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Midge Walkers

Walk  No.85

A walk round Higher Walton

It constantly amazes me that when these walks are planned and talk of “dry under foot paths” are mentioned, how does our leader know what the weather conditions will be? During a month which has hardly seen anything but rain, on the day appointed, the 10 adults who had turned out were subjected to a cool but dry outing and were nevertheless dressed to accommodate whatever nature threw at us. The starting point was the King Edward V playing field, which afforded ample free car parking.

Leaving at 13.50 our route took us to the main road where we almost immediately encountered two memorials dedicated to the famed contralto singer Kathleen Ferrier, whose life spanned 1912-1953 and spent most of her life in the area.

Taking a side lane and following the River Darwen at the rear of Higher Walton Mill, we were informed how in its day approx 8,500 looms with over 250,000 spindles, spun cotton and was obviously the main source of employment in the area. Continuing along the lane we went through an industrial estate which again had housed Mosney print works, related to the printing of patterns on material.

Passing Coachman’s Cottage which had originally been stables for horse involved with haulage in the nearby industry, we soon came to Carvers Fold Farm. Climbing over two wooden rails attached to two uprights we were told that this did not constitute a stile although a little further on a similar obstacle did class as a stile, which brought us right on to the river bank and the site of what had in former times been Red Rock Waterfall. Another stile (which now exceeded the stated expectations) took us through a field, which a further stile exiting us to a bridge and through a farmyard with the compulsory mud associated with such places.

Following a lane which still followed the river soon brought us to Roach Bridge with its weir in full flood, used in its day to drive machinery for the paper mill. The mill is currently undergoing conversion to flats with the stipulation that these in turn are to be powered from the flowing water. It was at this point we took the opportunity to consume our coffee and take a break.

Taking the road we eventually emerged at the New Hall Tavern on Cuerdale Lane where we turned left and continued to Potter Lane, marked at its junction with a stone memorial. A footpath around the site of a large gas station brought us to a stile which clearly needed some work. Undaunted our leader produced from the confines of his rucksack, first a saw and then secateurs and busied himself trimming back the foliage which otherwise would have impeded our progress, clearly benefiting from the experience of his usual pre-walk walk. Our route across the field which gave the impression of a recent coating of slurry brought up the question of a refund, which had been promised to those who in any way were dissatisfied but could only claim on production of a valid ticket. That seemed to quell that conversation. Skirting Salom House we emerged on to a farm lane which in due course brought us past Bannister Hall and down Bannister Hall Drive to our starting point.

Once again this had been an enjoyable afternoon and for those of us looking forward to our evening meal, given us the necessary appetite to enjoy it.