Fireworks in November

Sunday November 26th. A Chat with Chris de Burgh. 16 miles. Leader: Michael Bushby.


Sometimes you want an LDWA walk to be a full, strenuous day, with summits and valleys and lots of miles in the legs so that you feel you’ve pushed yourself to exhaustion by the time you reach the end.  Hopefully, the 14 that attended this walk weren’t expecting this today. It was a steady (gentle,even), untesting hike with barely an undulation in an area that's on the doorstep yet rarely visited. Who wants to go flat out on a dreary November day??  What was offered up was a glimpse of the area’s industrial history, it’s multi-faceted transport links, boggy peat fields, the site of an engineering calamity (now fixed) and the tantalising question of whether the imp-faced Irish balladeer Chris de Burgh would make an appearance.

We set out from Worsley, the Sunday morning calmness and the well-to-do Tudor buildings belying the grimy bustle that must have taken place 250 years ago when it provided the key link between the Lancashire coalfields and the mills and factories of Manchester.  After an excursion past the local swanky hotel and golf course we headed westwards on the Bridgewater Canal to Astley, then left at the pithead to venture into the other-worldly region of Chat Moss.  (Note: First part of the walk title).  It would not surprise me to hear of folk who had ventured into this place never to emerge again, such is the grim, lawless atmosphere.  Think of the film Deliverance, duelling banjos and all, set on peat marshes and with Lancashire accents.  When I reccied the walk, I was told at Nook Farm that the footpath marked on the map wasn’t used and I was taking my life in my hands if I brought a group through.  I decided to find an alternative route.

Muddy tracks led us to Irlam, and an oasis of a Greggs/Spar/indoor loo/petrol station.  At this point I told the group that we were getting close to the Chris de Burgh moment, and clues would begin to appear.  Amid frenzied anticipation – sort of – a version of a Lady in Red was the popular guess.  But could there be an appearance by Patricia the Stripper, or even a Travelling Spaceman?...  If people had realised we were approaching the Manchester Ship Canal they may have realised the tune in question, but a “Free Ferry” sign led Pauline to be first to unashamedly show her knowledge of C de B’s back catalogue by yelling “Don’t Pay the Ferryman”!  Hooray!!  She won a high five.  I didn’t know at the time, but the ferry has been operating since 1885 after a bridge was demolished.  This was around the time Mr de Burgh released his first album.  For more information see:

We bushwacked through brambles (somehow causing Alma great amusement) and followed the canal underneath the mighty M60 Barton Bridge, next to which a new Trafford-A57 link road looks just about ready to open, only a year behind schedule.  For an example of ‘Construction Gone Wrong’, an idea I’m proposing to Channel 5, watch this from May 2016:

The last leg took us onto the Bridgewater Canal again at the amazing engineering feat of the Barton Aqueduct then up the Roe Green Loop line and through Worsley Woods back to our starting point.  The walk was a bit shorter and less taxing than usual, and it was showery (hey, you need a bit of rain for all those rainbows!) but hopefully the participants enjoyed the variety of sights on offer and not finishing by torchlight.




Pictures below from Michael



Pictures below from Hilary



Wednesday November 22nd. Halo There! 13 miles. Leader: Barbara Shelton.


Ten intrepid walkers and one dog showed true grit today by turning up for the walk despite the forecast, which was pretty dire but proved to be exaggerated.

Our objective was the Halo Panoptican sculpture at Cribden. By way of a warm up we ascended Hameldon Hill from Clowbridge, picking up the Burnley Way past the weather station and transmitter masts. Branching off we linked onto the Rossendale Way for a while, looking down on Mitchell’s House reservoirs from the admittedly boggy moors above. Dropping down to Stone Fold, we grabbed a quick break before pressing on along the lanes through Sherfin, then followed a stream up towards Top Of Slate and the Halo. This impressive structure was created in 2003, one of four Panopticon installations erected in East Lancashire.

It was a bit breezy up there for lunch so we carried on past the mast and Cribden End before dropping down to enjoy the attractions of Crawshawbooth, not least the bakery which had the most magnificent custard tarts, enjoyed by many of us, not least Keighley Dave, now known as ‘Dave the Cake’ (sounds better than ‘Dave the Tart’!!). Leaving Crawshawbooth (with a quick recce of the Black Dog pub for later), we headed up to Goodshaw and its Baptist Chapel, built 1760, now under the care of English Heritage.

Picking up the Rossendale Way again our route took us up to Compston’s Cross, erected by Alderman Compston in 1902, and apparently marking both an old pack horse route and a pilgrims’ route, it being in a line with Whalley Abbey, Pilgrims’ Cross on Holcombe Moor, and Manchester. It was time for these ten pilgrims to swing left to regain the reservoir and our cars. We’d covered a little shy of 13 miles, and everybody was glad they’d made the effort to turn out (at least that’s what they told me!). Four of us repaired to the Black Dog where we were made most welcome, and enjoyed Jennings and Brakspears beers.


Barbara Shelton


Pictures below from Barbara

Pictures below from Hilary


Wednesday November 15th. Oldham Way. Tandle Hill to Bardsley Bridge. Plodder Walk. 12 miles. Leader: Neil Woodcock.


TEN Plodders and Maud the dog set off from Tandle Hill Park car park  heading up to the Memorial and The Oldham Way.

After taking in the views the walkers proceeded along the Oldham Way towards Chadderton Hall Park over the first motorway bridge of the day, making a small detour through the park they stopped for a drink before heading for Rochdale Canal.

This was the first canal of the day with another one to follow. A good pace was made along the tow path towards Chadderton where they again walked over a motorway before joining the canal again.

Suddenly the ten became eleven as a late comer arrived to join us, she had been stuck in traffic but had a copy of the route so managed to catch us up.

We had a brief stop at Tescos where one member purchased their lunch and others took advantage of the facilities.

By this time the Leader was being asked when are we having lunch, but it was only a short walk to Brookdale Park where ample seating was available for the lunch stop.

Having dined it was on to The Medlock Valley and a change of scenery. Having dropped into the valley there was, of course, the inevitable climb out of it.

Here, we had to make a slight change to the route as a bridge was out and we climbed slightly higher to join the Medlock Way which joined the Oldham Way further along next to the disused Ashton Canal.

The route took us over the third motorway bridge of the day and to a final stop at Daisy Nook café where good use of the facilities where made.

It was a brief hop along the canal to Bardsley Bridge and the bus back to Tandle Hill Park from here.

Before boarding the bus, Neil pointed out the car park at Bardsley Bridge from where the next stage of the Oldham Way will start heading to Greenfield, date to be announced.



Click here for Peter's pictures.

Wednesday November 8th. A Mossland Meander. 15 miles. Leaders: Isobel Graham and Christine Cocks.

25 people and 1 dog set off from Pennington Country Park on a sunny autumnal morning. A short walk through the park brought us to the Leeds - Liverpool canal. Once on the canal bank we followed it for 2 miles crossing the boundary at Leigh bridge where it becomes the Bridgewater canal.

Leaving the canal behind us we continued across farmland to the East Lancashire road. Once the group was safely across we crossed more fields to join the Glazebrook Trail behind Bents Garden centre.  The morning break was taken on the edge of Windy Bank woods.

The trail took us under the Liverpool to Manchester railway line and past the 17th century Light Oaks Hall to Little Woolden Moss.  A site where peat has been extracted for several hundred years.  The area is now owned and managed by Lancashire Wildlife Trust and work is underway to restore the bog and encourage wildlife.  Lunch was taken amongst the trees and in the polytunnel belonging to the trust. 

After lunch we rejoined the Glazebrook Trail passing Little Woolden Hall where we saw a remote controlled jetplane doing stunts.  After crossing the road in Glazebury the going became rather muddy, however we soon returned to firmer ground. Passing underneath the East Lancashire road we followed a good path back to the days starting point.  The walk was 15 miles with no ascent.

Thank you to everyone who came along.


Thanks to Isobel for the photos.