Martholme Viaduct 10-06-2018 – Leader Gill

Martholme Viaduct 10-06-2018 – Leader Gill

I promised a walk of contrasts – beautiful properties and run down farms, glorious countryside and busy roads, well loved paths and some new ones, and I delivered, on a fabulous, though increasingly hot and humid, day.

Despite my slightly downbeat walk description, 7 of us met at the appointed hour and set off up the road before heading off into the glorious countryside that is on our doorstep. Fantastic views awaited us; we had a plethora of wildlife on the canal (where we stopped for half tenses at Altham Bridge) and elderflowers and buttercups galore as we headed to Padiham to pick up the Greenway from Memorial Park.  A local volunteer was cutting back the overgrown vegetation – reminiscent of Civic Trust work in Rawtenstall.  The Greenway follows the track of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway, Great Harwood loop. The line from Blackburn to Padiham, was surveyed in December 1865, and estimated to cost in the region of £200,000. The Great Harwood Loop was completed in 1877. The last passenger train ran in 1957, with goods traffic ending in around 1964.

From Simonstone Lane we picked up the new section of Greenway and stopped for lunch on two well placed benches with each group having views in opposite directions.  Clearly we stopped too long, as Judy declared that she’d had time to finish her lunch.  The section has involved the building of a couple of bridges where the old ones had been removed when the railway closed.  The bridges were built by engineering students at Blackburn University and load tested by 56 students and staff, weighing a total of 4.55 tonnes, standing on them – so the seven of us were safe!  After about a mile, we were back on known territory and we followed the footpath towards Whins Lane, following the road round to Read Hall.

We passed one of our favourite watering holes at Read Garden Centre, and then had a quickish walk up the road to Martholme Lane where we encountered the steps (almost steps too far in the heat) to the magnificent viaduct.  Problems were encountered during the construction of the viaduct when coal seams were discovered during foundation work. The original plan, which called for a wooden viaduct, was abandoned and the cost for building a stone viaduct and buying the coal deposits came to £18,000.

We walked back along the old railway line to Mill Lane, bemoaning the fact that the viaduct remains a ‘no through route’, and we were back in farm land again.  By this time we were suffering in the heat so I had to own up to there being no cafe at the end…..but there was a pub!

Except that it was closed!!!!

11 and a half miles and another dry walk (in more ways than one!).


Write up Gill, fabulous pics Judy


Slideshow below, but 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 may need to click within the black page that opens up to see the show – but at least it is full screen!



  1. Gillian Hughes

    Actually, I forgot to mention a real issue… lunchtime Roy realised he’d forgotten his beetroot!

  2. Arnold Sampson

    Fabulous pics indeed, and a write up to match. I’m sure that Roy enjoyed this agricultural amble!

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