SKELMERSDALE RAMBLING CLUB

Web site: www.skemramblers.org.uk

STYAL, CHESHIRE

SUNDAY 24TH NOVEMBER 2019

Coach Leader: Joan McGlinchey                                                                              Coach Leaves at 4.30pm

The usual message about choosing a walk suitable for you. Please read these coach notes carefully as they will help you to decide which walk will be the most suitable for you. For the safety and enjoyment of yourself and others, please try not to join a walk which is beyond your capabilities.

If you are struggling, please inform the walk leader so that he or she can make the decision to amend the walk by shortening it or having some rest etc.

PLEASE RESPECT THE WISHES OF THE GROUP LEADER. Please do not wander away from the group, or leave the group, for whatever reason, without first discussing it with the leader or back marker.

WALKS TODAY

Strenuous Leader : Carole Rankin                                                                                                  Distance : 10.00 miles

Rob is unable to walk today so Carole is stepping in and following the notes below.

We head north from Styal Country Park crossing fields and Styal Golf Club towards the village of Handforth. From Handforth Station we take footpaths to walk through the farmland to the east and south of Handforth and along part of the Bollin Valley Way to Wilmslow. At Wilmslow we rejoin the Bollin Valley way to walk through The Carrs, a parkland area that follows the River Bollin. After leaving The Carrs we enter Styal Country Park heading for Quarry Bank Mill and the completion of our circuit. Ear muffs to cut out aircraft noise and traffic noise from the footpath section parallel to the A34 might be useful. Seriously though, gaiters are recommended as the paths were quite muddy in places.

Leisurely Leaders: Joan McGlinchey and Hazel Anderton                                                             Distance : 7.00 miles

Joan and Hazel have stepped in as Dave is also unable to walk this weekend. The walk is going along the similar route as the easy as far as Morley. We then continue up to the airport perimeter fence from where we might see planes taking off. After that we do a bit of road walking as we make our way back to the Mill via Styal village. Take is needed along the riverside walk as leaves make it slippery, but generally after that it is fairly good underfoot apart from one small field where cattle have trodden. There is not much uphill.

Easy Leader : Jackie Gudgeon Distance : 5.00 miles

Starting from Quarry Bank Mill, please make your way from the coach down to the Mill where we will collect together in the yard area by the toilets and cafe, we follow a path beside the River Bollin to Twinnies Bridge where we cross over the river and head through Pownall Park and on to Lindow Common and Black Lake. After a circuit of this small attractive lake where there are benches where we can have a short coffee break, or lunch if it’s not too early. We head off on decent tracks towards Lindow Moss. Tracks take us to Morley Green and then a pleasant residential road to Morley, where we cross the A538, with care, to follow a footpath back to Quarry Bank. All fairly flat walking on fairly decent tracks, but it could be quite muddy along the river.

NOTES ON THE AREA

The twin focal points of Styal Country Park are Quarry Bank Mill and the adjacent Styal village, both built by the Greg family, the mill owners. The water power provided by the River Bollin was one of the main motives for building the mill here. Apart from the mill and village, the park mainly comprises the beautiful steep sided Styal Woods that slope down to the river.

Since the Middle Ages wool has been England’s chief industry but in the early 18th century cotton became a rival, growing rapidly and later outstripping wool in production. Not only was it the fastest growing industry in England during the Industrial Revolution, it was also the industry that pioneered both new machinery and new methods of working. Previously most textile workers had worked in their own homes using simple hand-operated machines.

The new methods were themselves the necessary consequences of the growth of water powered machines, such as the Water Frame and Mule by Arkwright, and Crompton. The workers could no longer work at home but had to come to work in mills or factories which were mainly situated on the banks of streams where the power of the water could be harnessed to drive the new machines.

Cotton was the most geographically concentrated industry in Britain. Over 90 percent of cotton production became located within a 20 to 30 mile radius of Manchester. One of the major reasons for this was the proximity of the port of Liverpool, through which both the raw cotton from America was imported and the finished products were exported. Other factors included the damp climate which was good for preventing the cotton thread from breaking, but mainly plenty of fast flowing streams to provide the water power, coal supplies in the locality, when steam-powered machines later superseded those powered by water, and a workforce skilled in textile manufacturing from the earlier woollen industry.

Textile mills rapidly sprang up throughout the area. Most of them were in Lancashire, but a number were established in north Cheshire to the south of Manchester. In 1784 Samuel Greg, a cotton manufacturer from Manchester, built Quarry Bank Mill on the banks of the swift flowing River Bollin at Styal, a small agricultural settlement near Wilmslow. From the start Quarry Bank Mill was rather different from the norm. It was a new site in a rural and thinly-populated area with only a few cottages in the vicinity. The owner needed to attract workers to his vast new mill and to do this he provided houses for them that were superior to most working class housing at the time.

Over the following years the spinning mill prospered and was extended. It expanded further in the 1830’s when Robert Greg, added weaving sheds and, in its heyday, it employed over 400 workers. The mill is a striking building and clearly illustrates that industrial structures do not have to be ugly and badly designed. One of its most attractive features is the bell tower, though this was added for purely ulterior motives to ensure good timekeeping among the workforce.

The main problem in this location was that the neighbouring village was too small to provide the workforce required for the mill and therefore Greg had to recruit workers from outside the area, including pauper children. He also had to provide accommodation for both his family and his employees. He built houses for himself and his family and for the mill manager close to the mill, and a little further away the Apprentice House for the children was erected in 1790. This housed around 60 pauper apprentices sent here from various workhouses. Many children had also been living on the streets. The child apprentices not only provided the Gregs with a cheap and plentiful labour supply but relieved their local parishes from a burden on the rates. The garden around the Apprentice House has been made into a Victorian allotment. It seems a bit cruel to make children work in the cotton mill but life was much better for them here as they were looked after, educated a little and had clean accommodation with a proper bed. Greg was enlightened and realised that if his staff were looked after they would be happier and work better.

Since being given to the National Trust and ceasing commercial production, Quarry Bank Mill has become a museum with a working waterwheel, and there are practical demonstrations of textile machinery and displays on how people lived and worked here during the Industrial Revolution.

It is well worth paying a visit. As well as the buildings the grounds have been recently landscaped into lovely gardens.

DATES FOR YOUR DIARY

NEXT RAMBLE

Sunday 19th January -  Todmorden, Lancashire

Leaders: Strenuous - no one at present, Leisurely - Peter Denton, Easy - Jackie Gudgeon

Bookings. With our booking officer at the coach, Evelyn Carrigan. Email via the contacts page.

Cheques made payable to Skelmersdale Rambling Club.

It would be helpful if you would tell the booking officer if you do not intend to book for the next coach.

Coach pick-up times:

Junction Lane Burscough 8.20am

Ormskirk bus station 8.40am

Prince Albert pub Westhead 8.45am

Skelmersdale War Memorial 8.50am

Skelmersdale Baths car park 9.00am.

Please will walk leaders let Hazel have details of their walks as least TEN DAYS before the walk.

Email via the contacts page

SKELMERSDALE CHURCHES RAMBLING CLUB

Would you like a walk in the country with a friendly rambling club based in Skelmersdale? We travel by coach, picking up in Burscough, Ormskirk and Skelmersdale. There are four walks on most coach trips, depending on the availability of leaders, so there is usually something to suit most abilities.  We have trips on the second Saturday of each month throughout the year, and we are actively looking for new members. The club is run very much on the same lines as Skelmersdale Ramblers.

Our next ramble is

Saturday 14th December - Blackpool/Fleetwood

Saturday 11th January - Chipping, Lancashire

Coach leaves

Ormskirk Bus Station 8.30 am

Skelmersdale War Memorial 8.40 am

Skelmersdale Baths Car Park 8.50 am

Upholland Labour Club 9.00 am

Bookings are with Jackie Gudgeon.

RAMBLERS ASSOCIATION WEST LANCS GROUP

For more information look at the website.

DECEMBER

Sunday 1st, Ainsdale, 13.00, 5ml. Thru Sand Dunes Nature Reserve. From Ainsdale station. Park in Sandringham Rd opp the station.

Wednesday 11th, Hightown, 13.30, 5m, from Hall Road Station. Along Sefton Coastal Path and see Anthony Gormley’s Another Place.

Boxing Day, Parbold,13.00, 5ml, park at Bramble Way Car Park.

Sunday 29th, Glass and Bottle Inn, 11.00, 7ml, from the Inn, St Helen’s Road, Rainford, signed from the Rainford Bypass.

JANUARY

New Year’s Day, Aughton, 13.00, 5ml, around Clieves Hill, park in car park behind Christ Church.

Wednesday 15th, Cedar Farm Galleries, 13.30, 5ml, park at the Galleries, Mawdesley, café and toilets.

Sunday 26th, Lunt Meadows, 13.30, 5ml, park in Brickwall Lane, opp Sefton Church.

CLUB NOTES

LOST PROPERTY

Please remember to take everything with you, walking poles, flasks, crisp packets, drinks bottles and coach notesEveryone is very good for not leaving anything on the coach except for coach notes. Please take them with you even if you do not want to keep them.

If you realise that you have left something behind please do not contact the coach company as Jackie usually collects whatever is left behind.

MEMBERSHIP SECRETARY

We are looking for someone to take on the post please. Some computer skills are desirable although not essential. The post is busiest from June to September when people are renewing their membership, but the rest of the year it is relatively quiet. Pam will be taking over the role in the immediate future, hopefully with an assistant, until someone permanent can be found.

Please make sure when you renew your membership that you inform the membership secretary of any personal details which have changed, in particular, your mobile phone number. Also, it would be useful if you would inform the membership secretary at any time when some of your details have changed, and not just when renewing. 

NEW MEMBERS

We are looking to recruit quite a few new members so if you know anyone who might like to join us please ask them to try us out and book on a walk with our booking officer.