Witton Weavers Way 04-10-2017 – Leader Arnold

Witton Weavers Way 04-10-2017 – Leader Arnold

On a day with a pretty windy forecast, and with heavy rain due from the early afternoon, I thought my luck had deserted me yet again, and that the 20 others who turned out today were doing so in sympathy, rather than in the expectation of an enjoyable walk.  In the event, the rain wasn’t an issue, and the wind was only a problem at Jubilee Tower, but that didn’t stop Jenny from calling it the wet & windy Witton Weavers Way walk!  Looking at the start picture, one can see that it was rather damp and chilly as we set off, but we were immediately into picturesque Tockholes No 2 Plantation, descending to Roddlesworth Reservoirs on the Witton Weavers Way.  I was aiming to have our first break at Hollinshead Hall, so set a cracking pace until we came to the hut of the Horwich & District Fly Fishing Club.  Here I related a tale told to me and Rosemary on the recce by one of the senior members of the club, about poaching, countryside theft, and sheep rustling, the latter being a major problem.

Walking south along the edge of Roddlesworth River, we could see why its local name is Rocky Brook, so were pleased that we crossed it on a footbridge.  We soon left the river, went past Slipper Lowe, and arrived at Hollinshead Hall for our break, with a little rain falling.  You can read more here about the Hall and the supposedly haunted, holy, healing well house.  After a few brave souls had had a look at the well house, we headed east through the woods, soon reaching and crossing Tockholes Road.  Now we were in open country, with good views, and began to climb past a mound of pelletised paper towards Darwen Moor, beginning to feel the strength of the wind without the shelter of the woodland.  After a couple of hundred feet of climb, I began my ‘Grand Old Duke of York’ impression, taking us down by more than that amount to Stepback Brook, and then below Sunnyhurst Hey Reservoir, leading some to believe that we were not doing the Tower at all.

No such luck!  Because there was no rain at this point, I decided to continue with Plan A, so headed east to the bottom of the hill, to begin an almost 1 mile, 300 foot climb, with the wind in our faces, back up the hill.  We then headed sharply left to reach Jubilee Tower for lunch.  We thought the wind had been pretty strong so far, but while climbing the steps to the tower, a number of us were almost blown over by very fierce gusts, which continued throughout quite a chilly lunch break.  Well done to Rob for braving the wind to take his lunchtime photos.  He also took some splendid photos from the top of the tower.  The top of the tower was blown off in 2010, but was replaced in 2011 with a stainless steel structure built and installed by apprentices of local engineering company WEC.

Now on the last lap, we descended to Sunnyhurst and the lych gate that leads into Sunnyhurst Wood.  A lych gate is a normally a roofed gateway to a churchyard, formerly used at burials for sheltering a coffin until the clergyman’s arrival.  With no coffins to worry about, we sallied through and down into the wood, passing some nice sculptures, and then headed west along the edge of Earnsdale Reservoir, where a major landslide occurred in summer 2016.  Soon after, we crossed a farmer’s field, prompting a couple of walkers to query my ‘no mud’ advertisement, so I had to point out that I said “There will be no soggy moorland, no heather, and (almost) no sinking, as the surfaces are mostly very good”.  Amazingly, we were back at the car park at 2.30, showing what a difference a complete absence of stiles makes to the duration of a walk with 21 people.  Refreshments were efficiently and pleasantly served in Vaughn’s Country Café, to end what was a much better day than I expected.  Thanks to all for coming, to Rob for some excellent pics in the conditions, and to Rosemary for the recce and for back marking today – and for showing me a foil blanket!

(Write up Arnold, pics Rob.  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. Graeme Adlum

    Great walk Arnold at a cracking pace. A big well done to Rob on the photos in such difficult conditions.

  2. Great walk Arnold. No such thing as bad weather-just some are more difficult than others!!

  3. Rosemary

    Arnold I am not quite reduced to such a state of penury that I need to resort to begging! Well done Rob your photos were very good.

  4. An excellent walk Arnold, as you say a cracking pace was set. I ignore the comments about whether I’ve seen the forecast for the day – it would probably been much wetter if I’d stayed at home. Very good photos Rob, despite difficult conditions. Thank you for a good day.

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