SKELMERSDALE RAMBLING CLUB

 

Skelmersdale Rambling Club

RIBCHESTER, LANCASHIRE

SUNDAY, 29TH JANUARY 2012

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Selwyn Williams   Distance: Approx. 9 miles
We set off from the village to the River Ribble and follow the bank on the opposite side to the Ribble Way, later crossing over by secure method of a bridge (no stepping stones here). Up to Hurst Green (toilet stop available), passing to the left of Stoneyhurst College and up to Deer House Wood. We then return across fields to our start, passing Stydd Manor with the old alms house and little chapel.
Moderate Leader: Leo & Jean Keenan   Distance: 8 miles
The walk is a steady climb from Ribchester towards Longridge Fell, going through Duddel Wood and Manor House Farm. We then go along Huntingdon Hall Road, through fields to Goodshaw Farm, along the Old Clitheroe Road with views of the Ribble Valley, towards the New Drop Inn. From here we descend back to Ribchester through sheep grazed fields. The walk could be very muddy with plenty of stiles.
Leisurely Leader: Cynthia Pescott & Margaret Black   Distance: 7.5 miles
This lovely walk takes us through fields to Ribchester Bridge then heads up to a good view overlooking the river and the countryside. We then head down to Clough Bank and Dinkley Suspension Bridge and walk back along the other side of the river, through Marles Wood and up to the lane that leads back to Ribchester Bridge. We head back over fields to Stone Bridge and go near to the Roman Bathhouse and have beautiful river views in Ribchester itself. There are lots of footbridges and lots of stiles and some steep downhill steps. Not a lot of uphill walking. Most of the walk is on good paths, tracks or lanes.

When this walk was first reccied Joan McGlinchey broke her ankle on a muddy Ribble Way and had to be rescued. Margaret & Cynthia tried to find a new route that was not muddy but this seemed impossible in Ribchester. One field gate was muddy where cattle had collected, so there were muddy boots on part of this walk, but this could not be avoided. At the end of January the ground could be harder!

Easy Leader: Hazel Anderton & Ruth Melling   Distance: 5 miles
Today's walk takes us through the town and then to the north of Ribchester and includes a circular route around Duddel Hill (with the mast at the top). We go along lanes, cross fields and through some woodland. There are no steep climbs and the mud situation is not too bad, but there are a lot of stiles.

NOTES ON THE AREA

The countryside around Ribchester is probably one of the loveliest areas in Lancashire, with streams flowing down wooded valleys into the Ribble, rolling hills, grassy fields, and many trees, topped off with views of Pendle Hill, Longridge Fell, and the Forest of Bowland.

Ribchester itself is well worth seeing, the interesting bits being off to the left of the main road towards the river; Church, Roman remains, Museum of Childhood, Tea Shop, pubs, and old houses. The 13th century church is sited alongside the River Ribble at a place where there was a ford. Crossing the river was a hazardous occupation - in 1246 the rector, whose name was Drogo, was drowned together with his horse. The Assize record shows that the horse's hide was valued at 19 pence, and this amount was duly paid to the sheriff. In the church a fragment of a medieval wall painting shows St Christopher, patron saint of travellers, with the Christ Child. In the 13th century the prominent steps in the churchyard probably supported a cross. Now there is a 17th or 18th century sundial, with an inscription that asks the question: "I am a shadow - so art thou. I mark time - dost thou?" Near the church a small museum houses Roman artefacts. These include a replica of a fine bronze ceremonial helmet, discovered by a schoolboy in 1796, the original is in the British Museum.

On the way out of town, at the end of a lane edged by leafy hedgerows, is the hamlet of Stydd. Here are the almshouses endowed in 1726 by John Sherburn for six Catholic ladies, widows or spinsters. The unusual facade includes some Roman pillars. Today the almshouses are administered by the diocese of Salford. Further up the lane is Stydd Church. Built by the Knights Hospitallers of St John in Jerusalem, the Chapel of the Saviour is all that remains of a small monastery complete with dormitory, refectory and cloisters. In 1338 when it was considered that the monastery no longer served any useful purpose, it was dissolved. The chapel was transferred to the parish of Ribchester in 1545 and today services are held monthly. It is the oldest church building in the valley. The north door is the work of 12th century masons. The interior is simple - a stone flagged nave and an aged oak screen dividing it from the chancel, some massive beams and a panelled pulpit.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

KENDAL, CUMBRIA

SUNDAY, 26TH FEBRUARY 2012

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Dag Griffiths   Distance: 12 miles
From the K-Village we make our way to the footpath to Helsfell Nab, skirting the golf course and crossing the A591 via a footbridge. On reaching Cunswick Scar we pass through woods heading for Capplerigg en route to picking up the bridle path to Lindreth Brow (lunch stop). Next objective is Tranthwaite Hall before skirting Underbarrow. Now comes the 'sting in the tail' - up through woods to Scout Scar, the highest point of today's walk (229 metres). Kendal is now back in view and we cross the former racecourse to pick up a lane back to the town centre. On the day of the 'recce' the ground was frozen and firm under foot. Let's hope for more of the same, otherwise be prepared for mud!
Moderate Leader: Cynthia & Dave Prescott   Distance: 8 miles, Height Gain 330 metres
This is a pleasant walk from Kendal to the limestone escarpment of Scout Scar and Cunswick Scar, both of which give unimpeded views towards the higher Lakeland fells. We will start at the K-Village/Leisure Centre where the coach parks and walk along the river to the town centre. There is then a climb up towards the old racecourse, open moorland and to the top of the hills to the west of Kendal. There are good views on the way up (especially if you look back down on Kendal) and super views ahead when you reach Scout Scar. We then go along the limestone edge on good paths to a viewpoint and continue to Cunswick Scar. Most of the paths on this walk are stony tracks and there are no very muddy fields. Honest! Kissing gates have now replaced many of the old stiles and where there are stiles they are pretty good. The return takes us on a public path through the golf course and on down through a lovely wood to town.
Easy Leader: Sue Daniels   Distance: 5 miles
After first visiting a cosy and inviting tea shop, we will be doing a very easy stroll along the River Kent. We will hopefully make it as far as Sedgwick and then make our way back. Alternatively, depending on what everyone on the walk would prefer, we could cut the river walk a bit shorter and visit the remains of Kendal Castle. I have not pre-walked this ramble, but did virtually the same one last year.

NOTES ON THE AREA

Kendal, the largest town in the defunct county of Westmorland, was formerly an important woollen textile centre, an industry that was founded by John Kemp, a Flemish weaver, in 1331. The town is always bustling, and it remains an important Cumbrian settlement. It is largely built from grey limestone, the local rock.

The main artery is Highgate - part of a devilish one-way system - from which flows a series of wynds or courtyards, now less obvious than of old, but linking Highgate with the River Kent. It has been suggested that these many named and numbered yards and alleyways were part of the town's defensive system, and characteristic of settlements that were constantly under threat from raiders, but many of them were built long after the Scottish raids ended, and may, therefore, reflect no more than the pattern of development that had evolved by the 18th century, when most of them were built.

The town stands on the banks of the River Kent, crossed by six bridges, and has been a place of strategic importance since the Romans built a fort, of which little is now visible, to the south of the town. The fort was called Alauna, and seems to have been occupied from AD80 to the 4th century, and would have been built to command the roads to Lancaster, Ambleside, Low Borrow Bridge in the Lune valley, and Brougham.

Kendal Castle, a roughly circular earthwork surrounded by a ditch, stands on a hill just outside the town, and probably dates from the 12th century. Additional features date from the 13th and 14th centuries, when it was the home of the Barons of Kendal and their centre of administration and defence. By the late 16th century, the castle was in an advanced state of decay, and has remained so ever since. Even so, most of the castle wall survives along with one of its towers. The manor hall was by far the most important building in the castle, and parts of this also remain. Because several footpaths run through the grounds, the castle is open at all times.

The church of the Holy and Undivided Trinity is Cumbria's largest parish church, and dates from the 13th century, though it is essentially a Victorian creation, having been significantly altered during restorations that took place between 1850 and 1852. It was built on the site of an earlier church, and has five aisles, two each side of the nave and chancel, and a fine western tower with a peal of 10 bells.

Author Alfred Wainwright was born in Blackburn, Lancashire, but lived in Kendal from 1941 until his death in 1991. He eventually became the town's borough treasurer, but is renowned for the many books be composed in his unique style about both the Lakeland he loved, and other parts of Britain, especially Scotland and Wales. The tourist information office in Kendal Town Hall used to be Wainright's office from 1947 to 1967.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

HAWORTH, WEST YORKSHIRE

SUNDAY, 25TH MARCH 2012

TODAY'S WALKS

There are no toilets where the coach will park today, so please be sure to identify your walk leader before leaving the coach park as he/she will have already decided where the group will use toilets and will have incorporated this in their walk. Please do not wander off from the coach, but remain with your walk group from the beginning. Thanks.
Strenuous Leader: Rowland Nock   Distance: 10.5 miles
Heading out over Penistone Hill and Haworth Moor, we make our way to the Top Withins via Harbour Lodge. (maybe we can enjoy lunch with 'Heathcliffe' here!). Descending from Top Withins, we cross over the Bronte Bridge to climb up by the side of the Bronte Waterfalls, back onto Haworth Moor (this does involve some scrambling). We then pick our way over to Oxenhope. From here we return to Haworth by Bridgehouse Beck and the Keighley & Worth Valley Railway, for our usual well earned tea & tiffin. (Watch our for the Railway Children!).
Moderate Leader: Peter Denton   Distance: 7 miles
Bronte Waterfalls and Wuthering Heights

We will gather at the coach, then walk to the public conveniences. We then start our walk out of the town along Cemetery Road and onto Haworth Moor to Bronte Bridge and waterfalls, crossing South Dean Beck, then up to Middle Withins (ruin), up again to Top Withins Farm (ruin). We will take our lunch break here. We then head back down on the Pennine way towards Stanbury, then across the embankment of Lower Laithe Reservoir, then back up into Haworth for a well-earned cup of tea and maybe a scone. Happy Rambling!

Leisurely Leader: Philomena Walker   Distance: Approx 7.5 miles.
We set off across Penistone Hill, and along the Millennium Way towards Bronte Bridge, crossing Hill End and joining up with the Pennine Way, down through Lower Withins to the ruined farm at Top Withins, reputed to be the "Wuthering Heights". Great views, continuing along the Bronte Way to the Bronte Bridge again, and check out the Waterfall, before following paths across Haworth Moor back to Penistone Hill Country Park and the delights of Haworth village.
Easy Leader: Nicole & Allan Fraser   Distance: 5 miles
We start at the Parsonage and follow Cemetery Road for a short while to an easy path, which offers pleasant views of the valley and Lower Laithe Reservoir. This path leads eventually to the Bronte Bridge and the Bronte Chair, which could be an excellent place for a leisurely lunch. To avoid some very steep climbs, we then need to retrace our steps awhile before cutting across the moor, with some new views over Oxenhope to the east, and then back to Haworth.

NOTES ON THE AREA

Haworth, and the moors beyond, will always be associated with the Brontes, a uniquely-gifted family growing up in the emotionally repressed conditions of Victorian times. Most people remember the names of Anne, Charlotte and Emily for their literary endeavours, though there were three more children in the family - Maria and Elizabeth, both of whom died in childhood, and the only boy, Branwell, who squandered his many talents.

The girls were born in Thornton, Yorkshire, daughters of Patrick Bronte, an Irish clergyman and his Cornish wife Maria. Their mother died of cancer in 1821, not long after Anne was born, the year (1820) in which they moved to Haworth. After their mother's death, the chldren were looked after by an austere aunt, and their only escape lay in writing and the exploration of the countryside around their home. The desolate moors which so inspired the Bronte sisters, rise majestically above the steep sided valleys.

The old part of Haworth has a steep and cobbled Main Street, leading down from the church, with alleys and courts branching off it, but the village expanded in Victorian times, stretching down the hillside towards the river and railway. The 4.5 mile Keighley and Worth Valley Railway is one of the finest restored steam railways in the country and runs regular daily steam services in the summer, and at weekends during the winter months. The railway was originally opened in 1867, not only to carry passengers but also to bring raw materials to the valley's mills.

Bronte Falls, which tumble into Salden Beck, was a favourite spot of the Bronte sisters. A few yards down the stream is the Bronte seat which is hewn out of a single piece of rock. And high up on the moors is Top Withins, the ruin of a lonely farmhouse which is said to have been the inspiration for Emily Bronte's well-loved novel Wuthering Heights.

Penistone Hill appears in Wuthering Heights as 'Penistone Crag', a local beauty spot near Thrushcross Grange. The quarry here provided stone for the paving blocks in the high street, and for the dark buildings of Haworth. Looking at the now disused gritstone quarries on the edge of the moor it is hard to imagine that as late as the 1920's a hundred men hewed stone here. Penistone Hill is now a 180 acre Country Park, and from the summit there is a spectacular view across the bleak open Pennines.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

MALHAM, YORKSHIRE DALES

SUNDAY, 29TH APRIL 2012

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Jackie Gudgeon   Distance: About 9 miles
We leave Malham to follow the stream to Janets Fosse and Gordale Bridge. Up and over to the top of Malham Cove where we follow the Pennine Way along the dry valley of Watlowes to reach Malham Tarn. Then by bridleway and tracks to Nappa Cross from where we descend back into Malham along Fair Sleets Gate and Long Lane. Fairly well drained stony tracks most of the way but could be quite boggy in places on the higher peaty ground.
Moderate Leader: Andrew Mayor/Norma Carmichael   Distance: 8 miles
Ascent 850 feet (258 metres).

This is Andrew's first walk as a leader so I hope those who join the group will be patient. The walk starts from the village along a riverside path passing through a garlic path onto Janet's Foss, a pretty water fall where we will stop for a few minutes. We will then continue up a few steps along the road towards Gordale Scar. Those who wish to climb the scar can do so, otherwise we leave the scar behind and retrace our steps back to Gordale Bridge, crossing the field through a gate towards the hill.

Once upon the hill we find a path which takes us past the limestone pavement towards Street Gate and then onto Malham Tarn where we will stop for lunch. We will continue the walk to Malham Cove where we encounter some steep steps (care should be taken as they can become slippy). We will carry on the path, which I believe is part of the Pennine Way until we reach the village.

Leisurely Leader: Philomena Walker   Distance: 6.5 miles
Riverside walk to Janets Foss, followed by visit to admire Gordale Scar before returning towards Malham on Gordale Lane. Taking a path in front of the YHA towards Malham Cove - good spot for lunch, nice big boulders to lean against, before climbing up steps of Cove (we will take our time).

Great views from top of cove. We then take a rocky walk along Watlowes towards the tarn and an ice cream van. We return via Lanscar Gate and down to Malham.

Easy Leader: Margery Howe & Hazel Anderton   Distance: 5 miles
Malham - Gordale Beck to Janets Foss - Gordale Scar (to view only) - Gordale Bridge. Short climb from bridge up and over to the Cove, across fields. Malham Cove (limestone pavement, alternative route if pavement is found to be too testing). Descend by steps to riverside path back to Malham.

NOTES ON THE AREA

The exact derivation of the name Malham is not clear, but it may mean 'stony or gravelly place', a name which would be in keeping with much of its surrounding area. In the Domesday Book the name is given as 'Malgum'. In any event there has been a settlement at Malham for well over a thousand years and human habitation in the area for perhaps three thousand. Today it is without doubt the most popular village in the National Park with one million visitors each year. The present bridge which marks the centre of the village is eighteenth century but incorporates much of an earlier packhorse bridge of the seventeenth, while there are three clapper bridges of earlier origin.

The Middle Craven Fault, running roughly east to west just north of Malham, marks the southern limit of the Great Scar Limestone, for the land to the south of it is of a very different character. Malham Cove and the valley in front of it were created when glacial melt waters ran down the steep hillside produced by the fault and eroded back into the edge of the limestone bed. It is a magnificent sight; a great natural amphitheatre with sheer - and in parts overhanging - walls tapering back into the hillsides on each side. The depression in the centre of the cliff was originally the lip of a waterfall, about three times higher than any existing fall in the Dales today. Not since the early years of the nineteenth century however has any water been known to flow over it.

Malham Tarn, a stretch of open water covering 153 acres, exists in limestone country because its bed is formed of more ancient impervious rock. The present depth of the tarn - about 14 feet - is maintained by an embankment and sluice gate to the south built by a previous owner, Thomas Lister, in 1791. The Tarn is now owned by the National Trust and managed as a nature reserve by the Field Studies Council.

Gordale Scar has been described as 'a collapsed cave' but is believed to have been created by a furious rush of water as vast quantities of ice melted at the end of the last glacial period. Within the Gorge, the 160 ft high cliffs protrude at the top, at one point coming within 50 ft of each other.

Janet's Foss. Foss is a name used for waterfall and Janet (or Jennet) is said to be queen of the local fairies. She lived (or lives) in the far from comfortable quarters of a cave behind the waterfall. The fan of white water was created when the limestone bedrock was dissolved and eroded by the action of water, and then re-deposited on mosses growing on the lip of the waterfall as a fragile screen of porous limestone known as Tufa.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

HAWKSHEAD, LAKE DISTRICT

SUNDAY, 27TH MAY 2012

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Rowland Nock & Andrew Mayer   Disance: 10 miles
We will leave the picturesque village of Hawkshead via the church, heading towards Hawkshead Hill and on to Tarn Hows. Here we will have a brunch stop to enjoy the scene.
We then head off to Skelwith stopping again at Hollin Bank to take in the views. Wending our way round via Low Arnside, we will strike up to the trig point on the summit of Black Crag (322m) to enjoy the magnificent panoramic views of the area. This only involves a steady height gain of about 160 metres.
Descending in a southerly direction we return to Hawkshead via Iron Keld and Knipe Fold, hopefully in time for our usual tea and tiffin.
Moderate Leader: Jackie Gudgeon   Distance: 8 miles
From Hawkshead we follow paths on to Scar House Lane to Crofts Head, from where we commence a steady climb into the forested area of Claife Heights. This is a good track, uphill for about one mile, then increasingly steeply down hill to reach the shores of Windermere at Belle Grange. We then have a delightful walk along the shore to reach Wray Castle (National Trust, with cafe and toilets). From Wray Castle we have a short road walk before turning off to pass Blelham Tarn, then High Tock How, followed by field paths back to Hawkshead. We can detour from High Tock How, down a quiet lane, to climb Latterbarrow if time, weather and inclination allow.
A pleasant walk with wonderful views, particular from the Wray Castle area.
Leisurely Leader: Hazel Anderton & Ruth Melling   Distance: 7 miles
From Hawkshead there is a gentle climb along fields and forestry to Tarn Hows. We arrive near a main car park where there are toilets and an ice cream seller. Next we do a circuit, down one side and up the other of Glen Mary, a pretty little wooded valley with a gorge and waterfalls. On the return to Tarn Hows we skirt the south east of the tarn and then take an elevated footpath which is reputed to have the best view of the tarn. This footpath starts the journey back down to Hawkshead.
Generally we found the walk fairly good underfoot apart from Glen Mary where we need to take care. There were very few stiles if any. On route, up and down, we pass through the hamlet of Hawkshead Hill where an old lady sells pots of homemade jam in her porch, complete with an honesty box.
Easy Leader: Margaret Black & Cynthia Prescott   Distance: 4 miles
Soon after leaving the village a wooded footpath takes us uphill onto the edge of Grizedale Forest. This is quite a steep climb which we shall take steadily, giving time to admire the surrounding hills. Following this, the pathway through the forest is pleasantly level and leads to a possible lunch stop at a picnic area - alternatively there is also a pleasant streamside spot shortly afterwards in open pastureland. After lunch it is a gradual downhill walk partly across open fqrnland and along good footpaths with a distinct lack of stiles! There is a very short roadway stretch before returning to the footpath leading through the hamlet of Roger's Ground and back into Hawkshead.

NOTES ON THE AREA

Hawkshead is an ancient market town situated at the head of Esthwaite Water. It derives its name from an original Norse settlement called 'Hawkr's saeter' established about 900 AD. The clearance of the surrounding woodland to provide pasture for animals was encouraged by the monks of Furness Abbey, who introduced sheep to the fells in the 13th century. Hawkshead received its market charter in 1608 and for the next 200 years it served as the chief centre in Furness for the trade in woollen yarns. These yarns were spun from the fleece as a household industry within the town, and the long well-lit spinning gallery was a common feature of the townscape. The trade in locally produced cloth proved extremely profitable for a number of Hawkshead farmers, especially those who acquired their own land after the dissolution of Furness Abbey in 1537. These yeoman farmers were known locally as 'statesmen' and their wealth made Hawkshead famous for its 'hiring fairs' when servants could be hired by the local masters. By the 19th century, the domestic industry of Hawkshead had been eclipsed by the mechanised woollen mills of Kendal. Nevertheless the town survived as a centre for rural crafts like saddlery, tanning, basket-making and blacksmiths.

In Hawkshead there are no less than 38 buildings of special architectural or historic interest, many of them dating from the 17th and 18th centuries. The Grammar School was founded in 1585 by Edwin Sandys, the local born Archbishop of York. The school's most famous pupil was the poet William Wordsworth, whose desk survives to this day. The present building dates from 1675. Over the entrance there is a memorial to Archbishop Sandys together with a sundial.

The 15th century church dominates the town from its position high upon Church Hill. Inside are a number of monuments and historical artefacts, together with a series of superb painted murals dating from 1680. In the churchyard is a copper sundial of 1693. the wooden lych gate of 1912, and the war memorial in the form of a Viking runic cross.

The early 18th century buildings on Church Hill are amongst the most attractive in Hawkshead. Pillar Cottage derives its name from the column which supports the outward jutting first floor, the entrance to which is approached by a flight of stone steps. Nearby is the only remaining spinning gallery. The length of the gallery was essential as it gave spinners the space to draw the thread to make yarn.

The market square is enclosed by 17th and 18th century shops and cottages. All are built in the traditional style of whitewashed roughcast with slate roofs. The Square would have been packed with traders' stalls on Monday market days, and a number of the buildings have had their corners removed to allow access by horse-drawn carriages.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

IRONBRIDGE, SHROPSHIRE

SUNDAY, 1ST JULY 2012

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Rowland Nock   Distance: approx 12 miles
This is a semi urban walk, wihich takes in some of the fascinating industrial archaeological sites of Ironbridge.

Our walk starts due east by the south bank of the River Severn following the Severn Way along the old railway track as far as Coalport Bridge. Crossing the River Severn we pick up the Silkin Way and then head up towards Blists Hill Victorian Town, hopefully catching sight of the famous replica of the Trevithick steam locomotive.

Heading towards Coalbrookdale our onward journey takes us via Lloyds Coppice, where we will have lunch. We then take in the glorious views of the Iron Bridge from the renowned rotunda vantage point, returning to the northern banks of the River Severn. Following the bank westward we again cross the river and head up onto Benthall Edge. From here we descend back to Ironbridge for our well-earned refreshments (time permitting).

Please note this walk does include two long winding descending staircases!

Moderate Leader: Peter Denton   Distance: 8 miles
We start this walk heading towards Buildwas on the Severn Way, then heading UP to Harrie's Coppice and Braggers Hill and along to Little Wenlock. We then head to The Wilderness, Leasows Farm and in to Leamhole Dingle. Down lots of steps along rope walk towards Coalbrookdale Iron Museum, then back down to Ironbridge Gorge for tea and crumpet, and a well earned rest.
Leisurely Leader: Leo & Jean Keenan   Distance: 6.5 miles
leaving Ironbridge we go along the River Severn, walking along the Severn Valley Way where possible, over the Buildwas Bridge to visit Buildwas Abbey for lunch and a toilet stop. We then continue past the Power Station and climb up the gorge at a slow steady pace towards Benthall Hall for another break before going through Benthall Woods, down to the valley bottom, to join the Shropshire Way and back over the Iron bridge itself.
Easy Leader: Hazel Anderton & Cynthia Prescott   Distance: 3.5 miles
The walk starts along the river side, over the Iron Bridge, and then up the lane towards Benthall Hall area. We then go across fields, along the side of Benthall Edge Woods, and then down through the wood following the Shropshire Way and eventually back over the Bridge.

We have to go along a lane for a while to get up as the footpath was blocked by a fallen tree, but we can't remember any stiles. It might be a bit greasy underfoot in the woods. We made it a short walk in case by any chance it turns out to be a hot day, but there is a pleasant riverside path if you would like to walk a bit further, and some nice shops back in town.

NOTES ON THE AREA

Ironbridge Gorge has been designated as a world heritage site for the wealth of attractions and sights that it has to offer. It is known as the birthplace of the industrial revolution, which occurred due to the fortuitous combination of coal, iron, transport and water power. The iron industry of the area was closely associated with the Darby family and their firm, the Coalbookdale Company. The name of the valley is derived from the graceful structure of the world's first iron bridge that spans the River Severn. Ironbridge itself is perched on limestone cliffs in the middle of magnificent Shropshire countryside. The area is uniquely preserved as it has remained almost totally undeveloped for over a hundred years.

Until the last 100,000 years, what is now the Upper Severn basin in Shropshire and mid-Wales drained north, joining the River Dee and flowing into the Irish Sea. However, during the Ice Age this route was blocked and a great lake built up. The water eventually spilled over the hills to the south to reach a tributary of the River Stour and the lower Severn valley. As a result, the modern Severn turns away from the flat plain of north Shropshire to flow south through a narrow gap in the south Shropshire hills at Ironbridge.

Abraham Darby, a Quaker ironmaster, first successfully began to smelt iron ore commercially using coke, instead of the traditional charcoal, in 1709 when the timber used to make charcoal was in extremely short supply. This enabled cheap iron to be mass produced for the first time - giving rise to a large scale iron industry in the area. Among the innovations that were made in Coalbrookdale were the first iron rails, the first iron wheels, and the first iron-framed buildings. Darby's grandson, Abraham Darby II, enlarged the existing blast furnace to cast the ribs for the world's first iron bridge. When the bridge opened in 1779 Ironbridge Gorge was one of the world's major iron centres.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

ILAM, DERBYSHIRE

SUNDAY, 29TH JULY 2012

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Jimmy Need   Distance: approx. 11 miles
From Ilam we head up to Ilam Tops which will bring us nicely on to Dovedale Wood. After a nice amble through the woods, we fall upon Ilam Rock - quick look see. We then make our way over to the idyllic hamlet of Milldale where we may have lunch. After lunch we make our way to The Nabs, followed by Upper Taylors Wood, and on to Tissington Spires. From here we head over to the stepping stones and Thorpe Cloud. We then skirt around Bunster Hill which will bring us nicely back into Ilam.
Moderate Leader: Peter Denton   Distance: 8.72 miles
Like a good diet, this walk has a bit of everything - short UP's. long Down's, pasture land, woodland, riverside trails, roadwalking, stiles, a loverly lunch spot, ducks, cows, sheep and ice cream. We will walk out of Ilam and around Bunster Hill and Ilam Tops, then onward into Milldale village where we will have our lunch. Then we head down Dovedale, through Upper Taylor's Wood and on up to Lover's Leap, then back down to the river and back to Ilam.
Leisurely Leader: Derek Lee   Distance: 7 miles
We leave Ilam westwards through Ilam Park, and field paths to Rushley. From here there is a mostly easy ascent which lifts us 600 feet over two and a half miles through Musden Wood to Calton, then eastwards to a point near Musden Low hill from where we can see right over to Thorpe Cloud and Dovedale. Then it's downhill to Blore and Coldwell Bridge, and finally following the river for the last 1.5 miles back to Ilam. The walk is mostly on field and woodland paths which could of course be muddy.
Easy Leader: Norma Carmichael   Distance: 5.5 miles
From Ilam Hall we will walk through the attractive estate village of Ilam, across fields and down into Dovedale (taking advantage of an ice cream and toilets opportunity along the way). After crossing the foot bridge we will head up Dovedale as far as Lover's Leap where we will have lunch. After lunch we will retrace the path to the stepping stones to take a rising path encircling Thorpe Cloud and reaching the village of Thorpe before circling round via lanes and tracks to Coldwater Bridge before following a riverside path back to Ilam. Mostly good grassy paths and tracks, with some uphill stretches (taken at a slow pace) and one section of steps up to Lover's Leap.

NOTES ON THE AREA

Now a model village of great charm, Ilam was originally an important settlement belonging to Burton Abbey. Following the Reformation in the 16th century, the estate was broken up and Ilam came into the hands of the Port family. In the early 19th century the family sold the property to Jesse Watts Russell, a wealthy industrialist. As well as building a fine mansion (Ilam Hall) for himself, Russell also spent a great deal of money refurbishing the attractive cottages. Obviously devoted to his wife, he had the hall built in a romantic Gothic style and, in the centre of the village, we had the Eleanor Cross erected in her memory. Now no longer a family home, Ilam Hall is one of the largest Youth Hostels in the country.

Many places in the Peak District have provided the inspiration for writers over the years, and Ilam is no exception. The peace and quiet found here helped William Congreve create his bawdy play The Old Batchelor, whilst Dr Johnson wrote Rasselas whilst staying at the Hall.

In the valley of the River Manifold, and a much used starting point for walks along this beautiful stretch of river, in summer the Manifold disappears underground north of the village, to reappear below Ilam Hall. The village is also the place where the River Manifold and the River Dove merge. Though Dovedale is, probably deservedly, the most scenic of the Peak District valleys, the Manifold Valley is very similar and whilst being marginally less beautiful, it is often much less crowded. The two rivers rise close together, on Axe Edge moor, and, for much of their course follow a parallel path.

Dove Dale was formed by the Dove carving its way down through relatively soft limestone. The dale is bounded on either side by fissured rocks, weathered by frost and rain into fantastic shapes, such as the isolated column of Ilam Rock and Lion's Head Rock, whose profile is very obvious from certain angles. Among the best known geological features are Dove Holes, shallow caves which were formed when the river ran at a higher level than it does today. Another example of nature's handiwork is the natural arch in the rock, 40ft high, at the entrance to Reynard's Cave. Towards the end of the Dale are the pinnacled rock formations known as Tissington Spires and Lover's Leap, with Dovedale Castle on the opposite side of the river. Thorpe Cloud and Bunster Hill, outcrops of 'reef' limestone at the end of the Dale, are noted for fossils of marine animals which lived more than 320 million years ago. On Thorpe Cloud, Roman coins and pottery have been brought to the surface by burrowing rabbits. The caves are the home of numerous bats.

The village of Thorpe is dominated by the conical hill of Thorpe Cloud which guards the entrance to Dovedale. The temptation to provide every possible amenity for visitors, at the expense of the scenery, has been avoided and the village of Thorpe remains an unspoilt and unsophisticated limestone village. The Norman village church, with its early 14th century nave, has walls of limestone rubble which give the curious impression that the building is leaning outwards. If on horseback it is possible to read the curious sundial at the Church, but otherwise it is too high up!

Close by the River Dove, not far from the village, is the 17th century farmhouse that has been transformed into the Izaak Walton Hotel. The delights of trout fishing along this stretch of the River have been much written about and, most famously, in The Compleat Angler by Sir Izaak.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

PATELEY BRIDGE, YORKSHIRE

SUNDAY, 2ND SEPTEMBER 2012

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Jimmy Need (with Andrew's help)   Distance: 10 miles
We leave Pateley Bridge and make our way to, and on, the Nidderdale Way which we will be following on and off throughout this walk. The first port of call will be Glasshouses, soon followed by Whitehouses. From here we make our way over some very nice lush fields and meadows to our lunch stop which I think you will like, weather permitting! After lunch we make our way to Summerbridge. From here it is a nice amble back alongside or just off the River Nidd.
Moderate Leader: Cynthia & David Prescott   Distance: 7.5 miles, 1000 ft height
This walk has clear tracks and quiet lanes along with field paths, and a lovely section of the Nidderdale Way. It begins with an uphill climb for the first 1.5 miles but most of this is fairly manageable for anyone fairly fit. The scenery is straight out of "Last of the Summer Wine". We walk to the Providence Mine where we hope to stay for lunch as it is a pleasant spot next to the old mine workings and Ashfold Side Beck. The track then takes us up again and then back down to the stream and on through a caravan site. We then head up Grange Lane, and down quite a steep grassy bank to Wath Bridge. From here it is a pleasant level walk back to Pateley Bridge following paths near to the river, and back to the Park and the coach park. There are no problems with stiles on this walk.
Leisurely Leader: Hazel Anderton & Ruth Melling   Distance: 6 miles
The walk takes us through the village of Bewerley, up to Yorke's Folly, along to the radio mast and down through the woods to the village of Glasshouses, and finally along the riverside back to Pateley Bridge. The walk is varied, with some fine views as we go along lanes, up fields, through woods, along the edge of the moors, and then along the river bank. The downside is a bit of a climb up to the folly, but as the famous nursery rhyme goes " ..once we are up we are up..". There will be a bit of mud in the woods, but there are only a few stiles and the riverbank is a proper walkway.
Easy Leader: Joan McGlinchey & Margaret Black   Distance: 5 miles
As we start with a steep uphill walk, which will be taken gradually, we wish to set off straight from the coach. Walking up the high street we join a tree lined footpath leading up to the more level and aptly named Panorama Walk. After passing through the hamlet of Blazefield we continue across pleasant farm pasture, crossing a few walled stiles, and leading downhill to the River Nidd. The footpath here is narrow at first - well away from the river itself - but soon opens up onto a hardened surface leading through the Victorian industrial site of Glasshouses. Past the reservoir and back alongside the river into Pateley Bridge.

NOTES ON THE AREA

When the Yorkshire Dales National Park was designated in 1954 its eastern boundary was drawn to exclude Nidderdale, presumably because most of the valley above Pateley Bridge and the surrounding watershed of the Nidd, are associated with providing water for the City of Bradford, and as a result the reservoirs of Gouthwaite, Scar House and Angram impart a new element to the landscape which differentiates it from the other dales.

Pateley Bridge is the only route into Upper Nidderdale but it, and the small villages which surround it are well worth exploring. Tourists are well catered for and there are a number of well-appointed caravan sites. The Nidderdale Museum was opened in 1975. Run by local enthusiasts it occupies part of the former council offices opposite the parish church.

The name Pateley may derive from Pate, which is the old name for a badger, or perhaps from Patleia which means a path through the glade. Originally the main village was set high on the hillside near the ruined 14th century church of St Mary which was damaged during the Scots raids around 1318. In 1320 a market and a fair to be held on the Feast of St Mary was granted. This market has lapsed, but the Feast, the first Monday after the 17th September, is now the date of the Nidderdale Show, and the highlight of the year.

The present parish church, built in the 19th century, is dedicated to St Cuthbert, but it does have on view a bell brought to the town when Fountains Abbey was dissolved in the late 1530s. This now has a place of honour in the body of the church and its Latin inscriptions are clearly legible.

A bridge at Pateley was first mentioned in 1320 but this would have been made of wood, the present structure being built in the 18th century but subsequently widened on the upstream side. Beyond it is a pleasant little park with a children's playground, tennis courts and bowling greens lending it an almost seaside atmosphere.

Brimham Rocks must be one of the most haunting geological formations to be found anywhere in the world - huge sandstone structures formed in desert conditions around 300 million years ago. Worn by wind and rain into truly fantastic shapes, the rocks have been given equally fantastic names including Indian's Turban, Baboon's Head, the Sphinx, Dancing Bear, Blacksmith and his Anvil, and the Druids Writing Desk. When visitors first began exploring this heather-clad area, the legend grew that they had been carved by the Druids. There are well-marked paths running among the rocks and, next to one called the Crocodile is Brimham House, now an Information Centre in which the local geology is explained. The 362 acre site is owned by the National Trust. From the trig point near Brimham House, 987 feet above sea level, there are splendid views, as well as many a stiff breeze. On a clear day one can see the Humber Estuary and York Minster.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

CAPEL CURIG/BETWS Y COED, NORTH WALES

SUNDAY, 30TH SEPTEMBER 2012

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Andrew Mayer     Distance: approx. 10 miles Height: 950 ft
The walk heads out away from the car park towards Miners Bridge and follows the path towards the National Park. There is a continuous steady climb for about 1 mile through woods and sometimes on a rough path to a height of 780 ft. We stop for a quick break then continue towards the Gwydir Castle and onto Hafna mine where we stop for lunch. Onwards and upwards towards Outdoor Centre where we can enjoy the views over the valley etc. We continue downwards to join the path by the river which takes us back to Betws y Coed and a well earned drink.
Moderate Leader: Jackie Gudgeon     Distance: About 9 miles
We will leave the coach as near to the crossroads at Capel Curig as possible (where there are toilets). We then follow a rising footpath across open country to Llyn Crafnant. From here we take a footpath uphill through woodland to reach the southern edge of Llyn Geirionydd from where we follow lanes to reach Ty-hyll (Ugly House) on the main A5 road. A rugged but pleasant walk follows along the River Llugwy back to Betws y Coed (passing a free viewpoint of Swallow Falls along the way).
Fairly good tracks, although there is sure to be some boggy bits), woodland, lanes, and riverside.
Leisurely Leader: Derek Lee     Distance: 6.5 miles (or less!)
For the first 1.5 miles, we climb steadily (occasionally it is rather steep) gaining 650 ft in height, northwards from the town, through woods and passing several derelict mines, to the dam at the south end of Llyn y Parc. After that achievement, we can relax with a mostly level 1.5 mile circuit around the plateau, including woodland tracks and all the eastern shoreline of Llyn y Parc, returning to the dam for lunch at the picnic site thoughtfully provided for us. For the third 3.5 mile leg of this walk, we turn west across the plateau, reasonably flat for 1.5 miles, before dropping down through woodland to Miners Bridge and the riverside path back to the teashops. Once we have managed the initial climb, we have the opportunity to shorten the walk if necessary by selecting from the three legs of the walk.
Easy Leader: Philomena Walker     Distance: About 4 miles
Leaving Betws y Coed and taking path through woods, and also along the road, before crossing a bridge at the Outdoor Pursuits Centre by Ugly House. We then follow the curves of the River Llugwy, enjoying the scenery, back to Betws y Coed.

NOTES ON THE AREA

Betws y Coed, the name meaning "the oratory in the forest", is situated in the heart of the great Gwydir Forest which is in the Snowdonia National Park. It is the meeting place of three valleys, the Conwy, Llugwy and Lledr. Because of the scenic beauty of the area, it attracts many visitors each year.

There are picturesque glens and falls, the most famous being the Swallow Falls, the falls at the Miners Bridge and those at Pont-y-Pair. Betws y Coed was made famous by the Birmingham watercolourist, David Cox, and the sign he painted for the Royal Oak Hotel has for many years been preserved within the building.

Betws y Coed has several bridges, the Pont-y-Pair (Bridge of the Cauldron) a rugged five-arch bridge over the Llugwy; a suspension footbridge hidden behind the old church; and Telford's cast iron Waterloo Bridge, taking the A5 road over the River Conwy.

Lead mining was carried on in the area from the mid-19th century until World War I when lead from the United States and elsewhere put Welsh lead out of business.

The 14th century 'Old church' of St Michael & All Angels is situated behind the railway station. In it's nave lies the effigy of Gruffyd ap Dafydd, the great nephew of Llwellyn the Last, who fought in the wars of Edward III and the Black Prince.

The Miners' Bridge over the Llugwy is inclined as a ladder from one bank to the other at an angle of about 30 degrees to the horizontal. The bridge originally served as a convenient route for miners living nearby at Pentre-du, south of the river, to reach their work in the lead mines situated on the higher ground to the north. The present bridge was erected about 1983 and is the fifth or sixth on the site.

A survey in 1975 showed that the Swallow Falls were visited by about 690,000 people annually. The majority of visitors approach the Falls from the road on the south side, where a car park has been provided, paying a fee for the privilege. The Falls can also be viewed from the north bank free of charge, using the public right of way; here the view is admittedly poorer but the walking much more exciting.

Some of the trails in the extensive forestry both north and south of Betws y Coed are open for ramblers, and we should be able to find decent walks today for all of us! Betws y Coed itself has cafes and gift shops as well as attractive stretches of river and waterfalls


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

BOLTON ABBEY, YORKSHIRE DALES

SUNDAY, 28TH OCTOBER 2012

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Dag Griffiths   Distance: 11.75 miles, Max Height: 485 metres, Total Ascent: 482 metres.
From the car park we head out across the grounds of Bolton Priory, cross the River Wharfe and initially follow the Dales Way before making our way into The Valley of Desolation and Laund Pasture Plantation. We continue the steady climb onto Barden Fell, finally arriving at Simons Seat (the highest part of the walk) offering spectacular views. Our path then descends gradually to Lower Fell Plantation from which we emerge to rejoin the Dales Way. Following the Wharfe on our return we pass Barden Bridge, The Strid, the Cavendish Pavilion and the ruins of the Abbey.
Moderate Leader: Philomena Walker   Distance: 8 miles
Over fields, moorland paths and lanes to Barden Tower and lunch. Turning along the River Wharfe and through Strid Wood to the 'infamous' Strid. Crossing the wooden bridge by Cavendish Pavilion, we pick up a pleasant walk with great views to Bolton Bridge, which we cross over to walk back along the Wharfe to cafe and car park.
Leisurely Leader: Derek Lee   Distance: 7 miles
We leave Bolton Abbey northwards, climbing 550 feet in the first 2.5 miles to the Hare Head "summits". Then turning east we drop down to join the River Wharfe, which we follow back to Bolton Abbey, passing through the Strid with its dramatic water flows on the way.
Easy Leader: Margery Howe & Adelaide Houghton   Distance: approx 5 miles
From the car park, down to the River Wharfe, crossing by the footbridge, then following river upstream on undulating paths through woodlands which give superb views of the valley and The Strid. After lunch by the river, we cross the Wharfe by the aqueduct bridge and then return on fairly level paths with a chance to view the Strid at close quarters. It is then a short walk back to Bolton Abbey, passing the Cavendish Pavilion Tea Rooms - anyone for tea? No stiles on this walk.

NOTES ON THE AREA

Bolton Priory was founded in 1154 by Augustinian canons (known as Black Friars because they wore black and not, as a schoolboy once wrote, because of their dirty habits!). It became a wealthy establishment which, in it's heyday, had up to 20 canons, several lay brethren, and employed 200 people. It was suppressed in 1539, three years after the Act of Dissolution. The Priory had always been the village church which is why the King allowed a portion to remain intact - it is still a rather grand church for such a small village.

The tall structure on the roadside at the top of the entrance to the Cavendish Pavilion car park is a covered fountain erected by the electors of the West Riding as a tribute to the memory of Frederick Charles Cavendish, son of the 7th Duke of Devonshire.

The woodlands between the Cavendish Pavilion and the Strid have been made into a nature reserve, with six waymarked footpaths. The woods contain superb specimens of mature trees, including oak, ash, yew and Scots pine, and there are drifts of bluebells, wood sorrel, wood anemones, celandine and campion. Birds to be seen include dippers, wrens, finches, tits, magpies and jays, with the occasional glimpse of a heron or great spotted woodpecker. At the Strid, rocky ledges close in like pincers, forcing the River Wharfe through a channel only a few feet wide. The river has hollowed out the sandstone to create underground chambers of treacherous depth. Many have drowned attempting to leap across the swirling torrent, and the area should be approached with caution.

Barden Bridge is a fine example of a Dales humpbacked bridge dating from the late 17th century. It's buttressed arches serve as breakwaters when the river is in flood. Barden Tower was once the home of the celebrated 'Shepherd Lord' Henry Clifford, who was brought up in secret exile by Cumberland shepherds during the reign of his father's enemies, the Yorkist Kings. After the succession of Henry Tudor in 1485, Henry Clifford regained his estates but always preferred his isolated tretreat at Barden to his ancestral home at Skipton Castle. In 1643 Lady Ann Clifford inherited the estates and, after ordering considerable restoration, lived there from about 1659 until her death in 1676. The Tower became the property of the Dukes of Devonshire in 1748 and is now in the care of the Trustees of the Chatsworth Settlement. It has not been lived in since Lady Ann Clifford's death and has been in ruins since the 1800's.

Beamsley Beacon is the bold ridge that stands above the Wharfe to the south east. As it's name suggests, it was one of the many hills in England where a warning fire was lighted in former times when there was a national emergency, and dates from the time when people lived in fear of a Napoleonic invasion. It is a particularly fine viewpoint, especially to the south and west where Ilkley Moor forms the right hand side of Wharfedale.

The Valley of Desolation acquired this name after a severe storm in 1826 which caused considerable damage. Today, however, the name is hardly appropriate, for the tree-cloaked slopes, attractive stream and the two waterfalls make it instead a place of sylvan beauty.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

BARLEY, LANCASHIRE

SUNDAY, 25TH NOVEMBER 2012

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Dag Griffiths   Distance: Approx. 9.5 miles
This walk, taken at short notice, is based on the walk Rowland led from Downham in November 2011 but in reverse and cutting out Downham. From Barley we head past the Ogden Reservoirs and onto Barley Moor before heading for the summit of Pendle Hill (557m). The descent takes us across Downham Moor to join the Downham road. On reaching the road we head back on footpaths to Barley via Ravensholme, Coolham, Twiston Moor and the Black Moss Reservoirs. There is scope on the last section to extend the walk by a mile or so - depending on conditions.
Moderate Leader: Leo & Jean Keenan   Distance: 8 miles
Leaving the village, we head towards Blacko passing Lower and Upper Black Moss Reservoirs towards Mountains Farm and Firberr House. From here we go towards Jacksons House, Higher Wheathead and then down to Lower Briercliffe. We then return to Barley via Hollin Top, Roughlee and White Hough along the river. A lovely walk with good views all the way, but there will be muddy parts.
Leisurely Leader: Joan McGlinchey & Norma Carmichael.   Distance: 7 miles
This walk was extremely muddy and slippy underfoot on the recce, so we are hoping for it to be better today! There are lots of hills and descents as we follow the Witches Trail into Thorney Holme and then on to Newchurch. Once we arrive at Newchurch we can either continue on the Witches Trail to the woods, or make our way back to Barley via the road, where there is a nice pub for a well earned tea or pint.
Easy Leader: Sue Daniels   Distance: 6 miles
Today's walk will mainly be keeping to the Pendle Way and I have tried to keep it as flat as possible. We leave the car park and head towards Roughlee, taking a gradual walk up Offa Hill and down the lane into Roughlee. There is then a bit more road walking where we meet Pendle Water and follow the river all the way through to Barrowford. This part of the walk is a change to the recce as the way we went ended up too steep and muddy! There is the Heritage Centre in Barrowford and, I would think, plenty of places to take refreshment. From here we get back on to the Pendle Way over open pastures back down into Roughlee, along the river and back to the same path to the car park. The day we did the recce it had been raining all week and the ground was extremely muddy so you have been warned!

NOTES ON THE AREA

Nestled below the Big End of Pendle Hill is the tiny hamlet of Barley Booth, once an ancient vaccary carved out of the Forest of Pendle. The word 'booth' is an old dialect word referring to a cow house or herdsmans hut, a very common term in these hilly districts. The oldest house in the village is the barn opposite the Post Office. This 17th century building, known as Wilkinson Farm, was used as a chapel for the Irish labourers during the construction of the local reservoirs.

Barley earned its livelihood from agriculture until the 18th century when textiles were manufactured and handlooms were installed in attics of many smallholdings as an extra source of income. Barley's brooks - an effective source of waterpower - attracted cotton factories. There was a small mill at Narrowgates and one at Barley Green, which is now the site of the water treatment plant. At it's height Barley Green Mill worked 200 looms until floods destroyed the building in 1880. A cotton twist mill at Narrowgates was built by William Harley to spin cotton warp thread. Weavers' cottages were built adjacent to the mill and are still occupied to this day.

The Whitehough area is now the Camp School established in 1938 and run by the local Education Authority. Today Barley acts as a magnet for the many tourists who wish to discover the area and enjoy the fine recreational facilities provided. A small visitor centre, cafe and picnic site can be found at the village car park.

The lion head of Pendle, with its tail resting in Mellor and its forepaws gripping Barnoldswick, stands sentinel at the eastern portal to Lancashire. Friendly and welcoming on a fine clear day, menacing and towering on those darker rainswept days, legend and myth mixed up with fact have conspired to impress this hill deep in the northern mind. In the early days of settlers, Pendle gave shelter and life to farmers and workers in stone and bronze, who later moved from their hilltop to clear and settle the valley floors. Signs of that early life are to be seen in the number of mounds and ring-banked cairns scattered over the high ground. The summit, 557 m above sea level, is marked by a triangulation point that stands on the site of an old fire-beacon, which in turn was said to stand upon an ancient burial mound. It was from this summit, in 1652, that George Fox had his great vision that moved him to found the Quakers, or Society of Friends, one of the earliest meeting places being founded at Twiston.

Pendle Hill also has associations with the Pendle Witches. Legend has it that in the early 1600's, on the slopes of Pendleside, lived two peasant families that were divided by hate, and which possessed supernatural powers. Both families were led by old women, old Demdike and Chattox. Both were accused of misdeeds and sent for trial at Lancaster by Roger Nowell of Read Hall. Both Demdike and Chattox were found guilty along with other Pendle witches, including Alice Nutter from Roughlee Old Hall. The hangings took place on 20th August 1612. In Newchurch the "Eye of God" is to be found on the tower of St Mary's Church to ward off evil. The church is said to house another of the Pendle Witches, the family grave of Alice Nutter. Chattox was alleged to have desecrated graves in this churchyard to collect skulls and teeth! Should you like a souvenir too, please use Newchurch's own Witches Galore shop in the village!


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

RIVINGTON, LANCASHIRE

SUNDAY, 6th JANUARY 2013

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Dennis Cookson   Distance: 9.5 miles
Most of the ascent comes in the first part of this walk. We head first for Pigeon Tower and then across to Rivington Pike. We then start to descend to Pike's cottage where we take a path to the left of 'Two Lads' to pick up the road to the top of Winter Hill (456 metres). From the top we take a short but steep descent which flattens out to cross the Rivington-Belmont road at Hordern Stoops. The path from the top may be very muddy and gaiters, together with the use of sticks, would be advantageous. Now we pick up the path fo Higher Hempshaw's and then on bridle paths to Simms and Lead Mines Clough towards the Yarrow Reservoir. We then walk round the north and west of this reservoir to head for Rivington village and a well deserved cuppa and mince pie!
Moderate Leader: Jean & Leo Keenan   Distance: 8.5 miles
Leaving the Information Centre we head for Rivington Village, then skirt around the Yarrow Reservoir and down through Lester Mill Quarry and along Anglezarke Reservoir. From here we walk the track up the valley below Stonstrey Bank to reach White Coppice for a lunch stop (no cricket or tea room though). After lunch we head for Cliff's Farm, Healey Nab and Grey Heights with views over Chorley and, hopefully, Ashurst Beacon, Parbold Hill and Harrock Hill. We then return the other side of Anglezarke Reservoir, passing Kays Farm, over the bridge, and back to Rivington Village.
Leisurely Leader: Sue Daniels   Distance: 6.5 miles
The paths we follow today are a mixture of well defined and firm underfoot but there are a couple that go over long grass fields so if it has been raining it is advisable to put gaitors on! Heading towards Adlington, and having watched the traffic go by as we cross over the M61, we follow a gradual downward path then flat fields towards Chorley Golf Course and follow path down to the Leeds/Liverpool Canal. Leaving the towpath, it will be very nearly lunch time and, if the weather is bad, the Black Horse pub in Limbrick has kindly said it will be okay for us to eat our lunch inside (a beverage or two will no douibt be sampled). Leaving Limbrick we follow the road to Anglezarke Reservoir and follow field and road paths back down into Rivington and it's lovely Hall Barn.
Easy Leader: Sully Adam   Distance: 5 miles
A flat walk with few stiles, but plenty of mud!

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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