After the Walk February 2022

Wednesday February 23rd. Over to Lumb, Plodder walk, 10 miles. Leader: Mike Lee.


After the storms of the previous week, the day of the Over to Lumb walk dawned bright and sunny, but we were soon to find out how strong the wind was on higher ground. Sixteen walkers (15 people and a dog) set off from the Clowbridge Reservoir to climb up to the top of the ridge overlooking the reservoir. On the way up we paused to look at the remains of Gambleside Colliery. Now little more than a fenced-off shaft and piles of stones, this colliery worked from the middle of the nineteenth century until about 1936 and in its heyday employed 30 men underground and others at the pit top.


An unusual feature was that coal from the pit was carried away in tubs through a tunnel leading to the other side of the hill and then down tramways to coal staithes at Crawshawbooth. On reaching the top of the hill we descended the other side along the line of the tunnel and tramway, passing the entrance to the abandoned tunnel, before turning to head for Liver Hill and Swinshaw Moor.


Between Liver Hill and the moor we paused at a wall with a carved stone commemorating the Larks of Dean (Th’ Deighn Layrocks). The Larks of Dean were an eighteenth century group of singers and instrumentalists from the locality of Dean who were renowned for the quality of their music. They worshiped, sang and played at Goodshaw Chapel, some three miles across the moors from their homes in Dean. The stone is on one of the paths the Larks could have used to walk to the chapel. At that time many ordinary people in rural areas were long-distance walkers out of necessity and a six mile round trip to chapel would have been regarded as normal.


After the recent rain and snow Swinshaw Moor was decidedly soggy underfoot and we were happy to descend to the dryer surface of the old by-road leading through a sequence of farms to Lumb.


In Lumb we took advantage of the picnic tables at the Millennium Green for our lunch stop, but only Heather tried out the exercise machines.


After lunch we headed off along the Pennine Bridleway towards the Dunnockshaw Community Woodland and the Singing Ringing Tree. The strong wind ensured that the Tree was ringing and singing at full volume.


It was now time to head back to Clowbridge through the Community Woodland, at times battling against the wind. On the way we passed through the ruins of what is reputed to have been one of the largest farms in the area, before dropping down to the reservoir and our cars.


Thanks to everyone who came.

Mike Lee


Photos below from Mike

Photos below from Hilary



Sunday February 20th. Winter, With a Hill. 19 miles. Leader: Hilary Scott.


Well, at the end of this walk someone said. "I enjoyed that in a perverse kind of way!" It was us against the elements. 

13 walkers gathered at Ladybridge including 3 people who have not walked with us before. Setting off we made our way down to the rushing Middlebrook and onto Lostock train station where 2 more walkers joined us. They had abandoned their planned recce due to flood warnings in the area. Moving on, across Regents Park golf course, up to High Rid and onto the first bad mud of the day. There was also a newly fallen tree to negotiate our way round. 

Onwards and upwards through Old Links golf course and to the first stop at Walker Fold. Some took advantage of the coffee van there, very welcome. The weather had been fine up to now but this changed as we climbed up onto Winter Hill. The clag was down and the rain started. I don't think it stopped for the rest of the day with varying degrees of intensity. Down the Rocky path to Belmont Road and into Longworth Clough. The mud was really bad here and the stream was overflowing in places. 

We found a spot for a quick lunch and carried on along the valley towards and through Dunscar Golf Club. Here, we made a diversion to drop 2 of the new walkers at the Brewhouse for a taxi home, the conditions proving too much of a challenge. 

Back up to Horrocks Fold and through Smithills Farm with a look at the wallabies and donkeys. A quick sweetie stop at Smithills Hall (the coffee van had given up and closed early) and along to Moss Bank Park, Doffcocker and return to Ladybridge. 

Thanks to all who came and braved it all and well done to Denise for completing your first LDWA walk, you can cope with anything after that! 

A few of us went for a curry afterwards, lovely and warm and a real treat after the conditions of the day.



Pictures from Hilary and Jane.



Wednesday February 9th. A Canal, a Tower and some Reservoirs. 13 miles. Leaders: Christine Cocks and Isobel Graham.


The 23 strong group plus Lola, a very well behaved dog set off from Ryal Fold car park at 9.30am.

First off we headed uphill to Darwen Tower. Standing at 86 feet high and also known as Jubilee Tower, this well known landmark was built in 1898 to commemorate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee and is visible across the entire borough.

Unfortunately we couldn't access the viewing platforms inside the tower due to the ongoing structural repairworks.

From here we descended into Sunnyhurst Woods, through Hawkshaw and onto Tockholes where the group had lunch at the pleasant seating area in the grounds of St. Stephens Church.

Whilst there a local gentleman told us about the history of the church and the former village school which also stands on the site.

The remainder of the walk followed the Witton Weavers Way. First heading north from Tockholes to join a loop of the Leeds and Liverpool Canal for a short spell then heading south to Abbey Village. On this stretch of the walk we had to negotiate a short but particularly difficult, muddy downhill section. From Abbey Village we took the path alongside the three reservoirs, Rake Brook, Lower and Upper Roddlesworth.

From the reservoirs a short steep climb (there's always one at the end), took the group back to the car park at 3.15pm.

Some members called in The Royal Arms pub for drinks prior to heading off home.

Thanks to everyone who joined us. We hope that you all enjoyed the day despite the abundance of mud throughout the route.

Christine and Isobel



Sunday February 6th. Forgotten Railways. 12/6 miles. Leader: Paul Banks.



Wednesday February 2nd. Spodden Skyline. 10 mile Plodder Walk. Leader: Mike Lee.


Eight walkers met on a decidedly damp and misty morning for the “Spodden Skyline” walk.

Starting from the Water Ski Centre we walked the full length of the road bordering Cowm Reservoir then turned onto the old road running back along the reservoir and through the ruins of Cowclough hamlet to ascend the rake up to Hall Fold.

From Hall Fold we headed towards Spring Mill Reservoir and descended steeply along its boundary wall to cross Prickshaw Brook before climbing steeply up the Rossendale Way path to the remains of Bagslate Quarry.

After a brief drinks stop we walked out of the quarry along the bed of the tramway that used to carry trucks of stone pulled by a narrow gauge steam locomotive. Unfortunately the misty conditions spoiled the views across to the other side of the Spodden Valley.

The tramway took us onto a track leading out to Rooley Moor Road and down to the bottom of the moor, where we joined Knacks Lane and followed it downwards through the expensively renovated hamlets of Prickshaw and Broadley.

We were now approaching the mid-point of the walk and stopped for lunch at an old mill lodge near the bottom of the valley before crossing the River Spodden where it runs through a spectacular wooded, steep-sided gorge. Our crossing was made easy by using the tall, arched viaduct that once carried the Rochdale to Bacup railway.

We had now completed our journey along the West side of the Spodden valley and crossed the main road to climb Ending Rake up to the moor top on the edge of the East side. As we walked along the Pennine Bridleway high above the valley bottom the weather improved enough for us to have clear views across to the West side, including Cowm Reservoir from where we had set out. We continued along the valley side, passing above Whitworth Church, to eventually emerge onto the main road at Facit Church.

We were now on the home straight. All we had to do now was to climb the west side of the valley up to the old quarry above and coast down the tarmac road to the Cowm Reservoir and our cars. But this required us to ascend the Facit Incline, once used to lower trucks loaded with stone to the railway along the valley bottom. This is a fairly steep, continuous ascent of some 250 feet providing a sting in the tail of the walk.

Thanks to everyone who came

Mike Lee

Photos from Steve and Mike