After the Walk May 2023

2023 100. Elephant Bull & Bear.


See below for pictures from before, during and after the 100. Well done to all those who entered and special congratulations to all those who finished. 


Wednesday May 24th. Whitworth Heritage Walk. 10 miles. Leader: Mike Lee.


Twelve walkers met at the Cowm Reservoir on a fine sunny morning for the Whitworth Heritage Plodder walk.

We started by walking to the top of the reservoir into the part of the valley not flooded when the reservoir was constructed and then followed an old stone-paved road through the now derelict Cow Clough hamlet and up out of the valley. This took us to Hall Fold, a hot-bed of nonconformist religion in the 17th and 18th centuries, and down to the mill pond of the now demolished Mill House cotton mill. This is now an attractive landscaped pond occupied by fish, two black swans and a heron that completely ignored our presence as it sat scanning the water for its next meal.

The bed of the old Rochdale to Bacup railway line then led us to Broadley Stone Sidings, where stone quarried on the moors above was loaded onto trains. This includes the remains of a steam driven stone rubbing mill which was used to smooth the surface of flagstones, the principal product of Rossendale’s quarries.

Stone was brought down to the sidings by trucks on a tramway that ran steeply up to the moor above. We followed a path alongside the remains of the tramway until we joined an old road leading to the hamlet of Prickshaw. The restoration of Prickshaw from dereliction to something like it would have been in the 19th century won several awards from Civic Societies. We then returned to the railway, having a drinks stop on the way at the mill pond of the derelict Broadley Wood Mill, now used by an angling club.

Following the route of the railway towards Rochdale took us over a viaduct high above Healey Dell and passed the “Twin Bridges” where during construction of the railway the original bridge slipped about 20 feet down the steeply sloping valley side, requiring a second bridge to be built above it.

Leaving the railway, we descended into Healey Dell after pausing at the entrance road to what was once Turner Brothers asbestos factory, claimed to be the largest asbestos works in the world. Further down, a cluster of buildings now houses a tea room, workshops and small businesses, but during the Second World War this was home to a munitions factory filling shells and bombs with explosives.

Passing under the railway viaduct we entered the picturesque part of Healey Dell where the river Spodden tumbles through a narrow gorge in a series of waterfalls. The river in this narrow gorge or “thrutch” provided the power for an early fulling mill, a process in the finishing of woollen cloth. Little now remains of the mill, but its location is spectacular and once the railway made Healey Dell accessible to Victorian and Edwardian workers from neighbouring towns it became a popular destination for a day out.

After lunch in Healey Dell, we climbed steeply to the moor on the East side of the valley and headed back towards the centre of Whitworth. On the way we passed two abandoned reservoirs that supplied water to Rochdale for over a hundred years before being deemed too expensive to maintain.

We descended from the moor passed Whitworth church and into Red Lion Square, the original centre of Whitworth and home to the Whitworth Doctors, nationally famous in the 18th and 19th centuries. There were three generations of the Whitworth Doctors, but the most famous was John Taylor, who treated Bishops and even royalty.

We then returned to the path along the moor and a descent through several farms to complete our journey back to Cowm.


Thanks to everyone who came.


Mike Lee




Sunday May 21st. Ribble Valley Jubilee Trail Part 5. 23 miles. Leaders: Paul and Jeanette Banks.


11 walkers met in Whalley to undertake the last of the series of walks to complete the Ribble Valley Jubilee Trail.  We were blessed with beautiful May weather and fabulous Ribble Valley views throughout the 23 miles walk.


The Ribble Valley Jubilee Trail is a new 65 miles circular hiking route through the scenic countryside of Ribble Valley and the Forest of Bowland.   The Mayor of Ribble Valley, Stuart Hirst, inaugurated the walk in 2022 as part of the borough’s Queen Elizabeth ll Jubilee Celebrations.  The walk starts and finishes in the village of Whalley and visits towns such as Slaidburn and Downham and climbs to the summit of Pendle Hill.


The walk left the historical town of Whalley, passing Whalley Abbey and by Whalley Viaduct to Billington.   We then followed footpaths across fields and tracks and by Hacking Wood to reach Brockhall Village; and on to cross the footbridge over the River Ribble.   Brockhall Village was only developed in the 1990s and occupies the site of a former mental health hospital and is the home of the training facilities for Blackburn Rovers Football Club.   Homes on the estate are some of the most expensive in Lancashire.


On reaching Hurst Green, we enjoyed a leisurely morning break with some visiting Millie’s Cafe for take-out cake and hot drinks.   Hurst Green is a little village in the Ribble Valley and is connected in history to the Jesuit School, Stonyhurst College.   The college is reputed to be the oldest and the smallest Jesuit school in Britain.   


A short walk from Hurst Green took us to the track where we rejoined the Ribble Valley Jubilee Trail (The remainder of the walk followed the RV Jubilee Trail all the way back to Whalley).  We made our way back to the River Ribble, crossing the footbridge and followed the river heading towards Salesbury and passing Clayton le Dale.  On crossing Longsight Road (A59) we stopped on a ‘quiet’ bridge for lunch.


After the break, we commenced a long and sometimes steep climb across farm fields to the trig point on Mellor Moor.  Here is the Nuclear Monitoring Post which was opened in July 1959.  It would have been used in the unfortunate event of a nuclear bomb attack.   3 men would have stayed in the post for 3 weeks with no supplies from the outside world, so it had to have its own source of power, ventilation, food and water.   Their responsibility would be to monitor the amount of radiation in the immediate environment to inform the local population of the danger.   Closed in 1968, the underground part was sealed.  However there are a few features above ground remaining, including part of the main shaft and a small concrete structure which is the air ventilator.   The site was also used in WW2 as a look out post. Great views of Lancashire were enjoyed from here. 


We walked on through the village of Mellor and through Ramsgreave.  After going under the railway bridge at Wilpshire, we climbed up to and through Wilpshire Golf Club.   Our walk passed the Tin Man sculpture above York Village, and on to Moor Lane to make our way to Whalley Nab.   We walked the steep path down into Whalley and onto Spring Wood Park to complete the trail, where we had started it.




Click on the link below to see Howard's photos of the day.



Wednesday May 17th. Bolton to Wigan Rail Trail. 13 miles. Leader: Hilary Scott


Eight walkers took up the challenge to only use public transport today. In fact one walker walked from Wigan to Bolton to start the walk, back to Wigan and then home on foot! Well done John, using this as part of  your 100 training. 

Meeting at Bolton Train Station we walked through town into Queens Park, a cotton famine park - built using unemployed mill workers at the time of the American Civil war. Onto the Middlebrook path and a glimpse of Lostock Station though we didn't visit it today.

Through to Chew Moor and a coffee stop at benches by a football field. Under the motorway and then we followed the train line to Westhoughton Station. Here, we admired the many plants and shrubs that line the platforms, great work by a group of people.

Along to Wingates where we did the see the Air Ambulance land nearby, hope it wasn't too serious an incident. Leaving the industry behind it was a pleasant walk over to Borsdane Woods where we stopped for lunch. The wood was glorious today, the garlic was very strong and bluebells on the hillside too.

Rejoining the railway line we walked to Hindley Station. Unfortunately this is shut due to ongoing electrification works but we could see some of the platform gardens and artifacts. Maybe a visit another time. A short walk and we joined a disused railway line to go through Whelley and by the side of the Kirkless site before joining the canal.

From here, it was a canal side walk all the way into Wigan, past the pier and up to the two Railway Stations there. A few of us called for a drink (fab hot chocolate) before making our way home by public transport or foot power. 

This was an experiment in trying to cut our carbon footprint. A reasonable turnout with some members who have not walked in the area before expressing surprise at how green the walk actually was. A successful day then.

Thanks to all who came.



Further information about the Rail Trail can be obtained from



Sunday May 14th. Ribble Valley Jubilee Trail. 22.5 miles. Leaders: Paul and Jeanette Banks.


10 walkers and 1 dog met on the car park at Jeffrey Hill to complete the fourth section of the Ribble valley Jubilee Trail.   A beautiful sunny day allowed us to enjoy picturesque Ribble Valley views throughout the 22.5 mile walk.   Light rain only started in the last few minutes before we finished our walk.


The Ribble Valley Jubilee Trail is a new 65 mile circular hiking route through the scenic countryside of the Ribble Valley and Forest of Bowland.   The Ribble Valley Mayor, Stuart Hirst, inaugurated the walk in 2022 as part of the borough’s Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Celebrations.   The walk starts and ends  in the village of Whalley and visits towns such as Downham and Slaidburn, and climbs to the summit of Pendle Hill.


From the car park, the walk proceeded on the Ribble Valley Jubilee Trail over Jeffrey Hill before dropping down over Gannow Fell heading towards Hurst Green.   We left the Jubilee Trail after Deer House Wood and crossed Higher Stoneyhurst Park and making our way over Longridge Fell, where we had a morning break.


We descended Longridge Fell over farm land to reach Gibbon Bridge.   The route took us towards Whitewell.  We had lunch on New Laund Hill.   We made our way to where we left off the Ribble Valley Jubilee Trail at the footbridge near Dunsop Bridge.   


The remainder of the walk followed the Jubilee Trail back to our start point at Jeffrey Hill.  We passed Burnholme and Dinkling Green to Chipping.    Chipping is a village that is at least 1000 years old and mentioned in Domesday.   It thrived during the Industrial Revolution when there were seven mills along Chipping Brook.  Here we had a much appreciated afternoon break to rest and ‘refuel’ before the final steep ascent to Jeffrey Hill and our cars.   


The final part of the Ribble Valley Jubilee Trail will take place on Sunday 21st May, commencing at 8.30am from Accrington Road in Whalley (see website for more details).







Wednesday May 10th. Dented and Shafted in Ribblehead, 14 miles. Leader: Ann Finnegan.

  • Four fearless folks set off on a wet and windy Wednesday!  

  • The first part of the adventure was by train from Ribblehead to Dent… we met Heather on the train as she was travelling from Hellifield.  We got some free travel, as well, because there was no signal in the train to pay: lucky old us.  

  • Once up the steepish climb from Dent Station, the walk began in earnest, perfect ground conditions with grass underfoot.  

  • Mid-morning break was below Dent Head Viaduct with magnificent views all around.  

  • The lunch stop had us dappled in the sunshine beside a babbling brook, seated on unexpected garden furniture.  

  • An eventful walk through a small farmyard resulted in Heather being bitten on the bum by a very aggressive duck!! The sign on the gate said that the ducks were friendly!!  

  • We passed by the three airshafts over the top of the moor… the only part of the walk that was muddy.  

  • We completed the walk with a well-deserved drink at the Station Inn.  

  • The biggest surprise of the day was that it stayed dry, warm, and quite sunny for the whole walk, with magnificent skies!  



Sunday May 7th. Spanners Round. 20 miles. Leader: Steve Clarke.


Spanner's Round 40th Anniversary Walk  


The walk took place nearly 40 years after the inaugural walk of Spanner's Round, which was devised and led by Derek Magnall. Derek was East Lanc's first secretary and the name of his faithful dog was Spanner.  Today we had with us one of the participants of the original walk, Stewart Brady.  Stewart had his certificate from the original walk on 14 May 1983 and the walk time was 7 hours 20 minutes.  

Today’s walk had a group of 14 walkers and one dog.  We enjoyed the decent weather, being dry with sunny intervals and a light breeze.  The walk was able to follow the original route with only a few exceptions which were mainly due to footpath diversions.  A good walk was had by all.  

Today’s GPS technology recorded: 20 miles.  Circa 2,900’ of ascent.  A walk time of 7 hours and 50 minutes.  




Click on the link below for Howard's pictures.