Pleasant walks with camera and three dogs
The Witton Weavers Way is an old packhorse route that traverses about 33 miles of the West Pennine Moors, and today’s walk covered a 6-1/2 miles section of it.
I parked the car in the Crookfield Road car park, just off the A675 Belmont to Preston road, about two miles north of Belmont (grid ref: SD665 191) then put Brett, Molly and Sam on their leads for a short walk to the road.
After walking along the short path from the car park we crosssed over the road at the sharp left bend and climbed over the stile to join the Witton Weavers Way, albeit for only a few yards.
Just a matter of a few yards from the stile we turned left and passed through a gate to temporarily leave the Witton Weavers Way. This path would take us back to the road we had crossed a few monment before and is a much safer (and nicer) alternative than walking along the road.
A short walk along the path brought us to a gate back at the road, which we quickly crossed then passed through another gate to get back on the Witton Weavers Way.
This path soon brought us to the ruins of Hollinshead Hall (grid ref: SD 662 199).
The ruins of the hall are quite extensive, and this picture, taken as we passed through, shows only a small part of it. Towards top left of the picture can be seen the old Well House, which is the only complete building left standing.
After a short look around and a quick chat with a group of walkers having lunch, we left the Witton Weavers Way again and set off through Roddlesworth Woods towards Slipper Lowe car Park.
On the edge of Slipper Lowe Car Park we passed though a gate then crossed the road to reach the path that would take us up onto Darwen Moor (grid ref: SD 664 202)
Part way up the path onto the moor I took this picture looking back towards Roddlesworth Woods, with Great Hill on Anglezarke Moor in the background.
At last we reached the top of the zig-zagging path to pass through a gate and onto Darwen Moor.
After a short walk, during which we passed the barely visible ruins of Lyons Den Farm (once the home of William Nightingale in the early 18th centruy – grid ref: SD674 204) at the junction with the path coming up from Ryall Fold, we passed through another gate (grid ref: SD 676 205) and took the path off to the right past the rickety old bench and towards Duckshaw Clough.
Shortly before reaching the bottom of Duckshaw Clough we passed by this path on the left that would take you northwestwards to Darwen Tower. Our route however would take us past the large house shown top right in the picture.
On reaching the road we turned sharp right to meet the Witton Weavers Way once more (grid ref: SD 684 202) and head up towards the house shown in the previous picture.
Before reaching the house we turned off left at the signpost to follow the path along the edge of the moor and overlooking the town of Darwen.
The path ran southeast for about 1/2 mile then, just after passing the path over Black Hill (grid ref: SD 688 196) the path swung east for a short distance before entering the edge of a small wood (grid ref: SD 194 196) and heading southeast again.
As we came out of the wood we climbed over a small stile (gid ref: SD 695 195), and at this point my navigating came a tad unstuck. I had jotted down a series of grid reference points that I could check on my Garmin GPS unit as we passed through the parts of the route I was unfamiliar with. Unfortunately I misread my notes at this point and instead of heading south I took a more southwesterly route.
This lead to a ladder stile over a dilapidated wall with a barbed wire fence close up against it. I then spent several minutes fruitlessly trying to persuade Brett, Molly and Sam to climb the steps and down the other side. Eventually, as Molly doesn’t weigh much, I carried her over. In the meantime Brett had climbed up on the wall to the left of the ladder stile and jumped over the barbed wire fence, but in doing so he jumped into the field at the side and on the other side of another barbed wire fence.
Fortunately that fence wasn’t in good repair and I was able to pull the barbed wire strand upwards and the other part of the fence downward to create a gap that Brett could squeeze through to where I wanted him to be. Sam meantime had managed to get himself over the fence to the right of the ladder stile and was standing next to Molly giving me a quizzical look. Sometimes we humans are not as intelligent as we think we are. 😉
After that little bit of excitement we carried on straight ahead and eventually came to the scant remains of Sugar Leach Farm (grid ref: SD 693 192). Having passed this spot on a previous walk in this area I quickly realised I wasn’t where I should be and got out the map. On inspection I could see that we needed to be in the next field to our left (eastward) and that there was a path from the farm ruins that could take us there. You can see on the map above where we went wrong, and our correct route is marked in red.
So we headed eastward from Sugar Leach Farm and quickly came to a small stile, and from there I could see the point where we would be back on course. By the time we had walked downhill to meet another path (grid ref: SD 695 189) we were back on the Witton Weavers Way and turned right onto the new path then climbed over the nearby stile.
A short way along the path we passed by the ruins of Top o’ th’ Brow Farm (grid ref: SD 691 187).
After about 1-1/2 miles of fairly gentle ascent along the Witton Weavers way we came to a gate (grid ref: SD 674 190) and, passing through it, we left Darwen Moor behind.
A short walk downhill brought us to the ruins of Higher Pasture Barn Farm, where we climbed over the stile at the side of the gate.
After about 300 yards we came to a signpost provided by the Peak and Northern Footpaths Society (PNFS 303), where we took a path going right to continue following the Witton Weavers Way (grid ref: SD 667 189).
Another 300 yards brought us to our last stile of the day, and after climbing over we crossed the road to the left to make our way back to the car.