Fools in April?

Spring and Other Woods. Wednesday April 27th. 14 miles. Leader: John Thompson.

21 people and 2 dogs set off in cloudy and chilly weather.

Up via Clerk hill and into Deerpark wood, on then to Wiswell and crossing the A59 passing Brook House farm to Common Side. Here we stopped for coffee at a stack of felled trees.
Moving on and around Calderstones Hospital to get to Whalley viaduct, crossing the newly repaired footbridge where a large hailstone cloud fell on us. Good job the viaduct was there.
Moving on to Bushburn Bridge passing Hacking Hall, a very old farm (still in use) to Hacking wood and lunch stop.

On then to Mytton Fold golf course and Doctor's Rake then up to Cronshaw and Billington moor along Sunny Bank and Lower White Calf. Down then to Dean Bridge and the scout camp and along the river Calder to Cock Bridge. On then to Read park and Read Old Bridge, up to Portfield then back to Clerk hill and Spring Wood.

14.5 miles and lots of stiles, a good day had by all.
It was good to see John Crook back in the saddle after his hip operation.

Thanks to all for coming (sorry about the lack of mud, he he)


South West Coast Path. Group Trip April 17th to 23rd.

Please click on the link below to see the photos of this trip kindly sent by Howard.

East Lancs South West Coast Path 2016.



Haigh Return. Wednesday April 20th. Plodder Walk. 12 miles. Leader: Hilary Scott


A glorious spring morning and the first knees of the season were peeping from below Don, John and Bernard's shorts. Five other walkers and 2 dogs joined them to plod to Haigh Hall and back. Off into wonderful Borsdane wood, the whiff of wild garlic on the air and the first hint of the bluebells showing. Onwards across Hindley Hall golf course and a trip to the tip (or the civic amenities site) on the edge of Ince. Morning coffee on handy spoil nearby.

A walk through the greening site of Kirkless, once the largest iron and steel works in the country, now being reclaimed by nature but with evidence all around of its industrial past. Kirkless Hall still survives, a silent shabby witness to all that has happened here. Onto the canal and a walk past Haigh on the other bank with plenty of golfers out on the course. Up the only slight hill of the day - with a round of applause for a delivery van that made an awkward turn on this narrow lane, and into Haigh for lunch. We ignored the very busy courtyard and had lunch in the walled garden, quiet, warm and sheltered, wonderful.

Down to the lower gatehouse of Haigh Hall and onto a green bridleway back into Haigh village with a peep at the windmill on the way. Time to start returning now and so over to Stanley Nook farm, along Scot Lane and onto the Rotary Way back to the car park.

Most of us went for a refreshing drink at the Gerrards Arms, it really was very warm now. Bernard decided to cover his head with a hankie, Don was only just too slow to catch this picture for posterity, shame, better luck next time Don.

Thank you all for coming, a lovely day's plodding.


Pictures below from Don

Pictures below from Hilary

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Once Bittern, Twice Shy. Wednesday April 13th. Plodder Walk. 15.5 miles. Leader: Norman Thomas.


I explained about the £1.00 that I was risking if anybody heard the “boom” of the Bittern, many tried but they all failed to convince me that they had heard it.  (I kept my £1.00!).

We had 13 brave souls, including 2 lovely ladies from my home town of Leigh, and Nick from Preston, and they were all on their first walk.  The weather was fairly good but in the afternoon it rained very hard indeed.  Warton Crags was no problem, and we made it look easy.  We walked onwards over Leighton Moss, where there were many bird watchers around looking for the only male Bittern on the vast site – but with no luck!.  Onwards over the golf course to Red Bridge and then past Hawes Water, then Black Dyke, and then towards upper Arnside, arriving at Arnside Knott for our lunch break.

After lunch we walked  to the coast where the tide was out, past Holgates Caravan Park towards Silverdale – a lovely place!

Our walk continued towards Jenny Brown's Point, then towards Crag Foot, through the woods and down to the minor road, following this into Warton.

Well done to everybody!  You were the ELITE “Plodders”!

15.5 “hardish” miles – we beat the 13th day and the 13 persons without a mishap or a fall on the slippery limestone!

Thank you all for taking part, many of our regular walkers were not available to walk with us for one reason or another.

Thank you


PS  Quote from the lovely lady from Cheshire - “Norman was a very responsible leader”!




Stanza Stones Trail. Sunday April 10th. 19 miles. Leader: Ken Noble.


On this, the first of 6 circular walks based on the Stanza Stones Trail; 13 walkers left the start point which is the end of the first section of the “Trail”, on a crisp, clear morning and the sun shone all day.  This resulted in lots of photos. The ones with lots of snow were taken during the first recce.

 The first 12 miles of the walk take us to the start of the “Trail” in Marsden.

Soon we were crossing the narrow bridge over the M62 much to the consternation of one of the walkers.  However we were soon over and heading for Green Withens Reservoir. We followed the beck down Green Withens Clough to cross the road near Oxygrains Old Bridge which was built in the late 17th or early 18th century to transport cloth from Yorkshire to Lancashire.

Soon we crossed the road again to follow the track to Rishworth Lodge which is now split into apartments. Soon afterwards we had our morning coffee break before crossing the A672 for a third time and heading up to the tunnels under the M62 where the farmhouse, built in 1737, splits the road, (built in the early 70’s) in two.

Up and over to Scammonden Water, passing Deanhead church and the little cemetery overlooking the dam. From Scammonden, we climbed again before being able to look down on Marsden.

We had lunch by the Huddersfield Narrow Canal and soon afterwards, started the Stanza Stones Trail near the station. Unfortunately there isn’t a plaque or anything to mark the start, nor are there any waymarks.

From the start of the Standedge tunnels we climbed up to the memorial cross, and then on to the quarry below Pule Hill and the “Snow Stone”.

After dropping to the A62, we followed the Standedge Trail and then the Pennine Way back to our cars.

Thanks to everyone for coming from S. Manchester, W. Yorkshire and of course E. Lancs.

Ken Noble.


Click here for Ken's photos.


Click here for Howard's photos.


Hornby, Welling and Friends. Wednesday April 6th. 17 miles. Leader: Roger Jackson.


Weather; mixed wind, rain, hailstones, but also some clear periods and sunshine, much better than the weather forecast. 

Under gathering dark clouds eleven brave people and one dog (Maude the Magnificent), set off from Hornby car park.. We crossed the bridge, admiring an impressive view of the Castle, then turned sharp left to follow the river Wenning,

After approximately one mile the Wenning flows into the River Lune and here we turned right along the river bank, to follow the Lune, eventually reaching the Loyn bridge still under repair from recent floods .

Onwards, still following the Lune, to pass under the Railway Viaduct at Melling and on to our morning coffee stop just before the Great Bridge near Wrayton. Here we left the river and after a short walk down the road headed across the fields to Burton in Lonsdale for a pleasant lunch break next to the picturesque church. 

Now past halfway we walked past Clifford Hall and then to Welling, crossing more fields and heading back towards Hornby allowing a short stop at the Motte and Bailey used by Normans (not Stormin Norman)  as a defensive position to defend the river.

Now it was just a walk down the road back to the car park, then of course some light refreshment.

Final distance  17.1 miles, Time 6.5 hours.



Saddleworth Skyline. Saturday Apr 2nd. 31.5 miles. Leader: Julie Spencer. Joint walk with South Pennine.


The rain clouds were gathering before I’d even left the house, my car had broken down so I was picked up by another walker to get me to the start of the walk.  Definitely not a good start to the day and it didn’t get much better until later on!

17 other walkers turned out for this 30 mile challenging social walk, some of the participants used it as training for the 100. In full waterproofs we set off from Dovestones Reservoir, with a steep ascent up to Alphin Pike and then along the Skyline route passing Indian’s Head continuing to Chew Reservoir, where rain and low cloud followed us like an old friend.

From there we travelled along the edges passing Ashway Rocks  and up towards the Memorial Cross (death of an MP)and Raven Stones. The weather was still bad with plenty of mud and water underfoot. Good views though even with the rain. Had morning break at Birchen Clough and this is when the fun and games started. The stream was full and flowing too fast to cross safely to we ended up walking upstream to find a spot to cross. I had to change the original route and find an alternative to reach the Holmfirth Road. Everyone managed to get over except Anne and Norman who turned back. 16 walkers left. After studying the map we went over the moors towards Holme Clough and had the same problem of finding somewhere to cross another stream safely. A scouting party had gone ahead and they managed to find a suitable spot to cross, a bit of leg stretching involved with a couple of knights in shining armour helping to get the ladies across. I imagined there were a lot of quiet mutterings about the route but it certainly made interesting walking. At last we reached the A635 albeit wet and bedraggled.

We then followed the Old Pennine Way (where an unlucky walker ended up waist deep in a bog and had to be pulled out) passing Black Moss reservoir then joined the Pennine Way with Redbrook reservoir on our right. Lunch stop was at Brun Clough then continued on over Standedge with views of the Castleshaw reservoirs. The weather started to improve as we walked past Readycon Dean to cross Ripponden Road at the Rams Head pub. Onto Rooden reservoir then joined the Crompton Circuit over towards Grains Bar at Shaw. This section was very wet and muddy underfoot. The sun was out and everyone’s mood picked up, plenty of smiling faces including my own. Crossed the pitch and putt golf course at Bishops Park where an impromptu picture was taken at the monument. We crossed a few more muddy fields heading towards High Moor Quarry, Burnedge Lane and noticed Dirty Lane where Michael and Hazel obliged us with a photograph. Up past Wharmton Hill mast where blue skies and fantastic views of the whole skyline could be seen. We skirted the edge of Saddleworth golf course and descended down to the canal at Uppermill where we had our afternoon stop. Not far to go now but we had one last climb to finish the day.


Walked on the canal turning at Brownhill visitor centre, crossed the road up Brown Hill Lane then onto Ryelands House, making our way up to the Church (pub as well), joining the Oldham Way to take us up the steep ascent to Slades Rocks, some of us were puffing and panting when we reached the top. The views were brilliant from here looking out into the distance over  Manchester, Rochdale and Winter Hill (Michael kept saying it was Pendle Hill, he had removed his glasses and didn’t notice the distinct masts on top, that was his excuse anyway), proved wrong eventually after consulting with a member of the public. My reward for being right was a pretend teacher voice telling me off for acting like an annoying child!! We made our way past the obelisk at Pots and Pans with a fantastic view of the sunset, then following the Oldham Way back to Binns Green and down through the woods arriving back at the car park at Dovestones reservoir at 8pm.


A big thank you to all who turned up and braved the elements especially Steve and Ralph for helping with the alternative route and the guys who found decent crossing points over the streams.  Good teamwork over some of the difficult terrain with plenty of laughs and jokes mixed in to keep the spirits up. The weather came good at the end.



Click here for Julie's pictures.