FRIDAY 8th JULY WALK 9
Meet 6.10pm at Toby Carvery Car Park Greenmount or 6.40pm Borough Rd. Darwen near park entrance.
This is a very pleasant walk through Bold Venture Park and over Darwen moors to Darwen Tower. Moderately steep in places, through park and woodlands, across fields and moorland, with an opportunity to go up Darwen Tower to see the fantastic panoramic views.
Starting point Main gates to Bold Venture Park, Darwen. To get there from the A666 in the centre of Darwen turn up Borough road there is plenty of parking on this wide road before the park entrance Grid reference 6895 2192.
DSC 01941 entrance to Bold Venture Park
Go through the main gates of Bold Venture Park. A picturesque grade 2 Historic Park and Gardens which opened in 1889. Bold Venture brook cascades down the two sections of this park to an ornamental lake, creating a centre piece, maximising the existing geological and topographical features.
Take the path on the left of Darwen War Memorial, standing on five steps representing the 5 years of World War One. Keep to the left of the lake and continue on to the top of the waterfall where there is a stone monolith in the centre of a labyrinth circle.
This feature commissioned in 2010 by the Friends of Bold Venture Park replaces an elaborate cast iron fountain which was taken for scrap metal to aid the war effort during the Second World War. The stone monolith recalls the stone quarry from which the park was developed. The labyrinth is based on a 12th century design in the cathedral at Charters in France. Solve the labyrinth by following the lighter coloured blocks from the periphery to the centre without crossing any of the darker blocks.
From this feature turn left up a steep path signposted Darwen Tower and Moors. Then cross the road from the Lower Park to the Higher Park and continue up through this Park keeping on the left of the stream and out onto the moorland. At the bottom of the main track going up to the tower, turn left across a plank and over stile onto footpath. Go straight on ignoring faint footpath off to the right continue to T junction of paths. Here turn right up through heather and heathland shrub called Gaultheria.
01978 view to Darwen Tower
At next fork bear left and continue uphill, passing what appears to be a disused small quarry, and on to join a main path, the Witton Weavers Way. Here turn right for just a short distance to the marker post, here turn left to head across the top of the moorland. This becomes a good path with plenty of benches to stop, have a rest and admire the views.
Turn right on well- trodden ‘terrace’ path leading to Darwen Tower. Enjoy the amazing views on the left preferably whilst sitting on one of the benches beside the path. .
Continue along the path passing the Trig. Point on the way up to the Tower.
P1011822 Darwen Tower
Darwen’s Victorian forefathers certainly stretched the imagination of local folk, far beyond the soot-grimed chimneys and the mills; the back-to-back terraces and the cobblestones, when they built this famous landmark. In spite of the grim conditions in which most Darweners lived and worked there was plenty to celebrate in the closing years of the 1800s. The extensive sweep of the moors had just been freed after years of often bitter wrangling and Queen Victoria was about to reach her diamond jubilee. What better way to mark the occasions than by building a lasting monument high on the surrounding hills and with a vast panorama over Lancashire.
More than 3,000 people assembled for the opening ceremony, on September 24, 1898.
The Tower, 86 feet high overlooks the town. It is open to the public free of charge has a circular viewing platform on the way up as well as the parapet walk at the top.
It has certainly stood the test of time despite the original wooden dome and weather vane being blown off in 1947 and the fibre glass replacement coming to the same end during an 80 mph gale in 2010. The new steel dome and weather vane costing over £35000 was made by Darwen Engineering Company WEC Group as a gift to the town. A helicopter was used on 13th January 2012 to winch it into place. It even survived a war-time suggestion that it should be demolished as it was feared it could be a useful landmark for enemy bombers!
Ascent of the tower is well worth it for the panoramic 360 degree view, which on a clear day is breathtaking.
P 1122453 Top of Tower p8312104 View from top of Tower
Directly below the Earnsdale and Sunnyhurst Hey Reservoirs, Sunnyhurst Wood, Darwen golf course, HoghtonTower and the densely wooded Billinge Hill. The hills of the Lake District grace the northern skyline and join the Forest of Bowland and the Yorkshire Dales, where the three giants, Whernside, Ingleborough and Pen-y-ghent tower beyond Pendle and the Ribble Valley’s. The Hills of Rochdale and the nearer Holcombe with its PeelTower are framed by the south Pennines of Yorkshire which join the Derbyshire Peak District to complete the panoramic view. A splendid view of Darwen can also be obtained. Note the 300ft India Mill Chimney which was modelled on the style of a Venetian campanile. Taking all of14 years to complete at a cost of £14,000 it was opened in 1868. In recent years peregrine falcons have successfully nested on the chimney.
DSC 02008 View of Darwen
From the tower head downhill to Darwen on the good track furthest left, then turn right through kissing gate which is next to large metal gate just after a bench. Follow fencing on the right down to gate. Then turn right passing high stone marker with Darwen Tower carved on it, turn left down Sniddle Hill Farm’s very steep access road to just before T junction. Here turn right over stile then across field to go over next stile then follow fencing on your right to stile behind the furthest shed. Go across this field which can be boggy in wet weather, next stile is about 30 metres up from the far corner. Cross narrow footbridge and then field to stile in the middle of fencing ahead. Cross track bearing right to footpath opposite. Follow fencing on the left to stile leading into the higher part of Bold Venture Park. Turn left and follow path through higher park, cross road and go through gate opposite to follow paths on the left of stream and waterfall, all these paths lead back to the main entrance and start of walk. On the way back through the park there are various sculptures.
A stainless steel one called Flow hanging from a tree, spins and turns appearing to wind up and down to represent the ebb and flow of the fortunes of Darwen and its people.
DSC 02017 Back to park entrance
To see more information on The West Pennine Way/Links see www.westpennineway.org