Wednesday 29th May 2024

Wednesday 29th May 2024

The Sixth Section of the West Pennine Way, Roddlesworth, Darwen Tower, Cartridge Hill.

On a very misty morning ten walkers left Roddlesworth Information Centre and joined a section of the West Pennine Way (WPW) at the back of the café. The route climbed steadily up towards Darwen Moor and after much effort we could soon see the blurred outline of Darwen Tower. The Grade 2 listed, octagonal Jubilee Tower, was erected to commemorate the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Victoria, with the foundation laid in 1897 and the Tower opening the following year in 1898. More recently, the Tower underwent restoration work in 2021, reopening in 2022 for Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee. Some of the walkers climbed to the top of the tower, but because of the low cloud the glorious views over to the Lake District, Derbyshire Hills and the Ribble Estuary would have to be viewed on another day.

Jubilee Tower

From the tower we continued to follow the way markers over the moor, passing White Hill and Brown Lowe on our right. Whilst crossing the moors we were joined by an eleventh walker who had been held up in traffic but had followed the bright orange way markers to catch us up. The descent from the moors took us down to Prospect Farm and once through the farmyard we turned right and continued through the very wet fields to Bull Hill, where we completed this section of the WPW. From Bull Hill Farm we turned right, climbing over a very difficult stile, and joined an overgrown track, where we used the broken-down stone wall as seating to enjoy our morning coffee.

We continued along the track and through an attractive field full of wildflowers before turning right onto the Witton Weavers Way. After walking for about a mile along the track we turned right, at a footpath sign, and followed the path across the moors, up to what remains of the P51-C Mustang aircraft, flown by Polish pilot Herbert Noga, who was killed in the crash. The plane had taken off from Blackpool Airfield on a sunny afternoon on Sunday, 29th July 1945. The crash is still a puzzle to local, and war historians.

Heading over the moors

Crash site

After returning along the same path, to the Witton Weavers Way, we turned right and continued following the track to the top of the climb where there is a convenient stone wall that provided both seating and shelter from the wind, whilst we ate our lunch.

Lunch stop

Cartridge Hill

Returning to Roddlesworth

Once refreshed we turned right off the track and headed over the very wet moor to the summit, and cairn, on Cartridge Hill (402). By this time the early mist had cleared, and we had a 360-degree view of the West Pennies. After admiring the views for some time, we headed back to Roddlesworth Information Centre having covered 9.5 rewarding miles.