Nippy November Walks

Bolton Rotary Way Part 3, Red Rock Lane to Jumbles Country Park, Sunday Nov 30th

This is arguably the most rural leg of the three, although at this time of year, it’s also the most muddy!
Only 8 walkers left Red Rock Lane car park on a day which turned out to be a beautiful day. After approximately half a mile along a disused railway track and canal from the car park, we re-joined the Bolton Rotary Way near Arley Hall, for the last section back to Jumbles Country Park.
The first part is an easy walk along the Leeds/Liverpool canal to Adlington. As we left Adlington, Paul Wadsworth joined us before a short section close to the M61. We soon crossed it, and just before emerging onto Bolton road on the outskirts of Horwich, we stopped for our morning break.
After skirting Horwich, we started the climb to Winter Hill, with views across to Rivington Pike. Winter Hill, at 456mtrs. is the highest point of the area west of the Pennines. The Way doesn’t go to the trig point, nor does it go to the 2 memorial cairns, but they provided us with a good place for lunch. The memorial cairns are known as Wilder Lads or Two Lads. There are differing opinions on why they were erected. Details of the site were recorded in 1776 and 1883. Thomas Hampson in 1883 described 'Two Lads' as the graves of two children of a Saxon king, Edgar and recorded that Winter Hill was previously known as Edgar Hill. The cairns could mark the site on which two boys lost their way on the moor and died of exposure in a snowstorm.
After lunch, we were soon back on route heading for the TV transmitter mast then turning east and then south east across Smithills Moor down to Scout Road. Keeping a wary eye and our heads down, we crossed Dunscar Golf Course before having our afternoon break at Walmsley Unitarian Chapel. After crossing the A666, we had a short climb before skirting Egerton and The Last Drop village and then it was down to Chapletown Road and the car park.
Thanks to Dave, Norman and Barbara for helping me with the recce’s, and Dave, Phil and Bob for the taxis.

Photos -

Ken Noble


In Search of White Bears, Wednesday Nov 26th

Martin Banfield led this work and the full report is here, and there's a slideshow here.

Red Rose 100 Recce Stage 4, Chipping to Mellor Brook, Sunday Nov 23rd

20 persons and 3 dogs              15 miles            Ldr : Geoff Holburt
The weather at the start was overcast but mild for late November.  On leaving Chipping we traipsed by road and fields to Thornley Hall. Conditions underfoot were quite muddy and it was heavy going across the fields due to the recent rain. The route then went up Jeffrey's Hill and the group was soon spread out by the time we got to the top. From the summit we enjoyed excellent views of the rolling Lancashire countryside and you could even see as far as Blackpool Tower. We then moved on to Longridge Fell car park were we had a morning break. Setting off again we had to tackle the exposed and open Longridge Fell where we came upon 2 paragliders. Sadly the lack of wind meant they were not getting too far off the ground. The route then dropped down the other side of the fell and by road, fields and tracks went on to Greengore. More tracks took us into Hurst Green where we stopped for lunch. A perfect spot as there is an abundance of benches either side of the war memorial and a cafe for those who wanted something hot.
After lunch we moved on to join the Ribble Way, staying on this for about two miles very close to the side of the river. In the afternoon sunshine it was very pleasant as the river gently flowed, attracting a wide variety of bird life. The route then went on tarmac for about half a mile before we crossed the river on the Ribchester Bridge.
The route then took us on past De Tably barn on the recently amended section. By now it was starting to turn colder and we went over fields and then uphill to enter Park Gate Farm where there were a number of baby Holstein cattle in the open barns.
After locating a hidden stile in woodland we then went along tracks and fields to pass Oxendale Hall. Via roads and fields we made our way to Mellor Brook Community Hall and the end of this leg.

Photos - Slideshow here


Bolton Rotary Way Leg 2, Blackleach Country Park to Red Rock Lane, Sunday Nov 16th

The word must be spreading about how pleasant this walk is, as there were 14 walkers on this, the second leg of the Bolton Rotary Way. 19 miles from Blackleach Country Park to Red Rock Lane.
The weather was good. Not a lot of sun, but it stayed dry with some good views, particularly over to Winter Hill and Rivington Pike at our afternoon stop. The first couple of miles are marred by motorway noise, but afterwards, much of the Way is through fields and woodland. We had to leave the designated path due to some building works near to Junction 4 of the M61 but rejoined the Way again before crossing the A579 between Over Hulton and Atherton. Soon after, we passed the memorial to the 1910 Pretoria Mining Disaster, the 3rd worst mining disaster in British history when 344 men and boys were killed.
As we walked up the track into Hart Common, I was amazed to see a white (Yorkshire) rose in the glass of a house window. Unfortunately it had been installed upside down! Maybe it was a red rose which had faded? As we left Hart Common we had a break for lunch on the bridge over the railway before the walk through the long crooked finger of Borsdane Wood. Soon we were passing Blackrod, whose church, high on a hill, is a prominent feature. After crossing the bridge over Leeds/Liverpool canal near to the moated Arley Hall, we left the Way for the half mile walk to the car park off Red Rock Lane. Thanks to everybody for coming, in particular Julie for the photos and Steve, Paul, Bob and Phil for the “taxis”.
Ken Noble



Photos for “I Have a Dream”, Sunday September 28th now available on the September page


Tropical Flatlands of Holcombe, Wednesday  Nov 12th

Thanks to the fouteen hardy souls who turned up at the car park on Lumb Carr Lane, Holcombe.

The weather was threatening rain and a debate was had 'to waterproof or not to waterproof', some brave !! individuals deciding shorts would be the best compromise. After the group photo we set off across the road with some purpose in our stride. Unfortunately, the heavens opened and some people were left scrambling for the waterproofs after all. Needless to say, we carried on and skirted the Firing Range heading towards Crowthorn Reservoir. We turned off, heading towards the Toby Inn on Broadhead Road and on to a small-holding famous in these parts for Jacobs Sheep. This involved two stiles which were the slippiest I have come across for a long time, but it all added to the fun. A gentle hill climb was followed by morning coffee.

We then headed even higher and the ground became boggier and there was some mutterings in the ranks. I just walked faster and hoped it would get better soon !! Turning off towards Ogden, Calf Hey and Holden Wood Reservoirs, we entered a steep slippery enchanted woodland, which was nice respite from the bleak boggy moorland above. Norman was apparently dancing down the steps well - either that or falling !! A quick walk past the reservoirs and up to Musbury Heights for some well earned lunch.

We then carried on along the Rossendale Way where Norman found some rope and there was talk of a lynching. He kept looking at me with a twisted look on his face muttering the words mud, mud, mud over and over again.

Thanks to John Thompson for his shortcuts !!! that nearly got us lost, and to his easier hills which in my opinion were worse that the original ones planned. To sum up though, we were really lucky with the weather. The sun even came out. It was a tough walk but I enjoyed it. And I enjoyed the company and banter that goes with it.

Perhaps we will do it again but in the Summer.

Mark Reed


plus more as a slideshow on photobucket



Bolton Rotary Way Pt 1 - Jumbles to Blackleach, Sunday Nov 2nd

The sun was shining as we left Blackleach Country Park for the journey to Jumbles, and was still shining on 11 (righteous) walkers as we left Jumbles Country Park at about 09:35 on the first leg of the Bolton Rotary Way.
After descending to Jumbles Reservoir, we started the ascent to Affetside where we took a minute or two to have a look at the cross, which is thought to date from medieval times or earlier.
Continuing on the old Roman road (Watling Street), with views over to Winter Hill, we eventually left the road to descend past Hey Head farm for a coffee stop by a pond.
Suitably refreshed, we navigated our way through the back yards of a couple of houses before dropping down over Harwood golf course to Roading Brook Road.
As we left Arthur Lane to once more find our way through some gardens, we apparently disturbed somebody’s Sunday lie-in, a man opened his bedroom window in an attempt to discourage us from going through his garden by saying we would find it difficult. As it was clearly signposted as a public footpath, we continued without anything more troublesome than a big step down onto a gravel path as we left.
Soon we were walking across our second golf course (Breightmet) and followed the Way through Little Lever and on to the Manchester, Bolton & Bury canal.
We had our lunch break at Nob End, where a bridge known as Meccano bridge spans the old canal, before walking down past the old locks. Soon afterwards we left the canal to follow the Way to Giants Seat Woods and then to our afternoon break at the Ringley clock tower under cloudier skies.
Soon after leaving Ringley we had a few showers of rain but we finished reasonably dry.
Before crossing what must be one of the longest motorway footbridges, we came to the third and final golf course. Then it was on to the disused railway line back to Blackleach Country Park.
Thanks to Julie, S. Pennines, for the photos, Bob and Jill, S. Manchester and Paul from Swinton for boosting the numbers, Barbara, Peter, Phil and Dave & Alma for the “taxis”.
Hope to see you all in a fortnight for leg 2.
Ken Noble

Photos by Julie Spencer