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St John & St Mark Church, Bury

Walking Group

NEXT WALK:  Saturday 4th November. Please meet at Bury Metrolink station at 9.00am for tram to Manchester. We will then walk back from Victoria via Peel Park in Salford, Irwell Sculpture Trail, Outwood and return to Radcliffe for tram home. Please bring bus/tram ticket/pass or fare.

MONTHLY PROGRAMME
  • Meet 9.30am  on the first Saturday of each month unless otherwise specified
  • Contact Paul Sanderson or David Robinson if you are thinking of joining us for the first time (just in case there is a last minute change) or want more information.
  • We aim to walk about 10-12 miles
  • Packed lunch, snacks, drinks, boots and waterproofs recommended.
  • We have also been known to stop at the occasional hostelry...
  • Sometimes we will be walking out of district, no more than 30min away, so we will arrange transport if necessary.

OCTOBER WALK: As Paul was away this month, Michael volunteered to put the latest walk together for us on 7th October. I had remarked in a previous conversation with Michael that I quite liked Rooley Moor Road when we had last walked along it. Therefore it was decided that we would cover the whole stretch of this route. That is except for the first two miles of the road through the Northern outskirts of Rochdale as it is quite urbanised. We were extremely grateful to Margaret Brennan for offering to drive us to our starting point as this made the transport arrangements much easier. After leaving the car, we walked the short distance to Catley Lane Head.

Rooley Moor Road is an old 13th Century pack horse and carter route, which was originally used for the wool trade. It was widely known as the ‘Cotton Famine Road’, owing to the Rochdale millworkers support for the struggle against slavery during the American Civil War (1861-1865). Lancashire workers joined President Abraham Lincoln’s fight against slavery, and despite a blockade of ports causing a shortage of cotton supplies coming to Rochdale causing the ‘cotton famine’, the men continued their support. Slavery was eventually abolished in America in 1865.        

Shortly after leaving Catley Lane Head you reach a plaque, which was unveiled as part of the BBC’s ‘Black History’ series last year to commemorate these millworkers of the time. We paused for a photograph here.

We continued along the five miles of Rooley Moor Road, and although it was quite cloudy we did occasionally get some good views across the region of towns such as Rochdale, Oldham, Ashton and landmarks including the Etihad Stadium and ski slope in Manchester.

Our route picked up a section of the Pennine Bridleway and took us past Knowl Hill Greenbooth Reservoir, working farms and the sites of disused quarries.

It was occasionally quite blustery so we found a sheltered spot alongside Cowpe Reservoir for lunch around 11.45am.

After lunch we continued the rest of the route to Stacksteads and walked the final mile to Waterfoot along the old railway track bed of the former Rawtenstall to Bacup railway line (closed 1966) including under the quarter mile Newchurch Tunnel.

We arrived in Waterfoot just in time to board the 1.03pm return bus service back to Walmersley. We had covered around 7 miles and the four of us who went enjoyed the day.

No arrangements have been confirmed for 4th November at the time of writing this report however it is hoped that Geoff Hamilton will lead us on 2nd December for an exploration of former mill works, covering areas including Owd Betts, Ashworth Valley, Deeply Vale and Bircle. We will depart from Christ Church for this one.      

Best foot forward, David Robinson

SEPTEMBER WALK: The weather was perfect for our repeat of the July walk. See below for details of the route.

AUGUST WALKOn 12th August, Paul volunteered to lead our walk for us, and once again this was to be one of his ‘reccies’ for the HF group in November. It was also an opportunity to take in four Churches, graveyards and war memorials all in one day.

We had a good number, with eight people turning up. Therefore we took two cars and drove to the car park at Padiham Town Hall.

We set off from here about 10.00am and picked up the banks of the River Calder, which we walked along for a while before entering some woodland on the way towards the Burney Way. We spent some time along here and had good views of Gawthorpe and Pendle Halls. This eventually led us onto the Pendle Way and overlooked the centre of Burnley. We walked along the Pendle Way until we arrived at the village of Higham. The ‘Four Alls Inn’, est 1798 is a familiar attraction in this area however we did not stop here. Instead we paused for elevenses at the first of our Church stops. This was the Church of St. John the Evangelist, Higham.

After our break and reflection we continued for a couple of miles through the farming communities, across Sabden Road towards Priddy Bank Farm. We then made our way towards the village of Simonstone and the second of our Church pauses, St. Peter’s CE Church. This was undergoing renovation, and due to reopen on 3rd September, so we sat across the road from here and enjoyed lunch.

Due to the temporary closure of this Church, services were taking place at the nearby St. John the Evangelist Church in the village of Read, which was our next stop for reflection. It was observed that the footpath leading to this Church is called Churchwarden’s Way.

Crossing Whalley Road we continued towards Gooseleach Wood, crossing the site of a dismantled railway line, part of the Great Harwood Loop Line, closed in the late 1950’s. We once again picked up the banks of the River Calder and crossed the Altham Bridge towards the village of Altham. Here we paused at the last of our Church stops, the CE Church of St. James, Altham and wandered around it’s grounds and studied some of the headstones. This particular Church has a plaque and memorial inside to recall the local Moorfield Colliery disaster in 1883. It was noted that 68 people died in this single disaster, which was more than the 65 people who had lost their lives during the First World War across the whole of the three villages we had visited.

Leaving here we continued along the River Calder and back towards Padiham, on the way stopping at the Padiham Memorial Park, which includes the First and Second World War memorial.

By the time we got back to the cars at 4.30pm we had walked approximately 11.5 miles. The later finish was due to our stops at the various Churches and memorials along the route. Although we did not go inside any of these Churches we enjoyed the time reflecting and studying the different styles and architecture of the buildings. The weather also fared quite well for us and once again, another enjoyable day.  

Best foot forward, David Robinson

JULY WALK: Paul volunteered to lead our walk on 1st July, which was this time a more local affair.

Our meeting point was St. John with St. Mark Church Hall at 9.30am where four of us gathered. We made our way along Arley Avenue, down the steps and along the River into the Burrs, where we spent some brief time exploring the country park, which was full of life at this time of year.

We left the Burrs via Woodhill Road and walked to the end of here to Crostons Road and past the site of the former gas works in Elton.

We then crossed over to Wellington Street and past the Royal Mail office, making our way to the former Manchester, Bolton and Bury canal towpath. We walked along the path for a short distance before crossing Hinds Lane and passing what was the site of the Farmer’s Arms, later Benny’s nightclub. This area was part of the cross-country route at Bury Church High School when I was there.

We climbed up to Elton Reservoir where we stopped for elevenses. It was turning into a lovely summer day at this point and we had some great views from the Reservoir of the Pennines and Blackstone Edge. After our break we picked up the route of the former Bolton and Bury railway line and then headed towards Brookbottom Farm. We followed a track which eventually led us to St. Gabriel’s High School and then to the Bury Grammar Schools on Bridge Road.

Crossing under Bolton Street we then made our way back into the Burrs for a brief lunch stop, and as we were earlier than expected, a drink in the Brown Cow. We made our way back to the Church Hall through the Burrs, which Paul reminded us also formed part of his cross-country course at Seedfield High.

We covered about 9 miles, and it was a good warm up for Paul who was due to begin his Pennine way venture the following week. More news about that at the Open Group in November!

Best foot forward, David Robinson

JUNE WALK: Michael Ryan volunteered to lead our walk on 10th June, and I asked if we could do a rerun of a previous outing he had lead in March 2016 (because I had missed it first time). The walk took in Stubbins, Holcombe and beyond, and included guided notes with a brief history of some of the buildings and features we passed.

It was an extremely wet start to the day when we huddled in the car on Parkinson Street at 9.30am. However as it was the intention to drive to Nuttall Park, it had actually improved when we began our walk, so although not perfect, we did actually fare quite well for the remainder of the day.

After leaving Nuttall Park we walked a short distance to the Irwell Valley Way to Chatterton and Stubbins and journeyed through a tunnel under the East Lancashire Railway, which was also the site of the former Stubbins Railway station. We passed the former mill buildings in the village including the Stubbins Vale Mill. As Gill and I had not previously seen this, we climbed up the banking to the mill’s Tenter Tower. It was worth the effort to see this former cloth store (c1866).

We continued through the National Trust’s Buckden Wood, crossing the river Irwell at times and had our elevenses stop. After our rest we journeyed along the edge of the Holcombe Moor track towards the foot of Holcombe Hill and Holcombe Old Road.

We the dropped down to Bolton Road and along here we discussed a cottage with a plaque making reference to the Female Union Society (c1824) associated with votes and political rights for women. Leaving Holcombe Brook by the Pot Green conservation area we headed towards Summerseat and discussed the nearby proposed Garden City development.

We headed into Summerseat towards the Waterside Bridge and picked up the track back towards Nuttal Park for journey home.  

It was an interesting and informative day lead by Michael, and again I saw areas that I have not previously seen. Not bad really, to say we thought we would never get started at 9.30am!   

Best foot forward, David Robinson

Prayer Walk in May: It is now customary for the walking group to use the first Saturday in May for the annual Benefice walk around the borders of our two Parishes. Traditionally known as ‘Beating the Bounds’, this was an event that we would have been able to complete on a Sunday afternoon when we were two separate Parishes and it was common for this to take place on Rogation Sunday, before Ascension Day. Now a Saturday is required for the whole 13 miles, and like last year this gave us the perfect opportunity to pray for the Benefice, the people who live in it and the activities which take place, in what is such a diverse area. At certain landmarks, which are of particular significance to the Benefice, we stopped for quiet prayer and then recited the Lords Prayer.

We assembled at the Lych Gate at 9.00am when we prayed for the Parish of Christ Church and for the day ahead. Vicar Dave had arranged to meet us there to trigger the starter gun. From there we walked down Walmersley Road to Parkinson Street, when at 9.30am we prayed for the Parish of St. John with St. Mark. We were pleased to be joined here by Derek Ryan for the first time, who accompanied us for part of the walk.

We continued through the Burrs Country Park and Woodhill Road, across the Irwell before arriving at the fire station at 10.20am when we prayed for the work of the emergency services in the town.

Ten minutes later we arrived at Tesco and paused at the Brunswick Memorial site for reflection. We also used this opportunity to pray for commerce.

We continued past the site of the old St. John’s Church on The Rock and then in a slight deviation from past years we walked to the Salvation Army Centre, which is now the site of the former St. Mark’s Church and School. Here we prayed for all religious buildings that serve the Benefice, both past and present.

We continued along Chesham Road, past the former home of the ‘Just William’ author Richmal Crompton, and stopped for elevenses near Walker’s Field, where we held up prayers for recreation.

From here we continued past the golf club and Birtle Edge House, the childhood home of the late Bury born comedian Victoria Wood.

We arrived at Buckhurst for our scheduled lunch stop, only to discover another party had commandeered our bench (how inconsiderate)!! However as it was a little chilly we decided to walk on further across the farming communities towards the Lord Raglan, where we had lunch near the car park. Here we prayed for the whole of Bury MBC, ideal, as you can see the whole of the town from this point.

After lunch we continued towards Bass Lane and into Summerseat. We were intending on turning right off Hill Street and crossing the Waterside Bridge however a suggestion was made to do something a little different and head left instead, which resulted in some slightly strange goings-on near the Robin Road area of Summerseat (If you wish to know more then please ask a member of the walking group who was there).

We picked up our regular route, past the garden centre, and back into The Burrs. We arrived at the country park at 3.00pm and said our closing prayer for the leisure and entertainment industry. We ended the day with refreshment in the Brown Cow.

Thank you to all who participated in this walk in anyway and to those who were following us in Spirit at home during the various stages of the day. It was a very enjoyable day and made us appreciate the Benefice that we have.

Best foot forward, David Robinson

 

APRIL WALK: Our latest walk on 1st April took us to Stoodley Pike and the surrounding area. It was new to some of us but not for others. Five of us assembled at Christ Church Walmersley and Paul drove us to Todmorden, where we parked up by a small sports field on the A6033. We then made our way towards a section of the Rochdale Canal and along there we found the marker point between Lancashire and Yorkshire. We spent most of our day on the Yorkshire side.

After leaving the canal we made an ascent to the Warland Reservoir where we could soon see the Stoodley Pike monument and then shortly after joined a section of the Pennine Way. It was one of those days when the weather was chopping and changing every hour or so and by 11.00am the sun had come out and was quite warm therefore we decided it was a good time to pause for refreshment before continuing our climb to the tower. The tower looks quite a dominating feature as you approach. Once there we decided to have a climb to the base of the obelisk. Michael’s notes he handed to me advised the base can be reached by a stone staircase, which spirals upwards in horrific darkness. I would not like to admit that the darkness was “horrific” however it is true to say that you cannot see your hand in front of your face and have to feel your way up and down the steps with the toe and heel of your boots. It is worth the climb though, and it was only a few steps, as you have a great view of the Calder Valley and nearby Heptonstall.

We descended from the monument and walked for a further mile or so before stopping for lunch.

Our route continued towards the area of Lumbutts and then we picked up a track overlooking Walsden, which eventually led us back to the Rochdale Canal, which we walked along for about half a mile before arriving back at the car.

This was one of Paul’s ‘Reccy’ walks for the HF group so we weren’t quite sure how it would fare however the route and distance were pitch-perfect and just as Paul had planned. We covered approximately 11.5 miles altogether.                            

Best foot forward, David Robinson

MARCH WALK: Ralph volunteered to lead our latest walk on Saturday 4th March. We had previously been on a journey around Ralph’s former Parishes in Crawshawbooth and Goodshaw last year, and this time it was two other former Parishes of St Thomas’ Bury and St George Unsworth. Ralph previously advised us we were in for “lots of road and lots of mud”.

 

We journeyed towards St Thomas’ via Taylor Street and Wash Lane before walking towards Openshaw Park and picking up the Roch Valley for a short while towards the Lakeside estate and Hollins Lane.

It was a really lovely day by this point and actually getting quite warm. Ralph had arranged for us to have our coffee at St. George at 11.00am, where we arrived promptly. We were made to feel very welcome and were given a small tour of the Church and a talk on its history – the present building celebrates its 175th anniversary next year.

 

After our refreshment, we continued towards Unsworth Pole and Unsworth Cricket Club before crossing the M66 (using the bridge of course)!! We then journeyed along the edge of the motorway for a short distance, reaching Egypt Lane and then arriving at Egypt Farm, where we had splendid views of Blackstone Edge and the Pennines. We had arrived at Simister by then, and another St. George’s Church. It was then we hit the mud!! The mud continued for a few hundred yards until we got to Heaton Park and stopped for lunch.

 

We had a stroll around the park for about 20 minutes and wandered onto the tramway. “Not to worry” reassured Ralph, “the tram does not run at this time of year”. At that moment what came round the corner? The 1914 Manchester 765, number 53 route to Belle Vue; we had got out of the way in time but joked it would have been an unexpected accident on one our walks.

 

We made our way to the Metrolink at Heaton Park for return home about 2.15pm. Thank you Ralph, for organising this enjoyable day for us.                      

  

Best foot forward, David Robinson

JANUARY 2017 WALK: Our first walk of 2017, on 7th January, took us to the familar area of Waugh’s Well, albeit with a variation of the route. It was misty and murky for most of the day, but surprisingly warm for the time of the year. We met at St. John with St. Mark Church Hall for transport to the Lord Raglan. It was great to have Vicky Senior with us today, joining us for her debut walk. The intention was for us to drive to Owd Betts and commence our walk from there. However we decided to drive the short distance to the Lord Raglan and instead walk to Owd Betts by Cheesden Valley. We arrived at Owd Betts on Edenfield Road around 10.30am and shortly after we began our ascent up Knowl Hill. Once at the top we paused for a brief elevenses stop.

From there, we descended North-West towards Scout Moor and made our way along the servicing road for a while. We made a brief detour off Scout Moor to Whittle Pike and the site of Geoff’s Cross, which is a tall wooden cross in memory of former St. Mark’s Scout leader Geoffrey Molyneux, killed in a flying mission in 1955. Our current Scout group have a new plaque for the cross, so whilst there we had a brief discussion as to where it could be placed and how we would get it up there.

We then briefly turned back on ourselves and dropped down to the track to Waugh’s Well, where we stopped for lunch just before 1.00pm.

Afterwards, we continued our route along a stretch of the Rossendale Way, eventually arriving on the outskirts of Edenfield and then into the Village of Turn, past Bleakholt and the Fishermans Retreat. Our last leg involved a tough climb over a rugged hill towards Harden Moor. From there, it was back along Bury Old Road and to the Lord Raglan. We stopped here for deserved refreshment before the drive home.

Overall, despite it sometimes being tough going underfoot, our group enjoyed the walk. We had covered 11.5 miles during the day.

DECEMBER WALK: We stayed local for our walk on December 3rd and undertook a route which included 3 breweries. This walk was previously completed in 2015 however as some of the group had missed it last time it was decided to do it again. It was also ideal for the time of year as it contains lots of footpaths and we were never too far from home when it went dark.

Eight of us met at St. John with St. Mark Church Hall at 10.15am and begun our route down towards The Burrs. Walking along Woodhill Road we continued towards the fire station and Tesco before heading to our first stop, The Clarence on Silver Street. Some of us enjoyed a coffee here as it was a slightly chilly start to the morning. Upon leaving there about 11.45am, we were then joined by Paul’s dog Dodger, who had been dropped off – he wasn’t allowed in The Clarence! Continuing back along Castlecroft Road we crossed the Irwell bridge and then picked up the start of the Kirklees Trail. We walked the full length of this to Greenmount, pausing for our lunch stop on the way.

After leaving the Kirklees we continued towards Nuttall Park via Newcombe Road and then picking up a track near Waterside Road, which took us to the park. Our next stop was the Irwell Works in Ramsbottom where we enjoyed refreshment. Leaving there about 3.00pm we crossed the East Lancs Railway, where the Santa Special was just pulling in, and then continued towards Manchester Road and picked up the track beginning at Whitelow Road. This then took us to the top of Bury Old Road and we continued on towards our third stop, Leyden Brewery (aka The Lord Raglan). After an hour in the Raglan we made our way home.

It was not just about the breweries today, there was some good walking in between – twelve miles altogether. It was a lovely day from beginning to end and the good attendance made it even more enjoyable. The weather was also pleasant for the time of year.

Thank you also to Gill for taking the last few of us back to her house for some pizza and nibbles in the evening.

Best foot forward, David Robinson

NOVEMBER WALK: Our walk was led by Ralph Mallinson and seven of us met at St John with St Mark Church at 9.00am for cars to Hollingworth Lake Country Park, where we parked up for the day. For those of you who didn’t know, Hollingworth Lake was one of eight reservoirs built to supply water for the Rochdale Canal.

After a short distance, we descended toward the M62 motorway bridge and after a further distance, we ascended back towards the M62. This time crossing another bridge, which shortly took us onto the Pennine Bridleway where we spent a good deal of the morning. On the Bridleway, we walked along the foot of Blackstone Edge, but unlike our outing in June, we did not climb up this time. We also caught a glimpse of the village of Calderbrook, and particularly the pyramidal steeple of St. James’ Church Calderbrook, which from our location seemed to tower over the rest of the village.

Continuing along the Bridleway, we then made our way towards Summit, passing the Field of Dreams animal sanctuary and the Upper and Lower Chelburn Reservoirs. Our lunch stop was just after 12.00 at the Summit Quarry.

After lunch we continued with the next section of the walk, which took us along the Rochdale Canal from Summit to Littleborough, adjacent to the Manchester/Leeds railway line and passing the village of Calderbrook.

After leaving the canal, we continued towards Smithy Bridge, and then back towards Hollingworth Lake for the return home.

It was a great walk that Ralph took us on and we enjoyed a beautiful day with blue skies throughout. Although very occassionally, slightly chilly on the Pennine Bridleway, the array of Autumnal colours was a pleasure to witness.

Best foot forward, David Robinson

OCTOBER WALK: Our October walk should have originally taken place in September, but following wet weather, we moved our scheduled walk to 1st October, and it was certainly a good decision to make as we experienced a lovely early Autumn day from beginning to end.

Our route took us through three Reservoirs of Bolton, Turton and Edgworth. Six of us met at 9.30am for transport to the first reservoir, Jumbles Reservoir, where we parked up for the day.

The other two Reservoirs on the route are the Turton & Entwistle and Wayoh. There was much to enjoy on the route and all three reservoirs have their own unique characteristics about them. Much of the day was spent on and off the Witton Weavers Way long-distance footpath.

After leaving the first section of the Witton Weavers Way, we shortly came to Chapeltown, and the Turton Tower, which some us had a climb of to overlook the Blackburn to Manchester railway line.

On our way to Entwistle Reservoir we passed Yarnsdale and a gritstone crag known as the ‘Fairy Battery’. We also had some good views of Winter Hill. On reaching Entwistle Reservoir we paused for our elevenses stop. There were many people around on this day enjoying the lovely weather. 

Continuing towards Edgworth, we had our lunch stop overlooking large parts of the region including Holcombe Hill, Deeply Vale and the tower blocks of Manchester.

We arrived at Entwistle Railway station and resisted the temptation to call in the Strawbury Duck, so just passed by on our way to the final reservoir, the Wayoh.

Picking up the Witton Weavers Way once again we continued to the Wayoh. Crossing the walkway at the water purification works we left the Reservoir at Embankment Road and continued to the village of Turton Bottoms before arriving back at the Jumbles Country Park for transport home.

We covered about 10-11 miles on the day and the good weather and views made it very pleasant. Best foot forward. David Robinson        

SEPTEMBER WALK: We were scheduled to complete the ‘Three Reservoirs’ walk on 3rd September. The weather decided to have other plans however and therefore Paul contacted us all on the Friday evening to advise that, although there would still be a walk, it would be a slightly more local affair. Six of us (+ 1 dog) gathered at the Lych Gate at 9.30am for a mystery tour. Only Paul knew where we were heading.

We set off towards Ribble Drive and then onto Walmersley Old Road. Shortly after, we were passed by the Vicar in his car at Mount Pleasant. We excused him from joining us as he was working at the time.

Carrying on pass the Raglan we walked a short distance before turning left and picking up the track at Whitelow Road, which eventually leads back onto Manchester Road. Here we crossed and made our way through Nuttall Park and then on towards the Shoulder of Mutton. We paused for a brief elevenses stop at Emmanuel Church, Holcombe. We did not climb Holcombe Hill, but just went along the foot and across the track to the Hare and Hounds. After walking along Holcombe Road we joined the Kirklees Valley continuing towards Woodhill Road and The Burrs, where we finished our walk at the Brown Cow. As our walk finished much earlier than intended we stopped for refreshment before going our separate ways home. It would seem we covered about 8 or 9 miles in just 3 hours.

Best foot forward, David Robinson