FRIDAY 5th AUGUST WALK 12
Meet at Toby Carvery car park. BL8 4DS at 6.10pm.
PARK CARS ON OLD SCHOOL CAR PARK – entrance between Medical Centre and Old School.
Cross at the zebra crossing, then take path left side of church onto estate. Turn right for a short distance before turningth left onto Larkfield Close after Hunt Fold Farm, now a private house, go down Howe Close, then straight across Golf Course, bearing right after bridge over stream to pass in front of Greenhalgh Fold, an 18th century Grade 2 listed building, recently renovated. Follow access road through car park and round bend onto Whipney lane, passing Whitney House on the left (previously called Brick Barn Farm)
Once home to James Holt founder of St Anne’s Church Tottington in 1799.All his family including 11 children and 2 pauper apprentices were all engaged in the handloom weaving trade at the farm.
Turn right at the ‘T’ junction past Holly Mount School, then first left with the church building on the left, now converted into apartments and the Old Barn, Chestnut and Orchard cottages on the right.
Holly Mount was built in the 1860’s as a ‘College for Young Gentlemen’ but changed hands in 1888 to become a Convent and Poor Law School, pioneered by the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary, from Belgium. The school extended its services as an Auxiliary Hospital to wounded and sick Allied soldiers in the first WW. Mother Mary Duggan was awarded with the ‘Queen Elizabeth Medal’, and an OBE for her work during this time. The Spanish Civil war left its own mark with Basque children being temporarily placed here, and World War II brought refugees from Manchester and the Channel Islands as well as displaced German and Austrian Jews. Only the Catholic Primary day school and the refurbished older buildings remain as links with its very interesting past.
Go over stile just after cottages and follow the hedge, previously the convents very own orchard now brought back to life by the local Incredible Edible group, continue down and across the wooden footbridge.
In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, this valley sustained a community in itself, with a number of mills, works, farms and several groups of cottages. The remains of many of these can still be seen within the valley, and the network of public paths in the area is evidence of the previous activity., once busy links for horses, carts, and workers,
Carry on through the woods just ahead, note the overgrown ruins of Ferns Mill and cottages within the woods on either side of the path.
Built for cotton spinning, the mill was originally powered by a small waterwheel, the business was unable to stave off the fierce competition of the ‘Oldham Limited’s’, and the mill was disused by 1900 the cottages were last used by evacuees in wartime.
Once over the stile on the far side of the wood, bear right around the bend and then take the first stile, almost immediately on the left, over the fence.
Head diagonally to the right, across the open meadow to the stile just by the five barred gate in the top corner of the field.
Turn right down the lane, through Bottoms Hall Wood.
Bottoms Hall Wood has been classed (SBI). This complex of habitats includes areas of mature woodland, scrub, marsh and acid grassland/heath matrix. The wooded areas have the character of long established woodland. The habitat is also home to many woodland birds, including the Jay, blue and great tit, several species of warbler, great spotted woodpecker and tawny owl.
Eventually arriving at the two Bottom’s Hall Cottages, on the right. Care must be taken here to choose the first footpath on the left opposite the cottages.
These were built originally to house some of the workers of the former Bottom Hall mill.
This path, narrow and indistinct with a small brook on the right goes steeply uphill into the woods where it crosses over a small wooden bridge and continue up the steep path as it follows the steam uphill through the woods and over a stile alongside a field where animals from ‘Pets in Need’ graze, before emerging on the B6213, Turton Road.
Cross the road and go up the lane opposite towards the four cottages on the hillside above.
Turn left onto the path just before the first cottage ‘Baileys View’ along the dry stone wall and across the front of next pair of cottages on the right.
Then turn right immediately up the asphalt track to Windmill Farm, looking back from here there are spectacular views of the Reddisher Valley, Holcombe Hill and Peel Tower.
Pass the front of the farm house and take the path starting in the top left hand corner of the yard.
Not very far down the path, there’s a large solitary stone gate post beside the path with a way-marker on the wooden post beside it.
Follow the arrow on the way-marker up the slope of the field at the top make for a similar size stone gate post on the far side of the field. Cross the stile beside it.
Where the official footpath follows the rather sparse hedge on the right to Yeoman’s Farm yard in the distance. A combination of cattle and heavy rain often makes this route a quagmire and impossible to follow. The alternative agreed with the farmer is once over the stile to avoid being lost in a sea of mud.
Turn right and follow the field boundary into the corner of the field and then left along the far boundary as far as the corner of the hawthorn hedge.
Then head across the field to the stile clearly visible now at the left hand end of a long Leyllandii hedge around Mum’s Harris Farmyard.
Cross the stile and walk through the farm yard onto Watling Street.
During the Roman occupation of Britain, around AD78, Gnaeus Julius Agricola, the Roman Governor of Britain, founded a fort at Manchester and from it built a series of radial roads. One of these to Ribchester ran north through Affetside, part of the line of the Roman Road is still visible along Watling Street as it approaches Affetside. The impact of the Romans in the Bury area appears to have been fairly short-lived, with only this Roman Road surviving as a significant landscape feature. Like most of the Roman road network, the Roman paving fell into disrepair when the Romans left Britain, although the routes continued to be used for centuries afterwards. A Roman mile was 1,000 paces and a milestone was set up to mark each mile. They built their roads at the rate of 1 kilometre every day
Turn right up towards the Pack Horse Pub and the centre of Affetside village passing the old school (marked Ebenezer1840), bus stop, bench and public telephone box on the way.
The Pack Horse, AD1442, is the last remaining public house on Watling Street. Inside there is an old dusty skull, reputed to be that of the executioner (George Whewell) of Lord Strange, the 7th Earl of Derby, who sacked Bolton in1644 and was beheaded in the Market Place, Bolton. Tradition has it that if the skull was ever removed from the pub strange things would happen. Between the wars (or so they say) a drunken man called Seth Slope from Holcombe took it home as joke. Later that night the landlord heard a loud knocking at the and there at the was front door was Seth panic stricken, pleading with the landlord to take it in as he had been awoken by a terrible apparition of a skull with eyes like burning coals who cried “tak mi bak ta wheer I should be, or I’ll tormen thy sowle aout o’thee”
Affetside is a pretty small linear attractive village at 900ft above sea level, on top of the West Pennine Moors.
Situated at the crossroads of two ancient packhorse routes. Watling Street running North to South, and Slack and Black Lanes running East to West.
It has superb panoramic views across the surrounding moorland.
In the centre of the village near the Millennium village green is a Scheduled Ancient Monument known as the Affetside Cross.
Its origins are unknown and theories vary from it being of Roman origin to being a way-marker on the Pilgrims route to Whalley Abbey via Pilgrims Cross on Holcombe Moor. Alternatively the cross could simply identify a late 17th century market place or even possibly because as some claim it marks a spot precisely half way between London and Edinburgh.
Take the footpath down the left side of the Pack Horse Inn to Turton road. Cross road and take footpath on the right side of the cottages. This goes between two lodges which once supplied water to Two Brooks Mill.
This 18th century mill was taken over as a Bleachworks by the Whowell family in 1850. The mill chimney can be seen on the hill side to the left, down in the valley are the extensive remains of the mills. Like other large mills it had its own recreation facilities, including two tennis courts, a bowling green and recreation ground. These remain except the bowling green.
Take footpath to the right of the 3 properties, once Two Brooks Farm, then go down the field over brook then turn right to go over ladder stile. Follow path running parallel to the brook as far as T junction. Turn left and go steeply uphill to Croitchley Fold a Grade 2 listed building. Turn right between old cottages and house to stile next to gate. From here go straight across field, footpath unclear, head straight for Greenmount Church steeple to stile near Golf Course. Path goes under tree then through gate to car park, walk straight on through car park and across Golf Course back to the start.