The Plodders continued



The Hodder way Part 2. Wednesday July 11th. Stocks Reservoir to Dunsop Bridge.


Fourteen Plodders and Maude met at 10.30 am in the car park at Dunsop Bridge. From there we took three cars to the start of the walk which was the car park at Stocks Reservoir.

The Plodders were without resident team leader Reg, due to a minor operation, so the reins were handed to Norman who led the walk. Hilary took the compulsory team photograph including first-timer Paul, who is Neil’s son. We then set off at 11 am on what is known as the Stocks Circular Walk, which took us towards our first stop at the Dalehead Church. Norman briefed us about the history of the church which was established during the late 1930's when the site of the old Parish Church made way for Stocks Reservoir. St James' Church was rebuilt, stone by stone, on an area of upland pasture, and those buried in the old churchyard were removed and relocated within the present graveyard. Some of us went in the church which was surprisingly unlocked.

We progressed with the weather now brightening up, to our lunch stop at Slaidburn. After our refreshments we set off by the River Hodder on a pleasant walk on a concessionary path in newly planted woods to the road bridge at Newton. We had a few minutes break on the bridge where we enjoyed sweets handed round by Hilary.

The walk also followed the Haweswater aqueduct defined by the metal gates. We crossed over a brook on a wobbly suspension bridge and then along the river to finish at Dunsop Bridge at 3.15 pm where we had refreshments and a natter at the Puddleducks café in the sunshine before departing after another gradely plod. Thanks to Norman and the reccy team.







Thank you to Reg for the pictures taken on the recce of this walk.

Thanks also to Paul who took some on the walk.



Wednesday July 25th. Irwell Valley Way Part 2. Waterfoot to Bury.

Leader: Reg Kingston. 11 Walkers and 1 dog.




Some eleven Plodders of very wide ranging ages and Maude set forth from Waterfoot on a warm and humid morning. It was so good to have David Hudson, one of the original Plodder founder members and two young volunteers (Emma and Daniel) under Hilary's care with us. Peter Smith was able again to tell us of bygone days in Waterfoot and Rawtenstall. The revolting smell of chicken manure sped us onto the old railway track and down to the East Lancs Railway.

Finding our way down to the Irwell we made our way to Ewood Bridge and a drinks stop. Debris hanging from trees (witches knickers!) indicated how high the river had been recently. Passing on we enjoyed the beautiful village of Irwell Vale. The path immediately beyond the village has been severely eroded by the river and was walked with care. Meandering on past Scultures we saw our first steam train of the day. The whistles from the train continued as it made it’s way to Irwell Vale and beyond to Rawtenstall.

Around this time, as we neared Strongstry it started to rain, despite a forcast of fine weather. On we plodded passing Stubbins and headed for Ramsbottom. We had lunch in Nuttall’s Park, sheltering beneath trees. At this point David Hudson took over the Leader’s role. Ignoring the rain we climbed up to Summerseat along the cobbled track which became very slippy as we descended. We took in the splendid railway viaduct and the Waterside Inn. Passing on we crossed the railway and enjoyed the fields full of wild flowers. Seeing yet another steam train we followed the river bank down to Burr’s Country Park. Pausing for drinks we admired the weir as did many visitors to the Park. Passing the remains of Burr’s Mill and then Calrows Farm, which dates back to 1710, we headed back into Bury following the river and then thanks to David weaved our way through the centre of Bury to the Interchange and the number 473 bus, which took us back to our cars in Waterfoot.

It is likely the next and final leg, (Bury to the Mark Addy in Salford) will be put back to September as Reg is having a prostate operation in August and will be sidelined.




 Wednesday August 8th. Hodder Way Part 3. Dunsop Bridge to Chipping. 9 miles.

Leader: Reg Kingston. 11 walkers and 1 dog.

Some 11 Plodders and the Plodder dog, Maude, set off from Dunsop Bridge along what was uncharted territory. We reccied as we went along! The initial path was close to the river, very muddy but definitely a path. As the river looped the path headed out over water logged fields and became difficult to find. Seeing the Aqueduct bridge enabled us to recognise where we where on the map .

A farmers wife pointed out a stile which fortunately lead onto a tarmaced farm road and down to Burholme Bridge. Following the Mobile Nutter’s Surveillance instructions we followed the road until we found a concessionary path leading alongside the river to the Whitewell Inn.The path lead straight through a Marquee which was set up for the next function. Sitting along the church yard we enjoyed our first break. The sun was breaking through and the Bowland scenery was magnificent.

From Whitewell we ascended to a path which was to contour above the road and river. We passed a green Aqueduct gate with an interesting tunnel setback. Taking to the hillside we encountered some very water logged ground for the next three fields and deciding to find firmer ground we found our way down to the road. This caused us to search around to find the path leading from the road to the river. After Phil had discovered yet another Aqueduct Bridge, and finding where we where on the map, things fell into place!

Enjoying the sun on our backs we followed the Nutter’s instructions until we reached the farm road leading to Stakes Farm. Lunch was taken on the road side. Following the road in the opposite direction we reached the road leading to Doeford Bridge and so avoid the barbed wire fence blocking off the path which Nancy and Reg had encountered on Sunday.

Crossing the Hodder at Doeford Bridge we headed cross country to Chipping. We passed a field with some 48 different types of Orchids. The farmers wife told us that the field was only used for grazing her horses and had never been treated with chemicals of any sort. The field had been checked by experts who were amazed at the numbers of Orchids. Nearer to Chipping we passed some happy farm workers enjoying fish and chips.They were resting from cutting the grass in the nearby very wet fields.

Ignoring the cafe and ice creams in Chipping we headed back to Dunsop Bridge and enjoyed tea and cakes. So ended a very relaxed and enjoyable day.





Wednesday August 22nd. Final leg of the Irwell Valley Way.

Bury to Salford. 12 miles.


Some 13 Plodders left the Metro Station at Bury on what was an un reccied  last section. Early  rain soon cleared and Reg managed successfully to find the Irwell .Success did not last and following what appeared to be the right path it became progressively more overgrown. It was like fighting through the jungle, but fortunately John Pickton hacked and cut his way into the field below. The first sight that greeted us was the that of a man walking his dog along the canal towpath we should have been on.

After finding the right path we continued along the canal to Ratcliffe, passing en route, a pair of swans with seven youngsters. The amount of vegetation in the canal was amazing and varied. Stopping  briefly for a drink we continued along the towpath to Mount Zion. Here we left the canal and descended to the road below. As if on cue an elderly cyclist appeared and without asking directed us to the bridge over the Irwell and from here we continued along the well signposted path to Ringley Road. Crossing the Railway Bridge we descended to the former rail track and into the surrounding woods. Like many old railway tracks the trail was used by walkers,cyclists and horse riders .Not surprisingly in parts it was very muddy. The woods were deep and it was difficult to believe we were so near to Manchester. However this came to a halt as we crossed the M60 and entered Philips Park. Passing on we reached the 13 Arched Viaduct, now a preserved structure, and walked through Prestwich Forest. Again remarkably rural with the wide and fast flowing Irwell near by.

Crossing by the Agecroft Road and Jubilee Bridge carrying the Thirlmere Aqueduct, we found seats(large flat rocks) and enjoyed a brief lunch. The Hilton Hotel was looking close and the appeal of the Mark Addy grew stronger. Reg rang ahead to order sandwiches. Passing some fine playing fields (cricket,football,athletics) we rapidly crossed Littleton Road and the surrounding council estate to reach the footbridge across the Irwell and onto the old Salford Race Course. Again enjoying the more rural views towards The Cliffe we sped on to cross Fredrick Road and enter Peel Park and Salford University.

Coming out at the Crescent we walked down the very recently refurbished Chapel Street and passing some fine buildings, including the Cathedral, we reached Bridge Street and the Mark Addy at exactly 3.0pm. Peter who was a police sergeant in Salford in the sixties told us about local history as we passed various pubs and public buildings. It was really good to see this part of Salford being restored.

A splendid array of sandwiches,chips and salad were soon eaten,whilst we enjoyed the outside tables and views of the Irwell. The beers were excellent and rounded off what had been an enjoyable day and fitting finish to the Irwell Trail.





Thanks to Reg and Don for the pictures.


Please click the link below for Martin's version of this walk.....

and some pictures.......





The Hodder Way. Part 4. ( Chipping –Hurst Green.) 12 miles.


A prompt start by 10 Plodders left Chipping on a day that felt like summer. The sun was warm and the hills around were clear and splendid. Making good time down to Doeford Bridge we rapidly came to the cross country section aptly named by our Leader as wet. The fact Reg was wearing  gaiters set off alarm bells amongst the Plodders. Their concerns were well founded and ‘Little Ann’ was heard to say at this stage she had never been on such a wet walk. Crossing fields was like walking across a bog. Fortunately the path lead into a wood with a reasonable surface if a little slippy going down hill. Crossing a footbridge over a steep gully and raging stream we climbed up the opposite bank to reach a view point overlooking the Hodder. Descending towards the river we crossed a stream and crossing further boggy ground reached a further larger stream. From here we ascended via some large steps to another viewpoint. Ann’s opinion of the steps was along the lines of ‘where did I find this walk?’

We had reached the limits of our Leader’s reccy. On the map it appeared simple to find Aigden Farm and the path leading to the road. We spent nearly an hour searching for the path and footbridge over a further stream. The local Farmer appears to have removed signs which would have lead us to the stile and steps down to the footbridge.(now abandoned after being washed onto it’s side). Crossing the Farm yard of Aigden Farm we found excellent signs forward. Lunch was taken in a delightful field and a relatively dry one.

Refreshed we crossed rapidly some very boggy fields to reach the road. Enjoying the firm road surface and warmth of the sun we headed down to Higger Hodder Bridge. A magnificent bridge which in days past was the boundry between Lancashire and Yorkshire.

Taking the good path which follows the Hodder, we enjoyed some superb views of the Hodder and we all felt this went a long way to make up for the very boggy fields we had endured. Passing an old stone cross and the Hodder Place Buildings we reached the Lower Hodder Bridge. Admiring the Cromwell Bridge we had a brief drinks break and set forth on the Ribble Way to Winkley Hall. Again enjoying a good path down to Winkley Hall Farm we passed through and walking along the bank of the Hodder we reached it’s joining with the Ribble. Within half a mile the River Calder was seen to join the Ribble. The River Ribble now was full, fast flowing and the banks green and relatively dry .Continuing along the Ribble Way and unfortunately more boggy ground we passed the Suspension Bridge and took the path up to Hurst Green. We reached the carpark at 5.0pm, taking some six and a half hours to complete the 12 miles. Most of us felt tired but satisfied and a few of us enjoyed the hospitality of the Shireburn Arms. The rather posh Wedding Party just leaving the Inn, was some what taken back by our Leader staggering in with Coop bags tied around his very muddy boots. Fortunately the notice outside sensibly says muddy boots welcome!




Please click on the link below to see Don's photos of the day.!341&Bsrc=SkyMail&Bpub=SDX.SkyDrive&sc=Photos




A Ramble around the former Poynton Colleries Railway System with the Plodders.  10/10/12.


Meeting up on Piccadilly Station some Plodders enjoyed a relaxed coffee before boarding the 9.42 to Buxton. Awaiting them at Middlewood was Martin and a supply of chocolate cake. The party was soon joined by Ann and Peter who had travelled by car and walked down the Middlewood Way to the station.

At this time the Plodders were approached by a young lady who having got off the train to meet a friend was taken back to find the station was in the middle of a wood and no road in sight. The Plodders, always anxious to help a lady in distress, gave her directions to the nearest road!

Walking along Middlewood Way, a Way shared by walkers, cyclists and horse riders we reached the picnic tables at what was formerly Higher Poynton Station. Reg had supplied the Plodders with an 1935 outline of the Poynton Colleries Railway system. Even in 1935 a significant number were horse drawn or on a pulley system. At this point we enjoyed our first chocolate cake of the day.

Leaving the track we crossed the bridge to The Nelson Pit gallery which gives a pictorial account of the pit and surrounding railways and countryside. This most attractive countryside from near by Lyme Park to Tegg’s Nose is managed by Countryside Rangers.

Walking we soon came to the Anson Machinery Museum, which has a couple of the machines outside and an enormous crank shaft. Reg had almost been run over on Saturday by one of the museum staff who after apologising said the museum was well worth a visit. On seeing that entrance was £6 per head we gave that a miss. Following what was the line from Anson’s pit we skirted the Poynton Golf Course and came to the Prince’s Incline, the main artery of the railway system. Walking up the incline we reached the area around the Prince Albert Pit, now an area of beautiful woodland, and the display board describing the Pits and the horse drawn transport and other forms of transport.

Rushing back down the incline with thoughts of lunch in mind we reached the Garden Centre on the main Stockport to Macclesfield Road. The cafe enjoys a good reputation locally and it was as well we had a reservation. Most had the excellent home made soup and a warm roll and all of us a large pot of tea. Unfortunetly the miniature steam railway and shop was closed but we wondered around and admired the many station names, signal box and impressive signals.

Walking around Poynton Lake, and along a road of very impressive houses opposite Poynton Park. We did a circuit around the lower end of the Incline and the branch to Lord and Lady Pits. Coming out on the main road we could see where the railway crossed to the main line to Stockport. There is nothing left to indicate a railway had ever been there.

Walking back up the incline to its top we passed former marshalling yards and some old cottages which looked as if they dated back to the time of the railways. The Incline is now surrounded by rolling fields and the golf course. Wonder what the miners of old would have thought.

As we approached the Middlewood Way a ground swell of voices suggested we might just have time to go to the pub near Higher Poynton Station. This was the case and we enjoyed a pint of decent bitter (and some soft drinks) and our final fix of chocolate cake. Rushing along at high speed thinking the train was at 3.42 we reached the station ten minutes early!

The train was the 3.52 to Barrow in Furness and dropped some of us off without the need to change trains, excepting Allan and Roger. Thus ended a relaxed and enjoyable outing. The route was around eight miles in distance. There were eight Plodders on the walk. The next Plodder walk on the 31st is to be lead by Martin and will start from Dane Bridge and include the Roaches. A walk not to be missed with great countryside and of course Lud’s Church.




Please click on the link below for Martins report on the day.


Wednesday October 31st.

Despite forecast rain, a good turnout of twelve Plodders - Martin, Sue, Reg, Jim, Neil, Nancy, Bernard, Andrew, Paul, Roger, Phil and Allan, assembled at Danebridge for this escape from East Lancashire to the distant land of North Staffordshire.

The weather was in fact 'fine', albeit a bit cloudy, and we managed the whole walk without the need for waterproofs.  Meanwhile it rained in Lancashire.  Perhaps we should head south more often!  After a few steps we passed Wincle Brewery - set up in 2008 from a redundant milking parlour - where some of us thought we spotted the shadowy figures of 'R Norman' and 'D Watson', nursing a pail of beer.  We left them to it and headed up through autumnal woods to gain a view of Hanging Stone, our first objective.

There is no record of Hanging Stone being used for hanging - the name describes its look rather than its function!  However, it did claim one of our number, as Reg decided a low level stroll would be more to his taste today.  I think he could smell the beer at the Ship Inn, as it later transpired that he had gate-crashed a Rucksack Club party with some luminaries who were known to him, so whilst we were hauling ourselves over The Roaches he was taking a rare break from leading a Plod in order to get sozzled in the pub.

From the top of Hanging Stone, there's a fine view of Shutlingsloe, the 'Matterhorn of the Peak District', and dramatic photos can be gained of those brave enough to stand on the edge of the stone, which overlooks the Cheshire (or should that be Staffordshire?) plain.  We didn't go close to the edge today, for fear of being blown off.  Nor did we spot any wallabies - they apparently roam free around here!

Phil led the wind blasted group of Plodders along the ridge that is called Back Forest, high above Roach End Farm, beyond which we employed tarmac for a while to take us below The Roaches to Roaches Gate, where we edged out of Phil's slipstream and headed past a hovering kestrel and a group of climbers, below the BMC's Don Whillans Memorial Hut, to rise along a rocky path to a good spot for lunch with views towards Tittesworth Reservoir and The Wrekin - over 40 miles away.  The outline of Snowdonia was visible in the far distance.

Hen Cloud rose prettily to our south, but some members of this motley group were more concerned about the presence around us of Rock Climbers.  "Will I mange OK" asked Jim, "I have no equipment."  "Oh dear" I replied, "the rest of us have ropes and harnesses!"  Perhaps that's why Reg dropped out and went to the pub, but even without his fatherly guidance we did somehow manage to scrabble our way up the vertigo inducing cliffs that led eventually to a lump of white concrete at 472 metres, our highest point of the day.  As leader, I went as high as I could, but nobody followed - it was windy on top.

We then started the long descent to Lud's Church and were soon back in the woods, where a well signed path led us inexorably to the back door of this fine geological artefact.  Only Andrew by-passed the top entrance, from where we all slowly descended into the main auditorium.  It was a little muddy in places, but unlike a solo lady walker who appeared to be stalking our party (bizarre, I know, but true) we did find our way past the numerous mossy murals to the front entrance.  Here, tea was taken and the remnants of a chocolate cake were shared out (most of it having been eaten at previous halts).

From the church, our route casually followed the course of the River Dane, back to Danebridge past a rare breed sheep farm.  On the way we met Reg, stumbling along after his encounter with the alcoholically inclined members of the Rucksack Club.  He seemed pleased to see us, especially when Bernard offered to carry him back to Danebridge.  Then Bernard remembered that he had a bad ankle and changed his mind.  So Reg had to walk.

Adjourning to The Knott Inn for refreshments, we had our only real mishap of the day, ten minutes proving to be insufficient time for Roger to get his car into a position whereby it was pointing in the right direction.  Or did he just change his mind and go straight home?  We may never know.

Our route today was about 17 km (11 miles), with 600 metres ascent, and took about 5.5 hours. A fuller report and a link to a bigger slideshow can be found here:

Martin Banfield





Kelbrook Revisited. A Plodder Walk over the last section of the Lancashire Trail. 14.11.12


Eleven Plodders set out from Barley carpark with the thoughts of a fish and chip dinner foremost in their minds. Some had previously walked this last section but wanted the chance to enjoy the excellent fish and chips cooked at Kelbrook Fisheries yet again.

The weather was kind, mild, occasional blue skies and a very still morning. As we set off down the path to White Hough we were passed by a procession of bicycles ridden by children from the Activity Centre, who were only just big enough to get on the bicycles .They were all dressed in the same blue waterproofs, with shiny helmits and were a credit to who ever turned them out.

Walking up hill past the Outdoor Centre we encountered serious mud for not the only time. Successfully overcoming this hazard we reached the road and turned towards Brown Hill. Crossing further muddy fields we headed towards Blacko Tower and then down to Blacko Foot. At the bridge we stopped for refreshment before the gradual climb up Amergilll following the Pendle Way. Just beyond the Hamlet at Amergill we encountered very serious mud. Wading ankle deep we slowly reached less muddy parts of the path and crossed the stream to climb up to the main Gisburn/Barrowford road and to the lofty heights of Amergill pasture where we had a small lunch. I have to stress it was a small lunch as we were conscious of our dinner later!

Climbing on we reached the delightful green lane down to Barnoldswick. Here the passing into ‘God’s own Country’ is dramatic with reasonable views of Ingleborough and the surrounding Yorkshire Dales. We all felt it was truely a blessing to be out on such a wonderful day. There was a tendancy to get ahead of the leader, who over the years,has successfully lead from the back. Several wrong turns restored the leaders authority.

Pausing for refreshment at the Marina we headed briskly for Thornton in Craven. A very helpful farmer had placed straw over a particularly muddy section of the route. Jim noted down such points in order to tell Norman of the carefull planning that goes into Plodder walks!

Finally passing some Llamas and through a farm with childrens attractions including various animals, we reached Thornton in sufficient time to collect our cars from Barley and reach the Kelbrook Fisheries at 16.32.(two minutes after opening time). Jim continued to enter such details into his notebook. Enjoying yet again a very good meal at the Fisheries we completed a full and enjoyable day out. Distance was around nine miles.



Please click on the link below for some pictures of the day. Thank you to Paul Woodcock for these.!123&Bsrc=SkyMail&Bpub=SDX.SkyDrive&sc=Photos


Please click on the link below for Martin's blog for this walk.



Plodders at Ghyll Head. December 2012


Thank you to Martin for his blog on this trip. Please click on the link below to read all about it.


Photos are below:-