It’s a repeat of a walk we did last year with a couple of extra twists. The plan is to get out and about early so everyone can be back for the final games of the Premier League season. Once again we’ll start in Philips Park, heading east through Mid Wood but then reversing the previous route and and remaining within the park grounds. We’ll rejoin the previous route in reverse, heading across the River Irwell into Clifton Country Park. It’s the perfect time of year to visit this area because the bluebells are out and it’s bluebell hunting season. Having followed the river to the power station we transition into the perfect bluebell hunting spot, Ringley Wood. We’ll keep off the old railway line to do some off-piste walking through the forest. Finally we return to the railway and back into Philips Park before trying to navigate our way back to the car park.
The walk is going to start from Daisy Nook Country Park, which has free parking. We’ll head through the park and alongside the old canal path, leaving the crowds. The path then joins the River Medlock, following it through the forest, up and down the banks through Park Bridge Heritage Centre. We’ll reach a road, which to avoid the mud we’ll keep on for 15 minutes and then climb the hill to the top of Hartshead Pike for lunch. After lunch we’ll descend through the fields and traverse back across to an old railway line. Finally we’ll arrive back in Daisy Nook Country Park and return to the cars.
We’ve had a request to climb Pendle Hill, the location of the famous Pendle witch trials. The starting point will be the picturesque village of Barley at the foot of the hill. Barley has a large car park (which has an honesty box), a cafe and toilet facilities. Obviously we’ll try and avoid the crowds by heading away from Pendle Hill before ascending one of the ridges. We’ll then drop down to the reservoirs and follow the stream up the valley. This will allow us to join up with some other paths and loop around the back approaching the summit from the north. Here we’ll join the crowds, take in the views and head back to Barley. I quick drink in one of the lovely pubs might be required.
Lydia pointed out that we’d never visited the picturesque black and white buildings of Worsley and surrounding countryside, so that became next on the list. We’ll start at the car park in Duke’s Drive but quickly exit the park and head to the other side of the canal. At Worsley Court House we’ll cross the canal and head into Worsley Woods. Passing through the woods we’ll head under the M60 and exit next to Beesley Green. We’ll continue west on the old railway, now called the Tyldesley Loopline, before switching across to another old railway via Parr Fold. We’ll then start making our way back east back towards the cars, via Worsley Woods, Old Warke Dam, Sindsley Brook, Broadoak Park and back to Dukes Drive. Hopefully we’ll be finished around 13:00, so there might be the option of lunch in a local pub? We’ll cross the bridge closer to the time.
Dovestone Reservoir (or Dove Stone Reservoir) is a popular tourist spot just inside the Peak District near Oldham. On nice days in the summer it’s impossible to get a parking space after 10am due to people treating it like their local beach resort. For that reason we’ll head there when it’s still winter and has a surprisingly bitter wind. To start we’ll head away from the reservoir along a couple of tracks before heading back on ourselves and ascending to Alphin Tarn. The ridge will then be followed for several miles via Wimberry Rocks until we reach Chew Reservoir. We’ll then traverse the rocks and edge overlooking the eastern edge of Dovestone before descending back to the reservoir. At that point we’ve joined the masses and will return to the cars.
Thanks to the suggestion from Bobby O, or just O, we’ll be heading to see the Dream and Clock Face Colliery Country Park! Several parks have been developed on old coal mines between Warrington and St Helens and we’ll be exploring a couple of them. The walk will start in the main car park for Clock Face Colliery Country Park (CFCCP), located off Gorsey Lane. Firstly we’ll head west along the path linking the two section of the park, across a field to the M62. Soon you’ll be able to see the Dream before ascending the hill to get a closer look at it’s massive face. After taking a few photos we’ll descend into Clock Face, across the town and into the fields on the opposite side for a couple of kilometres. We’ll cross the round and head into Colliers Moss Common via a small view point and find a lunch stop. The common is split by a railway line with one crossing point which we’ll use to have a little exploration of the northern section before returning to the main view point. Finally we’ll head back to the cars via some more parkland, a short stretch of road and back into CFCCP. There will be an optional trip to Ikea Warrington on the way home.
Christmas time, mistletoe and wine etc… it’s almost Christmas, it’s probably cold, a nice short walk near Dunham Massey is what’s required. We’ll park in a car park on the outskirts of Altrincham, connected to the Trans Pennine Trail. The route begins through the fields but then diverts back onto the long and straight TPT. Taking a left we’ll join the road and go passed a couple of public houses, peering into the windows. After veering off down a lane we’ll pass through some fields and appear in Little Bollington, right next to Dunham Massey. Whilst in Dunham Massey we might as well have a little wander before winding towards the Axe and Cleaver. We’ll finish the day with the 30 min walk back to the cars along the canal.
As a child one of our regular family outings was to a place we called Red Rocks, it turns out this was Thurstaston on the Wirral. A few people with Viking heritage have also asked about doing a walk which takes in the sea, so putting these two together I’ve created a nice loop from the beach to the rocks. Depending on the tides, we’ll either start off walking down the beach or stay in the Wirral Country Park. Heading north east we’ll pass through a forest called The Dungeon and onto the village of Thurstaston. A brief walk along the pavement will be required to make it to Thurstaston Hill and a visit to Thor’s Stone, which will be an opportunity for an early lunch. After lunch we’ll carry on across Thurstaston Common and through Royden Country Park. Then we start to make the return, weaving through some fields and into the woodland up and over Caldy Hill. To finish we’ll pop onto the Wirral Way, a disused railway line, and depending on tides back along the beach to the car park.
For our next Trail of the Unexpected we’ll be going on a Spy mission into the heart of Castlefield in Manchester. This Trail is designed and suitable for children and adults of all ages.
In the late 18th century Manchester mill owner Titus Hardgrind created a rain-making machine that would provide a constant supply of rain and the perfect conditions for spinning cotton in his mills. Great for the mill owners but not so good for the people of Manchester who have been under a cloud ever since. So we must solve the clues and unlock the code to switch off the machine and allow Manchester to bask under a cloudless sky again !!
When asked where we should go on a walk, Dan responded “what about the wind farm near Ramsbottom”. A good idea Dan, we’ve already explored Winter Hill above Bolton and Holcombe Moor the other side of Ramsbottom, so why not complete the set. We’ll start at a reservoir near Edenfield, the car park next to Ashworth Moor Reservoir. The route immediately ascends the moorland, with our first target being Knowl Moor. After Knowl Moor we’ll head off piste to a wind turbine and continue to weave down to Naden Higher Reservoir. We’ll then climb up above Ding Clough to Little Ding, Ding Quarry and the top of Hail Storm Hill. We’ll briefly join the road connecting the wind turbines and head west towards Higher Hill for a lunch break. Refuelled and ready to go, we’ll head up Whittle Hill for views over Ramsbottom. This will be our final summit before heading back down the moor and back to the car park. Pint? Be warned, there will be bog so waterproof footwear and a good attitude is essential!