The Pace Steps Up....

Approaching Haigh Hall Brew in Borsdane Woods Homeward Bound, across Hindley Golf Course Outside Bawk House Ready for the off. Story of Haigh Brewery
Haigh Hall Stroll Wednesday 5th May 2010

14 and a little bit miles (17 actually but don’t tell Peter H!)

24 people and a record EIGHT dogs!

This walk really was the pits – Park, Patchcroft, Peacock, Roger Lane, Rough Hey, Stone Hey, Swan , Tag to name but a few. It is impossible to do a walk round Wigan and not come across plenty of evidence of Lancashire’s mining history and heritage. Indeed the walk was a figure of eight centred around the stunning Haigh Hall, originally constructed by a coal mining baron and now the focal point of a quite superb leisure park.

Rain blighted, but did not impair, much of the morning as Norman as always kept us in good spirits. Not too far in we came across Bawk House, an impressive Mediterranean-style mansion, an amazing development incongruous with its green field and canal setting but nevertheless the centrepiece of an 85 acre estate and valued in 2001 at £2.5 million!!!

From there we went down to Worthington Lakes but inexplicably dogs are not allowed on the ring path so we had to take a diversion. The lakes once served Haigh Foundry, reputed to be the construction site of the famous Isle of Man Laxey Wheel. We stopped for a few minutes to take in the splendour of Wigan golf clubhouse before heading back to Haigh Hall for lunch.

In the early afternoon we went round some cracking fields, then some more fields which were equally cracking and one in particular was outstanding for just how cracking it was, then the reason became apparent as we beheld a host of golden dandelions! Our route back was along the hidden gem valley of Borsdane Wood, at this time of year swathed in bluebells and wild garlic, then into the splendour of the Haigh Estate.

An enjoyable day was topped off with an enjoyable pint and a laugh in the Balcarres Arms. This public house sits atop the entrance to the estate just up from what must be the finest surviving example of an old Lancashire windmill once used to pump gallons and gallons of water up to the Haigh Brewery.

Another great day out – well done Norman!


Tuesday May 11th 7.00pm to 9.00pm 5 miles

Walk Leader – Norman Thomas with the several helpers wearing daft jackets.

62 People and numerous (as in too many to count) dogs!

The first evening “stroll” of the summer schedule and what a success it was – well done Norman. There almost wasn’t room on the Blundell Arms car park to get all the cars on. We were a little late starting but we just had to get a walk photo done in front of the pub. It was lovely to see familiar faces back from last year’s evening strolls but even more pleasing to see how many new people we had along. A little article in the Bolton News obviously precipitated this and we thank them for their support. One thing was certain on the night – everyone enjoyed it.

We left the Blundell and went down to High Ridd Reservoir through Wilson Fold Farm and up Bottom O’th Manor to cross back over Chorley Old Road. We headed up to Montcliffe Quarry and from the roadside we had our first stunning views of a beautiful evening across Wallsuches to Ashurst Beacon with the Reebok Stadium in the foreground.

Rounding the quarry and descending down through Burnt Edge and Walker Fold the views were virtually 360 degrees - and for miles and miles. In one direction we had the “Big One” and Blackpool Tower, further afield the hills of Frodsham and Helsby flanked by the Clwydian Range in North Wales. Further to our left the whole of Manchester and Salford with the Derbyshire Hills beyond. As if on cue the setting sun suddenly lit up the Irish Sea and the Sefton coastline at Southport. Wow! And all from just a few short miles away from Bolton town centre.

So Norman has whet the appetite and now Hilary must carry on the evening stroll experience next Tuesday May 18th with Bluebells in Borsdane. Please note the date for this walk is incorrect on our “Evening Stroll Fliers”.