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              Littleborough, West Yorkshire, 21st July, 2019

'A' Walk -Distance - 11.5 miles. Leader - Dennis Neal. Grade - moderate.   Ascent.- 2200 feet.

The walk begins at the Hollingworth Lake Visitor Centre and heads northeast along Weighvers Way, a winding path, to Lydgate, Blackstone EdgeBlackstone Edgewhere we meet and cross, both the Rochdale Way and the Pennine Bridleway. Good views as we gain height to Lydgate. We continue in the same direction along an old Roman Road as far as the 'Aiggin Stone', a medieval 'waymarker' on Blackstone Edge which can be seen at the side of the road. The original Roman Road eventually became a much- used 'packhorse' track in later years, which connected Manchester with Ilkley and then York. See later notes.

After a coffee break at the 'Aiggin Stone' we turn South across Blackstone Edge to follow the Pennine Bridleway for about 1.5 miles before crossing the M62 Motorway at Rook Stones Hill. At this point we turn westwards along Windy Hill to eventually meet up once more with the Rochdale Way which will take us down to a cluster of 5 reservoirs in the valley below where we will stop for a well-earned lunch break.  Unfortunately, no pubs to be found nearby!!

Fully refreshed we leave the reservoirs behind us and turn northwards and eventually, after a steady climb, pass under the motorway near to Castle Hills.  As we look ahead we can see Hollingsworth Lake in the distance.

This is an excellent walk with spectacular views across rugged moorland The 'Aiggin Stone'The 'Aiggin Stone'with many interesting features along the way.  This is an area where we seldom walk, which is a pity, since it has much to offer walkers of all abilities.

You will enjoy this one.

Additional note on the 'Aiggin Stone' ... The  stone is a grit stone pillar standing some 4 feet high, although originally it was 7 feet tall, which is said to be some 600 years old. These 'Marker Stones' or 'Waymarkers', were also used for religious purposes where travellers would stop and offer a prayer for a safe journey over the bleak, windswept moors. Some of these stones were even used by people carrying coffins, where they would  pause for rest and say prayers for the dead.

 

'B' Walk - Distance - 8 miles. Leader - Tony Marsh. Grade - moderate.  Ascent - 1500 feet.

Today's walk in the South Pennines has many interesting features, not least of which is the magnificent countryside. We have hills and valleys, moorland and motorway, distant views across wild terrain, unusual place names such as 'Benny Hill', 'Syke Nab' and 'Rag Hole Clough), not to mention 'Norman Hill' and more reservoirs and lakes than you can count on the fingers of one hand!

The walk gets underway at the bustling café which sits alongside Hollingworth Lake.  Looking out across the lake and along the 'promenade' you have a distinct sensation that you are at a seaside resort.  However, such thoughts soon fade as we head through a small patch of woodland which leads on to the 'Rochdale Way' which will take us to 'Syke Nab'.  This section was slightly boggy on the recce but hopefully it will have dried out for our visit.

We turn by the farm buildings to begin our first real ascent of the day along a winding track up 'Benny Hill' where our thoughts may well stray to the well known TV programme, popular in the 1970's and 1980's.  As we progress upwards the views begin to unfold in all directions and we see the South Pennines in their full glory. Eventually we reach the M62 Motorway at Higher Booth where our earlier solitude will be briefly shattered as we cross the footbridge over the motorway with the roar of the traffic beneath us. Once across we will have our morning break in a much quieter place away from all the noise.

Refreshed, we have a couple of ascents to deal with before re-joining the Rochdale Way to walk along the shoulder of Nicholas Pike and Turf Hill, with lovely views of four reservoirs in the valley below.  Ogden ReservoirOgden ReservoirAs we approach the most easterly of this 'string' of reservoirs we pass through a small ancient woodland before turning westwards back towards Littleborough.  We will have our lunch stop just before the wood if the weather is kind, otherwise, in the wood itself.

After lunch we amble steadily alongside the reservoirs on a quiet, little- used road, eventually turning northwards across the embankment of Ogden Reservoir where we begin the ascent for our second crossing of the M62 Motorway.  We climb steeply, but briefly, up 'Rag Hole Clough' on to Tunshill Lane where we soon begin to descend towards Littleborough. To everyone's relief we can see Hollingworth Lake in the distance before us.  We will make it after all!!

We pass under the motorway this time, before entering the outskirts of the town where we have a final mile or so along a 'twisty, footpath through Rakewood, leading to the lakeside road not far from the café and pub.

Another excellent walk in an area probably new to most of you. Certainly worth the effort involved.

 'C' Walk - Distance - 5.8 miles. Leaders - Richard & Mavis. Grade - easy/moderate.  Ascent - 685 ft.

We start our walk from the Hollingworth Lake Visitor Centre taking the usual refreshment first. (Bacon sandwich to be recommended).Rochdale CanalRochdale Canal

Our next venture is over fields down to a left turn and up the first incline of the day, Peanock Lane, which leads onto the path where you get a wonderful view of the Lake and facilities. Lunch will be taken here as Hollingworth LakeHollingworth Lakebenches are available along with public toilets (no bushes needed). Once refreshed we head towards Rakewood, passing a caravan site on the left and climbing a slight incline up a field and through the only wall stile of the day. At this point we turn left down a single uneven pebbly path to the Rugby ground and onto Schofield Hall Road leading up to the moors (steeper incline). Passing through a couple of gates before arriving at Syke we are nearly there -  just one small hill to go up - and then we are straight back to the visitors' centre for a deserved ice cream.

 Weather permitting the contrast of the different features/habitats and buildings will be enjoyed.

 Forthcoming Walks

                      2019 ...     August 4th - Settle, North Yorkshire

                                      August 18th - Hulme End, Staffordshire

                                      September 1st - Goathland, North Yorkshire

                                      September 15th - Hawes, West Yorkshire