MONDAY 2nd DECEMBER 2019
It appeared that the Christmas Walk was a popular event, perhaps the prospect of mulled wine or maybe it was the fact that it was a bright sunny morning that had persuaded twenty walkers to join us. We started out from Greenmount and headed towards the golf club before going up Whipney Lane, past the bird cages and across the fields to Bolton Road. Once across the main road we headed up Spenleach Lane towards the Range House.
Taking the footpath around the MOD site we crossed the very wet fields to Higher House Farm and onto Hawkshaw Lane, which we crossed and climbed over the very steep stile into more muddy fields and headed towards Top of Qualton.
After dropping down into the valley we crossed the footbridge and turned right following a footpath along the side of a stream leading to Hawkshaw Wood. At the edge of the wood there is a large stone said to have been deposited during the last ice age which three of our more adventurous walkers decided to climb.
Shortly after the stone the footpath leads into a track which heads up to the small hamlet on Hawkshaw Lane that includes Boardman’s Farm, once the home of Ralph Rooney (1862 to 1949) who was known far and wide for his organised walks and his philosophy of life which is summed up in his book The Story of My Life first printed in 1947 and reprinted in 2011.
Turning right along the lane we headed for the site of Rodger Worthington’s grave, another local legend who was a Baptist preacher, his original gravestone dating back to 1709. As is tradition on the Christmas walk we stop for refreshments of mulled wine, made to an ancient receipt, fruit cake and handmade truffles.
Suitably refreshed we headed through Holcombe Hey Fold Farm to Cinder Hill and the site of the first dig carried out by Holcombe Moor Heritage Group at the medieval iron working site where in 2018 there was evidence found of a bloomer furnace dating back to the Saxon period. (877-996AD) It was also interesting to see the work done on the banking of Red Brook to stop erosion, by building a wicker fence.
From the dig site we continued to walk along the Ridge turning right at the ruins of Higher Ridge Farm and dropping down to the stepping stones, which can be a tricky crossing at this time of year.
Once safely across the stream we climbed up onto Redisher Lane and made our way through the fields back onto Bolton Road.
After crossing the road, we headed back to Greenmount, stopping at the site of the first place of worship, in Greenmount, the “Providence Independent Sunday School”, in a converted farm house at Hol House in May 1844. Back in Greenmount we enjoyed our Christmas Lunch in the Miller Carter Steakhouse a rewards for having covered 7 festive miles.