2018 12 01 North of Wardle

Weather: wet and misty, in the clouds for much of the time.  People on the walk: a round dozen.

We gathered on the car park at Watergrove reservoir for the start of the “North of Wardle” walk.  Unsurprisingly we headed north from here, along the side of the reservoir before swinging right up the Pennine Bridleway running east for a while.  Peeling of the bridleway we followed a stretch of the Rochdale Way over open moorland arriving at the rim of the Summit Gorge.  Dropping down to the Rochdale canal we followed this for a short time before cutting back to walk along the main road to Walsden (a footbridge closure over the railway made this a longer section than originally planned).

At Walsden we turned west and made our way up to Ramsden Wood, where we had a morning coffee break.  Refreshed we made our way up and to Foul Clough Road.  It started raining heavily enough around here to sheet up with overtrousers.  In the hill fog now we made for Hades Hill before skirting Middle Hill and Brown Wardle.  Dropping below the cloud we could see ahead the place I’d earmarked for the lunch stop - St Bartholomew church Whitworth.  Lunch here, at 1 pm,  under the watchful eye of the magnificent gargoyles on the roof of the church.

Down Whitworth Rake, to cross the road and up on the other side of the valley, soon to follow the Rossendale Way.  Up higher again meant a return into the hill fog and care was required to keep the group together successfully.  Rooley Moor road was reached and we turned south along it before going left again and once more dropping down into the valley around Healey Dell.  We stopped by a wall above the disused railway for a second coffee stop of the day.  Along the railway viaduct high above the Healey Dell nature reserve to make our way back towards Wardle.  Paths and tracks were followed to the dam of Watergrove reservoir.  Crossing the dam in the twilight we descended the steps to the carpark for 4 30 pm.

Thanks to all on the walk.