A Personal View.

Many thanks to Sue Boardman for the article below.

Walk On The Wild Side

Why not join us for the 25th Two Crosses tough Challenge Walk

across the West Pennine Moors – Sunday 17th January 2010

Walking in mid January can be extremely demanding due to rapidly changing weather conditions, limited amounts of daylight and wind whistling relentless across the moorland, the Two Crosses route is no exception. Dependent on the conditions of the day it can feel like walking in Spring in the valleys but in the depths of a bleak mid winter when up on the moors. On clear days the views can be magnificent stretching as far afield as North and West Yorkshire, Greater Manchester and occasionally Blackpool Tower can be spotted on the horizon.

This popular tough annual event attracts an average of 250 long distance walkers and fell runners from across the North West region. There is a choice of an 8 or 25 mile route to be completed within 9 hours and journeys through bleak Pennine moorland, a landscape dominated by several picturesque reservoirs and finally completing a circuit steeped in centuries of local history.

The organisers of the Two Crosses Challenge event are the East Lancashire LDWA (Long Distance Walking Association,) which is one of about 40 groups around the country, built on experience gained over the past 24 years. There will be a mass start from Tottington Youth Centre at 8 am and entry includes refreshments at two of the checkpoints and a tasty hot meal at the end. This year those people completing the special anniversary event, on either route within 9 hours, will receive a one off commemorative Silver Jubilee badge as well as a certificate.

The Two Crosses, to which the route’s name is attributed, are the Roman Cross at Affetside and the Pilgrims Cross on Holcombe Moor above the Rossendale Valley. Little is known about the history of the Roman Cross, many assume due to its close proximity to the Roman Road from Manchester to Ribchester that it dates from Roman times however others date it much later. The more recent school of thought being that it was a route marker for Lancashire Pilgrims on their way to Walley Abbey in medieval times. The exact date of the Pilgrims Cross is also not known but archives document its existence in 1176AD. The Pilgrims Cross was renewed in May 1902 with two stones from a local quarry. The larger of the stones weighed over four tons. It took fourteen horses pulling two lurries three and a half hours to transport the stones from Holcombe village across tracks and moorland to their new home. The route also passes Turton Tower, originally built as a simple tower in 1420 as a defensive fortress but evolving into a comfortable Tudor residence and more recently becoming an historic house, museum and tea rooms. Peel Tower is the final site of interest passed along the way and can be seen ahead in the distance from Pilgrims Cross. This memorial to Sir Robert Peel, erected on his death in 1852, contains an extract of his most notable speech made in the House of Commons in 1846 repealing the Corn Laws.

Members of the East Lancs LDWA man the checkpoints along the way, offering warm welcomes and encouragement many having completed the route themselves a few weeks previously. Further information about the group and how to apply for a place on the Two Crosses Silver Jubilee event can be accessed from the website at www.ldwa.org.uk/eastlancashire. A warm welcome awaits you.

Fact File



Large muddy tracts of moorland, flat grassy paths over fields, some gentle climbs


18 or 25 ml route

Degree of Difficulty

Moderate to strenuous


TottingtonYouth Centre

Need own transport. Ample car parking

Historical Sites passed en route

Roman Cross Affetside

Pilgrims Cross Holcombe Moor

Peel Tower

Turton Tower

The East Lancs LDWA is one of approximately 40 groups established throughout the country. Becoming a member of any group enables you to access a wealth of walks accessing many different terrains across England. Lengths of walks vary and are held during the week as well as at weekends. Many groups have very active social calendars and organise walking holidays. Challenge walks are also organised throughout the year with the blue ribbon event being held on the late May Bank Holiday of 100 miles completed within a 48 hour time limit.