Monday 13th November 2023
The third circular walk on the West Pennine Way: Belmont to Rivington.
Due to the arrival of Strom Debi, it was decided to shorten the walk, and two cars were parked at the Pigeon Tower car park in Rivington to make our return journey back to Belmont. Nine hardy walkers left the car park at San Marino’s restaurant and after crossing Belmont Road, we joined the West Pennine Way (WPW) and started the steep climb to the summit of Winter Hill. By the time we reached the we started to feel the full force of the wind.
From the trig point we headed down to the base of the TV mast where we stopped to look at the two memorial plaques; one to the thirty-six fatalities of the plane crash in 1958, on the same night as the Munich air disaster, and the other in memory of George Henderson, from Annan Dumfriesshire, murdered on Winter hill in 1838. Once passed the mast we turned left and followed the WPW markers over Smithills Moor until we reached the stile at the top of Roscow’s Tenement Clough. This was blocked off due to the lack of maintenance on the footpath.
Taking the alternative route, we climbed back onto the moors, taking the path that passes Dean Mill Reservoir. At the far end of the reservoir, we joined the footpath on our right and descended to Coal Pit Lane where we turned right and headed to the Mass Trespass Memorial stone. The stone that commemorates the day ten thousand people protested at not having access to the moor, sadly permission was not granted until 1996.
After stopping for morning coffee, at the memorial stone, we continued along the lane, passing Holden’s Farm and the ruins of the brick works, before rejoining the access road to the TV mast. Once on the road we turned right and looked for the WPW way marker, to direct us over Wilder’s Moor, unfortunately the marker post was in a ditch, so we had to trust our memory to guide us over the moor. On the top of the moor, we experienced the full force of Storm Debi and it was difficult to stay upright, but before making our decent we admired the two large stone cairns, called Two Lads, which local folklore says is the burial ground of two young walking buddies.
Once we had safely arrived at Pike Cottage we turned right on George’s Lane and headed towards Rivington. The WPW route now goes up to Rivington Pike but as the wind was still blowing very strongly, we decided to give it a miss and headed for the shelter of the gardens and somewhere to our lunch.
After lunch we walked through the gardens, where we admired the cascades which were looking at their best due to the recent heavy rain and continued down to the Seven Arch Bridge. From the bridge it was just a short walk back to the Pigeon Tower car park having covered nine very windy miles.