Marple Bridge 09-05-2018 – Leader Roy

Marple Bridge 09-05-2018 – Leader Roy

Today Roy promised us bluebells, wild garlic, new leaf beech trees, Etherow Visitor Centre, Werneth Low, Great Wood Nature Reserve, and Sandylane.  He delivered all of this in spades, except for the nature reserve, which he omitted in order to save about half an hour after yours truly – and several others – wasted 15 minutes at Etherow by waiting for bacon butties to be prepared!!  (Actually, the time wasn’t wasted, as the bacon butties were excellent, even though we had to eat them on the hoof, as you will see.)  In the event, the walk still came in at 10.5 miles, so nothing was really lost.

This was a different area for most of us today, and seemed a long way away from Rawtenstall, which probably contributed to the lower turnout of 12, but this number included a couple of our country cousins, who drove further than anyone else.  Those who did turn up were treated to a most splendid day in this lovely part of the world, and to an excellent craic as well.  The weather was very nice all day, as were the views, but for me the best part of the walk was the lovely open woodland, with a variety of greens, dappled sunshine, wild flowers galore, and endless birdsong.

Whilst waiting for our bacon butties at Etherow Country Park, we noticed that the cafeteria has a heart, giving employment to a number of special needs people, and soon after leaving the park we met a young lady and her carer.  The young lady had autism, but wanted to talk to us, telling us that she wanted to start a walking group for people with special needs.  We thought this was a splendid idea, and I recommended that her carer contact Ramblers HQ to discuss the matter further.

After Etherow, we climbed northward through woods and fields to a late banana break, before continuing in a more undulating fashion past Werneth Low Golf Club and on to the cenotaph at Werneth Low Country Park, with lovely 360° views.  We pondered why Werneth Low, rather than Werneth High, but could not come up with an answer.  Research since on Wikipedia discovered that ‘low’ is simply a northern English word for a hill – how daft is that??  Anyway, after admiring the views we descended in a broadly easterly direction on the Tameside Trail to our lunch spot in Back Wood, having passed a herd of very attractive Jersey cattle en-route.

Botham’s Halll Farm was next, which was being redeveloped in expensive fashion, then we soon crossed the River Etherow, to find a lady farmer training a couple of sheepdogs.  We were now on the Cowm Edge Way, which took us south to Sandylane.  Roy had warned us about another climb to come, and it started here, ascending around 300 feet to over 900 feet to reach the highest point of the day, with panoramic views all round.  Then it was all downhill across the fields and into Marple Bridge, where we took refreshments before returning to the cars.  Thanks to Ursula and Jean for their excellent camera work today, to Yvonne for back marking, and to Roy for leading his driest walk ever.  We all had no hesitation in scoring the day at 10/10, including the lovely Dutsons café in Marple Bridge at the end.

PS While we were watching the Mandarin ducks, Yvonne informed me that when a male is interested in mating with a female, he raises the crest on the back of his head!!  I didn’t know whether or not to believe her, and forgot to check with Ursula, our resident birder on the day.  So I have looked it up since, and found that she is quite correct – see here.  But how did she know this arcane fact??

Write up Arnold, pics Ursula & Jean.  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.

1 Comment

  1. Graeme Adlum

    What a great walk from Roy in a new area. I may now forgive him for all the muddy fields I’ve tramped through on previous walks from the King of Mud.

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