THE WEST PENINE WAY & LINKS TO THE WEST PENNINE WAY
FRIDAY 3rd JUNE WALK 6
Meet 6.10pm at Toby Carvery car park Greenmount or 6.45pm at Rivington Hall Barn car park Rivington Grid ref 632145 post code BL6 7SB
A Circular walk from Rivington Hall Barn to explore Rivington Terraced Gardens and Rivington Pike.
This is a lovely evening walk with spectacular views from the Pike and an interesting tour round the ruins of the terraced gardens with the possibility of hearing a cuckoo especially at this time of year.
The walk starts by going round the back of Rivington Hall Barn on the wide clear track.
Rivington Hall Barn is very interesting and is said to have been built about 1550. It is what is called a cruck building as massive split oak trees stand on stone pillars to support the roof. It was restored and enlarged by Lord Leverhulme.
Continue on track passing the back of Rivington Hall, then bear left through gate and continue through woods. Go straight across tracks and through kissing gate to go up stony path through field then another kissing gate to the entrance to the Terraced Gardens, passing the ruins of South Lodge on the left, then bearing right to take the lower path heading south and then past the Dell Cascade before winding upwards on the paths to the Japanese lake and on to the remains of the Kitchen Gardens and the Bothys before exiting near the disused toilet block. Turn left for a short distance before turning right on the main path and then the steps up to Rivington Pike.
This is the site of an ancient beacon which was lit on July 1st 1588 to warn of The Spanish Armada. The Tower was built on the beacon site in 1733, some of the stones to build the tower are from the beacon. The tower was used originally as a shooting lodge. It is a grade 2 listed building.
It is a marvellous viewing point, on a clear day the hills of Wales and the fells of the Lake District can be seen as well as the Flyde coast line. In the far distance in line with Blackpool tower is Snaefell on the Isle of Man.
Take the path down the other side and turn right. At the T junction turn right follow this wide track back, whilst walking along here in late Spring you may hear a cuckoo. Just before the disused toilet block turn left to enter the grounds of Rivington Gardens by the two stone gate posts. Carry on for 500 metres. At the open space bear right across open ground where old tiles can be seen.
These are the only remains of ‘The Bungalow’ which was Lord Leverhulme’s garden residence. Lord Leverhulme was born in Bolton, made his fortune with Sunlight Soap which eventually became the world wide Unilever. He bought Rivington estate in 1900 and at once started building the ornamental Terrace Gardens and bungalow residence. It is part of Lever Park one of the largest and most impressive examples of landscape design in Edwardian England.
From the ruins we can marvel at what sort of place it was with magnificent stone archways, flights of stone steps climbing up the hillside, numerous summer houses, ponds, waterfalls and grottoes, exotic oriental gardens which once had pagoda- like buildings and willow pattern footbridge. The original bungalow was wood and burnt down by suffragettes in 1913. It was replaced by a stone bungalow, but this was demolished after the 2nd World War.
Go down the concentric stone steps to what was once The Orchestra Lawn. The base of the sundial still stands in the far corner.
Turn sharp right to take footpath parallel to the stony track which was crossed before entering the grounds. Follow this to The Pigeon Tower.
The Pigeon Tower was originally a dovecote with 4 rooms and a spiral staircase with lady Leverhulme’s sewing room on the top floor.
Do not go up to the Tower but turn left down the stone steps then left again to follow the path at the side of the Italian pond where Lord Leverhulme and his guests took a morning swim. Turn right down main steps and then over the seven arched bridge.
Continue going down by taking every footpath going right and finally back through the kissing gate, field and kissing gate into the woods. Here go straight on following the track, which bends to the right and goes behind Rivington Hall and barn back to Rivington Hall Barn car park.