Sunday, 19th January 2014

Walk: Whittle Hills, Walton Summit Branch of canal, Leeds & Liverpool Canal, Johnsons Hillock, Ollerton Fold, Withnell Fold, Hough Hill, Denham Quarry
Start Point: Roadside off Woodend Road (PR6 7TZ) Grid Reference: SD 574 226
Distance: 11 miles Ascent: 1,000 feet
Time: 5.25 hours    
Weather: Dry with little wind
Comments: A late addition to the programme, this walk was chosen for its interest and variety. Our first stop was at a display of millstones in Whittle-le-Woods where there used to be a wharf on the bank of the Lancaster Canal for the distribution of gritstone and coal. After crossing beneath the M61 we continued on to Town Lane where the Walton Summit Branch of the Leeds & Liverpool Canal is being made into a nature reserve. As we joined the Leeds & Liverpool canal there is a section which has been developed by the Galloways Society in conjunction with the Leeds and Liverpool Canal Society. Interpretation boards can be seen describing the workings of the locks and here we also see examples of rope grooves worn into bollards and bridges as the horses pulled the barges. A short diversion from the canal took us past Withnell Fold and Ollerton Fold before rejoining. the canal. We then made our way through fields to Denham Hill quarry and back to our starting point.

Scroll down to see photos of the walk

The millstones, Whittle-le-Woods

 

The derelict section of the Lancaster Canal

 

A slippery slope leads to . . .

 

a gap between two tunnels . . .

 

one side taking the River Lostock . . .  .

 

out of sight . .

 

and the other side heading . . .

 

beneath the M61

 

Navigating another muddy path - a few comments were directed at the leader at this point!

 

Information at the closed off end of the Walton Summit Branch . . .

 

where Phil captures a great reflection

 

A picnic table and a couple of benches . . .

 

provide the ideal spot for our morning break . . .

 

and a robin decides to join us

 

Phil, Les and Lesley inspect a hook in the wall . . .

 

which was used to pull the boats through the bridge

 

Remains of ironwork fitted to stone bridge parapets to protect the stone from damage . . .

 

and grooves worn into the edges of a bridge

 

A 'watering stop'  . . .

 

and the group looks hopeful . . .

 

but we continue along the route . . .

 

where we see more reflections . . .

 

and the group gets slightly ahead of the leader . . .

 

and retrace their footsteps to cross the bridge . . .

 

and tackle a short steep ascent

 

Happy as a pig in Muck

 

Lunch is taken on a bridge as we return to the canal

 

Yet another muddy stile!!!

 

The view on the way to . . .

 

Hough Hill from where there are views as far as Blackpool Tower
in one direction and Darwen Tower in the opposite direction

 

A shadowy group waves to Phil across the gap

 

Inspecting the walls of the quarry . . .

 

where a section called Red Horses can be seen

 

An amazing find in the exposed roots . . .

 

where the tree has grown around the rock

 

A sign that spring is just around the corner perhaps?

 

Join finds a new use for the redundant stile

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