Friday 17th May 2024

Friday 17th May 2024

Come Walking Friday Evening Walk: Nuttall Park and Grant’s Tower

On a warm and sunny Friday evening, thirty-six walkers set off from Nuttall Park, an urban community park in Ramsbottom which opened in 1928. After turning right out of the car park, we followed part of the River Irwell Sculpture Trail, having to take a slight detour to follow the temporary path due to works by United Utilities. We were still able to pass safely down through the site to cross the footbridge over the river before following the fairly steep path up on the right. As we reached the top of the path, we kept left to leave the woodland to pass through the gate (and accompanying nettles) and ascend up the field heading towards the motorway. At the fence and hedge at the top of the field, we turned right to walk parallel to the motorway above the farm, climbing over the stile to descend onto the tarmac track. We followed this left to bring us out onto the A56 at Sunny Clough. We turned left to walk along the footpath and over the motorway until the road narrowed slightly opposite a stile on the other side of the road.

After crossing the A56, we climbed over the stile and followed the field boundary round to the right to the track leading to Bast House and the friendly donkeys and alpacas. The footpath here has been diverted to the right around the properties, but is well marked with new stiles and gates. Following the footpath round, we then took the left hand stile to enter the field close to the old footpath. We then had a fairly steep ascent up the field, close to the hedge on our right, exiting at the wall stile onto Bury Old Road, where we paused to admire the panoramic views.

Friendly alpacas

Heading for Bury Old Road

We turned left and headed northwards up Bury Old Road, passing Bent House Farm before taking the track on the left. We followed this as it wound round to the right, and in the field below us we saw a small herd of deer grazing peacefully in the evening sunshine. We then followed the path on the right to skirt round the side of the property before turning right and following the path up to Grant’s Tower where we again admired the views. Grant’s Tower was built by William Grant and his brothers in 1829 and we admired a copy of an old drawing of it. Before the Second World War, it was a popular place for picnics.

Grant’s Tower

View of Peel Tower from Grant’s Tower

Herd of deer

It was then neglected and fell down in 1944 but more recently has been undergoing renovation. Whilst there, we heard the story of James Wright, who lived in the tower in the 1850s. He repaired chimneys, steeples and monuments without the need for scaffolding, ascending high structures then descending at terrifying speed. His nickname, Steeple Jack, became part of the English language. It was said that he astonished crowds in Lancashire by hurtling down on ropes from factory chimneys at 100mph. We, however, made a more sedate descent! With Grant’s Tower at our backs, we took the path over the stile on our right and followed the path and track bearing right up to Pinfold before turning left onto the muddy track and then left again onto the footpath. We descended a short way before taking the ladder stile into the field and the fairly steep descent down and out through the gate at Park Farm.

Crossing over motorway

Descending Jacob’s Ladder

We crossed back over the A56 and turned left before taking the cobbled track on our right and crossing the stile into the field. We went straight across the field, over the motorway bridge and down the steep path through the woodland with the gully on our right. The steps here are known as Jacob’s ladder. At the bottom of the steps we turned right to retrace our path back to Nuttall Park car park to finish our walk of just over 4 miles.