Hurstwood 21-03-2018 – Leader John D

Hurstwood 21-03-2018 – Leader John D

As 19 of us assembled in good weather at Hurstwood Reservoir today, John told us that he had to change the walk, as a recce on Tuesday showed that there was still too much snow on his intended route.  Thus he spent all Tuesday evening working out a new route, and a splendid one it was, too – comparatively little mud, nice rolling views, lots of historical interest, and very well captured by Steve, as you will discover.  We first headed across the reservoir dam and briefly on to the Burnley Way, before climbing gently north to Brown Edge, the highest point of the walk today at a little over 900 feet.  We crossed Gorple Road to hit a delightful and easy snowy lane, before passing the abandoned road roller on Slipper Hill, which Roy refused to drive today!  We did come to a somewhat muddy stretch soon after, but no problems were encountered.  We then dropped down to one of the Swinden reservoirs, on the Brontë Way, where we had our first break.

Just round the corner from the break, we came upon the splendid ruined pile of Extwistle Hall, where John told us a very sad tale of disaster in 1718, when a gunpowder flask left in the pocket of Captain Parker’s greatcoat exploded while drying in front of the fire.  Captain Parker died of his injuries a month later – see more here.  The ruin was recently on sale for £500,000 plus!!  Heading west, we climbed gently to the Burnley Way, then left it to drop down to Netherwood Bridge on the River Brun (hence Burnley – Brun Lea – now the name of a Wetherspoon’s pub).  It was then a very pleasant stroll through woodland to and through Heasandford, and down to the Brun again, where we chatted to a Walking for Health group.  (Along this stretch there were several exercise stations, where the children had a very nice time.)  We soon swapped to the Leeds & Liverpool Canal, dropping down from there for lunch in Thompson Park, on brand new benches.  A high-vis jacketed gentleman (who took our photo, for a change) told us that these are part of a Heritage Lottery funded restoration of the boathouse and pavilion.

Refuelled, it was back on the canal again, heading south on a straight stretch, reading some lovely mosaics about the history of the area, and coming to a point where we overlooked the hallowed ground that is Turf Moor.  It was here that I thought John was being discourteous to one of our number, suggesting that he is worn out, past his use by date, and creaking at the joints!  To my relief, he was taking about a derrick built during the war to block the canal to prevent it from flooding Burnley if it were bombed, as the canal flows over an aqueduct at this point.  Further along the canal we saw some graffiti showing opposition to fracking plans, before coming off to Rose Hill and thence through Towneley Park golf course, along the oddly-named Rabbit Walk, actually shown as such on the OS map!  Through the park – via the loos – then a climb across the fields to Cliviger Laithe and a very nice house – but the clock on the garage showed the wrong time!  Soon we were back at the cars, after which a short drive to Worsthorne took us to the delightful Number 11 tea rooms, where we were quickly and efficiently served with delicious scones, ending a splendid day, thanks to John and his local knowledge.

Write up Arnold, pics Steve.  Appended here are the route stats and profile.

If you wish to see a static view of the pics all in one go, then click here.

There is a link to the slideshow here.  You will need to click within the black page that opens up to see the show – but at least it is full screen!


  1. Graeme Adlum

    Many thanks to John for an excellent walk.

    Great write up and photo’s by Arnold & Steve.

  2. Great walk, and as usual expertly led. Not sure Arnold was correct in assuming that your comments were directed at the derrick, but rest assured I will get my own back! At one point I thought I might end up benefiting from the research undertaken by Sir James Mackenzie ~ the bloke on the memorial in the park.

    • arnolds

      For info, it was during Mackenzie’s 28 years as a Burnley general practitioner that he carried out his initial research into the problems of failing circulation, heart failure, clinical semiology (the study of symptoms), and the nature of pain.

      Considering the above, maybe I did get it wrong!

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