May Ramble: Darwen Moor
If you look South from Longridge, you will see the large Winter Hill TV mast. Move your attention to the East, at the top of the next hill and you will notice the Darwen, or Jubilee, Tower. This prominent landmark was the target for this month’s walk. The tower was built to commemorate the local landowner’s decision to allow free access to his land for all.
As the Bolton group were in charge today, we had to start from a civilized starting point, Roddlesworth, with its café and toilets.
Leaving the car park, we immediately started climbing up towards Darwen Moor. The paths here and throughout the walk were excellent. Soon, we passed a wooded area known as The Lion’s Den and then along the Witton Weavers way up to the moor. By now, the wind had got up to gale force, as forecast, soon to be joined by wintry showers. Eventually, we arrived at the tower. Some hardy souls climbed up the internal steps to the top, where the wind was surprisingly light. I wonder why? The tower should have an enclosed, transparent top, but this blew off during the strong gales of last year. However, I believe that it is soon to be replaced.
Leaving the tower and heading north, we steadily descended to the shelter of Sunnyhurst Wood. This area of beautiful natural woodland is on the edge of Darwen and its bandstand, that reminded us of a Cotswolds covered market, provided us with a convenient lunch stop.
Back on the trail, our walk now took us along scenic tracks to Tockholes and onwards down to Earndale Reservoir, walking across the substantial dam and mixing with the keen fishermen who hang out here. We were now heading South through extensive woodland before undertaking something that we always try to avoid, a steep climb to the finish! The woods looked particularly attractive with new spring foliage and the ground carpeted in bluebells. Now it was back to the café for tea.
Many thanks to Bill for preparing and leading such an interesting walk. This little walking group often benefits from leaders with local knowledge of their home area.
Linda & Eddie Grange.