holly Farm, so as not to alarm the llama farmer.  A selection of jokes too poor to be repeated were then exchanged.

The canal was busy with canoes, all the way from Broxbourne, Hertfordshire.  Leaving the towpath at Nateby we stopped for morning break.  Alf did the rounds trying to endear himself with each walker in turn to get food, but failed. 

Fields were crossed to reach the unfortunately named Kilcrash Lane.  We then made our way over some rather wonky stiles whilst pursued by cows.  Alf then took us past his favourite place – Wag Wood.

Onto Sharples Lane, we turned off as it was so overgrown to find our second surprise of the day.  A gate with an overgrown stile left wide open for us AND the grass in the field had been cut.  Alf then disgraced himself by chasing a pheasant hen and trying to make a gift of her.  Luckily Pauline came to the rescue and without fuss rescued the bird and set it safely in the hedge. 

We then met another field of cows.  Much shooing ensued and we eventually passed through unscathed.  A further field led to the directions being given to ‘aim for the stile behind the spotty cow’, not very useful when the cow decided to move.  On reaching the stile we met the most curious cows of the day, but were put in our place by a 12 year old farmer who not only shooed the cows, but held the gate open for us.

The sun came out and we proceeded to St Michaels to meet the Wyre Way where we left it last.  A busy road section took us onto the river bank.  The OS map shows the path on the river bank, but on the recce we had been informed by a local resident of 30 years that it was not and never had been!

We passed along the river bank and at an overgrown section took a diversion into a field of corn that felt endless, but eventually we all popped out safely at the far end.  Continuing on the river bank we then found an unexpected field full of tents and bikers and many bikes.  Picking our way through the tents we reached St Helens church where we stopped for lunch, taking advantage of the church café to supplement our sandwiches.

Should anyone wish to do this walk the map can be found somewhere in the vicinity of the church when I left it.  Thankfully we were able to successfully navigate back without it!

We passed by the windmill of Dewlay cheesemongers to the A6.  Crossing the road we then did the only unrecced section.  Recce 1 – closed due to building work.  Recce 2 – locked gate.  Recce 3 – open gate, but had already diverted around.  We went for it and found a newly paved path and the gate unlocked for us to rejoin the Lancaster canal.  Only a short section this time, to reach the aqueduct where the canal goes over the Wyre.  Here we dropped back to the Wyre and on to Garstang.

Passing through Garstang we reached the weir and its steps built by Jackie’s daughter many years previously.  We all chose to use the bridge rather than the ford to cross the river and made our way over the extensive flood plain.  Crossing the railway line we passed through Woodacre great Wood to return to Scorton.  Here we all enjoyed an ice cream, Alf even enjoyed some cone, before retracing our steps to car park.





Wednesday August 23rd. 1957: Where it all began. 14 miles. Leader: Paul Wadsworth.


With this year being one when my birthday includes a '0', then my annual led walk was planned to celebrate this event with my walking friends. As Norman's annual Breath of Fresh Air walk coincidences
with my birthday in September then the walk was brought forward into August. This proved to be a good choice as the rain stopped before we started and 23 walkers, and of course Maude, enjoined a dry day with the sun shining brightly. Conditions underfoot were wet and tricky due to the earlier rain which resulted in a few stumbles along the way.

We left Anderton and passed over the Upper Rivington reservoir dam wall and headed towards the Yarrow Reservoir before turning right to pass by Dean Wood. Continuing more on less in a westerly direction we passed Wilcock's Farm, Sheep Wash and Old Rachel's before climbing to the source of the River Yarrow. From here it was downhill into Belmont where lunch was taken by the playground and the wonderful toilets, (nice to see them re-opened).

Now for the highlight of the walk - at least for me! Having recently completed my family tree back to 1574, (thanks to David Cullen), we were able to tour through the village from the church up to and across the dam wall before looping via Lower Whittaker farm and the old bleach works back into Maria Square. Eleven sites were identified where my ancestors had resided, with an English heritage blue plaque being displayed at those that we actually passed. PS Thanks to Julie for finding Deakin's Terrace.

The history tour now complete, all that remained was to climb the ramp up Winter Hill and enjoy a well earned afternoon break at the summit. Construction works prevented us passing by the TV mast, so a short detour was taken over the source of the River Douglas before re-joining the path directly to Rivington Pike. Our descent continued through the ornamental gardens and behind Rivington Hall Barn before rejoining our outward route over the Upper Rivington reservoir dam wall.

To finalise my birthday celebrations (at least with the walking Group), drinks, cake and home made scones and jam were enjoyed by all on the patio, (many thanks to Alison).

Well done to Kath for completing 14miles and 2,000foot of ascent as she trains for her upcoming charity walk.

Thanks also to Hilary and Steve who provided the photos.





Sunday August 20th. Little Ray of Sunshine. 19.5 miles. Leader: Norman Thomas.


Based on the charity walk I have done for 14 years, we had 10 walkers, small in number but all big in character.  We made our way up to the mast and Winter Hill, from there on to Spittlers Edge where a new path has been laid, then to Great Hill and onwards to White Coppice for lunch.  I had £3, a pound each for 3 questions – 2 of the questions the walkers could not answer.  But when I asked the 3rd question (what was the name of the last cottage across from the cricket field) Sue answered correctly, unbelievable!

We continued our walk past the Malt House pub on the Leeds/Liverpool canal then after a couple of miles we came off the side of the canal and walked up to Bibby’s Farm, a training camp for cubs and scouts.  We had our afternoon stop at the side of a camp fire then Steve made his way across a rope bridge, well done!  Onwards past Rivington Lower Barn we made our way to the finish of the walk, 19 ½ miles.

The weather was very good, great views all day, everybody enjoyed it and we had a lot of laughs.  See the pictures for some of the highlights of the day.  Thanking you all, see you soon.

Happy walking, Norman.

PS: to Phil, it’s not the pace it’s the day’s enjoyment.  (Back for 5, dead or alive!)


Click here for Steve's photos of the day.


Wednesday August 9th. Red Rose 50 Part 4. 12.5 miles. Leaders: Norman Thomas, Chris Langabeer, Ian Pickup.


There were 25 walkers, the weather was dry with some sunshine.

We started from Entwistle Reservoir, past the Strawbury Duck pub, over to Crowthorn, the school is no longer there it’s been replaced with luxury houses.  Onwards to Black Moss the infamous wet bog then over to the famous Naughty Corner and the 2 crosses where walkers have been known to have a wee dram of the hard stuff to bring some sanity into the walk.

Next around Beetle Hill and Bull Hill, to Peel Tower then the side of the army training land, today no soldiers on manoeuvres.   Then to Hawkshaw and past the Pack Horse pub down to Jumbles and the sailing club.  Well done everybody.

PS: A big thanks to Viv and Kath for putting this tough walk together, it has taken a lot of planning and determination and we have enjoyed it.


Just a little snippet from last week:

When we recced the walk last Wednesday the weather was a pig and a big pig indeed!  The rain was pelting down, it was misty and there was lots of mud, mud, glorious mud (JT the mud monitor would have loved it!).

When we reached the Krypton Factor Assault Course we were met by a platoon of army rifle men.  The officers looked us over very carefully indeed until a senior officer shouted out “that’s Stormin Norman!  You lot know of him, you’ve read his citation at Stirling Lines, Hereford!”  A touch of the officer’s cap and we were out of it!  Chris and Ian later said “We were glad to have you with us Norman”

Well done everybody and happy walking.

PS: A big thanks to Chris and Ian for their help and comradeship throughout the walk.



Thank you to Tracey for the pictures below


Wednesday August 2nd. An Urban Jumble (Plodder Walk) 9 miles. Leader: Neil Woodcock.


Eight members and Maude the dog turned up at Tandle Hill Park, Royton, for a leisurely stroll around the Rochdale/Oldham boundary.

The walk started in fine rain which at times got a little heavier but ended in sunshine.

We set off downwards towards the Oldham Way joining it just outside the park boundary, and we followed it past farms and some pretty houses over the motorway to Chadderton Park where we stopped for a drink.

From there we headed for the Rochdale canal following the towpath. Lunch was taken when we reached Castleton (Slattocks) and we watched two canal boats navigate the lock towards Sowerby Bridge while we ate. The rain had stopped at this point.

Fully replenished we carried on along the towpath and under the M62 on floating pontoons before leaving the canal and heading towards Kirkholt along quiet lanes and over the motorway on a pedestrian bridge.

Now we came to the most urban part of the walk, passing by the spot where the school stood when the TV programme Waterloo Road was filmed.

Again we crossed over the M62 via a pedestrian bridge onto a farm track, following this until just before a motorway bridge where we turned left over a stile warning of a bull in the field (I’ve walked this path for years and never seen one!).

I did, however, get a shock, not from a bull but an electric fence, I saw no warning. We carried on up towards Tandle Hill monument passing The Tandle Hill Tavern (closed unfortunately). A brief respite at the top to take in the views and then onward through the trees to the car park.

A few of us taking refreshments at the café before returning home.

Neil Woodcock

Thank you to Paul Woodcock who took the pictures below.