November Ramble – Haigh Hall
Haigh Hall and its surrounding country park are situated to the North-East of Wigan and provide a variety of pleasant walks with links to the local industrial heritage.
Bill, from our Bolton group, kindly offered to lead us on this walk, in a part of the county that is somewhat further south than we usually venture.
Starting from the car park at Haigh Hall, we walked for a short distance along the entry road before entering a series of pleasant farm tracks with splendid views to the West. The weather turned out to be brilliant, in contrast to the heavy showers back home. Eventually, we arrived at Red Rock Lane and in a short while, entered the Leeds and Liverpool Canal, heading south on yet another section of this attractive waterway. Later, leaving the canal, we joined the other main feature of this walk, a long section of the dismantled railway that used to link Blackburn and St Helens, known as the Whelly Loop line. During the previous week, the strong gales had uprooted many small trees, mostly Willow and some time here had to be spent in clearing the track of debris. Later, the path became quite boggy, but with the firm foundations, it wasn’t much of a problem.
At this point we stopped for lunch by the remains of a footbridge that used to carry an estate path across the railway.
After the railway, it was back to the canal at Rabbit Hill, this time walking in the opposite direction and passing a series of impressive locks, twenty-two in all. At one of these, we stopped to have a chat to the owner of a barge, sorry, narrow boat, who gave us an insight into life on the water. The girls later told us that they had just seen a Kingfisher. Having left the canal, we walked back to Haigh Hall, where a wedding was taking place and the wedding car was one of those replica pre-war vehicles.
Many thanks to Bill for providing us with an interesting walk in an area refreshingly new to us. We also had a good turnout of eight. Additionally, it was good to see Jim back in action after being on sick leave for a few months.