SKELMERSDALE RAMBLING CLUB

 

Skelmersdale Rambling Club

SALTAIRE, WEST YORKSHIRE

SUNDAY, 26TH JANUARY 2014

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Chris Connor   Distance: 11 miles, height 394m
A walk of many contrasts. We set off from Saltaire along the Leeds - Liverpool canal to Bingley. We then start the climb up past the moss lined walls and woodland of Altars Lane to climb to the intriguingly named 'Druid's Altar'. After a moment to take in the view we then proceed higher onto the moor, past heather glen and onto the modest but mystical Harden Moor with its man made rock sculptures. We then start our descent onto the Millennium Way past the Cottingley viaduct and onto Saltaire for well earned refreshments.
Moderate Leader: Peter Denton   Distance: 8.2 miles
We will do our climbing at the start of the walk. When I say start I mean Up and downs and smidgin of mud 'til we have lunch Up at 'Five Locks'.. Then a nice steady ramble along the canal back to Saltaire for tea and scones. Enjoy your day. Happy rambles.
Leisurely Leader: Sue Daniels   Distance: 6.5 miles
We start off with a delightful meander through the Grade ll listed Roberts Park and then a short gradual climb past the Glen Railway. We then take the flat paths along Shipley Glen and Trench Woods heading towards Clovershaw Beck where we can cut across farmland and down to Eldwick Beck. There is a pub here and, if the weather is bad, it may be possible to take cover (landlord permitting!). If weather is good then we will stop on top of the moors with extensive views all around. Then it's easy walking along grassy paths and tracks where we drop down into a residential area making our way to the canal towpath and the famous Bingley Five Rise Locks. The final stretch is a joy as you meander beneath trees beside the canal to end up back in Saltaire.
Easy Leader: Derek Lee   Distance: 6.25 miles
This walk will in general follow the River Aire to Bingley Lower (3-rise) Locks, and return following the canal. Depending on conditions on the day, we can extend up to the famous 5-rise locks (an extra half mile or so) or cut corners and make the walk shorter. Only one climb of 100 feet through Hirst Wood today. Please bear with me - I have filled a vacancy and have not recce'd this walk.

NOTES ON THE AREA

Saltaire's founder was Sir Titus Salt, a Victorian industrialist and patriarch, who already owned six textile mills in Bradford. He made a considerable fortune from spinning alpaca fleece and, seeing the smoky, Dickensian squalor or life in the city, he decided to build a new settlement for his employees. Sir Titus designed Saltaire as a community where his workers could live in clean, sanitary conditions. Begun in 1851, it was 20 years in the making. As a contrast to many areas of Bradford, even the most modest dwelling in Saltaire had gas, running water and a toilet. In his plan, Sir Titus included schools, a bathhouse, laundry, hospital and a row of almshouses. A workers' dining room could seat 800 and was available for people to bring their own food and have it cooked or they could purchase tea or coffee at half a penny, a bowl of soup for 1d or a plate of meat for 2d.The neat streets of terraced houses were named after the founder (Titus Street), his wife Caroline, and children - not forgetting the reigning monarch (Victoria Street) and her consort (Albert Road).

The centrepiece of his scheme was Salts Mill, a monumental example of industrial architecture which straddles the Leeds and Liverpool Canal. The chimney is a copy of the bell tower of a church in Venice. In recent years the mill has enjoyed a new lease of life as a showcase for the artworks of David Hockney, who was born in Bradford. There are no Public Houses within the confines of the village, and the Club and Institute was erected to cater for the moral and physical welfare of the community. Its cost was £25,000. There were reading rooms, a library and a lecture theatre. A school of art was situated on the upper floors along with a room with four billiard tables. The area between Edward Street and Albert Street marks the site of the Public Wash House which was opened on 6th July 1863. There were 24 baths, 12 for men and 12 for women and a turkish bath. Steam came from an 18ft long by 6 ft Cornish boiler and three steam engines drove 6 washing machines. Drying and mangling facilities were also provided.

Shipley Glen is a typical Pennine gill, or ravine, and can be reached by The Shipley Glen Tramway, a rope-hauled passenger-carrying railway dating from 1895, which operates most weekends throughout the year. The open cars are hauled by cable 386 yards up a 1-in-12 incline beneath overhanging trees. There were originally many amusements at the summit and even today quite a number of children's rides and entertainments can be enjoyed.

Roberts Park, on the other side of the canal, is another example of early town planning. A splendid bronze statue of Sir Titus Salt was erected in 1903 to celebrate the 100th anniversary of his birth. It stands on a plinth decorated with an angora goat and an alpaca, symbols of the wool industry on which he built his very considerable success.

The Leeds-Liverpool Canal is Britain's longest inland waterway. Begun in 1770, it was soon superseded by the railway, but is much used today by pleasure craft. Two impressive pieces of engineering in the Bingley area are the stepped Three Rise Locks, and Five Rise Locks where boats passing along the canal rise or fall 60 feet over a distance of 320 feet.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

TODMORDEN, WEST YORKSHIRE

SUNDAY, 23RD FEBRUARY 2014

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Steve Budd   Distance: 10.25 miles Moderate/Hard
A circular walk up to Stoodley Pike. Starting from the car park we walk east along the Rochdale Canal for about 1.5 miles, then turn south and start a steady climb up to Stoodley Pike. The last part of this climb is quite steep (but not a scramble). Once at Stoodley Pike, if you dare, you can climb the spooky stairs to the top for great views. Hard work is now done, and we are rewarded with a good ridge walk ahead. From here we go south along the Pennine Way to Warlands Reservoir and then drop down a few hundred feet to the Rochdale Canal which we follow for about 3 miles back to Todmorden.
Moderate Leader: Jean & Leo Keenan   Distance: 7 miles
The walk today takes us out of the town to the south and east on the Calderdale Way, passing the Quaker Burial Ground. Once we reach the upper level we have fine views of Stoodley Pike. The tracks are bridle ways and minor roads which are good underfoot. We make our way to Lumbutts and Mankinholes and then along London Road (bridle way). From here we return back to Todmorden down through Shaw Wood and along the Rochdale Canal.
Leisurely Leader: Hazel Anderton & Ruth Melling   Distance: 6.5 miles
We follow the same route as the Easy group to start with going east along the canal, past Kilnhurst and through Lumbutt's Wood. We do a circuit around Mankinholes and the reservoirs, and then go in the opposite direction to the other groups going west on the Pennine Bridleway or on a little lane called Lumbuitt's Road. We go down an area called Knowl Wood and finally back along to town on a different stretch of the canal. There are only a few stiles, it is often good underfoot but care needs to be taken in Lumbutt's Wood as the path is narrow and muddy due to recent rains. There are lots of good views.
Easy Leader: Derek Lee   Distance: 5 miles
We start off along the canal, then turn south and climb about 200 feet mostly on field and woodland paths to Kilnhurst and Lumbutts. Then some road walking before field and woodland paths bring us back down to the canal at Lobb Mill (there are minor road alternatives if the ground is very wet). For the last 1.5 miles we follow the canal and then the riverside back to the town.

NOTES ON THE AREA

Todmorden is a market town within the Metropolitan Borough of Calderdale in West Yorkshire. Todmorden town centre occupies the confluence of three steep sided valleys which constrict the shape of the town and is surrounded by moorlands with occasional outcrops of gritstone sand blasted into sculptured stones by the winds.

The name Todmorden first appears in 1641. The town had earlier been called Tottemerden, Totmardene, Totmereden, or Totmerden. The generally accepted meaning of the name is Totta's boundary valley, probably a reference to the valley running north-west from the town.

The earliest written record of the area is in the Domesday Book. Settlement in medieval Todmorden was dispersed, most people living in scattered farms or in isolated hilltop agricultural settlements. Packhorse trails were marked by ancient stones of which many still survive. For hundreds of years streams from the surrounding hills provided water for corn and fulling mills. Todmorden grew to prosperity by combining farming with the production of woollen textiles. Some yeoman clothiers were able to build fine houses, a few of which still exist today. Increasingly, though, the area turned to cotton. The proximity of Manchester, as a source of material and trade was undoubtedly a strong factor. Another was the strong Pennine streams and rivers which were able to power the looms. Improvements in textile machinery by Kay, Hargreaves and Arkwright, along with the development of turnpike roads, helped to develop the new cotton industry and to increase the local population.

In 1801 most people still lived in the uplands. Todmorden itself could be considered a mere village. During the years 1800-1845 great changes took place in the communications and transport of the town which were to have a crucial effect on promoting growth. These included the building of better roads, the Rochdale canal, and the main line of the Manchester and Leeds Railway. This railway line incorporated the then longest tunnel in the world, the 2,885 yard Summit tunnel.

In 2008 a group of local residents initiated the 'Incredible Edible Todmorden Project' to raise awareness of food issues and in particular local food. The project has been responsible for the planting of 40 public fruit and vegetable gardens throughout the town, with each plot inviting passers-by to help themselves to the produce. The project has attracted publicity, media attention and visitors, and the idea has since been replicated in at least fifteen towns and villages in the UK.

Todmorden has several attractions, the foremost being a large town hall that dominates the centre of the town. Todmorden is situated alongside the Pennine Way, Pennine Bridleway, Mary Townley Loop and the Calderdale Way, and is popular for outdoor activities such as walking, fell running, mountain biking and bouldering. It's attractions include many canal locks, a park containing a sports centre, an outdoor skateboard park, tennis course, a golf course, an aquarium/reptile house, and a cricket ground. There are also many wooded areas around the town and a variety of cafes and restaurants. Its indoor and outdoor markets sell a wide rane of locally produced food. The town also contains a small toy and model museum, a library and tourist information centre, along with many independent retailers. Annual events include a carnival, agricultural show, beer festival and the traditional Easter Pace Egg plays.

Centre Vale Park in Todmorden is the setting for several pieces of local art, including tree carvings by the sculptor John Adamson. Also in the park are the reconstructed remains of Centre Vale Mansion, next to Todmorden War Memorial in the Garden of Remembrance, and nearby there is a sculpture of a dog. This was produced by local sculptor David Wynn in 2005, and was cast in steel at the local Todmorden foundry, Weir Minerals.

Stoodley Pike monument (120ft/37m was erected in 1815 to commemorate the Peace of Ghent and Napoleon's abdication. It has a long history of collapse! The original monument looked like a mill chimney, but it cam tumbling down in 1854 on the day the Russian Ambassador left London at the start of the Crimean War. The present monument was constructed in 1856 when that peace was declared. It had a partial collapse in November 1918 just before the end of the First World War. A spiral staircase leads eerily into its darkest recesses to emerge on a viewing platform at the top of the plinth.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

Colwyn Bay, North Wales

SUNDAY, 30th March 2014

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Andrew Mayer   Distance: 13 miles
Starting from the car and coach park at Eirias Park we head out of the park entrance, crossing the main road, and up the public footpath. Climbing sharply with views of Colwyn Bay behind us heading towards Pen-trefelin with views towards Snowdonia. Continuing onwards towards Pen-trefelin, walking across a mixture of farmland and also using some minor roads. We will stop for lunch in the village before heading out towards the coast and estuary at Glan Conway. From here we head back to the start point at Eirias Park. The walk is approx 13 miles with a maximum climb of up to 1000 ft on several parts of the walk. In places it was extremely muddy, so care needs to be taken.
Moderate Leader: Peter Denton   Distance: 8 miles
We don't need many words to describe this walk but I will use as many as I can without sending you to sleep. It's my writing that's boring, not the walk. We will be climbing for the first half of the day up to 1000 ft to 'The View'. We walk up Nant y Groes along a picturesque valley, through woodland and pastureland. At the top we will have our butties and enjoy the views. On a good viewing day you can see Snowdon and Anglesey. Then we head back down to civilisation for tea and whatever. There was some mud on the recce day but it was not too bad.
Leisurely Leader: Joan McGlinchey & Hazel Anderton   Distance: 6.5 miles
Today's walk goes in a southerly direction up one side of the Nant-y-Glyn valley, and then back down the other side. The first part goes through a lot of woodland and although we are climbing it is gradual with the gradient varying a great deal. The return is down open fields. There are also a few stiles and it might be a bit muddy in the woods. Even if it is dry we suggest you put gaiters on, if you have them, because at one point the path in the wood is narrow and close to brambles. Let's hope for a clear day. It was damp and misty on the recce but we were told that the views are great on a good day.
Easy Leader: Derek Lee   Distance: 5 miles
After a short woodland walk, we walk nearly a mile on a quiet road while we climb 250 feet to the highest point of the walk. Then across fields with views out to sea as we drop down to Old Colwyn and join the North Wales Path through Fairy Glen Nature Reserve to the coast. A brisk mile long walk along the prom bring us back to Eirias Park and a final short climb up to the parking area.

NOTES ON THE AREA

Until the middle of the last century Colwyn Bay was an obscure village snuggling in the shelter of the North Wales hills. Then, in the 1840's, the railway line to Holyhead was built. It skirted the bay, and soon retired people and prosperous families from industrial Lancashire were moving into the area to take advantage of its sandy beaches and mild winters. The town's growth quickened after 1865 and by 1900 it had a population of 8,000.

Now Colwyn Bay is a year round and almost entirely modern resort. It lies behind three miles of sandy beach - part of an 18 mile stretch of coastline which is made up of long beaches punctuated by the occasional headland.

Rhos-on-Sea, once a separate village, is now a breezy suburb at one end of the red-roofed sprawl of buildings, with Old Colwn at the other end. A continuous promenade links the two, running past neat suburban streets which slope up towards sheltering woods on the hillsides. On the foreshore at Rhos-on-Sea is the tiny St Trillo's Chapel, which is built entirely of rough, mortared stone - the roof included - and is only about 9 ft high. It was built in the 16th century over a Holy well, which for centuries supplied water for local baptisms.

The boundary between Old Colwyn and Colwyn Bay is marked by a small river, the Nant-y-Groes, which runs through the Nant-y-Glyn valley. Two miles up the valley at Bryn-y-Maen, is Christ Church, known because of its size as The Cathedral on the Hill. There is a panoramic view of the bay from the church tower.

There is an open air theatre at Eirias Park, and the Pwllycrochan woods behind the town have been laid out with a network of leafy walks.

On a nearby hillside is the unusual Mountain Zoo. It has daily displays of hunting by free-flying falcons, and a penguin pool with underwater windows for observing the birds as they swim and feed.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

POOLEY BRIDGE, LAKE DISTRICT

SUNDAY, 27TH APRIL 2014

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Rowland Nock   Distance: 12.5 miles, 20 km
Height gain for the day 400 metres.

We initially head off along the beautiful banks of Ullswater to Waterside House. We then meander along the slightly higher footpaths to the pier near Howtown. From here we ascend Hallin Fell to have lunch and enjoy the spectacular views of Ullswater and surrounding fells.

We descend past the beautifully small remote church to circle around Howtown and then take the gradually rising path north east to the stone circle known as 'the cockpit'. From here we descend tracks and lanes back to Pooley Bridge for our usual tea and tiffin.

Moderate Leader: David & Cynthia Prescott   Distance: 7 Miles
Height gain approx.. 740 ft (225m).

This walk has superb views in every direction (north, south, east, west). It takes us up, up, up (but not too steeply) from Pooley Bridge church to the old High Street Roman Road where Roman soldiers once marched, and to a prehistoric stone circle called the Cockpit. This is thought to be of Bronze Age origin (c2000BC), predating the roman road. In more recent times it was most probably used for cockfighting, which was once common in the Lake District, but outlawed in 1849. Here there are wonderful extensive southerly views over Ullswater, and we then turn to head north east towards the outskirts of Askham and spy Lowther castle in the distance. On our recce there was snow on the hills and lots of wild ponies on the moor. We then go to Winder Hall Farm. In order to reduce the road walking we head down towards the river as we near Pooley Bridge. Most of the walk is on fairly good stony paths and tracks, but there is some field walking. There are no stiles in the first half of the walk, but about 6 stiles heading back over the fields, the first being a wall stile with high stone steps.

Leisurely Leader: Sue Daniels   Distance: 6 miles
Having taken over leading this walk from the last coach, I have not had time to do a recce, but the paths do look quite straightforward.

The walk links the triangle of paths from Pooley Bridge, the House of Dalemain and the village of Dacre. From Pooley Bridge we follow the river for a short while and gradually walk to Flusco Hill where there will be good views of Ullswater. We then follow the path over to Dalemain House with its celebrated gardens and historic parkland. From here we follow a fairly straight path over to the village of Dacre which has a castle and a pub! From the village we take to the road before reaching a footpath leading to Dunmallard Hill and over Pooley Bridge back to the beginning.

Easy Leader: Allan & Nicole Fraser   Distance: 5 miles
We head eastwards from the village, embarking on a longish (but gentle) climb. As a reward, there are spectacular views over Ullswater and the western Lake District hills. Then we turn left on to a level path towards Winder Hall Farm. From there, there is a simple descent back to Pooley Bridge, including some easy stiles. Only one stile is quite high.

NOTES ON THE AREA

Pooley Bridge is situated by the River Eamont at the northern end of Ullswater. It is a busy village catering mainly to the tourist trade. The name Pooley derives from a large pool in the River Eamont just before it flows out of Ullswater. Then, in the 16th century, a bridge was built across the river, hence Pooley Bridge. The pool has now disappeared, but the bridge can still be seen!

Pooley Bridge used to be a small fishing and farming community. The area still has a supply of trout, salmon and a freshwater herring called the schelly. Boats can be found moored here and the Ullswater Steamers also depart from here offering trips along the 7 mile lake to Howtown, and Glenridding at the southern end of the lake.

Within the village there are two main streets with delightful old stone houses. From the bridge there are some excellent views to be seen, with the lake in front and the wooded fells on its shores rising up to the higher mountains.

The church of St Paul can be found in the centre of the village and dates from around 1868. Opposite the church is a row of very old houses, one of which was a blacksmiths. Just over the river is Dunmallard Hill on which is an Iron Age 'fort'.

Pooley Bridge was once a busy market town before nearby Penrith took precedence in the 19th century, with fish being the mainstay of the market's products.

Not far from Pooley Bridge is Maiden Castle, a circular hill fort on the side of a hill, with two ramparts and a very narrow ditch between. This would probably have been home to a family group in the first millennium BC.

Ullswater is second only to Windermere in length but far surpasses it for peace and solitude. Although a navigable highway, there are few motor-driven vessels on the lake, the speed boats and water skiers having been driven away by the 10 mph speed restriction imposed in 1983. There are two launches which sail the lake from Glenridding to Pooley Bridge, both run by the grandly named Ullswater Navigation and Transit Company Ltd. 'Lady of the Lake' was first launched in 1877 and her sister ship 'Raven' in 1889. Originally steam driven, today they are powered by diesel. At the northern end of the lake there is an underground pumping station which draws water off to feed the reservoir at Haweswater.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

BUXTON, DERBYSHIRE

SUNDAY, 1ST JUNE 2014

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Steve Budd   Distance: About 12 miles moderate
We start the walk from the Cat & Fiddle. From there we have a short walk to the summit of Shining Tor, the highest point in Cheshire at 559 m (1834 ft) with great views. We then make our way over Cats Tor and on to Pym Chair- good views over Cheshire. We now drop down to Errwood Hall, an 1830's ruin (good place for lunch, depending on time). From the Hall we make our way to Errwood Reservoir before heading west along a dismantled railway, ending the walk at the coach in Buxton. There is a small amount of road walking involved, but not too bad.
Moderate Leader: Ruth Melling & Hazel Anderton   Distance: 8 miles
The walk is more or less the same as the one we did last time but we have shortened it to make sure that this time we get back in time for refreshments. The first two thirds is the same as we make our way past the park to Poole's Cavern then up through the woods to the village of Burbage. Next we walk over farm land and moors to make our way along Wildmoorstone Brook. We return along the dismantled railway and then by a direct route along a quiet lane and through the park. Expect a bit of mud, but the main problem will be the stiles. There are only a few but they are awkward. We had to abandon one and climb over a metal gate instead, as other people had.
Leisurely Leader: Joan McGlinchey & Cynthia Prescott   Distance: 7 - 7.5 miles
This is a very interesting walk if you can get past the challenge of a very steep hill. We start our walk and head in the direction of Cowdale. Once we reach Cowdale we start to head back firstly crossing a train track and taking our time down our steep hill! With that out of the way we head towards Woo Dale, where we can choose to take the low or the high way. It is just a nice steady walk back then. On our recce, on the way back, we broke the journey up with a drink in the pub opposite the golf course which was very nice - if you don't fancy this you can carry right on into town.
Easy Leader: Adelaide Houghton   Distance: Approx 6 miles
Dropping off the coach at Burbage, we head for Pooles Cavern - toilets. Then we make our way into Buxton Country Park to walk the perimeter, past Stanley Moor Reservoir and back into Grin Low Woods. Finish by walking through Buxton Pavilion Gardens to the coach park. Several stiles and one or two short climbs.
Please be kitted up ready to leave the coach at Burbage.

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 lime burning, 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 as 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

OSWESTRY, SHROPSHIRE

SUNDAY, 29TH JUNE 2014

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Dag Griffiths   Distance: 13 miles
From the town centre we head south to the River Morda on a footpath skirting the town's cemetery. Following the river along footpaths and lanes in a westerly direction we eventually reach Offa's Dyke Path. Heading north on the path we pass through Candy Wood and, after a continuous but gentle ascent, emerge on the common that was a racecourse until 1848. Weather permitting, lunch will be taken among the ruins of the racecourse grandstand. Next we continue on Offa's Dyke Path before turning eastwards along quiet lanes towards Pentre-pant just beyond which we pick up a footpath that brings us back to the town centre. From this path we get a good view of Old Oswestry fort (Iron Age hlll fort) on our left. If time permits, a slight detour can be taken to the fort before completing our return along Wat's Dyke Path.
Moderate Leader: Peter Denton   Distance: 8 miles
We leave 'Oswestry' along Broomhall Lane and head up to Offa's Dyke Path through parkland, then wooded paths up to Racecourse Wood then to the Racecourse Common. Then back to Oswestry for whatever takes your fancy. A lovely walk with good viewing over Shropshire.
Leisurely Leader: Sue Daniels   Distance: 7.3 miles
On leaving the coach we make our way through the town over to the Old Fort and head on across open fields to join up with the Wat's Dyke Path. We keep heading north on to the village of Preeshenlie taking the path over the golf course to the village of Rhewl. From here we pass a sewage works (nice!) and skirt around the village of Gobowen. We end up joining up with the Wat's Dyke Path and retrace our steps back to Oswestry. Again, I've not pre-walked the route but you should be used to that by now - have I ever got you lost!!
Easy Leader: Adelaide Houghton   Distance: about 6 miles
The walk leaves Oswestry town and goes northwards to Pentre then south west into Brogyntyn Park passing the hall, stables and walled garden (a once grand estate). We then cross the B4580 to Underhill and then more field tracks, turning left onto a minor road past Oerley Hall and a reservoir, and back into the town. Lanes, field tracks and several stiles.

NOTES ON THE AREA

Oswestry is an ancient market town in the north of Shropshire close by the English-Welsh border. Its strategic position as a 'frontier town' has given it a turbulent history. Today the town still retains its vital function as a market and shopping centre serving north west Shopshire and Mid Wales. The narrow passageways link streets whose names conjure up images of the past - English walls, Welsh Walls, The Bailey and the Horsemarket. It is a locally important shopping and agricultural centre and has the intimacy of a rural town serving local people and home to a number of specialist and independent shops.

The origins of the town are uncertain although the towns market dates back to 1190. The name Oswestry is thought to be a corruption of 'Oswald's Tree' and the legend that Oswald the Christian King of Northumbria fought a great battle against the pagan King of Mercia - Penda. Oswald was defeated and killed in the battle. Penda, as a warning to others who might challenge his rule, dismembered Oswald's body and hung his limbs on the branches of a tree - hence Oswald's Tree.

Most of the town centre has been designated a Conservation Area conveying a mixture of architectural styles. There are many old timber framed houses, for example Llywd Mansion on Cross Street, the Heritage Centre, the Blackgate, the Fox Inn, and the shops along Beatrice Street. Georgian architecture is also represented particularly around St Oswald's Church where there are a number of imposing town houses complete with grand entrances and front doors.

There is a large Iron Age fort just to the north of the town. It was started over 2,500 years ago. Nowadays, only the earthworks remain, but it is worth a visit. It can be seen from the A5 going north out of the town. It is maintained by English Heritage.

Offa's Dyke footpath, which goes from Prestatyn to Chepstow more or less along the Welsh border, passes about three miles to the west of Oswestry. It is a well maintained footpath and can be picked up at many points in the area. The paths follow an ancient earthwork which is thought to have been a defensive dyke built by the Saxon King Offa.

Racecourse Common is at the top of a hill and is the site of an old racecourse. It is possible to walk around the old circuit and there are a number of walks in this area including some through the adjacent Candy Woods. The Offa's Dyke Path passes through the common and the woods.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

EYAM, PEAK DISTRICT

SUNDAY, 27TH JULY 2014

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Andrew Mayer   Distance: approx. 14 miles
On leaving the car park next to Eyam museum, we headed down through the village towards 'Stoney Midddleton' (approx. 1 mile). From there we headed towards Calver along some local roads towards the river. From here we followed the river towards Baslow. (so far fairly flat ground, conditions dry). We headed towards the 'Robin Hood' pub up a steady incline, leading us to Birchen Edge where we stopped for lunch. Making our way through moorland we headed towards 'Big Moor' walking along White Edge. At the top (365 metres) we started our descent towards 'Froggatt Edge' crossing some boggy marshland. Descending through 'Bee Wood', crossing the river and heading back to the village of Eyam.
Moderate Leader: Hazel Anderton & Cynthia Prescott   Distance: 7-8 miles
Eyam - Sir William Hill - Eyam Moor - Stoke Ford - Bretton Clough - Eyam Edge - Eyam.

A pleasant walk, past the Llama farm, through fields, past streams on to the hill top with lovely views of Eyam and the surrounding district, and back into the very interesting village of Eyam.

Leisurely Leader: Joan McGlinchey   Distance : approx. 6.5 miles
I have done this recce but, after starting out, we found a really steep hill down The Delf (which I was not happy with). So, on our walk we will go down Eyam Dale which is not recce'd. Please bear with me on this - thank you!

We will join our recce'd walk at Black Harry Gate. From here we make our way to the Sailer Hole Mine. Up to Stoney Middleton and then back into town. It is a pleasant walk with not too many stiles or ups and downs. If we are lucky, the weather will be as kind as on our recce.

Easy Leader: Philomena Walker & Lydia Ashton   Distance: 4.5 miles
We set off walking through a housing area and out onto open green fields, following the sign to Foolow. There are some stiles along the way. The scenery is wonderful.

We can decide (weather permitting) to detour to Foolow village and duck pond. Then some road walking to a walled track back to Eyam.

On return to the village we can choose to walk up to Riley Woods and visit Riley Graves before returning to the car park.

NOTES ON THE AREA

Eyam is pronounced 'Eem' and has become known as "The Plague Village". It was in August 1665 that the village first suffered from the Bubonic Plague. The disease came to England via the trade routes from China, spreading quickly in London due to the bites of fleas which had previously lived on the bodies of infected black rats. It is thought that the disease came to Eyam in a parcel of cloth delivered from London to the local tailor, George Viccars, who lodged with Widow Cooper in one of the cottages by the church. After opening the parcel, George Viccars found the cloth damp, so he put it in front of the fire to dry. This was possibly his undoing; after developing a fever, then rashes on his body, he died on 7th September 1665. Others in the same house died within weeks and the disease then spread throughout the village

It was the rector, William Mompesson, together with his non-conformist friend and predecessor, Thomas Stanley, who united the village and persuaded the villagers to stay within the boundaries of the village to stop the disease from spreading throughout Derbyshire. With the help of the Earl of Devonshire, who arranged for food and other needs to be left at the Boundary Stone, now known as Mompesson's Well, the epidemic was kept within Eyam. Coins, as payment, were left soaking in vinegar so that suppliers of goods knew that they would not be infected. In all 259 people died during 1665 and 1666, but without the heroism of the villagers of Eyam, the plague would have spread all over the county.

Eyam Church is dedicated to St Lawrence, having been used for worship since Saxon times. Inside the 850 year old church is a fascinating exhibition telling the story of the plague. In the churchyard is an 8th century Celtic cross decorated with carvings of angels. There is also a sundial from the late 18th century and many interesting headstones, including one to Harry Bagshaw, a famous Derbyshire cricketer.

Eyam Hall is a beautiful manor house, built in 1671, home of the Wright family. The present incumbents inherited the house in 1990 and two years later opened it to the public. Interested visitors will see history through the eyes of one family for over 320 years.

Foolow is a former lead mining village gathered attractively around the village green. It boasts a 14th century stone cross, a bull ring and a mere. At the edge of the green is a well with steps leading down. The Bulls Head Inn is the last surviving pub in the village - at one time there were five!


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

APPLEBY, CUMBRIA

SUNDAY, 31ST AUGUST 2014

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Chris Connor   Distance: approx. 12 miles
The strenuous walk starts from the beautiful village of Dufton. If you wish to do this walk then alight the coach here. This is one of the Northern Pennines Classic walks. We begin by taking the Pennine Way past Bow Hall and towards Peeping Hill. We continue pass up through some open moorland and a ruined farmhouse (that may remind some of Wuthering Heights) and steadily climbing up 500m to the final goal of High Cup Nick. After admiring the amazing grey/blue dolerite crags in the u-shaped valley (and taking some photos) we start the difficult but short descent to the valley floor. We then continue to follow the valley just above the river taking time to look back at what we have just climbed and follow the myriad of paths with a long but easy walk back to Appleby for well-earned refreshment.
Moderate Leader: Hazel Anderton & Ruth Melling   Distance: 8 miles
Our walk takes us north of Appleby as we make our way along tracks, woods, fields and little lanes. On a fine day there are good views of the highest peaks in the Pennines. We walk along fields, go up through Flakebridge Woods then head towards Dufton before turning south. We walk along the bottom edge of the Wood before coming across fields back to Appleby. The countryside is rolling with lots of ups and downs but nothing taxing. A few stiles are a bit wobbly, there's some mud and muck, and pheasants which might make you jump in the woods.
Leisurely Leader: Steve Budd & Joan McGlinchey   Distance : 7 miles
This is a walk with plenty of up and downs together with loads of mud. We start our walk and head towards Brampton. We then head off towards Dufton. (We don't actually go into Dufton). As we start our way home we head in the direction of the Castle Hill settlement, then into Flakebridge Woods, down to Hungriggs and then back to the coach.
Easy Leader: Allan & Nicole Fraser   Distance: 5.5 miles
After a short walk along the river Eden in Appleby, we strike out towards Colby across the fields. There are good views of the Pennines to the right. We reach the pretty village of Colby, where we will probably have lunch. The walk back to Appleby takes us onto part of the Dales Way.

NOTES ON THE AREA

Today we visit the attractive and historic town of Appleby which was once the county town of Westmorland. It used to be known simply as Appleby but when it became part of Cumbria in 1974, much to the dismay of the residents, it changed its name officially to Appleby-in-Westmorland. The area has been occupied by Celts, Romans, Anglo Saxons and Danes and was once a place of great importance.

At the time of the Normans it was part of Scotland and was then transferred to England in 1092. But it suffered several Scottish attacks later. It also suffered from the plague in 1592 and then defeat in the Civil War when it supported the Royalist cause, and has never recovered its proud status after these events. The Norman castle of Motte-and-Bailey type was reopened to the public this year. Its most famous resident was Lady Anne Clifford who did much to restore the castle in the middle 1600s. Other buildings have been named after her.

Today Appleby is a thriving market town nestling in the Eden Valley. The main street, Boroughgate, is unusually wide and has been described as one of the finest in England. There are many old buildings and much of the town centre is a preservation area. The Moot Hall dated 1596 is today occupied by the tourist information centre.

The town is a good place to explore the surrounding countryside. There is a station here on the Carlisle to Settle railway line - a great ride if you get the chance - and the very busy A66 passes nearby. Although the road is very close, fortunately, it has no effect on the town itself. Also nearby, is the Cumbrian Cycle Way, the Westmorland Way, the Pennine way and the Coast to Coast footpath.

These days Appleby is famous for the Appleby Horse Fair which was set up by charter in 1685 and runs for a week in June ending on the 2nd Wednesday. Today it is world famous, the largest in the world, attracting a huge gypsy and traveller gathering.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

Chipping, Lancashire

SUNDAY, 28th September 2014

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Carole Rankin & Jimmy Need   Distance: approx. 11 miles
From Chipping we walk NW to Foot Fell and then climb Parlick (1417ft) and along the ridge to the cairn at Fair Snape Fell (1673ft) for hopefully amazing views. This is the main climb finished. We then cross the Saddle Fell and descend down to Saddle End Farm. From here we cross fields to Chipping Lawn and back to Chipping via fields, lanes and hopefully the River Hodder, River Loud and Gibbon Bridge for a cuppa or a pint. Could be muddy or soggy underfoot.
Moderate Leader: Dag Griffiths & Dennis Cookson   Distance: 8 miles
The accent is approximately 1500 feet but this mostly comes in the first part of the walk. It is gradual and will be taken at a comfortable pace. The route from Chipping crosses fields to pass Saddle End Farm and climb onto Saddle Fell. A good path to the west takes us over Wolf Fell to the stone shelter at Snape Fell West, one of the greatest viewpoints in England. With the Yorkshire Big Three, the Lake District fells, the Isle of Man, the northern Peak District and much, much more to see in the 360 degree panorama, let's hope the visibility is good. Lunch will be taken here weather permitting. On our return we can either skirt Parlick or go over the top, depending on the weather - the party could be given the option of doing either route, with Dennis and I leading a group each if necessary - very little difference in distance. Sticks might be useful for the steep descent to Fell Foot. The return to Chipping is via quiet country lanes which are reasonably flat.
Leisurely Leader: Sue Daniels   Distance : 6.5 miles
Apart from near the end of the walk this is flat, and for a change, not too many stiles to go over. From the village we take field paths arriving at the Dog and Partridge pub around lunchtime. Last time we came here for a walk it was awful weather and the pub opened up a room for us and let us eat our lunch there. If the weather is bad, and they have the space there is a good chance that we could do this again. From the pub we follow one of the many 'Quiet Lanes' in Lancashire which has a gentle incline up past Black Hall, and with some good views around us as we walk back down to the village.
Easy Leader: Hazel Anderton & Ruth Melling   Distance: 5 miles
A fairly easy flat walk to the east and south of Chipping mainly over grass fields with good views of Longridge Fell and the hills around. On route we skirt Townley Moss Woods and pass through the grounds of the posh Gibbon Bridge Hotel. The downside is that there are quite a few stiles, but only one is a bit awkward.

NOTES ON THE AREA

The ancient fell-side market town of Chipping has origins that go back beyond recorded history. It was mentioned in the Doomsday book as Chippenden. It is a village in the Ribble valley within the Forest of Bowland Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It has won a number of Best Kept Village competitions and has won the village section of the Royal Horticultural Society Britain in Bloom award picking up tourist awards in the process.

Chipping acquired its status as a market centre during the Roman period. Wheat, being one of the primary staples of the Roman Army, was first cultivated in the newly cleared Vale of the Loud. This brought an age of prosperity to the district and a trading centre was soon established - with horses, salt, lime, wheat and other grains being the major commodities exchanged. With the demise of Roman influence, the fields fell into decay and only moss-land and the place-name 'Wheatley' attest to Chipping's former 'Golden Wealth'.

It thrived again in the Industrial Revolution when there were seven mills along Chipping Brook. Kirk Mill became famous for making chairs but sadly went into administration in 2010, an early victim of the recent recession.

There are three pubs in the area, the Sun Inn, the Tillitson's Arms and the very smart Gibbon Bridge Hotel which would not let Hazel and Ruth in during their reccee.

A church was established in Chipping before 1230, but little is known of the early foundation. For the most part the present fabric of St Bartholomew's represents the major restoration of 1873, but a few interesting pieces remain from former ages. The oldest of these is the cross base which stands next to a 16th century chest of Belgian origin. The base lost its position and shaft sometime after 1610. The font is by far the church's finest piece. It dates from 1520, supposedly the gift from Bradley of Bradley Hall whose initials appear on one of the shields. In the churchyard stands a sundial upon stone steps with the date 1708 and the initials of the churchwardens of that time.

Parlick Pike is first mentioned in 1228 as 'Pirloc', a name which could have a Scandinavian derivation. Parlick, in the past, has been a rallying point for local Catholics, especially during the Jacobite Rebellions of the 18th century. Tales are told of lights burning on the summit at the very dead of night, where men would set out their plans against the Hanoverians. Today the Pike is a rallying point for hand-gliding enthusiasts who play on the thermals that rise up from the valley below.

Chipping Craft Centre has the honour of being a building used as a shop for the longest time in the UK. These days it has a newsagent's, a tea shop, craft centre and a part time Post Office. There has been a well-known agricultural and horticultural show here since 1920, and since 1998 Chipping Steam Fair takes place over the Spring Bank holiday.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

LLANGOLLEN, NORTH WALES

SUNDAY, 26th October 2014

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Steve Budd   Distance: approx. 11.5 miles
Today we are going to the end of the world or more precise, Worlds End.

This is a walk I enjoyed and I hope you do too. We leave Llangollen and head north towards Castell Dinas Bran. This is the first of two climbs of the day, you can choose whether to climb to the summit or go around, great views from summit though. From there we pick up Offa's Dyke Path for a few miles to end up at Worlds End (may have lunch here). We then follow a quiet road south past World Ends Farm and onto a path leading to Eglwyseg Glen, our second climb. Continuing south we eventually pick up the Clwydian Way. We follow this back, passing the remains of an Abbey called Valle Crucis (impressive and if time allows we can visit the Abbey), eventually arriving at a main road and turning right to Motor Museum, cross the bridge onto the Llangollen Canal and back to Llangollen.

There is a degree of road walking on quiet roads for about 4 miles all told - no choice because of time restrictions. We will have to do a reasonable pace today if we are to visit the Abbey and also to get back in time for refreshments. Please consider this if choosing this walk.

Moderate Leader: Peter Denton   Distance: 6 and a bit miles
We start our walk from the coach park. Then we go out over the river heading up to the castle's ruins for some lovely views. We then head down onto Offa's Dyke and along a panoramic walk. Then through Trevor Hall Wood and down to the canal and a nice flat walk back to Llangollen for cream tea. Very nice. Those 6 miles felt like 9.
Leisurely Leader: Joan McGlinchey   Distance : 6.5 miles
This is a very leisurely walk with no real ups and downs. We start our walk along the canal in the direction of Castell Dinas Bran. Our walk takes us around the bottom of the castell where we join the History Trail. We then head in the direction of World's End. We pass some interesting seats and tables supplied by 'Kunteye' (!) and friends, which we will be tempted to use as the views are stunning. We then make our way back to Llangollen.
Easy Leader: Derek Lee   Distance: 5.5 miles
We leave Llangollen on the canal as far as the motor museum, then an easy ascent to Valle Crucis Abbey. We continue around the north end of Velvet Hill on a rough footpath (but there is an alternative minor road) and then drop down to Horseshoe Falls before returning along the canal.

NOTES ON THE AREA

Llangollen has much to offer the visitor. Firstly it is full of history.

The lovely bridge over the Dee was originally a pack-horse bridge, built by John Trevor, Bishop of St Asaph, in 1345; and it has been widened several times since. 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, but a century later British Rail closed this route, a victim of the Beeching cutbacks. Preservationists re-opened the station in 1975 and the Llangollen Railway Society now runs steam and diesel hauled trains to Berwyn.

There are Bronze Age burial grounds in the area which can be seen from the Castle.

The Cistercian Valle Crucis Abbey was founded in 1201 and was home to about 60 monks. It thrived for a long time and survived attacks from Edward 1st and the Black Death but it eventually succumbed to the Dissolution in 1537. If you see ducks on the pond note that this is the only medieval fish pond in Wales.

Dinas Bran Castle was built in the 1260's by Prince Gryffudd (pronounced Griffith) ap Madoc to guard the strategic Dee Valley. But it is now in ruins. There is a steep climb up to the castle but it is worth it for the fantastic views of the countryside, and also of Thomas Telford's great Pontcysllte Aqueduct used to carry the Llangollen Canal over the Dee. It was opened in 1805 and has been in use ever since.

The Llangollen Canal is a branch of the Shropshire Union Canal and was completed in 1805 by Telford. It was originally built to carry slate from the quarries in North Wales to the growing cities in England but with the coming of the railways the canal companies soon faced bankruptcy. The Llangollen Wharf Pleasure Boat Company was founded in 1884 and visitors can still enjoy a very relaxing horse drawn boat ride barge today.

The canal ends one mile westwards at the Horseshoe Falls, a semi-circular weir designed by Telford to hold back the water needed to keep the canal topped up. Unfortunately the water level in the Dee fell so much that many mills along the river went out of business.

Llanysilio Church is worth a visit. It was built originally in 1250 but the present building is a Victorian reconstruction. It contains exhibitions about its history.

The very pleasant scenery includes the attractive Horseshoe Falls mentioned above. Velvet Hill has the soft texture of sheep grazed grass. People think that it is special grass but really sheep make very good mowers.

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 world famous International Eisteddfod takes place in Llangollen each year during the second week in July.

The Dee is good for water sports with canoeing down the rapids being the best known. There are other white water activities available too. It is also a salmon river and has fresh water pearl mussels.


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

WADDINGTON, LANCASHIRE

SUNDAY, 30th November 2014

NB. Pendle council has closed public conveniences including those at Waddington, with local businesses such as cafes and pubs being encouraged to make provision instead. The only cafe in Waddington has very limited facilities, and the pubs will not be open when we arrive, so instead, we will be travelling to Waddington along the M65 and will call in at Blackburn services for a quick comfort stop.

TODAY'S WALKS

It seems that we may all have a muddy time today!
Strenuous Leader: Andrew Mayer   Distance: approx. 11 miles
Starting from the centre of Waddington village, next to the church, we head west towards Clough Bottom farm. Following the footpaths, crossing very wet and muddy field tracks we head towards Buckstall farm, heading upwards towards the Moorcock Inn (Not in use). (Stop for lunch about half way). From the Moorcock Inn we head towards Cuttock Clough farm and then east towards West Bradford village passing the Three Rivers campsite on the descent down towards the village. From West Bradford we head back towards Waddington village. Tracks very muddy and we cross a few streams.
Moderate Leader: Selwyn Williams   Distance: 8 miles
We set off, have lunch & get back, right! What? You want more - OK.

We walk down the muddy path to the River Ribble, cross over, walk upstream eastwards on the muddy bank, cross back over & enter the cursed village of Grindleton, (cursed because it's got two pubs, neither of which you will be entering). At the top of the village, we descend a short gulley to cross a stream by a foot bridge under which a troll lives. We go up the opposite bank, through a field, along a muddy lane to skate through two well manured farmyards. Back down another gulley to a stream, no troll but no bridge either so it's a damp river crossing. One of you is bound to get water in your boots. Then we go along the lane & round the houses to another foot bridge. Now if you're the one with soggy socks, you might just relish the opportunity to beat the crap out of a troll. Anyway, up the muddy bank & over the top, not an enemy in sight & a gentle stroll back to base through lush green meadows. On return, you can take off your boots & wring out your socks unless of course you have already been eaten by a troll! All that now remains is to go to the pub & ponder on the question of 'Who put the troll into strolling'.

Leisurely Leader: Sue Daniels   Distance : 6.5 miles
The first part of the walk follows the same path as the Easy keeping to the pavement for the first 10 mins until reaching the path for Coplow Hill (very muddy here). We follow pathways down and over Brungerley Bridge and follow the river to Edisford Bridge. This would be a good place for a tea break as there are plenty of picnic tables with nice views over the river. From here we make our way over farmland passing Bashall Hall and Wood heading for Saddle Bridge. Depending on the weather I may take to the road until Gannies Farm where we make our way again over farmland and back down to Waddington. There are quite a few stiles on this walk and loads of mud if weather has been wet!
Easy Leader: Derek Lee   Distance: 5.5 miles
We will take a footpath to Coplow Hill and Brungerley, then a track past Waddow Hall and a minor road to Shireburn and Low Moor. Here we join the Ribble Way back to Brungerley Bridge then walk through Brungerley Park, home to the Ribble Valley Sculpture Trail, and with good views across the Ribble Valley. That brings us to Horrocksford and Bradford Bridge, and a final field path back to Waddington which is likely to be very muddy.

NOTES ON THE AREA

Today we visit the pretty little village of Waddington, 2 miles (3 km) north-west of Clitheroe, within the Ribble Valley district of Lancashire, although prior to the local government re-organisation in 1974 it was just inside Yorkshire. It falls within the Forest of Bowland

It is home to both an Anglican church and a Methodist church, a social club (Waddington Club) with bowling green, a cafe, a post office, a playing field on which both cricket and football are played. Also, within the village there are three popular pubs. The village is a regular winner of the Lancashire Best Kept Village awards. Each year on the May bank holiday weekend, the village's annual Scarecrow Festival takes place, with the Monday at the end of the weekend being the focus for activities of all ages

A Saxon chief named Wada is said to have given his name to the village, and there is mention of him in one of our oldest historical documents, the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle. The parish church of St Helen has a tower which was built at the start of the 16th century from stone quarried on nearby Waddington Fell, while the remainder of the church is largely the result of restoration and rebuilding work undertaken at the beginning of the 20th century. Inside the church there are a medieval font, a medieval glass panel containing a picture of a 16th century figure, and some 17th century pews in the Brownsholme Chapel.

Outside, in the churchyard, is the shaft of an old sundial dated 1686, which stands upon a millstone.

Waddington Old Hall is a medieval building which dates back to before 1464 when Henry VI took refuge there for about a year prior to being captured near Brungerly Bridgby by the Yorkists as he fled across the river. The original walls and windows can still be seen in the Great Hall. There is also the Monk's Room in the oldest part of the building, which probably dates from the 11th century


Skelmersdale Rambling Club

BARROWFORD, LANCASHIRE

SUNDAY, 4th JANUARY 2015

NB. The public conveniences at Barrowford have also been closed so once again we will travel on the M65 and will call in at Blackburn services for a quick comfort stop. The toilets are still open at Barley apparently so there might be the opportunity to use them there if your walk passes that way.

Many thanks to Selwyn and Sue for organising our successful Christmas meal and walk.

TODAY'S WALKS

Strenuous Leader: Dennis Cookson     Distance: approx. 9 miles
Starting from the heritage centre this walk follows Pendle Water initially but before long we start to make a gentle gradual climb towards Malkin Tower before making our way on a series of paths and quiet country lanes to reach lower and higher Briercliffe, and eventually the Black Moss reservoirs. Shortly afterwards we arrive at Barley (toilet stop here if needed). Most of the return journey follows the Pendle Way through woodland to Offa Hill, Roughlee and eventually rejoins Pendle Water on our way back to Barrowford for a well-earned cuppa and mince pie. Expect the paths to be very muddy in places with both poles and gaiters recommended.
Moderate Leader: Cynthia and David Prescott     Distance: 6.5 miles
This walk has been chosen to suit both moderate and leisurely walkers and to get back before dark. The fields at this time of year are very muddy so we have found a walk that reduces the amount of field walking: so, we start by walking past the Heritage Centre on the flat, through the park and then beside the canal which has a tarmac path with grass verges. We pass the locks and Barrowford Reservoir up to Wanless Bridge and then head towards the village of Beverley where we intend to have lunch in the park as there is some seating there. After lunch we go to the back of Blacko and return on the Witches Trail of the Pendle Way which we found to be a nice path. There are good views but we do not go up really high or too steeply, but enough to make it a good moderate walk.
Leisurely Leader:     Distance :
There is no leisurely walk today
Easy Leader: Derek Lee     Distance: 5.0 miles
We leave Barrowford through the park and playing fields then join the canal towpath as far as Barrowford Locks. Here we turn off through Greenfield Road Local Nature Reserve and make our way to Boundary Mill for lunch (and no doubt more costly activities!). We then continue northwards following the line of the former railway as far as Wanless Bridge where we rejoin the canal and follow it most of the way back to Barrowford. Most of the route is on hard surface tracks but for a lot of the way there is a green verge for more comfortable walking.

NOTES ON THE AREA

The characterful charming village of Barrowford pronounced with the emphasis on Ford, is in Pendle District and sits on the confluence of two rivers, Pendle Water and Colne Water, where trout can often be seen leaping through the clear waters. It is surrounded by beautiful countryside that is great for walking or cycling, and so it's perfect for the Pendle Cycling Festival. It is also full of history, including the story of the nearby Pendle witches, and is now an upmarket place full of attractive 17th and 18th century farmhouses and pretty handloom weavers' cottages. The independent boutiques that line the high street are jammed with smart designer fashion, attracting some of the North West's most affluent customers including footballers and their other halves. David Beckham has even been known to drop in for some shopping in Barrowford!

The village is on the Leeds to Liverpool Canal. The canal has 91 locks, seven of which are in Barrowford. The oldest bridge in town, the Packhorse Bridge near Higherford Mill, dates back to the end of the 16th century. Pendle Heritage Centre is home to the two oldest buildings in Barrowford, the Fold and Park Hill, which date back to 1550. The buildings have been extensively altered over the last 200 years as you'll see at the exhibition inside.

Barrowford is now part of Nelson. Although originally dependent on farming, it expanded rapidly as a textile town during the 19th century. A few mills were built at that time but mechanised production moved to nearby 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. At the rear of the house is a walled garden containing organic fruit, vegetables, flowers, and herbs.

On the corner, across the bridge, stands the Toll House. This small building was designed so that the road could 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. Bank Hall, otherwise the Lamb Club, stands further east from the church along Church Street. It's a Jacobean house dating from 1696, with mullioned windows on the second floor and a porch on the second floor which 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.

So there are lots for the visitor to see in Barrowford,

Return to Top of Page

© Skelmersdale Rambling Club 2015