After the Walk December 2022

Wednesday December 28th. Walking off a few mince pies. 11.5 miles. Leader: Hilary Scott.

Much to my amazement given the dire weather forecast, 11 of us turned up on a very grey rainy day. Including a visitor from Merseystride and a new LDWA member. What a day for her first walk!

Off from Ryal Fold and up to Darwen Tower which was hidden in the mist. Some members climbed up the newly renovated tower. Across the moors where it was quite windy and the ground was sodden. Down to Slipper Lowe for morning coffee and a chat. Our route should have taken us across a very exposed Brinscall Moor and down to White Coppice. Given the weather and ground conditions we decided to re route, shorten the walk  and walk to Abbey Village and then to Brinscall to lunch which we duly did. Crossing a field with Herdwick sheep, one had managed to get stuck in a metal feeder. Barbara to the rescue! I'm sure the sheep was very grateful.

We had a round of applause at Brinscall for Phil who was just passing his target of 4000 miles walked this year. What an achievement. We had lunch here too with the seagulls and ducks very keen to share any scraps. 

Onto the old railway up to Abbey village and a return to Ryal Fold on the opposite bank of the reservoirs. A few of us had a drink in the cafe to celebrate surviving the day! We still had a laugh even in those conditions.

Thanks to those who came.




Wednesday December 21st. "Ast Sin Mi Dad?" 14.5 miles. Leader: Hilary Scott.

The ice had all melted and 18 walkers along with Poppy dog decided that the last minute Christmas rush was not for them and it was a good day to be out walking. 

It was also exactly 112 years to the day of the Pretoria pit disaster which saw 344 men and boys die in the third worst such disaster in this country. I don't know if the weather was kind that day but it certainly was for us. 

Leaving Cutacre Country park we climbed up to Top o'cow reservoir  and over to St Helen's road where the trolley bus from Daubhill the day after the disaster had no passengers, they had all died. 

Along the housing estate and fields to Lock Lane and then Chulsey Gate. The views over to Winter Hill were good but unfortunately the noise of the motorway could be heard on this stretch. 

Morning coffee was in Wingates Chapel churchyard where 45 miners are buried, we looked at some of the graves. Onwards to Carlies where we escaped without loosing anyone despite the notices warning otherwise!

Past some houses with very noisy dogs and into Borsdane wood where we had lunch and a lucky few saw a kingfisher. 

Through Westhoughton golf course and into the Churchyard to the Memorial where 24 unidentified bodies lie beneath. (some were subsequently identified from clothing etc.) There had been a service of remembrance that morning and wreathes had been laid. Onto Ditchfield Gardens past Tony Berry's memorial bench to see all the miner's names inscribed on granite.

Along to Hall Lee Park and over the fields to The Hulton Estate with a visit to both the  pit head and the nearby memorial which shows the names and ages of the miners, including the 35 who were 15 and under. More wreathes were there, these men and boys are certainly not forgotten.

Over to Cutacre and as the sun started to sink we arrived back at the cars in daylight. Phew! It is the shortest day so it was always going to be a challenge to be back before dark. Mission accomplished.

Thanks to all who came and remembered. Thanks also to Alma for reminding me of the way through Hulton Park and to Neil for bringing his miners lamp to show us. A fascinating piece of history.





Sunday December 18th. A Merry Mast Meander. 16 miles. Leader: Phil Chapman.


6 hardy East Lancs members and 1 Alf dog met on a super slippery icy Moss Bank Park car park. Walking poles and spikes at the ready, we set off across the park, passing the chimney towards Smithills Hall.  Here we met an Elf gritting, apparently responsible for 'Elf and safety'.  Photo stop at the Hall before dropping into the woods, across Belmont Road and along Longworth Clough.  The banks of Eagley Brook were interesting in the ice and snow.  Morning break at a well placed wall, just as the snow started.  Alf made his usual rounds of the group, stuck his head in Pauline's bag and taught Phil about breaking crusts to the appropriate Alf sized morsels.  

Back over Belmont Road and began the ascent of Winter Hill.  Slippy slidey, but enough snowy patches that we all eventually made it to the top, just as the rain and sleet began properly.  A very brief lunch stop and extra clothes layered on.  An extra fleece for Alf and waterproofs for the humans.  It took the assistance of 3 people to help me into my over trousers.  Thank you to all involved and every one else for not taking photos!

As the weather deteriorated we made a direct descent off Winter Hill, the weather too awful to do anything else.  Towards Two Lads, bearing off towards Walker Fold.  As we dropped, so did the wind and the worst of the sleet.  Down the many steps to Barrow Bridge and back to Moss Bank Park.

Whilst we were all a bit miserable at the top of Winter Hill, it was very brief, in what was overall a very good walk filled with good company, giggles and fun, certainly an adventure in the icy conditions!  Thank you to Phil for leading us on our icy adventure.

Caz and Alf.




Wednesday December 14th. Westhoughton Round. 14 miles. Leader: Peter Ault.


Crampons were the order of the day in very cold and icy conditions.  Six hardy members met at Westhoughton and went through the Borsdane Woods via the golf course to Hindley Golf Club, then to the Leeds Liverpool canal for a break. 

We continued towards Amberswood Nature Reserve and lunch was had overlooking the frozen pond.  From here we continued the icy route to a disused railway line passing by HMP Hindley and eventually crossing a bridge to find the ice had made a steep slide for us.  Having safely negotiated our way down, we continued to Dangerous Corner.  Yes! There really is a place named that!  

From here we continued towards Westhoughton; passing through Hall Lee Bank Park to arrive back at the centre and safely back at the car park in one piece. 





Sunday December 11th. A Christmas Cracker. 10 miles. Leader: Roger Jackson.

Twenty Seven people, in Christmas Dress, and one brave dog (the legendary Poppy the Powerful) set off at 9.00 am on a cold snowy / icy but beautifully clear morning. We followed a series of forest paths to eventually reach the bottom of the Lower Rivington Reservoir.

Now walking along the lakeside path, soon passing The Castle, and continuing on near the 'Go Ape' apparatus to hit the road crossing the dam at the top of the lake. A short walk down the road then along side of Higher Rivington Reservoir with fantastic views of trees on the other side reflected in the lake.

Passing Yarrow Reservoir, on the right, and then dropping down to Anglezarke Reservoir soon reaching our morning coffee / mince pie stop with a great view of the lake below. Continuing on to the top of the lake then crossing over the dam at the top and returning down the other side back to Rivington.

On arrival we went to the Memorial Gardens at the Rivington tea room where Viv gave a short speech, remembering friends sadly no longer with us followed by a minutes silence, then we sung a couple of carols badly (well we are a walking group not a Choir) . Then just a short walk back to the cars, with those who had booked in for our Christmas Meal returning to the Tea Rooms following a change of footwear. A good time was had by all.


Many thanks for those who joined me.




December 5th - 9th. A Ghyll Head Adventure.

Fourteen lucky East Lancs members spent a few days at Ghyll Head overlooking Lake Windermere. We were incredibly lucky with the weather with cold frosty days and incredible views and light on our walks. The evenings were convivial with good food, chat, and the occasional game. 

There were three walks. Day 1 saw us walking over to Gummers How and return ably led by Nick. Day 2 saw us on a trip from Skelwith Bridge up to the Old Dungeon Ghyll for a hot drink and return to the cars. Roger was the leader that day. Day 3 was a walk from Newby Bridge in that area led by Lakeland Group. It was a real treat to be shown their "backyard". Thank you and we hope you enjoyed the mulled wine and mince pies afterwards. 

Ghyll Head has been rebooked again for next year, contact Viv re any availability. 


Sunday December 4th. A Bit of Black and White. 17 miles. Leaders, Paul and Jeanette Banks.


We had a fabulous turnout for the 17 mile walk from Sabden today.  26 walkers and 3 dogs attended from a number of groups, including East Lancs, West Lancs, South Manchester and South Pennine LDWA Groups, members of Meet Up and a return visitor from The Isle Of Man.  It was great to welcome Karen, a brand new East Lancs member on her ‘virgin’ walk. 


We walked east along the Sabden valley via Sabden Fold and along the Pendle Witches Way to Newchurch-in-Pendle.  Morning break was enjoyed in St Mary’s Church yard.  The church is famous for its curious ‘eye of God’ on the tower which watches over the village and is said to deter evil spirits.  Newchurch-in-Pendle is also known for the Demdike family of Pendle Witches who lived there in the 17th Century.


The walk proceeded via Spen Brook and Higham to the River Calder and the Burnley Way to Padiham where lunch was eaten in Padiham Memorial Park.   


We then followed the Padiham Greenway, which runs over the old railway track bed of the Padiham Loop Line, to return to the River Calder and on to Bridge Hey Wood Caravan Park.


After our fill of sweets and a quick drink, the last leg of the walk took us up through the village of Read to reach Black Wood and White Wood before a steep descent into Sabden.