Woke up, fell out of bed Dragged a comb across my head Found my way downstairs and drank a cup And looking up, I noticed I was late Found my coat and grabbed my hat Made the bus in seconds flat.
Lennon and McCartney. 1967.
Fast-forward 56 years and I almost missed the bus today and the chance of a walk above Chipping. I was lounging in bed with my second coffee of the day, struggling with The Times Crossword. A little hungover from our family’s delayed Xmas/New Year celebrations taken yesterday. My prize present was a bottle of malt.
The forecast was for showers off and on all day. Why do we listen to these updated seaweed predictions? I see out of the corner of my bloodshot eye, from the injury not the whisky, blue skies over all my new neighbours’ new houses. Looking closer all seems good out there.
Made the bus in seconds flat. The stop is handily placed on the corner of my road, and I was soon in Chipping. All part of my intent to make more use of public transport this year.
The walk I quickly improvised is on good surfaces but virtually traffic free and takes you in a circle to the base of the Bowland Hills and back. I’ve described it most recently here and there in more detail.
The sky was blue, there was no wind and the views seemed clearer than usual. Into the grounds of Legram Hall I was on a private road threading its way past farms and sheep country to the open fells, although I wouldn’t be tackling them today. Too early for the snowdrop display I strolled onwards with frequent looks back across the ancient deer park to the dark side of Longridge Fell and the sunnier Pendle. I’d put some loose change into my pocket so that I could purchase free-range eggs from the honesty box of Saddle End Farm – alas there were none left. We are in the middle of Avian Flu and there seems to be a shortage of eggs everywhere. Are the hens on strike with the rest of the country?
Skipping on, down the lane past mills and old foundries. This was an industrial landscape not so long ago. Now there is a Lancashire cheese factory and the remainder of Kirk Mill.
My ‘find of the day’ was some steps in front of the Chair Work’s cottages. I’ve never noticed them before, but they lead down directly into Chipping Brook, which had powered the mills. For what purpose? Washing place for the cottagers, connected with the cotton era for cleansing the fabrics – I’ve no idea, please help.
I had time for a coffee in the wonderful Cobbled Corner Cafe before catching the 2.30 bus home.
My usual ploy of a leisurely start to the day, drinking coffee, catching up with the news and maybe a crossword or two seemed to be sensible as the rain hammered down. Another coffee whilst I scanned the Cicerone Lancashire Guide for an accessible walk more testing than the Blacko one a couple of days ago, delightful though that was. (Today’s turned out to be a tough test of eight difficult miles)
This post became rather long and rambling, I can only apologise now.
I was soon driving out to Grindleton in the Ribble Valley. Several flooded roads did not bode well, perhaps I should have brought Wellingtons. But the forecast was for improvement, and I’ll go with that. The route in question , Walk 20, included an ascent of Easington Fell. I’ve been up there many times. A good friend used to live in Grindleton, and we often did circuits above the village. The last time I was up there was in lockdown 2020 when I approached from the north out of Harrop Fold. The day did not go well, and I was lost for some time (more than I would like to admit) in mist on the fell. I did not want a repeat of that fiasco.
I parked in Grindleton which looked rather sad with both of its pubs closed. They were working on one, formerly the Buck Inn, but progress is slow. The Duke of York sits forlornly on the opposite corner.
The Duke becoming derelict.
Not likely! The old Buck Inn, why the name change? Looks like corporate management.
I walk through some lovely woodlands and above the old Greendale Mill originally powered by the lively valley stream.
I found this on the internet, TCW.
In the 1850s and 60s a quarter of the adults in the village were hand loom weavers of cotton, but industrial mills were being developed apace and depriving the domestic workers of their livelihood. It would have been seen as a benefit to Grindleton when a mill was built there, providing jobs without the workers having to make arduous journeys further afield, perhaps to Preston or Blackburn. Greendale Mill was built in about 1868 by the Grindleton Industrial Association Ltd with space for 180 looms. It straddled a brook and was driven by a water turbine and a 15hp steam engine, which was powered by a huge coal-fired boiler 7ft in diameter and 25ft high. By 1871 the mill had been leased to a tenant, Timothy Marsden. He employed about 50 people and had 100 looms.
At about 12.50pm on Tuesday, September 26, Marsden was seen stoking the furnace to get the boiler steam pressure up. Two or three minutes later there was a shattering explosion. Shocked mill workers rushed out and saw the boiler house had been blown to bits. Masonry and roof slates lay everywhere, covering the surrounding fields up to 200 yards away. A pall of steam hung over the mill and the surrounding area, and there was a deathly silence.
Three or four men entered the boiler house and found the boiler had been torn from its brick setting and thrown across the room, its metal plates ripped apart, and the rivets sheared through. Timothy Marsden was lying on the floor, an oil can in his hand, gasping for air and making rasping sounds. He was severely scalded on his back, arms and legs, and he had a deep gash on his head.
The workers carried him into the cotton warehouse and a doctor arrived. Slipping in and out of consciousness and deeply shocked, Marsden asked what had happened and when told he said, ‘Poor me! What shall I do?’ With some difficulty his clothes were cut off. He asked to be taken to his home in Darwen, about 20 miles away, so he was carefully wrapped in blankets and loaded on to a horse-drawn cart for the journey. The doctor tended to the terrible scalds and the head wound for the rest of the week, but Marsden contracted lockjaw and died on the Sunday night, five days after the accident.
An inquiry was held at the Duke of York Inn, a few hundred yards from the mill, on the afternoon of Tuesday, October 14, and the jury returned a verdict of accidental death.
Damage to the building cost £500 (about £60,000 now) to repair, and the mill was not fully operational until early the next year. Cotton manufacturing continued until 1930. After that, felt was made for hats, and then engineering components. In 1960 the site was acquired by a haulage firm. It is now a storage facility.
The area round the mill, about 20 acres, is now owned by the Woodland Trust which planted it with broadleaf trees in 2000 to commemorate the Millennium. There are a number of damson trees to reflect the fact that Grindleton was once home to a jam factory.
I thought that was worth the read.
Now on Green Lane leading up the fell. At one time this was a pebble stoned way. Bits of tarmac keep appearing to give access to the scattered houses.
I remember White Hall from some previous visit. Its price is now £2 million.
A touch of colour on the way.
Upwards and onwards I pass the extensive grounds and properties of Cob House. One of the grandest overlooking the Ribble Valley and no doubt valued at more than £2 million. I often muse as to who lives in these mansions, local businessman come good or a crook doing bad.
A little farther up a Bridleway slopes off to the left into a valley with the isolated Simpshey Hill straight ahead. My memory clicks back to 1989 when I was introducing one of my son’s to off-road ‘cycle packing’, the other son has more sense. We camped down by the little stream and were surprised if not scared by a large black mink approaching us as we cooked our beans. We didn’t sleep easy. That was the time when animal rights activists were releasing the animals from the mink farms, much to the detriment of the local otter population.
Simpshey Fell and valley.
West Clough Brook.
I worked my way around Simpshey and then Easington Fell with its forest appeared, it looked a long way. In fact, I ended up walking continuously uphill for nearly 4 miles and was glad of a sit down on an old wall for a bite to eat. From up here Pendle was prominent on the horizon, as always, and swinging round the Bowland Fell were all a bit hazy in the moist atmosphere.
The long way up to Easington Fell in red.
I knew that the next section around the north side of the forest would be hard going. I aim for a pile of stones, marked as ‘The Wife’ on some maps.
From there is rough ground, climbing the ‘rusty gate’ mentioned in Mark’s guide, up to another pile of stones marking the summit of Easington Fell, 396 m. (Header photo) The good views into Yorkshire and the Three Peaks were obscured, but I could see my way along the plantation edge. What is not readily apparent is the condition of the ground, it deteriorates into a reedy boggy nightmare where I was concerned I would sink without trace. By now the wetness had spread up to my waist, and I was tiring in the heavy going. I was looking for a way through the forest and was concerned it maybe blocked by all the storm damage from last winter. The easy option would have been to continue outside the trees on an undulating course to Beacon Hill, but I was keen to follow the guide. An indistinct post showed the way into a fire break which thankfully was clear of fallen trees.
That rusty gate – first of many obstacles.
Distant Beacon Fell.
Rough going – what lies beneath?
That elusive fire break.
At its end I joined the Shivering Ginnel, an ancient walled route through these hills. ‘Shivering’ because it was so often a cold north-easterly wind that blew through here.
How many have passed this way.
It was a relief to break out onto the open moor at Beacon Hill. The ground around the summit seems to have been disturbed, mining activity or a more ancient burial ground? Does anybody know? Pendle has to appear in the background of the Summit photo. The River Ribble is somewhere down below.
I’m soon off the fell and on a lane past Scriddles Farm. Don’t know the derivation, but we have had some lovely S’s today – Simpshey, Shivering and Scriddles.
Across a stile is a ‘Shepherd’s Hut’ with a great view and the obligatory ostentatious hot tub – but who uses these bacterial baths especially with a public footpath coming through.
The next mile or so was not the best, unmarked paths and crumbling stiles. To make matters worse the afternoon light was rapidly deteriorating. I followed this way in reverse a while back with Sir Hugh and The Rockman, we struggled then but the intervening years have not been kind to all those stiles. Most were difficult and a couple downright dangerous. The guide underplays this section, some acrobatic agility is needed together with the more detailed 1:25000 map, I resorted to phone navigating technology and the landowners could be more helpful.
Slowly rotting away.
Rights of way have a knack of disappearing in horsey country. I’ve nothing against horses.
Somewhere down there.
Don’t look down.
I was glad to reach the ancient sunken track leading straight back to Grindleton.
Jelly Ear fungi – edible but just too nice to pick.
There is a choice of ways through the village – the Main Street with some impressive houses. or the back ally with its cottages. Little ginnels run between the two, and I notice there is a marked trail around the village.
A pleasant place to live apart from those two derelict pubs.
It’s been a while since I walked alongside Mark Sutcliffe, he of Cicerone’s Walking in Lancashire guide. Apart from a short road walk around Longridge Fell with JD the other day I’ve languished in the house. Time to get going again and test my knee out. I scan the chapters looking for something undemanding. I toss up between Blacko hills, (Chapter 27) and the Clarion House walk on Pendle. The former looks the easiest, even if the latter looks the more interesting. The fact that it was Halloween Eve never crossed my mind as I delved into Pendleside. On reflection the immediate Pendle area would have been chock-a-block. (I like that word) Lucky choice.
My mood in the morning was as gloomy as the weather, but I had enjoyed that extra hour in bed. The weather improved alongside my mood, I was just glad I was in the car post walk when the afternoon deluge hit the area. The M65 virtually came to a halt as the skies blackened and gallons of water came down from somewhere. I’m now safely home.
Let’s park up at Higherford, there is a bridge here now over Pendle Water. I struggle with the car park machine, ‘it’ knows I’m here and will charge me later on my return – that preys on my mind for much of the walk.
Across the way is Pendle Heritage Centre. I think I was too early for its attractions – tearoom. gardens and museum. Maybe later but then it is too late. Park Hill House below has associations with the Bannister family later to run the sub 4 minute mile. I do spot the first Tercet on The Lancashire Witches Walk .
Alongside the water I get into my stride. Autumn is everywhere. There are reminders of previous mill operations, but I am soon out into the countryside.
I’m heading towards Blacko Tower.
A plaque reads Built by J Stansfield1890 Restored 1950. Approximately 30ft high. Built as a folly. Circular. Coursed rubble. Widely spaced battlements. Two steps up to a plain doorway. Spiral stone staircase inside leading to observation platform. Prominent hilltop landmark.
Such a shame there is no public access, it must be a fine viewpoint. Time for the citizens of Blacko to stage a protest march. I make a mental note to return mid-week and make a clandestine ascent.
Today I’m content to follow vague contouring paths on the rough hillside past farms to Malkin Tower Farm. Maybe the site of a ‘witches coven’ in 1612 from where the women were marched off to Lancaster to be tried and executed. There is lots of speculation as to the true version of events. All is quiet today with the farmer’s wife subtly showing me the diverted way. A few arrows would have helped, but all is mysterious around here. At the next farm I weave through a complicated series of gates in their garden. Enquiring of a lady, to confirm my way, that few people walk through here – she says “most get lost”. I doubt the irony strikes her. Again a few yellow arrows wouldn’t go amiss. At last, I’m free and walk down a lane to another farm, Whitemoor Bottom. The guide says take the footpath on the right, but there is no obvious way – I strike boldly through the farmyard and onwards down the fields. This is horsey country and barriers keep appearing, is it this side of the wires or the other? Determination sees me through, and I drop into a wooded gully with little sign of others coming this way. But I’m on course and eventually come out onto a lane at Holly Bush Farm. Sand Hall, which looks as though it should be listed, is passed, and the lane takes me to Foulridge Reservoir.
Time for lunch, so I climb up to the dam for a bird’s eye view of the reservoir. It’s depleted of water and the only action from the sailing club is a model yacht race.
A bridle way takes me to join the canal as it emerges from the mile long Foulridge Tunnel, completed in 1796! A way mark confirms it is the Leeds – Liverpool Canal. Maybe I should walk its historic length one day.
Halfway down the locks a path takes me through a pasture and into an upmarket estate. As I progress down the main road the older stone houses typical of these mill villages appear, Weavers cottages now desirable properties. On the corner by the packhorse bridge is the old toll-house (early C19th) with a board listing prices – almost as complicated as the pay machine in the car park.
A good start to my winter walking, shorter than the guide book suggests, and not a ghost or witch in sight.
We are at the start of another heat wave, being out in the sun for long is energy sapping. But it is Tuesday when Rod and Dave go climbing, they have sensibly decided upon the shady Witches Quarry. I tag along.
My blog has been here before. I have been many times over the years, it is our nearest limestone climbing. The narrowest of lanes lead out of Downham for a few twisty miles with Pendle looming above. Today tractors going about their business slow me down – but there is no rush with the top down. Following an agreement with the farmer one is allowed to drive into the quarry, close the gate!
When I arrive a few other climbers are already doing routes. It’s a small world and I know most of them, so we chat whilst I wait for my mates to arrive. Then we sneak off to the lower and easier left-hand buttresses.
In times gone by we always wanted to lead a climb, ie roped up from the bottom, placing protection as you went. That felt like the only way to climb – testing one’s physical and mental capabilities. Of course there was always the risk that if you fell you may be injured or worse, with good judgement and luck I have survived 50 years of climbing.
Times moves on, we are not as fit as before, we have lost that ‘edge’ to push ourselves, accidents at our age could have serious consequences. OK I’ll admit it we have lost our nerve and humbly resort to top roping routes. Having a rope above is so very reassuring.
We busy ourselves on some short crack climbs which seem more strenuous and tricky than their grades would suggest. All very enjoyable. We are in the shade, good company and the rural surroundings of the quarry are a joy. What better way to spend an afternoon.
Meanwhile, the other teams are leading much harder routes which I remember from the day. We are well and truly put in the shade.
Rod and Dave safely top roping.
Steve leading something much harder.
For the record – Hemlock, Coven Crack, Cauldron Crack, Sixth Finger and The Shrew.
Another walk below 5 miles from Mark Sutcliffe’s excellent Lancashire guide, this will be the last of his easy walks to test out my knee. The train took some of the strain today. I parked up outside Whalley rail station next to the impressive many arched brick viaduct. This is the longest railway viaduct in the county. It has 48 arches and two have been built to reflect the Abbey in architecture. It took seven million bricks, and they were all made on site of local clay. I hope it will show up later on my photos from on high. The platform slowly filled with shoppers and football fans heading to Blackburn. Being a Bank Holiday I was anxious that the trains would be running but the 11.30 arrived almost on time. It trundled slowly across the viaduct with the River Calder way below. Five minutes later I was the only one alighting at Langho station. The village had a small but colourful floral display.
My walk nearly came to an abrupt end on the narrow clough leading on from Whinney Lane. The enclosed path ran alongside a stream and a storm damaged tree blocked the route. I was glad no one was able to see me crawling through the fallen branches. I only just made it and then realised a family above were watching my antics with interest. Somewhat disillusioned the father made an effort to get through but then decided it was too difficult for his wife and children, and they retreated – I pushed on.
Jungle warfare – there’s a man crawling in there somewhere
Lanes then led up to York, a cluster of houses and an inn, which seems to have had a renaissance as a gastropub. Open ground with gritstone outcrops formed a ridge which would have been good to follow, but my way took me over and down to the dam of Dean Clough Reservoir and across to farm lanes weaving through these hidden valleys. Ahead was always the distant Pendle Hill but nearer at hand was a pointed peak which I later identified as Bowley Hill, there was no obvious way up it and as my knee was hurting I didn’t feel like adventuring.
The ongoing lane was closed due to works on the bridge over Dean Brook, more contortions were needed to outflank the blocked way. Fittingly I next passed Sunny Bank Farm as sheep and lambs were relaxing in the warm sunshine. Just emerge yourself into Lancashire’s finest. A bit of naughty signage, Private No right of Way, had me doubting the onward path but there was an obvious track up to a stile and out onto more open moor. I could have reached this point easily, and possibly more scenically, from the reservoir dam. I took the less obvious way through the woods and emerged onto Moor Lane. I thought I had been here before on either Wainwright’s Way or my Lancashire Monastic Way. Pendle was again prominent ahead as was the transmitter on Whalley Nab. Over to the left was Kemple End on Longridge Fell and the hazy Bowland Hills behind.
The lucky young occupants of the cottage above Nab Side Farm were chatty despite being engrossed in their extensive hillside garden. A little farther round the hillside I took a break overlooking Whalley and its viaduct.
An enclosed and steep monk’s trod challenged my knee ligaments on the way down to the elegant bridge over the Calder.
I passed the old Abbey corn mill, now an apartment block and I noticed for the first time the water wheel preserved within. Somehow I missed the Abbey’s gateways and went through the streets, past the ancient parish church, back to the Station to complete my afternoon’s stroll.
A walk I must have done dozens of times. I was looking for a short flattish walk to test out my knee. Walk 22 in the Cicerone guidebook fitted the bill, and I was anticipating the woods full of bluebells. It turned out to be a day of bright sunshine but with a violent wind out of the east.
The Shireburn Arms in Hurst Green was busy with the sunny weekend weather. I didn’t use their car park but found a spot in the village near the war memorial. Lambing Clough Lane took me down past the C17th Trough House (they have a fetish for weighing scales) to the new Dinckley bridge over the River Ribble. The river was running low with the exposed pebbly beaches accessible.
This stretch seemed to be popular with dog walkers today – but doesn’t everyone own a dog or two now. Entering Marles Wood the path threads between the trees often awkwardly over the exposed roots. The bluebells were only just starting, but there was a good display of Wood Anemones and the Lesser Celandines were hanging on. The new beech leaves were the greenest of greens.
One of the problems with this circuit is the kilometre of road walking from Salesbury Hall to Ribchester bridge. The road however was quiet and my attention was directed to the wayside plants. The blooms of the Blackthorn are fading to be replaced by the emerging Hawthorn. Yellow Dandelions and white Dead Nettles covered the verges. Soon I was crossing the elegant bridge which has seen some recent damage from vehicles.
Onwards past the farm and into the riverside woods where flood debris is always piled up, but thankfully someone has been collecting the plastics. Unfortunately the right of way leaves the river, what a shame – if only access could have been obtained all the way back to Dinckley Bridge. I have in the past persisted in trespassing alongside the river but remember it being difficult. On this day in 1932, hundreds of folk marched on the famous Kinder Scout protest, and we are approaching a time when we may need to resist the Tory’s crackdown on our access to land.
I’ve always found navigating the fields here a bit of a challenge and Mark’s directions didn’t really help. The bluebells in the woods at Starling Brook compensated for my previous disappointment. Wild garlic was also showing well, I must pick some for a delicious meal with poached egg.
There are good views of Pendle and the Ribble Valley from these hills. With luck, I arrived at the bridge over Dean Brook, the stream I followed to find Raven Lumb Falls last April.
A steep climb led back to Lambing Clough Lane and into Hurst Green.
As an aside on the way home I spotted another of those evocative slate poems next to St. John’s Church. Poignant thoughts.
Anyone wanting to follow this walk could shorten it by parking at Marles Wood and avoid the loop into Hurst Green.
I’m resting up with my latest injury – a medial ligament tear of my knee suffered in a cycle accident on the promenade at Blackpool. For the boring details read here.
Dave phones to say he and Rod are going climbing at Noggarth this sunny afternoon. I can’t resist even if only to meet up with my mates.
Dave should be in France at The Fell and Rock Club’s Easter climbing meet. As he and his wife left the hotel at 6am to board the ferry in Portsmouth she fell onto her right elbow, they made light of it and drove onto the boat. On reaching their cabin the elbow was hurting more and stiffening. A visit to the ship’s nurse confirmed that it was more serious than first thought and a recommendation that rather than travel to France a visit to the local A and E would be sensible. They disembarked to take a taxi ride to hospital, their car by now deep in the hold, irretrievable and shortly on the way to France. I’ll pass over the gory details of her surgical treatment involving plates and screws only to say they are safely back in Lancashire – hence the unexpected phone call today. The car had travelled back by itself.
We arrive at the cemetery parking simultaneously. There is no church in the vicinity, but we surmise, rightly or wrongly, that a cemetery must be attached to a religious seat. The short walk up to the extensive quarried area is a time to catch up with our various happenings. There are a couple of climbers already at work on the main slab.
I’m only here for the beer if there was any and take a back seat as they decide on our first route. Dave takes longer than usual working his way up the smooth often holdless slab. We don’t know the grade or name as it is a newcomer to our guide which has been rapidly put out of date by new developments here. I have a feeling, that I try to suppress, that this is going to be awkward.
It’s my turn, I struggle to bend my knee sufficiently to slip on my rock shoes. Not a good start. The first 10 feet are easy, but then most holds disappear, One has to put faith in one’s feet and bravely stand on minutiae to make progress. OK, in other situations, I’ve done all this before but my rustiness today is evident. Bloody hell I’ve got a rope above me guaranteeing my safety – just stand up. Slow progress is made as I protect my left knee and it’s ligaments from excessive strain. There comes a point halfway up when the only illusionary foothold, I’ve nothing for my hands, is high up on the left. I ask for a tight rope and slowly weight my left leg, the pain starts to impinge and is only relieved by standing on a handy nearby bolt. That is what is called cheating, and I’m not proud of it. No Go truthfully. The top is gained without further ado.
Dave high on the lead of route X.
We decide to move across to the main slab and the classic route, Garth, we’ve done before. I even soloed it in the past. Things have changed and where there was previously little protection bolts drilled into the rock have magically appeared. What was once a soul-searching lead has now been reduced to simple gymnastics with no real fear of harming oneself. The jury is out on the ethics of this ‘levelling up – or down’ All I know is that the experience is not the same but as we are becoming creeping gates it is good to reach the top.
Our hero on Garth VS 4b.
I leave the others to more climbs whilst I slink off to ‘rest my knee’ and have a stroll across the quarry base to find more slabs uncovered in recent months. They become smaller as I traverse right but even steeper and holdless. The other pair of climbers are trying a hard route. One for another time, I’m satisfied with my efforts today, even if I didn’t climb either route cleanly.
Something a little harder.
We wander back down the path past a magnificent apple blossom that I hadn’t noticed on the way up. It is good to be out on a beautiful spring day.
Walk no. 33 in Mark Sutcliffe’s guide explores the foothills of Pendle from Downham. I was just able to park in the picture postcard village at 10am. The sunshine had brought everyone out to explore the surrounding limestone countryside. A large walking party was manning up for perhaps an ascent of Pendle brooding above. Time to be on my way. This 5 mile stroll should be within my ever decreasing limits, the bad heel and bad back were still niggling me. On top of that my recent cycling tumble has left me with a painful ligament on the inside of my left knee. Anyhow, I’ve strapped up my knee, so I can enjoy the best of the Spring sunshine.
Familiar paths alongside Downham Beck get me ahead of the crowds. Soon I was climbing up to Clay House the first of several attractive farmhouses on today’s walk. There was no letup as I continued upwards, past a barn at Lane Head and then over the access lane to Hollins Farm. Up to Hecklin Farm where a diversion around to the right and then fields towards Ravens Holme. The wall stiles are solid, none of those namby-pamby metal gates with yellow catches, and marker posts have guided me through the fields. That’s how it should be.
Leaving by Downham Beck
C19th Clay House.
C18th Hollin’s Farm.
How much in a garden centre?
C17th Hecklin Farm.
C17th Raven’s Holme.
Spring is definitely in the air with lambs, blackthorn blossom, primroses and celandines all around.
Ups and downs in these folded foothills took me up to Throstle Hall Cottage. All the while Pendle gazed down on my slow progress. Whilst Mark’s directions have been spot on he has become confused with the names of the farms along here. A simple mistake for which there is no excuse. I was now on paths new to me as I descended towards Hill Foot farm. Now out onto open limestone pastures with little quarries all around. I emerged onto the lane by the defunct mill pond to Twiston Mill. TWISTON_MILL.pdf (downhamvillage.org.uk)
I couldn’t resist the short walk up the hill past the Lime Kiln to have a look into Witches Quarry, a favourite limestone venue of mine for years. The sun doesn’t get round to the face until late. Climbers were on one of the sustained HVS’s in the centre of the wall, The Spell. The routes here tend to have ‘witch’ themed names, this is Lancashire Witch country after all. I chatted for a while and then left as they were starting up the VS Thrutch. I was feeling a little envious as I walked down the lane and in fact the quarry could be seen from a fair bit of my ongoing track which surprised me as one tends to think of it being hidden from close up.
Zoom back to the quarry half a mile away.
The paths I used were well trodden heading down the beck, but then I crossed on a footbridge and climbed past a cottage, Springs, onto a higher ridge, possibly a Roman way, for a grand finale back to Downham, now even busier with families enjoying the sunshine and ice creams from the little shop. I came in by the pretty cottages, pub and church. All the while Pendle was proudly overlooking its gentle foothills. For more of Downham read here.
An ideal walk for a perfect Spring day, though I don’t think I’ll be out for a while as my knee has played up.
In less than 20 minutes it is reported that 241 died and 392 lay wounded from the 700-strong Accrington Pals battalion of the East Lancashire Regiment on the first day of the Battle of the Somme, July1st1916. Lord Kitchener was responsible for devising ‘Pals’ battalions from the same neighbourhood so that recruits could fight alongside their friends. Unfortunately, when there was a massacre, losses were concentrated on single towns. Accrington was one such town. More of that later – but first I have a hill to climb, Great Hameldon, another chapter from Mark Sutcliffe’s Cicerone book.
I have parked up just below Peel Park and find my way up woodland paths to the view point and Peel Monument. The crowded streets of Accrington slowly retreat down below. There is also an unexpected trig point up here on the Northern rim. I then follow the edge of the hill around above the A56 speeding though the gap below, a road familiar to me with the quarried walls either side. There is a way under the carriageway and I head up to, but circle around and above, the farm onto Moleside Moor. Behind a wall are a couple of ‘slate poems’ but I think from a different pen than the ones around Longridge. Rough ground and then bog bring me to the base of Great Hameldon for that steep ascent to the trig point. I’m not sure whether I have been here before. All is space with extensive views, unfortunately hazy despite the bright sunshine and strong wind. Pendle always dominates, and away to the East is the weather station on Hameldon Hill. There is nobody else up here except the skylarks, singing above me.
From the trig, a vague path takes me south to a wall next to an ancient well. //thejournalofantiquities.com/2015/03/01/mary-hoyle-well-hyndburn-moor-lancashire/
Strangely, a reservoir to the right has been decommissioned. Then I’m on a sunken bridleway passing through a quarried landscape. I have to get across the busy A56 before following a golf course to find myself in a housing estate. The guidebook sees me through this maze, out through Lounds Wood and into Haworth Park below the House which serves as an art gallery.
This brings me to the second part of my post. A friend visited the Haworth Gallery recently and commented on their unique collection of Tiffany Glass, all unknown to me. Time for a visit, this walk happens to come this way – how convenient.
The Haworths were successful mill owners and William had Hollins Hill, now the Haworth, built in a Tudor style, by Walter Brierley in 1909. He lived there with his sister, but died in 1913, followed by his sister in 1920. The house and its collection of paintings and antiquities were bequeathed to the people of Accrington. It has remained a gallery ever since, with preservation and restorations over the years.
The link to Tiffany is through a Joseph Briggs, born in Accrington in 1873 and until he was 18 worked as an engraver in his father’s Calico printworks. He then emigrated to America and in due course was employed at the Louis Comfort Tiffany glass works, famous for innovative art nouveau design. Briggs did well at Tiffany’s and when Tiffany retired in 1919 Joseph was in charge of Tiffany Studios producing windows, mosaics and lamps. Fashions changed, and the company faltered in 1932. Tiffany died in 1933 leaving Briggs to dispose of unwanted stock, throwing much of it away. But then he started sending some of the finest pieces over to Accrington.
Joseph Briggs died in New York on 28 March 1937, aged 64. Originally the collection was displayed in Oak Hill Museum but later sent to the Haworth Gallery only to be packed away during the Second World War. It was only in 1976 that this world-famous collection of Tiffany Glass went on show again.
The house itself is imposing, with views across the valley to Great Hameldon and my morning’s route. The grounds are extensive, and apparently the rose garden has to be seen in season. But today I am more interested with the interior; wood panelled rooms, feature fireplaces, a curving staircase. A welcome from the friendly staff, and I’m off to their in-house café for a coffee. This seems a popular meeting place for lunch, the plates all looked very appetising.
Revived, I commence my tour of the Tiffany Collection. The history and techniques were fully documented, and the variety and styles of glass was amazing. Only later did I notice that photography was not allowed. In any case the shades, different lustres and forms of the glass have to be appreciated directly. The collection filled rooms on the ground floor and spread up to the next floor. The elegance of the rooms fitted well with Tiffany’s artistry.
Also up here was an exhibition of watercolours in the corridor and oils in one of the adjacent rooms. These were the work of a Paddy Campbell and depicted scenes from the local moorlands. Some robust, larger oils were very impressive, interpreting the wildness and lighting perfectly. He has definitely been out there capturing the magic. This temporary exhibition had just opened and the artist himself was wandering around, all too pleased to expand on his canvases.
Before leaving, I visited in the grounds an Accrington Pals Memorial, which brings me back to my introduction to this post. This is a replica of one in Serre (built with Accrington Bricks), on the site of the battle of the Somme.
Farther down into town, I came into Oak Hill Park, where on the highest point was a war memorial erected in 1922. Tablets name 865 fallen from World War I and additionally 170 from World War II. One further name has been added, for Northern Ireland, and two from the Falklands Campaign.
Soon I was in the centre of Accrington and its grand stone Victorian buildings from the cotton era, where next to the church was a further smaller memorial (2002) to the Accrington Pals and other Lancashire regiments losses.
I had a slow trudge back up through the streets to find my car.
Another sunny-day journey with the over-the-hill cyclist.
As I swooped down into Ribchester, at the back of my mind was the thought that later in the day I would have to regain all the height, plus more. The morning was perfect with blue skies and sunshine, and more importantly to me in my new cycling guise – no wind. A pause to look at the River Ribble at Ribchester Bridge and then along the south side of the valley. The Marles Wood car park looked busy with families setting off for a riverside walk. I enjoyed the quiet lanes that eventually wound into Whalley on the banks of the Calder. I’ve always been intrigued by the row of cottages as you enter the village, today whilst I was taking photographs a couple of residents emerged and told me that they had been built as workers accommodation by a nearby hall. They had no explanation as to why there were two levels of access.
Dropping into Ribchester.
The Ribble, at Ribchester Bridge.
Old St. Leonards Church, Langho.
River Calder and that viaduct.
My favourite café in the village was closed, so I just carried on towards Mitton with its three inns, a hall and a medieval church which I’ve mentioned before. A fisherman was casting in the Ribble with proud Pendle in the background.
Medieval church and Mitton Great Hall.
Talking of fishing, the last time I passed this way the Three Fishes was closed but in recent months it has had a makeover and reopened under Michelin-starred chef Nigel Haworth. He is hoping to make it the best pub restaurant in the area, judging from the prices, I won’t be visiting soon.
The road ahead gave a rather disheartening view of Longridge Fell, my next objective. But first I crossed Lower Hodder Bridge with Cromwell’s Bridge adjacent, you can’t pass it without another photograph. This was the lowest point of the ride and I now had to climb 600 ft back up onto the fell, steady was the word. Once up there, I had a switchback ride all the way back into Longridge and a hot bath to ease my aches.
Kemple End, Longridge Fell.
Longridge beyond the reservoir.
A couple of extras –
Whilst I was climbing up the fell earlier, I had passed the well-known Pinfold Cross. This is what I wrote last time – The Pinfold Cross is a memorial to a former servant at Stonyhurst College and fiddler, James Wells. It was erected in 1834 at Stockbridge after he died in a quarry accident. On the front is inscribed the legend, ‘WATCH, FOR YOU KNOW NOT THE DAY NOR HOUR.’ Above this is written, ‘OFT EVENINGS GLAD MAKE MORNINGS SAD’. On the left is ‘PRAY FOR THE SOUL OF JAMES WELLS’ and on the right, ‘DIED FEB. 12TH, 1834′.
This is one of a series of crosses associated with Stonyhurst College whose grounds I have mainly skirted today. I did pass one of their gates and had time to ponder the school’s sign.I suppose times have changed and most primary schools now have a pre-school section. It is said that it helps children integrate better and prepare them for the learning experience to come. Oh! And it also provides a baby sitting service for busy parents out at work. What stuck me most was the 3-year-old reference. I couldn’t get it out of my mind and I imagined all these little children being abandoned at the school each day, God forbid if they were boarders. I’m sure it is not as bad as that and the toddlers have a great time.
Lily Allen, whom you may not be acquainted with, wrote a song expressing her own child’s anxiety left at home whilst Mum sang around the world. We have to be careful how we nourish our young offspring. Needless to say, I was humming the tune for the rest of the ride. Here is a version of this touching song where she is accompanied by Jules Holland – I’m only three.
Today was one of those days; not a drop of wind, easy walking and hardly anybody about. I seemed in a trance as I wandered around a familiar easy circuit. Hands in pockets walking. I was alert to birdsong and the tinkling of the becks coming off Pendle Hill. No planes disturbed the sky. This is excellent Lancashire limestone country, and I was in no rush to pass through it, in fact I was happy to wander at will in search of new discoveries. Time stood still in this bygone landscape while the sun shone but slowly the day turned to grey.
This moody Eagle track was in my head all day, as my grandchildren would say ‘I was in the zone’
I had parked in Worston, which is much quieter than Downham, wandered up to the splendidly isolated Little Mearley Hall and then along the northern base of a generally misty Pendle linking a series of farms. The approach to Downham via the little beck was a delight, and I looked around the village even having enough time to go up to the top road to find the C18 milestone and further on the boundary stone hidden in the wall. [but I missed ‘The Great Stone of Downham’ also in this wall] A new path has been provided here to avoid the traffic. My way back was past Worsaw End farm made famous in Whistle Down The Wind starring Hayley Mills and Alan Bates. Prominent above is Worsaw Hill, one of the many Reef Knolls in the area. On a whim I decided to climb to its summit, never having done so before. I was rewarded with good views of the Ribble Valley towards Kemple End and a birds eye view of Downham. All was quiet back in Worston. I wonder how long it will be before we are in full lockdown?
Little Mearley Hall.
Clay House Farm.
A slow wander around Downham…
‘To Colne 9 Miles To Gisburn 4 Miles To Clitheroe 3 Miles’
Downham Hall home of the Asshetons.
Lower Hall and Church.
Heading back to Worston…
Reef knoll country.
‘Whistling down the wind’
The ‘summit’ with Pendle in the background.
A hazy Ribble Valley.
Worsaw Hill. 221 m
May I take this opportunity to wish any readers out there the best seasonal greetings.
As I lazed away this morning reading I came across a comment about Fox’s well on Pendle Hill.
George Fox was born in 1624 and was in his 20s by the time of the civil wars between the Royalists and the Parliamentarians. This was also a time of questioning the established religious ideas. Fox was travelling the country preaching an alternative simpler Christian message. By the 1650s he was in Northern England and in 1652 according to his journal…
“As we travelled we came near a very great hill, called Pendle Hill, and I was moved of the Lord to go up to the top of it; which I did with difficulty, it was so very steep and high” “When I was come to the top, I saw the sea bordering upon Lancashire. From the top of this hill the Lord let me see in what places he had a great people to be gathered” “As I went down, I found a spring of water in the side of the hill, with which I refreshed myself, having eaten or drunk but little for several days before”
Hence, the name, Fox’s Well, in memory of his visit. He went on to found The Religious Society of Friends, the Quakers. Many parts of the North became Quaker strongholds and because of his vision Pendle Hill became a special place for Quakers.
Well no time to lose. The sun was shining but it was already 11am, I’m slow to get going these days. The well is not marked on the OS maps but I had a grid reference SD 80494200, I must have walked past it on my last visit here. As I drove across I was planning a route in my head, park in Barley and walk the hill on its steep side, the Big End. Coming down the road that cuts across the east side of Pendle I was astonished to see a line of parked cars stretching for half a mile, negotiating past them wasn’t easy. Things were even worse in the village with the car park full to overflowing and lots of desperate drivers cruising about. So this is a Covid-19 day out for half of Lancashire. I curse myself – I shouldn’t have come to a honeypot on a Sunday.