Irwell Vale 11-01-2017 – Leader Dougie

Irwell Vale 11-01-2017 – Leader Dougie

Dougie’s plan to start from Edenfield was scuppered by Lancs CC, so we started from Irwell Vale instead, with Dougie having had to re-jig his walk yesterday afternoon/evening.  An amazing 28 ramblers turned out, including Paul’s brother-in-law John, this despite a forecast of 50 knot winds.  Very wisely, Dougie stayed fairly low, though we did get up over 800 feet at one point.

Through the very pretty village of Irwell Vale we went, then south down the River Irwell, so much of a problem to this village in recent years.  We soon cut up to the impressive railway viaduct and onto Sustrans cycle route 6.  Here we saw indications (in a poster) of a plethora of birds, helped – as we saw later – by dedicated feeding, costing around £300 pa.  Heading down into Chatterton, Dougie told us about the infamous Luddite riots on 23 April 1826.  Then it was through the Voith paper fabrics mill, where we saw the sad memorials to staff members who died in conflicts.  Soon after this, we had our coffee break in a lane below a carp fishing lake, with dire warnings to poachers.

After the break we continued to contour very pleasantly south through Stubbins to Ox Hey Wood and Top Wood, then past the Old Mill Hotel and up to Holcombe Village, feeling some of the wind’s force as we hit the road through the village.  Lunch was taken in the sun in the centre of the village, but – discretion being the better part of valour – we did not continue up to Holcombe Hill and Peel Tower.  Instead, we crossed over the road, through the churchyard, and down via an extremely slippery slope into Ramsbottom.  Hitting the Irwell again, we were at Nuttall Park, once the home of the Grant brothers, and then we followed the Irwell Sculpture Trail north, walking along a splendid flag fence/wall, which Roger told me is called a vaccary wall, a vaccary being a stock farm for cattle.  Interestingly, the word vaccary is derived from the Latin for cow – vacca.  The word vaccination has the same origin, being coined in 1800 by Edward Jenner for his method of preventing smallpox by injecting people with the cowpox virus.

When we were almost back at Chatterton, Dougie took us east across the M66 towards Edenfield, ‘losing’ Linda along the way, and then along the back of Roy’s house, where we said ‘hello’ to his two Patterdale terriers.  Then it was into the pleasant wooded valley of Dearden Clough and ‘the Plunge’, with nice views up to Scout Moor.  This brought us back into Edenfield proper, where we had a real taste of the wind as we headed down through the park to cross the A56 and down to the ELR line again.  This took us back to our starting point to end a splendid walk, thanks to Dougie’s local knowledge and ingenuity.  Some of the party took refreshments at Park Farm, while others headed home.

(Pics & write up Arnold Sampson.  Appended here are the route stats and profile.)

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


  1. Well done to Dougie for producing such an interesting route at such short notice.

    Well done to our webmaster not just for the write up and photos but also for getting us all redirected to the “new” starting point. Thanks Arnold. PS Missing a group photo though.

    • Hi Graeme, something odd has happened here. All of the pics are in the static view, but the slideshow stubbornly refuses to start at the beginning – and I have fiddled with it quite a bit this morning. Computers, eh! Who’d ‘ave ’em?

  2. An enjoyable varied walk in surprisingly pleasant conditions by avoiding the heights. Well done, Dougie.

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