Hurstwood 08-02-2017 – Leader John

Hurstwood 08-02-2017 – Leader John

20 ramblers travelled to Hurstwood, looking optimistically at some blue sky and sunny spells, only to be greeted on arrival by cloud and mist.  We quickly ascended in a south westerly direction to join the Burnley Way, passing the Elizabethan Spencer Cottage, where the poet Edmund Spencer lived in 1576-8 and wrote the famous “Faerie Queen”.   We continued a steady climb towards Worsthorne Moor, which gathers water to feed Hurstwood and Cant Clough reservoirs, providing Burnley with its water supply – no wonder it was so wet underfoot in places!  We saw evidence of previous opencast limestone mining.  We then joined the Pennine Bridleway and passed through Sheddon Clough on the old droveway once used by horses carrying lime from the kilns.   The deep gorges and streams diverted into ponds were created during the process of “hushing”.   We passed the site of Maiden Cross, said to have been erected by the monks of Whalley to guide travellers.  The cross is no longer standing. although the stone stoop being used as a gatepost in the car park there is reportedly part of the original cross.  Coffee was taken in the lee of an uninspiring fenced building with views obstructed by mist, but we were grateful for the shelter from the cold wind.

We continued on The Long Causeway, then passed Coal Clough Wind Farm, barely visible through the mist.  John explained this used to have 24 turbines, was turned on in 1992, producing 9.6 megawatts.  These turbines were replaced in 2015 with 8 turbines, at a cost of £24.5 million, producing 16 megawatts, and providing power to 8,500 homes.  Unsurprisingly, this reignited passions both for and against wind farms.

We then walked along Black Scout, with staggering but hazy views along the valley, before dropping down to cross the Burnley Road and dip under the railway line, then climbing up the opposite side on the Burnley Way towards Deerplay Moor.  Lunch was taken before descending towards Holme Chapel.  After passing through Green Clough Wood, we went past Holme Hall, which dates back to the 15th century and was grade 2 listed in 1953.  In 1985 it became a retirement home until early 2003, and a subsequent arson attack destroyed most of the south east structure.  Since then it has changed hands several times to the top price of £600,000 in 2007, but in April 2013 it was sold on the behalf of receivers for £151,000.  It has now been converted into 10 apartments, but has reportedly bankrupted 5 developers throughout this process.

John then took us on a slight diversion to the Church of St John the Devine in Holme Chapel to see the grave of Colonel Scarlett and his wife.  John gave lots of information linked to Colonel Scarlett’s role as Brigadier-General of the Heavy Brigade of Cavalry and the Battle of Balaclava.  We returned to Hurstwood through Southward Bottom and Mereclough, passing some inquisitive alpacas, with Andy telling an awful joke!

John made valiant attempts to surpass Roy’s muddiest walk, but no contest, although there was some very wet and spongy pasture, boggy moorland and some tricky stone stiles that we associate with his walks.  However it was delightfully varied and it didn’t rain.  Drinks and cakes were taken in the delicious No 11 tearooms in Worsthorne, with John having negotiated for them to stay open later especially to accommodate us.

(Pics and write up Judy.  Stats – distance 10.80 miles, total ascent 1782 feet/543 metres.)

Slideshow below, but if you wish to see a static view of the pics all in one go, then click here.

1 Comment

  1. One instinctively knows how the pigs feel! Excellent pics in the conditions, Judy, and a very informative write up between you and John. Also many thanks to John for moving his walk to this earlier date to accommodate my injury, as I’m sure it would be less muddy on March 22. Hope to see you all soon.

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