Rawtenstall to Healey Dell 29-06-2018 – Leader Derek

Rawtenstall to Healey Dell 29-06-2018 – Leader Derek

It was yet another glorious summer’s day, with a gentle breeze, and 7 arrived for Derek’s linear walk.  Starting from Whitaker Park, we headed to Hall Carr Road and climbed steadily past Whinberry Naze. Soon we could look back across the valley to spot various houses, buildings and the dry ski slope. We continued upwards to the Valley of Stones, reaching Cloughfold, the site of a former saw mill used for cutting stone, with ruins of the polishing mill, the crane base platform and the chimney base all identified. Several of us commented on the huge change in weather from when we were last at this site in February in a freezing snow blizzard! The crystal views this time were also in stark contrast.

We then went across moorland to pick up the Rossendale Way and skirted Cowpe Lowe, stopping for elevenses shortly after. We continued in a south easterly direction towards Cowpe Moss and were soon looking down on Cowpe Reservoir. David was also exploring other passions! There was evidence all around of vast quarries, including wheel stones worn with the ruts of wagons, and the route of previous moorland tramways with embankments and cuttings. The well preserved information board in the photo states “The 3 foot gauge tramway was the longest and most interesting with branches to 5 quarries. It was created in 1867 by Butterworth and Brooks and extended over the high moorland in 1888.  The track was lifted in 1920”. We admired the stone way marker behind this board.

We continued along the Rossendale Way towards Rooley Moor, also used by other routes, as the photo of the post demonstrates.  The commemorative stone for the opening of the Rossendale Way in 1985 is in a surprising place and easily missed, but not much escapes Derek!  We enjoyed the extensive views, and progressed on to Rooley Moor Road, dating back to medieval times, and also known as the cotton famine route, where the path suddenly changed to cobbles.  Soon could see Knowl Hill before coming to the sign in the feature photo, which our leader duly complied with! Shortly after we were overlooking the Greenbooth and Naden Reservoirs, before turning north easterly and heading down towards the disused Bagden Quarry, stopping for a relaxed lunch on the way. We could see Saddleworth Moor and the still burning fires from a different perspective to Wednesday’s Broadbottom walk, as well as Manchester in the smoke haze. We continued downwards close to Spring Mill Reservoir, before descending into an area previously full of woollen and cotton mills, but now Healey Dell Nature Reserve and home to wildlife, lodges, remains of mills and the Fairies Chapel. We joined the path that was previously the Healey Dell branch line, which carried passengers from 1870 until 1949.  This has a wonderful viaduct over the River Spodden built from locally quarried stone, but it’s not easy to spot in the photos through all the trees. The line also serviced the Stone Rubbing Mill at Broadley and Mycock Spring Mill dye works, and later transported coal until its closure in 1967.

We enjoyed refreshments in the lovely garden area of Healey Dell Tearooms, before going under the viaduct we previously went over, then climbing up to the bus stop. Here Derek found out what he cannot control, as one bus didn’t turn up, another was full (although the driver let us on when Derek used his “charm”), but then subsequently broke down!  Luckily we weren’t much delayed and no-one minded in the warm sunshine, after such a spectacular walk with so much history.

Distance – 11.46 miles   Total ascent – 1410 feet / 430 metres

Write up and 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. Judy always does it for me, for which I am truly grateful – great write-up and photos. What Judy did inot mention, was that she led us up towards Cowpe Lowe, which for me is like the Bermuda Triangle – I always pick the worst path. She observed a nice steady pace with lots of stops for the elderly – me!

  2. Arnold

    Wonderful, Judy. No wonder Derek wants you to do it for him. Sorry that I couldn’t get another passout to join you.
    PS What are these other passions that David has?

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