#10 Holcombe Moor

1 07 2011
1st July 2011
solo
5.5 miles
Explorer 287 (West Pennine Moors)
Cool for July, windy on the tops

A fairly early 9am start to this walk, the drive via the M65 and Haslingden avoids much of the congestion. The walk starts from the Peel Tower carpark on the B6214 but it takes almost the full length of the walk to reach the tower. I cross the road and walk towards the tower up a little snicket, before appearing on a beautiful old cobbled street which heads north parallel to he B6214 before joining it at the Shoulder of Mutton pub (which looks to have a lovely menu). Almost immediately I leave the road again to head steeply at first up another cobbled street which leads through some old gate-posts onto the National Trust owned section of the Moor. I follow the well established track across the eastern shoulder of the moor, the track is more or less level, and passes a number of farm houses, the Irwell valley looking splendid below in the morning sun; on the far side Hail Storm Hill with its plethora of wind-turbines looks like a potential walking destination (mental note made).

Just after Chatterton Close there is a cross-roads alongside a patch of investigative quarrying, I turn west here heading reasonably steeply for the top of the moor. Soon after we reach the marker points designating the edge of the moor that is MoD land, the flags are not flying to it would be safe to continue onto his land to the summit of Bull Hill, but I can’t make out where the path is, and I don’t fancy guessing and getting it wrong so I follow the path south until I reach Pilgrim’s Cross. The cross is actually a fairly modern (1902) stone marking the point of the original cross (probably 12th century) which was a meeting/resting point for pilgims on their way to Whalley Abbey. Here I can see the path to Bull Hill so I take a detour, heading north-west – gently uphill for about a third of a mile to the trig point on Bull Hill. It’s not a spectacular hill, but the views are very good, I can easily identify Winter Hill to the west, and Parbold Hill to the north-east, and what must be the Peak District in the distance to the south.

I return back to Pilgrim’s Cross and continue past it along the ridge over a nameless summit and then on towards a cairn at the summit of Harcles Hill. Just after this hill there is an unexpected grassy valley to be negotiated before I reach the Peel Monument; I trot and bounce down the steep grassy embankment, cross a little stream, and then make my way back uphill and on to the tower. The tower commemorated Sir Robert Peel, a son of Bury, twice British Prime Minister, and founder of the modern police force – it is his name which give the policemen the nickname “bobbies”.The monument was closed so I didn’t have the option of climbing it, not sure if I would have bothered to be honest; the tower isn’t pretty, but it is striking, and fitting for such a ‘modern’ politician.

Nest to the tower is a stony track which descends steeply back towards the carpark. At one point I spot an unusual curvy bench on the hillside and take the opportunity for a rest, the bench celebrates the party held on Holcombe Moor for the millennium which features 8,000 people witnessing the lighting of a beacon.

It’s an easy stroll from here, downhill until I meet the cobbled lane that started the walk.

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