#8 Darwen Moor

23 03 2010
23rd March 2010
Solo
3.7 miles
Explorer 287 (West Pennine Moors)
Cloudy, stiff breeze from the West

I set off from Southport with the intention of doing the Downham walk (#16), which I’d chose as my knee was a little sore after the Pendle Hill walk. I stopped off at Blackburn with Darwen services for a spot of breakfast, but then as I returned to the car I saw Darwen tower, realised the weather was improving – and so decided to change walks. This is a bit of a nostalgic one for me, my father is Darwen born and bred, and my Grandparents lived here all of their adult lives. I reset the sat-nav for Ryal Fold, and it takes me up Bog Height Lane past the cottage my grandparents retired to, which itself is on the corner of the little cul-de-sac Beech Grove where my dad was brought up. Whilst both the cottage and Beech Grove have hardly changed – the surroundings most certainly have: the M69 now casts a shadow over Bog Height Lane, and what I remember as fields stretching beyond Beech Grove is now a modern housing estate.

Parked up in the middle of the bus turning-circle at Ryal Fold on the Tockholes Road and set off through some attractive woodland towards the Roddlesworth reservoirs. Before I get to the reservoir though I turn north and back to the Tockholes Rd, cross that and then head up the moor with a good view of Darwen Tower. The path crosses a hill and descends to the dam at Earndale reservoir. There are quite a fishermen trying their luck the reservoir.

India Mill, Darwen

Closer to the tower now – the hill seems steeper. The path takes me across the face of the hill towards a driveway to a pumping station, the driveway makes the first part of the climb fairly easy. A boggy path continues to the east and everntually I turn back to the south and start climbing the spine of the hill. It is steep, but  the path is wide and well cobbled, it takes a couple of rest-stops but it’s nothing like Pendle Hill. Towards the end of the steepest section is a great view of Darwen down below, dominated by the chimney of India Mill.

The rest of the ascent is easy, and I’m soon at the tower which is officially called Jubilee Tower but generally known as Darwen tower, the jubilee in question is Queen Victoria’s diamond jubilee in 1898. I find a large group of walkers here from Ilkley in West Yorkshire, we have a nice chat and they invite me to continue the walk with them – but I decline bacause they aren’t going the way it says in the book! I don’t expext to do the whole book yard for yard exactly – but it doesn’t feel right to abandon in on only the second walk. Once the group have moved on I climb the tower itself, there is a ‘balcony’ about a third of the way up, but I carry on to the top of the

Jubilee Tower, Darwen

tower; the wind here is so strong it is difficult to open the door. the view though is very good, I can just make out the Blackpool Tower, and I’m sure that if it were a bit clearer I’d be able to see the Southport Marine Bridge.

I continue the walk across the front of the tower and head west along the rest of the hilltop, dropping down to a farm track which returns me to the car park.

A good walk, a bit on the short side, but it could easily be extended either further south on the moor, or further west in the woodland by the Roddlesworth reservoirs. I think I’ll come back again some time.

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