SKELMERSDALE RAMBLING CLUB

 

Skelmersdale Rambling Club

BARROWFORD, LANCASHIRE

SUNDAY, 1ST FEBRUARY 2009

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: We have no Strenuous leader today.
Moderate Leader: Jackie Gudgeon     Distance: About 9 miles
From Barrowford and the Pendle Heritage Centre we start off uphill along the Pendle Way to Higher Ridge. We then drop down to Roughlee (stepping stones) before climbing again to Hollin Top then walking through the woods past White Hough Outdoor Centre to Barley. We will have lunch here where there are picnic tables, toilets and a CAFÉ. We then pass Lower and Upper Black Moss Reservoirs circling round via Mountain Farm, Firber House and Wheathead Height to join a lane leading down to Blacko Water to pick up the Pendle Way again, which we follow along Blacko Water and Pendle Water back into Barrowford. Could be very boggy in parts.
Leisurely Leader: Sue Daniels
From Barrowford we take the Pendle Way which follows the river for approx. 1.5 miles. We then take a short climb over Higher Ridge and drop back down to the Pendle Way path and head towards Roughlee and through Boothman Wood. Depending on the time we will have our lunch in Barley where refreshments are also available. We leave Barley and make our way back towards Barrowford on mostly field paths. Please note that I have unfortunately not had time to recce the walk so slight detours on the day may be taken!!
Easy Leader: Bernie Platts & Denise Holden     Distance: approx. 5 miles
From leaving the Heritage Centre our walk takes us along the side of the canal until we get to the Mile Tunnel, there we cross over the bridge and head up to Slipper Hill Reservoir. We will follow the path along the side of the reservoir and continue until we come to Foulridge Reservoir, known as Lake Burwain.
We will be walking around the lake - it was quite muddy in parts when we did the recce. From there, we walk back towards the canal and head back to the Heritage Centre.

NOTES ON THE AREA

Pendle Water runs through the centre of the small town of Barrowford, adjacent to Nelson. Originally dependent on farming, Barrowford expanded rapidly as a textile town during the 19th century. There were few mills built however, because at the end of the domestic weaving era mechanised production moved to Nelson, which had better rail and canal facilities.

Roger Bannister, who ran the first four-minute mile, is a descendant of the Bannister family, a dynasty of local farmers, who lived at Park Hill from the 15th century. The present building, adjacent to the road bridge, was erected in the 17th century. It is now the home of the Pendle Heritage Centre. At the rear of the house is a walled garden containing organic fruit, vegetables, flowers, and herbs. A 17th century cruck barn from the Cliviger area, with an oak frame and oak-pegged doors, has been reassembled.

On the corner, across the bridge, stands the Toll House. The small building is so designed that the road can be seen in both directions. This ensured that no one on the old Marsden to Long Preston turnpike could slip by unnoticed. On the front of the 1803 house is the renovated board indicating the various toll prices.

In 1774 John Wesley, the Methodist leader, had to hide in what is now the White Bear Inn on Gisburn Road, when he was chased by a local mob. Built in 1607, its name is thought to be connected with bear baiting.

In 1964 a disastrous fire devastated the church of St Thomas in Church Street. The remains of the original 1841 building are found in the Remembrance Garden. What looks like a tower pinnacle in the graveyard is just that. Four local men had agreed to finance pinnacles for the tower. The verse on the solitary pinnacle indicates disappointment that three of them reneged on their agreement.

Bank Hall, otherwise the Lamb Club, stands further east from the church along Church Street. A Jacobean house dating from 1696, there are mullioned windows on the second floor and the porch on the second floor is wider than the lower one. At the bottom of the carved finials are faces, which were thought to act as a protection against witchcraft.

At the western end of Summit Pool, east of the town at Barrowford Locks, seven locks take the Leeds and Liverpool Canal in a descent of 65.5 ft to Burnley Pool. The reservoir nearby was built in 1885 to take the overflow from Foulridge Reservoirs.

Blacko village, nestling under Tower Hill, has its place in the history of the Pendle Witches. Malkin Tower Farm was a hide-out for old Mother Demdike and her 'coven of witches'. Blacko Tower is a focal point - built by Jonathan Stansfield in about 1891 as a look-out from where he hoped to catch a glimpse of his girl friend who lived in Gisburn. Weets Hill was higher than the old boy reckoned, and so the tower remained half finished, until a troop of Scouts from Colne built another round of stone, and cemented the tower to look as it is today.

At the neighbouring village of Roughlee, John Wesley preached at the tiny village chapel. He had rested on his way to Colne, and paid for the refreshment provided at Roughlee by preaching. Alas, the little chapel has since been demolished.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

BUXTON, DERBYSHIRE

SUNDAY, 1ST MARCH 2009

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Jackie Gudgeon     Distance: 11 miles
Buxton - Townend Farm - Red Gap Farm - King Sterndale - Deep Dale - Hillhead - Staker Hill - Fern House - Pavilion Gardens, Buxton.
No great height today, but lots of ups and downs. Coupled with expected sticky conditions underfoot this could be quite tiring. Good views, weather permitting.
Moderate Leader: Ruth Melling & Hazel Anderton   Distance: 8 miles
To Poole's Cavern then through the woods to Burbage, across fields and down the valley of Wildmoorstone Brook to Errwood Reservoir. Then back to town via the disused railway, the golf course and the park.
What a recce! We got lost several times. Ruth went up to her knee in a bog and we ended up in a field surrounded by barbed wire and an electric fence. Fatigue, darkness and panic were beginning to set in when suddenly we managed to find the right path to the golf clubhouse where we sank into the back of a taxi.
So, if you see us studying a map, hopefully we won't be lost again, just amending the route to avoid the bog or checking the part of the walk we did not recce.
Leisurely Leader: Peter Denton     Distance : 6-7 miles
This is a leisurely walk of 6-7 miles to King Sterndale. Mostly gentle gradients over pasture land and passing remote hamlets and farmhouses. After we stop for lunch there is a tricky descent down into Wye Dale, where we cross the railway, A6 and the River Wye. Then ramble on a pleasant path up Woo Dale (a typical dry valley). We then head gently down to Buxton for a much needed cup-a-tea and a scone. Well, maybe a pint. I have requested mud free but I think it is compulsory. Happy rambling.
Easy Leader: Bernie Platts & Denise Holden
See Bernie and Denise on the coach.

NOTES ON THE AREA

Buxton lies at the heart of the Peak District National Park which includes some of the most beautiful and dramatic scenery in Britain.

For centuries Buxton has been a spa town, popular with visitors from around the world. It was the Romans who first 'took the waters', drinking and bathing in the thermal springs which they declared very beneficial. They called the town 'Aquae Arnemetiae; - The Spa of the Goddess of the Grove. Those very same 28 degree, thermal waters still flow freely from St Ann's Well in the centre of the town, fill the indoor swimming pool in Pavilion Gardens, and are bottled to provide the famous Buxton Spring Water.

This beautiful 18th market town has a wealth of historical and architectural heritage mostly due to its popularity as a Spa town. As well as its architectural heritage, Buxton is home to a host of artists and artistic events. There is a lively tradition of live music in the pubs through the year.

The 1001 acre woodland around Grin Low was planted by the 6th Duke of Devonshire around 1820 to hide the eyesore caused by quarrying and limeburning, and is now a mature woodland, with mixed broad leaf trees and some conifers. The area is designated a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to the rich variety of plant life, with many wild animals and birds. The level open glades are the remains of waste ash from 17th and 18th century lime burning kilns, and are carefully managed to prevent the growth of invading plants.

The viewpoint tower of Solomon's Temple was built in 1896. It is on the site of a tumulus (neolithic burial mound). It replaced an earlier structure (probably used a shelter in times of bad weather) and probably gets its name from Solomon Mycock who rented the land in the early 1800's.

The Cat & Fiddle Inn is the second highest inn in England, 1,690 ft above sea level


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

GRASSINGTON

SUNDAY, 29TH MARCH 2009

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Jackie Gudgeon     Distance: 11 miles
Through to the top of Grassington village to follow High Lane to Hebden. From here we climb along Hebden Gill, passing old mine workings, until we gain the limestone moors at Yarnbury. A walled track takes us to Bare House, where we drop down to the Dales Way and Conistone Dib (a rocky limestone gorge) which leads down to Conistone. We then climb again to Dib Scar and into Barstow Wood. Down through the attractive mixed woodland to come out onto the River Wharfe which we follow back to Grassington. A good varied walk through gritstone and limestone scenery, moorland, woodland and river bank.
Moderate Leader: Sue Daniels     Distance: 8 miles
A delightful climb out of Grassington and up onto the moors with extensive views all around. Easy walking along grassy paths and tracks before we drop down between limestone pavements and into a dramatic gorge known as Conistone Dib. From the picturesque hamlet of Conistone it's easy walking along a minor road before reaching the River Wharfe. The final stretch is a joy as we meander beneath the trees and beside the river to end back in Grassington.
Leisurely Leader: Joan McGlinchey     Distance : approx 8 miles
We start our walk at a leisurely pace along the River Wharfe towards Burnsall, keeping eyes peeled for a kingfisher. Once we have crossed over the River Wharfe we start to make our way to Thorpe. After a short while - there are tables/benches by the river, where hopefully we can stop for lunch. Just after lunch we enter the village of Thorpe. There is a pub that we pass, and providing that you are willing to take your boots off you may be able to use the toilets (we decided that was too high a price to pay on the recce). From Thorpe we cross over fields until we come to Linton. From Linton we make our way back to Grassington taking in the Linton Falls,
Once at Grassington, a welcome tea/scones or a pint will be more than appreciated.
Additional Leisurely, Leader: Derek Lee     Distance: 7 miles
We leave Grassington westwards to the villages of Threshfields and Skirethorns, then climb steadily over Linton Moor before dropping down for a break in Linton village, then returning to Grassington along the river. No steep hills, and around 700 feet of ascent spread over 3 stages.
Easy Leader: Phil Walker     Distance: 4.5 miles
When ready to proceed we will gather on the cobbled square and set off towards Cove Lane which will lead us to Grass Wood Nature Reserve. The history of the wood goes back to the Iron age. The wood is now managed by Yorkshire wildlife trust and previous plantings of commercial conifers have been removed allowing the natural woodland to regenerate, which consists mainly of Ash and some Hazel coppice. The wood is also home to a small herd of Roe Deer. We exit the wood onto Grass Wood Lane for a short distance before dropping down to walk along the River Wharfe past Ghaistrills Strid and back to Grassington, with a short detour to Linton Falls. The scenery all along the river is lovely. Depending on the weather, lunch will either be in the woods or preferably along the river bank.

NOTES ON THE AREA

Known as the "capital of Upper Wharfedale", Grassington is a large village on the hill-side sloping down to the north-east bank of the River Wharfe. It had its most prosperous period in the lead mining era of the late 16th and 17th centuries. Its bridge dates from 1603. After 1850 the economy declined, but it received a lift from the construction of the Yorkshire Dales Railway between Skipton and Grassington, now closed.

The growth of tourism has provided many jobs, and facilities for the visitor in the form of accommodation, restaurants and shops. In medieval times the village was an important market town. Between the 17th and late 19th centuries however lead worked on the nearby moors turned the little town into a major lead mining centre. It was during this period that the stone-built village which so delights today's visitors was created. During those years many of the villagers found a living in the mines and smelt mills on the moors. Although the mines closed in the 1880's, signs of the influence of this industry can still be seen today, including many former miners cottages.

Today, Grassington is a popular choice with visitors who come to admire its traditional buildings. The village centre has been designated a Conservation Area because of its special architectural and historical interest and particular efforts are made to protect and enhance its appearance. The stone used is local, predominantly limestone and sandstone.

Features to look out for are heavy flagstone roofs, narrow 17th century mullioned windows and decorated door lintels often inscribed with a date. The Square, recobbled through the efforts of the Chamber of Trade and voluntary groups in 1973, is one of the village's finest features. Sadly the weekly market and the quarterly fairs, which took place in the square since medieval times, ended before the First World War. The old lamp post, locally known as Old Gormless, and the old pump (actually a syphon fountain that used to bring water from the underground stream into horse trough) survive as relics of former years.

The Upper Wharfedale Museum Society has opened a Folk Museum in the Square. An interesting survival from the past can be seen by walking up Garrs Lane from the Square. Near the top on the left are two cottages which once constituted a theatre at which Edmund Kean appeared. Almost opposite the Post Office in Main Street is Salt Pie Hill where the salters wagons used to deposit the village's salt supply.

St Michael's Church, Linton, is one of the finest churches in the Dales. It has a bell turret but no tower, and stands on what was almost certainly an Anglo-Saxon, possibly even a pagan site, which explains its distance from the four villages it originally served - Grassington, Linton, Threshfield and Hebden. The stepping stones over the River Wharfe formed part of the ancient Parishioners' Way to Hebden Village until its own church was built in the last century.

The path down to Linton Falls from the car park at Grassington is known as the Snake Walk, which was used by millworkers to and from Linton Mill. Now replaced by cottages, this former textile mill was powered by a weir upstream. Neaby Linton Falls is a natural limestone feature where acrobatic swallows and low-flying dippers are frequent visitors.

About a mile north of Grassington lies one of the most outstanding Romano-British field systems in the Dales. The land is privately owned but a footpath skirts the site, where Celtic fields are clearly divided into squares and rectangles by stone banks. Among the fields are indications of a settlement, for circular outlines of hut foundations, perhaps prehistoric farmsteads, have been traced.

Lead mining was the life-blood of Grassington during the 18th and 19th centuries, especially at the Duke of Devonshire's mines which are centred on Yarnbury. A lead mining 'trail' has been established on the moor around Yarnbury, so that each point of interest is numbered and explained on a display board.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

GRASMERE

SUNDAY, 26TH APRIL 2009

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Rowland Nock   Distance: 10 miles, 16 kilometres
Height Gain 700 metres.
From the car park we head out of Grasmere past the Youth Hostel trending round to the east via Easedale Beck. We then cross over the main A591 picking up the path to Stone Arthur and on to Great Rigg. Please bear in mind this is a continuous ascent of 700 metres. From the summit of Great Rigg wen the follow the ridge south to Heron Pike, taking in the spectactular views of Windermere and Grasmere Water. We then descend to Rydal via Rydal Mount which was the home of Wordsworth. From Rydal we follow the south banks of both Rydal Water and Grasmere Water via Loughrigg terrace back to Grasmere, hopefully in time for some well-earned tea and tiffin.
Moderate Leader: Chris Cox   Distance: 7.7 miles
Circular route around Grasmere and Rydal Water lakes (hard moderate).
A walk to make your heart beat faster, but it won't be for romantic reasons!
The route takes us north of Grasmere, and then we have a steep climb to Butter Crag and Alcock Tarn, a height gain of 1000ft. We should be rewarded with nice views over Grasmere and the valley below, and an early lunch (it would be a good idea to same some food for the return leg alongside Rydal Water). Paths are quite rocky, and can be difficult in places, so please take your time. Our walk then continues with a slow descent joining the coffin trail to Rydal Mount. After crossing the A591, we follow the Rydal Water and Grasmere Lake shoreline paths. However, the last stretch does involve a section of road walking into the village, where we can all enjoy a liquid refreshment!
Leisurely Leader: Sully Adam   Distance :
A walk starting at grasmere village. This is a nice walk, some climbing, and some waterfalls. Nice views. When we get to the top there is a big lake and as we are coming down it's a bit muddy and there are some stepping stones. Should take us roughly 3 hours.
Additional Leisurely, Leader: Derek Lee   Distance: 6.5 miles
We will leave amblesude through Rothay Park and follow the minor road to the west of the River Rothay to Rydal. After crossing the river, we will follow the old coffin road along the hillside on the north side of Rydal Water before dropping down to cross the river again between Rydal Water and Grasmere. We can follow the western shore of Grasmere for a time before the last stretch of road walking into Grasmere. Around 600 ft of climbing, including a couple of short steep climbs, and some rough uneven paths. Please be ready to leave the coach at Ambleside.
Easy Leader: Margery Howe   Distance: 5.5 miles
Ambleside to Grasmere via Rydal Hall (possibility of a cup of coffee here) through Dora's Field over the River Rothay. A waterside path to Rydal Water, Red Bank and Grasmere Lake to Grasmere. A lovely low level walk through parkland and by lakeside with good views. No stiles. Please be ready to leave the coach at Ambleside, where we will stop for a few moments only to collect our rucksacks.

NOTES ON THE AREA

Today's walks take place in the Vale of Grasmere, and two of the three smallest lakes in Lakeland - Grasmere and Rydal Water - lie in what many writers have described as 'the heart' of the district. Grasmere Church is dedicated to St Oswald, after the 7th century King of Northumbria who is said to have given his name to a sacred well in the vicinity. The most interesting features of the church are its heavily timbered roof, and Wordsworth's memorial tablet in the chancel with its epitaph by John Keble.

Immediately opposite the church is the Gingerbread Shop, built in 1660, and formerly the village school. It was attended by the Wordsworth children when the family lived at the Rectory.

The Grasmere Sports, a popular event that regularly attracts thousands of visitors, are customarily held in late August, and include such events as Cumberland wrestling, hound trailing, and a fell race to the summit of Butter Crag.

The craggy summit of Helm Crag stands to the north of the village and is known variously as 'The Lion and the Lamb' and 'The Old Woman on the Organ', because of the fantastic shapes which are formed by the rocks on the summit. One nineteenth century writer was so impressed thst he even claimed that Helm Crag was the shell of an extinct volcano.

Grasmere and Rydal are forever associated with the name of William Wordsworth, one of the 'Lake Poets' who settled in the area. He was born at Cockermouth on 7th April 1770. After his mother's death in 1778 he and a brother spent 5 years at Hawkshead Grammar School. After the death of his father in 1783 he lived mainly at Penrith before going to Cambridge where he graduated in 1791. Wordsworth and his sister Dorothy entered Dove cottage, near Grasmere, at the end of 1799. He remained at Dove Cottage after his marriage in 1802 and three of his five children were born there. In 1808 the family moved across the valley to Allan Bank - the author Thomas de Quincy taking the cottage - and, in 1811 to the rectory of Grasmere opposite the old church of St Oswald. Two years later they went to live in Rydal Mount. In 1843 Wordsworth was appointed Poet Laureate, and died in 1850. He is buried, along with many other members of his family, in the south-east corner of the churchyard.

Dove Cottage is open to the public, and the relics in the cottage and museum include some manuscripts of Wordsworth's poems, a large number of portraits of Wordsworth, his family and of nearly all his friends. The museum also contains objects illustrating old Westmorland life.

Rydal Mount is owned by Wordsworth's great-great-granddaughter and was opened to the public in 1970. The gardens were designed by Wordsworth and contain numerous rare trees and shrubs. A path through Rydal churchyard leads to Dora's Field, so called because it was given by Wordsworth to his daughter, who predeceased him.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

HAWES, YORKSHIRE DALES

SUNDAY, 31ST MAY 2009

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Rowland Nock     Distance: 9 miles
From the car park we head out of Hawes to Gayle and into Sleddale passing the beautiful Aysgill Force waterfall. We then pick our way round to Spillian Green for lunch by one of the classic old barns found in the Dales. From here we continue our circular route via the old Appersett Viaduct which spans Widderdale Beck. It is possible to abseil off this if anyone has a rope! This viaduct formed part of the old railway line connecting on to the Settle to Carlisle line. In the absence of a rope, we'll descend to the lane, cross over the beck using the road bridge, and wend our way round to Hardraw. For those up for it, and time permitting of course, there is always the possibility of taking a detour to Hardraw Force. This can only be accessed via the pub in Hardraw and you will be asked to pay £2 in the pub for the privilege. From Hardraw we head off to Sedbusk over many stiles (good work out) and back to Hawes.
Moderate Leader: Jackie Gudgeon     Distance: about 8 miles
Hawes - Burtersett - Hawes End - Semer Water - Carlows - Gayle - Hawes.

We follow rising field paths to Burtersett then climb, mostly on quiet lane, until we get a nice view of Semer Water. We circle the crag of Green Scar to join briefly the Cam High Road (the old Roman road from Bainbridge) and then descend back into Gayle, a charming old mill village, and back to Hawes. Two climbs totalling about 800 ft.

Please accept my apologies in advance as I have been unable to recce this walk - so we can all get lost together! Only joking (I hope!).

Leisurely Leader: Derek Lee     Distance : 7 miles
We leave Hawes southwards to the village of Gayle, then climb westwards on to the moors at Thorney Mire House before dropping down to Appersett. Then a climb up the other side of the valley to the moorland of Bluebell Hill and a gradual descent eastwards to Hardraw where we should have a chance to see the famous waterfalls (there is a fee!). Finally a climb out of Hardraw to pass through meadowland eastwards to Sedbusk before we descend southwards and cross the valley back to Hawes. Three noticeable hills, one with steps to help part of the way, each of about 150 feet, otherwise gentle ascents, and good views from both sides of the valley.
Easy Leader: Ruth Melling & Hazel Anderton   Distance: 5 miles
A sort of figure of eight walk. After leaving town we make out way up gradually rising fields towards the hamlet of Burtersett, then turn and walk along an elevated footpath, with nice views across the valley, towards the village of Gayle. We go up through the village, then make our way along the side of Gayle Beck valley until we reach Aysgill Force waterfall (not to be confused with the much better known Aysgarth). We walk along the side of the beck as far as we can, then go back onto fields, skirt Gayle and return to Hawes.

NOTES ON THE AREA

Wensleydale is named after the village of Wensley, and is the only major dale not to be named after the river that runs through it. The dale's river is the Ure, wide and beautiful, with many tributary streams, and the most famous waterfalls of Yorkshire at Aysgarth. Nowadays the centre for Upper Wensleydale is Hawes, Yorkshires highest market town and one of the highest in England. The area has a long history, its name being of Anglo-Saxon origin, meaning 'Mountain Pass'. The town, with a population at present of around 800, is the heart of the agricultural community in the upper dale. The wide and fertile fields of the valley make it particularly suitable for dairy farming, far more so than in many of the dales. In 1887 an auction mart opened in Hawes to deal with the buying and selling of livestock which, until this time had taken place in the main street.

The town lies cradled among the hills, on the south bank of the still young River Ure as it meanders across the alluvial flats of Wensleydale. To the north lie the squat puddings of Great Shunner Fell and Lovely Seat, while to the south, on either side of the broad and beautiful Sleddale, rise the moorland summits of Dodd Fell Hill and Drumaldrace, the latter known locally as Wether Fell.

Not far from Hawes is a smaller village, Gayle, and the two almost blend together. But they do show some contrasting characteristics, Hawes by comparison is new and developing, Gayle is rather older and not progressing much at all. The village lies at the foot of Sleddale and its fame today rests largely on the fact that the Pennine Way marches through it before tumbling into Hawes.

To the north lie Hardraw and Sedbusk, the latter perched on the side of rising ground and seeming to deliberately want to distance itself from everything that's going on down below. Hardraw, by comparison, can hardly avoid the attention because here you will find Hardraw Force, a quite stunning spectacle, especially after prolonged rain. It is unquestionably one of Yorkshire's most impressive waterfalls.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

BAKEWELL, PEAK DISTRICT

SUNDAY, 28TH JUNE 2009

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Julie & Mark Gibbons   Distance: 11 miles
We leave Bakewell and head for Edensor village, crossing the River Wye and the golf course, followed by a steep climb through Manners Wood and then a long but gentle trek across Carlton Pastures. A view of Chatsworth House and the expansive estate greets us as we approach Edensor, probably the prettiest Estate village. We meander through the Park following the course of the River Derwent and then climb up, crossing Beeley Moor to reach good paths that lead to the Swiss and Emperor Lakes and the Hunting Tower. Descending through Stand Wood, we pass close to the Farmyard and House, and then head back to Edensor and Bakewell.

This is strenuous in terms of mileage rather than ascent. There is one steep climb and descent, otherwise the route is gentle or moderate. Chatsworth, the home of Peregrine Cavendish, 12th Duke of Devonshire, is described as one of Britain's finest estates and, if the sun shines, you will see why!

Moderate Leader: Ruth Melling & Hazel Anderton   Distance: 8 miles
This is a linear walk so will the moderates please be ready to leave the coach promptly. We start at the pretty village of Ashford in the Water. We cross the main road and walk along the riverbank and then through woods, which is part of a nature reserve and had lots of wild flowers when we recce'ed. We re-cross the road and then walk along the bottom of Monsal Dale, a steep sided wooded valley. We go along the top of Monsal Viaduct and up to Monsal Head where, time permitting, we can rest a while and refresh ourselves with ice cream, tea or something stronger and take in the lovely view.
We then pick up the Monsal Trail and, after walking along the disused railway for a while, we make our way mainly along open country to Bakewell and some tart. We have a few uphill bits, mainly through the woods, but generally it is easy walking and not too many stiles.
Leisurely Leader: Derek Lee   Distance : 7 miles
NB: this walk will start immediately from where the coach parks - toilets in the park after 5 minutes walk.
After a few minutes walk through parkland and allotments to the edge of the town, we have a long, mostly easy, climb to the village of Over Haddon, 350 feet higher than Bakewell. Then a steep descent on the road to Lathkill Dale followed by a walk through the last mile of the Dale to Conksbury Bridge. There is a short steep climb from the bridge before we cross the open fields and drop down to Haddon Hall. From here overgrown footpaths and then a bridleway track bring us to the Monsal Trail for an easy last mile back to Bakewell. Altogether about 500 feet climbing today.
Easy Leader: Adelaide Houghton   Distance: 5.5 miles
Leaving Bakewell, we head northwards via an old pack horse track to join the Monsal Trail, then on to Ashford in the Water, a pleasant little village. The final stretch back to Bakewell is along the River Wye. Apart from one gradual uphill section, the walk is easy going (in dry weather that is!).

NOTES ON THE AREA

A busy cattle market, and the largest town in the National Park, Bakewell stands on the wooded banks of the Wye and is sheltered by hills on three sides. Bakewell is always busy. Its streets are never free of traffic and bustle, but if this is accepted from the outset there is every reason to enjoy the town. It is an exhilarating mixture of old and new, a tourist honeypot that still serves a working community. Very old buildings are surprisingly few considering the venerable history of Bakewell (it was granted a market and 15-day fair in 1254), but there are several fine 17th century structures, such as the Market Hall which now serves as the Peak National Park Information Centre, and the Town Hall. Up the steep road on the west side of the town stands an airy grass-covered knoll on which sits the parish church of All Saints. Like many Derbyshire churches it is broad and low, but with a spire as sharp as a 3H pencil. Inside there are fascinating fragments of Saxon and Norman stonework, and the famous monument to Sir John Manners and his wife Dorothy, who are supposed to have eloped together from Haddon Hall in 1558. Outside stands the shaft of a 9th century cross, beautifully and obscurely decorated with vine scrolls and figures. Close to the church is Cunningham Place and The Old House, a 16th century parsonage turned museum.

Monday is market day in Bakewell, when cattle and sheep wagons converge behind Bridge Street, and the Market Place is decked with awnings. Escaping the bleating and banter is easy; the River Wye runs alongside and it is possible in a few seconds to be out of the crowd and feeding ducks or trout along the river. Upstream is one of the oldest bridges in England, built in about 1300; impossible to appreciate if you are driving over it but a scene-stealer from water level where its five arches and solid breakwaters are visible. In the distance is Castle Hill, where the settlement of Bakewell began in 920 with the establishment of a Mercian fort.

The fame of the Bakewell pudding has spread far beyond the bounds of Derbyshire to become high on the list of favourite traditional British puddings. According to tradition, the recipe was the result of a mistake which emanated from the kitchen of the Rutland Arms Hotel in around 1860. The cook, flustered perhaps by the order to prepare a special strawberry tart for some important guests, put the jam in first and then poured in the egg mixture designed for the pastry on top. Far from being a disaster, the new invention was hailed as a culinary triumph and became a regular item on the menu. Incidentally, do not ask for a Bakewell Tart in the home of their origin - they are always known here as 'puddings'. And don't ask who has the original recipe, included in the will of the Rutland Arms cook - it is still the cause of local dispute and rivalry!


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

SEDBERGH, CUMBRIA

SUNDAY, 26TH JULY 2009

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Rowland Nock     Distance: 9.5 miles
This is a circular tour round Sedbergh, taking in part of the Howgill Fells. From the car park we head out via Castlehaw up onto the Howgills, trending our way round to Arant Haw. This is a height gain of approx 470 metres. We then walk the ridge onto Winder, taking in spectacular views. Our descent is then via Underwinder, passing by the boundaries of Ingmire Hall Estate until we finally reach the banks of the River Rawthey.

We mainly stay by the river, initially passing the tiny settlement of Brigflatts. This was once a flax weaving settlement and includes the first non-conformist meeting house built in 1675. We continue along the river, passing the confluence of the Rivers Dee and Rawthey back to Sedbergh.

Please bear in mind that this walk does include some initial gentle stream crossing on quite good footings.

Moderate Leader: Chris Cox     Distance: 8.5 miles
Sedbergh - Lockbank Farm - Winder Hill - Height of Winder - Low Branthwaite - Lune Viaduct - Lincoln's Inn Bridge - The Oaks - Brigflatts - Sedbergh School.

We leave Sedbergh, and climb approx 300m to the top of Winder Hill, where we should enjoy nice views and a rest! The ascent is in the most part fairly gradual, and there is no need to rush. There is one difficult stile in the early part of the walk, but an adjacent gate and a bit of team work will get us through! Having taken in the views, we join the Dales Way and follow the River Lune and Rawthey back to Sedbergh.

Please note there is a short section of road walking (about 5 minutes) where the Dales Way runs along the A683. Please keep to single file or walk on the verge when we get to this road. We should get back to Sedbergh in time for scones and tea!

Leisurely Leader: Philomena Walker     Distance : 7 miles
From Settlebeck Bridge we will be taking the path along the River Rawthey to Millthrop, keeping to the Dales Way. A short steep climb takes us up to Riggs and stunning views. A good spot for an early break. We continue through Gap Wood crossing over the River Dee (looking out for low flying herons). Continuing along lane and path to Abbot Holme, before once again joining the Dales Way at Birks before returning through Sedbergh.

A very pleasant leisurely walk with lots to see..

Easy Leader: Adelaide Houghton     Distance: 5 miles
After an initial climb up Castlehaw we follow field paths down to the River Rawthey, passing through Sedbergh School back into town. A pleasant walk but, bearing in mind this is sheep country, there are several stiles.

NOTES ON THE AREA

The market town of Sedbergh is situated just inside the western boundary of the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The town was founded by the Norsemen who names it 'Setberg' or 'flat topped hill'. The main business of the town has always been textiles, and a thriving woollen industry existed in the mid-19th century. Sedbergh is built predominantly of local stone. In Weavers Yard, one of the maze of alleys behind the main street, there is an old house with a vast chimney, in which Bonnie Prince Charlie hid after the failure of the 1745 rebellion.

In 1251 Sedbergh was granted a charter to hold an annual market and fair, and it is still an important market centre for the surrounding countryside. At one time, the inhabitants of Sedbergh lived by preparing wool, forming part of the textile industry based on Kendal, which flourished from the Middle Ages until the 19th century. Whole families were engaged in knitting, while weavers, knitters and merchants used Sedbergh as a centre for the buying and selling of their wares.

The church of St Andrews dates from the 13th century. It has a 15th century tower and most of the windows are 15th century and Tudor. Some of the pews are 17th century, and an almsbox dates from 1633. In June 1652, from a bench beneath a yew tree in the churchyard, George Fox preached to the crowd gathered in the town for the annual Hiring Fair. From that date Sedbergh has been a centre of the Quaker faith. At Brigflatts, reached off the A684 just over one mile south-west of Sedbergh, stands a Quaker meeting house built in 1675, as an inscription over the porch shows. The simple white walled building still preserves a fragment of the yew tree under which George Fox once preached.

Sedbergh is dominated to the west by Winder Fell, the 1551 ft high spur of the main Howgill range. Although a part of the Yorkshire Dales National park, the area of the Howgills is tied geologically, politically, and socially to Cumbria rather than to North Yorkshire. It is a splendid region of great whale-backed hills - smooth, steep sided and grassy (little heather or bracken) crossed only by lovely green tracks, with superb views over both the Dales and into the Lakes.

Cautley Spout, on the eastern flank of the Howgills, overlooking the Rawthay Valley is one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the National Park. A magnificent cascade of white water hundreds of feet long, its visual impact is heightened by a huge valley of rock and scree.

The famous Sedbergh School was founded in connection with a charity in 1528 under Dr Roger Lupton. Supressed by Henry VIII, Sedbergh was re-founded in 1551 under the grammar school legislation of Edward VI. From its early days the school has been closely connected with St John's College, Cambridge. The oldest part of the school dates from 1716.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

STAVELEY, SOUTH CUMBRIA

SUNDAY, 23RD AUGUST 2009

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Jimmy Need   Distance: 11 miles
We leave Staveley and head north up Hall Lane, then over Staveley Head Fell to Skeggles Water. Then westerly over Green Quarter Fell to Kentmere Village. Through this tiny hamlet to Kentmere Hall, then due south along wooded paths beside the River Kent to Brownfoot, picking up Brownfoot Lane back into Staveley.
Moderate Leader: Peter Denton  Distance: 8 miles
Our walk today has some wonderful views but they don't come easy! as the song goes. We start off leaving the village along the Dales Way. Then we ascend to a height of 250 metres to Potter Tarn for a well earned rest for lunch. Then back on our travels to find some more panoramas of Cumbria and find our way to Staveley for tea and a scone or whatever takes your fancy. Let's hope it does you good!
Leisurely Leader: Derek Lee   Distance : 7 miles
Most of the morning walk will be a steady climb for 3 miles eastwards from Staveley up to Potter Tarn, some 650 feet higher than Staveley. After lunch we can enjoy 2 miles downhill all the way to Bowston and the final 2 miles along the Dales Way following the River Kent back to Staveley.
Easy Leader: Cynthia Prescott & Hazel Anderton   Distance: 4-5 miles
Quite a pleasant varied walk with some good views as we walk along grass fields, little country lanes and through woods along the side of the main valley, and then up a tributary stream as far as Side House. We could then turn back from here but would recommend the extra bit to Frost Hole as it is pleasant, and also we could lunch away from trees and mozzies. Finally we make our way back to Staveley along the riverside on the Dales Way.
On the whole a comfortable walk, although one or two spots might be a little muddy if there has been rain, and there are just a few stiles mainly along the river.

NOTES ON THE AREA

Staveley is a large, mainly residential village, now bypassed, of grey slate cottages and houses, sandwiched between the River Gowan and the River Kent, at the southern end of the valley of Kentmere. The area around Staveley has been inhabited since about 4000BC, at a time when trees grew extensively on the fellsides. The first permanent settlers were Celtic speaking British farmers, and they were followed in AD90 by the Romans, who had a road to the south of the village linking Kendal and Ambleside.

During the Dark Ages and later medieval times, the village and its neighbours grew, developed and were plundered in much the same way as many other villages throughout Cumbria. But by the time of the Industrial Revolution, the village was quick to expand as transport improved. So it was that Staveley became the bobbin-turning capital of Westmorland, so much so that by 1851 there were more families working at the manufacture of bobbins than there were engaged in farming. By the 20th century, the bobbin industry had ended and new manufacturing industries developed - diatomite, motor cycles and photographic paper - and Staveley is still a small industrial village.

Staveley was granted a market charter in the 13th century, and also held a three-day fair each year. In 1338 the lord of the manor, Sir William Thweng, agreed to build a chapel in honour of St Margaret. St Margaret's Church, of which only the tower now remains, was founded in 1388. A plaque on the tower commemorates Staveley men of the F Company, Second V B Border Regiment, who served in the South Africa Campaign 1900-01 under Major John Thompson. In 1864 it was decided to build a new church, and this was dedicated to St James. This later church has some beautiful stained glass designed by Burne-Jones and made by William Morris's company.

The vale of Kentmere contains the source of the River Kent, a river that gave its name to Kendal. At the head of the dale, the village of Kentmere gathers around its church. There used to be a lake or 'mere' just to the south of the church, where now there is nothing more than a swelling in the river, but the lake was only a shallow affair and was drained in about 1840 to provide land for agriculture. In 1955, dredging along the river to gather diatomite for a processing plant at nearby Waterfoot uncovered what were believed to be two 10th century wooden canoe-like boats, the best of which was later presented to the National Maritime Museum. These finds give a clear indication that the valley was inhabited from early times, and may well have been when the Romans were here, building their great highway across High Street.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

LLANGOLLEN, NORTH WALES

SUNDAY, 27TH SEPTEMBER 2009

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Dag Griffiths Distance: 12 miles, total Ascent 840 m
Crossing the river and the canal we pick up the Llangollen History Trial which skirts the ruins of Castell Dinas Bran and brings us on to Offa's Dyke Path. At Trevor Rocks we continue our ascent along the limestone edge of Creigiau Eglwseg which offers stunning views. East of Rock Farm we head east across the moorland of Bryn-Adda Flat - again with great views. Heading towards Bryn-Adda we begin our return leg picking up country lanes overlooking the Vale of Llangollen. On our return to the town centre we skirt the other side of Castell Dinas.
Moderate Leader: Jackie gudgeon Distance: 8 miles
We leave Llangollen by crossing the river and canal and heading towards Castell Dinas Bran as far as Geufron. We follow a path round the foot of Castell Dinas to join the Panorama Walk before heading west along the top of Trevor Rocks, past Eglwseg Plantation after which we might drop down to the Offa's Dyke Path or we could stay high for a little longer (depending on weather etc). Either way we eventually descend into the valley to pass, on the return journey, Abbey Cottage and Valle Crucis Abbey, before joining the Llangollen Canal back to Llangollen.
Leisurely Leader: Sully Adam Distance : 6.5 - 7 miles
We start off from the bridge over the River Dee, along the canal for a short while, then to Castell Dinas Bran and along to Trevor. Back along the Llangollen Canal.
Easy Leader: Sue Daniels Distance: 5 miles
Firstly I had better point out that I have not pre-walked where I intend taking you today but most of it is canal walking so no real chance of getting lost! After leaving the coach we make our way up to the canal where there is a café and we can have a quick cuppa and snack. From here we follow the canal, making our way to the beautiful crescent shaped Horseshoe Falls and we can enjoy the view. We then head up to Llantysilio Church and hopefully can take a look inside. The route then continues up and across Velvet Hill before reaching Valle Crucis Abbey where we can wander for a while and possibly have lunch here. We then head back to Llangollen along the same canal path.

NOTES ON THE AREA

Llangollen is the sacred enclosure of St Collen, who made his name in the 7th century for dealing with fairies. The bridge over the Dee finds its way into the old rhyme about the seven wonders of Wales. Originally a pack-horse bridge, built by John Trevor, Bishop of St Asaph, in 1345, it has been widened several times, and the rapids below it are a testing ground for canoeists. Llangollen Railway Station was on the Great Western Railway's line from Ruabon to Dolgellau. It received its first train in 1862 and the line westward to Corwen opened in 1865, just a century before British Rail closed this route. Preservationists re-opened the station in 1975 and the Llangollen Railway Society now runs steam and diesel hauled trains to Berwyn.

The limestone escarpment of Trevor Rocks is an impressive sight. It began as a coral reef in tropical water 350 million years ago. The Offa's Dyke Path follows this road on its journey of some 170 miles between Chepstow and Prestatyn, although the nearest stretch of dyke is actually the earlier Wat's Dyke, about 6 miles to the east.

The ruins of the Cistercian Valle Crucis Abbey house an exhibition on monastic life up to the Dissolution in 1535. The Abbey was actually dedicated to St Mary; its first monks came from Strata Marcella near Welshpool and were Cistercians, renowned for their hard work and self sufficiency. Its resulting prosperity was affected by the Welsh wars, but it was peaceful and wealthy in the early 14th century. The Tudors were later to dissolve the abbeys but the number of monks had dwindled and had lapsed from the strict Cistercian rules by the time Valle Crucis was closed in 1537. Its ruins are in the care of CADW (Welsh Historic Monuments).

The Pillar of Eliseg now stands 8 feet high. It was broken during the Civil War and originally formed a cross of about 20 feet in height. This is the cross that gave its name to this valley and would seem to mark the crossing point of male and female earth energy lines (the Michael and Mary lines). Its significance led to a man (possibly Eliseg) being buried here, under the cross. The tumulus was opened before the pillar was re-erected in 1779. It was found to contain the skeleton of a man plus a silver coin, which would rule out an early date to this burial. The pillar is most famous for its Latin inscription. This is now indecipherable, but it was carefully transcribed by Edward Lhuyd in 1696. The 31 lines of Latin record that the stone was erected by Concenn, great-grandson of Eliseg, who fought to save Powys from the English.

The Llangollen Canal is a branch of the Shropshire Union Canal and was completed in 1805 by Thomas Telford. The canal ends one mile westwards at the Horseshoe Falls, a weir designed by Telford to hold back the water needed to keep the canal topped up. When the canal was used for the carriage of goods and materials, Pentrefelin was a 'port'. Slate from the quarries at the Horseshoe Pass on the Llangollen-Ruthin road was brought down by a tramway.

Perched on a hill 1062 ft above sea level, Castell Dinas Bran is one of the most prominent landmarks in the Vale of Llangollen. 'Bran' is Welsh for 'crow' and the castle is often referred to locally as 'Crow Castle'. Traces of Bronze Age earthworks can be seen on the hill. One of the most striking features of the view from here is Thomas Telford's great Pontcysyllte Aqueduct, carrying the Llangollen Canal over the Dee. The aqueduct is 1037 ft long and 127 ft high. The so-called 'Stream in the Sky', which took ten years to build, was officially opened in 1805 and has been in use ever since.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

SLAIDBURN, LANCASHIRE

SUNDAY, 25TH OCTOBER 2009

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Dag Griffiths     Distance: 12 miles
A walk around Stocks Reservoir.
Passing Hammerton Hall and Black House we come onto Ten Acre Hill from where we see Stocks Reservoir for the first time. We then make our way over a causeway and along the edge of Gisburn Forest. Next we cross Hasgill Beck and pass the derelict New House. We then head for Lock Bridge across the River Hodder and pas the hamlet of Kenibus. A short stretch on the road leads to the side of a disused railway line and a path on the other side of the reservoir eventually leading to another short road stretch before returning to Salidburn, initially alongside Croasdale Beck and then across meadows. There is no great height in this walk and on the recce there were only occasional muddy stretches.
Moderate Leader: Hazel Anderton & Ruth Melling     Distance: 8 miles
Mainly gentle up hill and down dale as we take a roundabout route over fields, down lanes and along the river via Highfield and Hammerton Hall to Gisburn Forest. We walk a while in the forest - look out for hairy bikers - and come out near the delightful little chapel. We then take the discretionary footpath, which is well used and rather muddy in places, along the side of Stocks Reservoir back to Slaidburn and the lovely pub.
Leisurely Leader: Philomena Walker     Distance : 7.5 miles
Through woods up to Tenter Hill, towards Myttons. Turn back towards Pain Hill down to Crawshaw, and into the village of Newton. Under Newton Bridge we pick a path along the River Hodder for a gentle stroll back to Slaidburn, and a pint at the Hark to Bounty or refreshment in Café or by riverside, weather permitting.
Easy Leader: Derek Lee     Distance: 5 miles
Unfortunately I have not had a chance to recce this walk. We will head west from Slaidburn to Pain Hill Moor, climbing 250 feet, before dropping back down to Newton, then returning along the river to Slaidburn.

NOTES ON THE AREA

The ancient sheep farming settlement of Slaidburn sits above the Hodder on the banks of Croasdale Brook. Markets were once held at the top of Church Street by the old village cross, the base of which is now built into the side of New Hodder Bridge. Stock and cattle fairs have been held in the village since 1294, and in the 17th century cattle fairs were held four times a year.

The village once had a smithy, a wheelwright, a tannery and a corn mill. Past industries have included hat manufacture, shoe and dress making and, in the 19th century, hand-loom weaving was carried out in the little community of Mount Pleasant at the top of the village.

The 'Halmote' or Chief Court of Bowland was once held at Slaidburn. The court room is still preserved and is located above the Hark to Bounty inn with access by way of the outside steps. Inside one can view the original oak furnishings of benches, dock and witness box, along with the timber-work of the ceiling. Permission to view can be obtained from the innkeeper. The name of the inn is a curious one and recalls an age when deer were hunted in these parts. The story goes that on one hunt day, a visiting squire, the Reverend Henry Wigglesworth, listening to the hounds giving voice outside recognised that of his own favourite hound; his exclamation of delight gave name to the inn.

St Andrews Parish Church, Slaidburn, anciently known as the Wanden or Warden Chapel, is first mentioned in 1120 when Hugh de la Val granted the monks of Kirkstall Priory 'some interest in the Church at Slaydeburn'. The tower is early English in design, but has been subject to reconstruction many times. The massive angled buttresses were added when the west wall was rebuilt in the 14th century. Above the main west window are two highly decorated image niches; sadly the figures are long gone. The three-decker pulpit is an attractive creation from the early Georgian period (1740). In three tiers, it combines the parish clerk's seat, a lectern, and a pulpit. The clerk would lead the responses from the lowest stall. These lofty pulpits became necessary when high box pews became fashionable.

Built into the fabric of the north interior wall of the nave is a rather friendly stone head. This is one of many Celtic stone heads that are found in the north, and points to a pagan origin for the site.

The Hornby Road, sometimes referred to as the Salter Fell Track, was constructed for most of its length along the course of an old Roman route, that linked forts at Hadrians Wall and Ribchester. Later it was used as a packhorse route for traders whose Galloway ponies would have lugged panniers of salt from Morecambe Bay to the towns of East Lancashire.

The tiny hamlet of Dalehead, with its fine 17th century houses at Stocks and Rushton Grange, has now disappeared beneath the great expanse of water known as Stocks Reservoir. The old church that stood at Dalehead was the only building to avoid a watery grave. It was taken down and rebuilt in 1938 further up the valley. The graves were removed and now lie in the present churchyard.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

HURST GREEN, LANCASHIRE

SUNDAY, 29TH NOVEMBER 2009

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Rowland Nock   Distance: 12 miles
From Hurst Green we take the small lane west to the Punch Bowl public house. From here we head off to Stewart's Wood picking up the Ribble Way to Ribchester Bridge via the River Ribble. From here we cross the bridge taking the Ribchester Road to Salesbury Hall. We then follow the southern banks of the Ribble through the delightful Marles Wood to the pedestrian suspension bridge, which takes us to the north bank of the river. The rest of the walk is mainly river walking via Stoneyhurst College back to Hurst Green. This walk, particularly the latter part, was inspirational for J R R Tolkien's 'Lord of the Rings' as he spent much of his time writing in the College.
Please bear in mind that in view of the extreme weather conditions lately, this walk may be subject to change/alterations.
Moderate Leader: Sue Daniels   Distance: 7 miles
Today's moderate walk reaches no great heights but reaches great depths!! The day we did the pre-walk it had rained very heavily the night before and consequently the ground was extremely wet with very boggy and deep mud areas along practically the whole of the route - so you have been warned!! We make a gradual climb from Hurst Green up through Longridge Fell through pretty valleys and forests with a couple of stunning views across the surrounding area. After a gentle descent to the hamlet of Walker Fold the walk traverses round the end of the fell over Kemple End and finishes with a short walk through the grounds of Stonyhurst College, one of the most impressive buildings in Lancashire.
Leisurely Leader: Joan McGlinchey & Margaret Black   Distance : 7.5 miles
We start by walking down past the Shireburn Arms and across the fields towards the River Ribble. However, after passing through a small wood (slippy in places) we walk gently uphill across farmland. We then bypass Stonyhurst College and follow footpaths mainly through open ground out to the River Hodder. After lunch there is a short period along the road before turning off across the fields to rejoin the river footpath which leads back to the Shireburn Arms. A fairly flat walk with lovely views on a clear day, and interesting river features along the way.
Easy Leader: Cynthia Prescott & Hazel Anderton   Distance: 5 miles
Note: We intend to give some time for coffee or tea at the Bayley Arms near the community car park. The landlord assures us that coffee is served from 8 am. There is no café in the village.
The walk starts with a pleasant walk through woods, near a stream and along good paths and tracks up to the viewpoint and disused quarry. (It is well worth the not too strenuous effort for the extensive views in many directions) We then head down through fields to see different views towards Crowshaw Lodge Reservoir and head down to Longridge Road along the bridleway. After a short section of road we head down to Bailey Hall, through a farmyard. We see the remains of a moat and walk down through a little glade with a footbridge and head up to the church and back to the village.

NOTES ON THE AREA

The village of Hurst Green lies on the north side of the River Ribble, between Clitheroe and Ribchester. It was visited by Oliver Cromwell and his army of Ironsides in August 1648. They camped at nearby Stonyhurst Park as he passed through to take on the Royalist army at Walton Bridge near Preston.

For many years the main industry here was farming, but the village's prosperity began to grow significantly when Sir Nicholas Shireburne (or Shireburn) of Stonyhurst Hall had his tenants taught" the skills of spinning and weaving, even keeping rooms in his hall for "as many as could spare time from their families to become proficient, Nor did his generosity stop there for he provided everyone with yarn and looms "whereby the countryside around began to prosper and the village became full of busy little mills, rows of workers cottages, and the sound of rushing water".

Stonyhurst College originally belonged to the Bayley family and later to the Shireburns. In 1592 Sir Richard Shireburn began to build a new house here which was to remain the family home until the death of Sir Nicholas, the last Shireburn, in 1717. The mansion subsequently fell into disrepair, and in 1794 it was handed over to the Society of Jesuits. Stonyhurst has, since then, been considerably extended, and is now one of England's most eminent public schools. The many priceless treasures in the college museum include the embroidered cap of Sir Thomas More (1478-1535), Catherine of Aragon's religious robes, and a cloak of Henry II's which was later worn by Henry VIII at the Field of the Cloth of Gold (1520). Much older than any of these however, is the 7th century copy of St John's Gospel - the oldest surviving English bound book. The magnificent west front is flanked by the beautiful St Peter's Church, built in 1832-5 and modelled upon Kings College Chapel, Cambridge. Some of Stonyhursts famous ex-pupils are the poet Gerard Manley Hopkins, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, and the actor Charles Laughton.

It was near Hurst Green in 1826 that a certain John L McAdam, who became so famous for his roadmaking ideas that his name lives on in the word "tarmacadam", tried out new road construction methods.

Longridge Fell is the most southerly named 'Fell' in the country. Its summit stands at 1148 ft. The extensive plantations consist mainly of sitka spruce, larch and lodgepole pine, and provide an ideal habitat for the shy roe deer. Birds to look out for are sparrowhawk, kestrel, short-eared owl, and tawny owl.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

RIVINGTON, LANCASHIRE

SUNDAY, 3rd january 2010

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Dag Griffiths     Distance: 9.5 miles
Virtually all of the ascent comes in the first part of the walk. We head first for Pigeon Tower and then Rivington Pike. Dropping down to Pike's Cottage we take the path to the left of 'Two Lads' and pick up the road to Winter Hill (456m). From the top we take a short but fairly steep descent (sticks could be useful!) which then flattens out to cross the Rivington-Belmont Road at Hordern Stoops. From there we pick up the path to Higher Hempshaw's and then on bridle paths to Simms and Lead Mines Clough to the Yarrow Reservoir. Walking round the north and west of the Yarrow Reservoir, we reach the village of Rivington before heading back for the coach.
Moderate Leader: Alison & Eric Ashcroft     Distance: 8.7 miles
Ascent 1200 feet. We leave Rivington Hall Barn by bridleways and paths, skirting around woods to climb up to Pigeon Tower with it's views across Rivington Moor. Then on around Noon Hill and paths to the remains of Higher Hempshaws and Simms. We continue to Lead Mines Clough and down river to Yarrow Reservoir, then by Lower Rivington Reservoir and back to Great House Barn car park and up the main driveway to the Hall and coach park,
Leisurely Leader: Peter Denton     Distance : 5-6 miles
The walk starts with quite a steep climb up to 'Pigeon tower'. The path is stepped with a hand rail. A steady slow pace will get us breathing hard by the time we get to the top, but the views will be worth the pain. After we recover we will head gently down hill around Yarrow Reservoir, then down the side of Rivington Reservoir, for a cup of tea and scone.
Easy Leader: Irene Wilcock and Dianne Pennington     Distance: 6.5 miles
We make our way to Rivington Hall Barn and then take an uphill path to the terraced gardens. From there the walk continues on to the Castle and follows the paths by the side of the reservoir.

NOTES ON THE AREA

Rivington and Anglezarke lie on the south-western slopes of the West Pennine Moors, an area of moorland and reservoir scenery. The passage of time and the influence of man has shaped the valley and hillside into the landscape we see today, which undoubtedly has the attraction of a mini-lakeland. Man has populated the area for centuries, remains of Bronze Age settlements and tumuli, long since raided, can still be found up on the moors. There is also evidence of an early influence in the area from place names of a Scandinavian origin.

Rivington has developed over the centuries under several generations of the Pilkington family, who purchased the estate from the de Rivington (or de Roynton) family over 700 years ago. During the early 1600's the estate was sold to joint owners Robert Lever of D'Arcy Lever and Thomas Breres of Preston. A century later, in 1729, the manor passed into the sole ownership of John Andrews, a descendent of Robert Lever. The manorial rights remained with the same family until 1900, when John William Crompton sold the estate to William Hesketh Lever who created Lever Park and the Terraced Gardens. The estate was subsequently acquired by Liverpool Corporation to protect their water supply.

Shortly after William Hesketh Lever (later to become Lord Leverhulme) bought the estate, he began to lay out a series of ornamental gardens around his luxurious home 'The Bungalow'. Lever made his fortune in soap. Born in Bolton, the son of a grocer, he began making soap in Warrington in 1886. By the time he died, Lever Brothers (the forerunner of the multinational Unilever) was the largest firm of its kind in the world, and the new town of Port Sunlight was founded. His grand estate included the mansion of Rivington Hall, dating from the later 17th and early 18th centuries, but later rebuilt and extended. Still standing beside the hall is the Great House Barn, a much older structure which may date from as early as the 11th century. It was used as a tithe barn, but is now a restaurant. The gardens themselves incorporate slanting paths and terraces, sets of steps, plus a range of grottoes, bridges and artificial lakes. Built of dark local granite, these features can look sombre on a dull day but are nevertheless intriguing. The gardens have had an eventful history. Lever's Bungalow was burnt by suffragettes. The exotic plants and buildings fell into decay and became overgrown. In recent years conservation work has opened up the network of paths again. Although the gardens have not been restored to their former glory, their wild and abandoned character is nevertheless attractive and gives them a powerful atmosphere.

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