Monday, May 28, 2007

Reelers' Trail

Walking on a Monday (Bank Holiday) makes a change from our usual Sunday walks. With Mandy and Dave paying a fleeting visit, plus the weather, we decided to leave it until today.

The URL for this part of the Witton Weavers Way is:

A relatively easy walk of just over 8 miles, with a couple of short steep ascents.

We started at The car park of the Medical Centre, next to Cherry Tree Library and walked along the path up to the Leeds and Liverpool Canal.

Seeing a pair of swans with three youngsters (Cygnets) is unusual but...

7! She was apparently on her own as well! The One and a half miles was very pleasant with lots to see; I particularly liked the Flag Iris, especially the reflections.

Leaving the canal, near the Sun Paper Mill, we crossed the metal bridge and headed across field towards Stanworth Farm & the M65; climbing a ladder stile we headed down a field towards woodland. The field provided two photographic opportunities that Ben has been looking for for some time. One...

The lone tree in a field and two...

a pylon that lets you take a picture from underneath! Sorry Ben but England obviously provides more opportunities than California!

We didn't enter the wood, but passed under the M65 and along the wood boundary through two fields. At the corner of the second we crossed a stile into Stanworth Wood. This is part of the largest area of semi-ancient woodland in South Lancashire and is botanically very rich!

Dropping down into the wood we crossed the stream, via a wooden bridge, and climbed up to the crest of a hill, over another style and over a disused railway bridge.

We headed for and through Bradley Farm; Chris was upset by two dogs (chained but barking), I don't think she will ever recover from the 'black dog' experience of an earlier walk. Just before Red Lea Farm, at the end of the third field, we left the main track and skirted a woodland, down a grassy bank, some steps and crossed the River Roddlesworth.

We then followed a track up to the Hare & Hounds Public House in Abbey Village (we, yet again, resisted the temptation of refreshments; it is becoming a habit).

We past Rake Brook Reservoir, crossed the ford (run-off from reservoir; no water) and followed the track to Lower Roddlesworth Reservoir. Then it was off through more woodland and up hill past the 17th Century Higher Hill Farm.

The main feature was the garderobe on the outside

...once the height of fashion in hygienic toilets! Past some old weaver's cottages and down a narrow bridleway to the left of Cheetham Buildings, we came across the old parish pound or pinfold...

...where stray animals were impounded until reclaimed. The next place of interest was as we climbed a stile and footbridge over Sheep Bridge Brook; according to the guide, "there is evidence that a clash took place here during the Civil War, with the remains of 40 horses and various relics having been unearthed".

Emerging from the wood we walked for a short distance beside the busy M65 until we got onto Stockclough Lane near Higher Whitehalgh Farm. Lots of calves and Billy Bull in the adjacent field.

We then passed under the M65 to Lower Whitehalgh Farm. Here Chris said "Don't be alarmed"...

...and you all worry about my jokes! The guide said that on a clear day we would be able to see Black Combe in Cumbria; we could, in spite of the odd splattering of rain.

We completed the walk passing Horden Farm, through a housing estate and back across the canal bridge that we had gone under at the start of the walk. Oh we did stop for ice-creams in the housing estate.

Note: it must have been the first walk, for a long time, that we didn't see any herons; Chris was disappointed! Lots of Swans, ducks, moorhens, cows, calves, sheep lambs, llamas and a grebe; dogs with their owners or chained up and two cats (one very mangy)

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Thursday, May 24, 2007

Beamer's Route

I forgot to provide the URL for the Beamer's Trail route; it is: enjoy!

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Beamers Trail or Witton Weavers Way Walk 1

I know this is a bit late but thinks have been busy workwise and Chris can't use her lunch break to do the blog anymore as it is now "blocked"

This was a lovely walk that begins in the picturesque Witton Country Park (about 480 acres of mixed woodland, parkland. and farmland surrounding what was (demolished) Witton House.

It was nice to see so many youngsters actively involved in sports; football and athletics in particular. The initial part of the walk took us behind the large wooden sports pavilion and through Big Cover Wood . Upon emerging from the woods we crossed fields keeping Higher Gardens Plantation on our right.

Billinge Wood, with squirrels, birds etc., came next and I then realised we had joined the Lancashire Trail just above the Clog and Billycock (see earlier Blog). Walking in the opposite direction, to that we did on the Lancashire Trail, brought back many memories including Chris's Onion Soup! More fields and woods eventually brought us to the River Darwen.

The Wooden Scout Hut, Lower Park Farm and eventually the footbridge and Ford...

Hoghton Tower should have been visible on the top of the craggs but too many trees these days! Went to look at it after the walk but only open July, August and September. We must try to remember to visit soon! Note: It was here James First is said to have knighted the lion of Beef - sirloin.

We departed from the Lancashire Trail at the bridge before Hoghton Bottoms (water powered mill site) and headed along side Pleasington Gold Course and onwards to Pleasington village past a very pleasant half timbered house...

...emerging at the Butlers Arms; again we resisted the temptation of entering! Pleasington Priory...

...was on our right; a gothic RC church.

Continuing along a sandy path we past Tongue Hill, with resident cows,... emerge at playing fields and crossing Butler's Bridge over to the right.

The final stretch took us along the river bank passing ornate footbridge embelishments...

I particularly liked this one. About 6 miles this walk worth doing; there are some "moderate ascents and descents"! Brink on walk 2!

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Monday, May 14, 2007

Jumbles Country Park to Hall i'th Wood

The URL for this 6.4437 mile walk is:

Starting beside the attractive Jumbles Reservoir, first heron and Grebe spotted...

the route headed up over cliffs...

where butterflies...

and a second heron were spotted.

We passed the impressive Turton Tower (and determined to return after the walk for sustenance) and crossed the equally impressive castellated railway bridge - built to harmonise with the tower.

I couldn't convince Chris to climb a tower ("it's not the climbing up but the getting down that's problem").

Debate about which path to follow eventually led us to Turton golf course; instructions said "follow a line of yellow-topped marker posts"! What it didn't say was there were several paths and all were marked by "yellow topped marker posts". Grrrrrr! Following instincts we found the golf club and made our way across fields to Last Drop Village.

A purpose-built complex that is a collection of old farm buildings, restored and converted into a traditional English Village in the 1960s. Chris & I said we must go back and take a closer look at some time in the future (pub, hotel, teashop, galleries & shops).

We then headed, as you will see from the map, through a more built-up area where there seemed to be a competition with who could grow the best Azaleas...

Emerging at the end of Paper Mill Road to Eagley Brook valley, we crossed the brook and after many debates about which path to take, we made our way through attractive woodland to pass a footbridge and eventually emerge onto a cobbled track. The guide had said "there are lots of paths and path junctions - not always clear- and the route directions need to be followed carefully"; how right they were!

The next part was much easier as we walked through Astley Bridge; we rejoined Eagley Brook on an enclosed path and sat on a wall next to the brook to eat our bananas.

After a steep climb we walked up a cobbled path to Hall i'th Wood...

Another of Lord Leverhulme's restorations at the end of the 19th century; its main claim to fame is that here, Samuel Crompton developed the spinning mule in 1779, and event that helped revolutionise the Lanc's cotton industry.

Another enclosed path and a walk along the edge of playing fields led us to the main railway and...

...sorry Ben I had to take another!

Reaching Bromley Cross, we passed under the railway and along Shady Lane and Grange Road. Then it was across fields, through a small wood and eventually down to Jumbles Reservoir Dam. Crossing the brook from the outlet we climbed back up to the car park.

We did go to Turton Tower after that; toasted sandwiches and Hot Chocolate for Chris, coffee for me.

The tower had been built (15th century), as a peel tower, to defend against Scottish incursions; enlarged and modernised in the Tudor & Stuart periods...

and again in the Victorian era. Well worth a visit and the food was good.

On the way home (traffic heavy as Bolton were playing at home) we saw our third heron, on someones roof (looked very silly!)

For those interested it was the last day of the football;  Wigan managed to stay in the Premier League and Liverpool ended up third!

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Thursday, May 10, 2007

Worsley and the Bridgewater Canal

Although the noise of traffic was with us for much of this walk, especially from the M60(62), it was an attractive walk (Bank Holiday Monday), much of it along a wooded disused railway; Worsley has many fine buildings from the canal era, that could be seen as we neared the end of the walk along a section of the 'rusty' Bridgewater Canal (Started by James Brindley in 1759 to link the Duke of Bridgewater's coal mines at Worsley to Manchester).

The URL for this 5.0949 mile walk is:

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Monday, May 07, 2007

Lucy and Iain's Wedding

I'm sure if I was to write about this I would forget something! It was so nice to meet as a family at a 'happy event' and I was so glad that dad could attend as well. Apart from a long, uneventful drive down from Liverpool, where Chris kept reminding me that it wasn't the way she would have gone, the whole day was thoroughly enjoyable.

I've decided to use the digital photographs that I took (Mel took the one of Chris and I) and to make a video. This will show those of you who couldn't attend (B & M) a flavour of the day; some of the images are 'granular' as I avoided using flash indoors during the 'official bits!'

I hope you all enjoy the following as much as Chris and I enjoyed the day...

For those of you who wish to visit the original on YouTube go to

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