FRIDAY 2nd AUGUST 2019
12th Walk in the Come Walking Series of Walks: Greenmount, Kirklees and Two Brooks Valley
This was a very interesting walk through the Kirklees and Two Brooks valleys. Over 200 years ago water from the brook powered the many mills in these valleys, now the mills have gone and left a beautiful Local Nature Reserve
Starting from Greenmount Old School we crossed Brandlesholme road to follow what had been the railway line and now the Kirklees Valley Nature Trail.
The Bury and Tottington Railway’s single track line opened for passenger and freight, pulled by steam engines, on November 6, 1882, although only 3.5 miles long it took four years to build because of the many engineering works required, like the 9-arch viaduct over Island Lodge along with the many bridges needed.
In 1913 the line was the first in the world to be converted from steam to high voltage electricity. The experiment was a great success but the overhead system had only a short life and was converted to a 3rd rail system in 1918, the service remained electrified until 1951.
We continued following the track before turning left down the first lane off, then right at Tower Court.
Tower Court was previously a farm and stable block. Joshua Knowles, owner of Tottington Printworks built the Tower in 1840, over the archway entrance to the courtyard is the inscription J.K.1840. The construction is modelled on Nuttall Hall Farm, Ramsbottom an earlier building with 14th century origins.
We continued down the track then just beyond the metal barrier turned left to go through the ruins of Tottington Mill.
A corn mill stood on the brook here in 1295 and was replaced in 1792. By 1796 until 1820 there was a cotton mill owned by John Gorton.
The mill was then acquired by Joshua Knowles in 1821. He developed and extended the site into an industrial complex and became by far the largest employer of labour in the area. In 1823 about 300 people were employed and by 1841 this had risen to 393, with over a third being boys and girls and boys aged 7 to 13. The mill closed in 1928 apart from an engraving shop that remained open until 1940 when it was demolished. The site is now overgrown but many remains survive, including walls, vats, settling tanks, engine beds, a flywheel pit and chimney bases.
Continued over the metal bridge, keeping left of single stone post, passing several long abandoned mill lodges to the ‘T’ junction with Kirklees Street, an ancient cobbled/ dirt lane. Here we turned right at Tottington’s Wishing Stone. The tradition is to put your hand in the hole of this massive stone and make a wish. Some of the walkers took the opportunity to carry on this tradition!
On reaching a tarmac road we turned right down Beryl Avenue to once again join the Kirklees Trail, turning right to go over the 9 arched viaduct across Island Lodge, then left down narrow path, before turning right walking between high metal railings, passing the side of Scholes Mill from where wewent over the stile on the right to cross field to Stormer Hill Fold. Handloom Weavers cottages could be seen across the field. At the main road we turned right as far as Quakersfield before crossing the road to go straight through Old Kays onto Turton road. A few yards right then through gateway down to Bottoms Hall to follow the Two Brooks Valley passing more mill ruins, before leaving the valley to take the footpath right up the field passing Sunny Bottoms onto Bolton Road Hawkshaw.
Crossing the road and turn right then left on narrow footpath between building site and 2 stone cottages. We then went through the fields to Spenleach Lane. From where we follow the West Pennine Way back to the Golf Club House before turn left through the Golf Course back to Greenmount.