Midge Walkers


Whalley   12-06-22

On the weekend following the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee Celebrations, 10 of our adult walkers met at the Springwood Carpark just off the Whalley Easterly Bypass. Setting off at 2.15 p.m. along the footpath through the woods parallel to the A671, brought us to a gate leading us under the bypass, continuing on its opposite side and taking a left curve, rising up a grassy mound and continuing down a path to the right, brought us to arrive at the side of Accrington Rd. Crossing over and following a narrow path led us to the edge of the River Calder, where by turning right and following the bank until arriving behind some properties, we soon attained the weir with its water turbine on the opposite bank.

Leaving the river along Calder Vale brought us into King St where we turned right and at an opportune moment crossed Whalley’s main street, passing down an alley to the rear of the properties to enter the grounds of the sandstone built St Mary’s and All Saints Church parts of which date back to the 13th Century.

Beyond the churchyard and turning left into The Sands, we soon passed the 14th Century East Gate House to the nearby Cistercian Abbey, at one time the 2nd wealthiest in Lancashire. From here we started to view one of the main features of our walk. The impressive spans of the viaduct came into view. The fabulous 48 round-arches on battered piers were constructed of more than seven million blue and red hand-made bricks made by 13 men and together with 12,338 cubic meters of stone, a work force of approx. 350 men carried out the work between 1846 and 1850 completing the 600 yd+ length at a height of 70 foot above the river below, long before health and safety rules came into force and there wasn’t a hard hat in site.  

Continuing along the lane in front of us with the river to our left, soon allowed us to pass under the A59, after which we veered to the right to enter a field and take a diagonal course to a stile where we joined a path and followed it around the perimeter of an adjoining ditch and subsequently followed the line of the pathway up a slope to another couple of stiles before finding a conveniently placed bench seat, which partly due to the impressive view and our need to take a refreshment stop, allowed us to pause at this point.

Resuming the route and following the fence line of Calderstone’s Hospital on the right, took us along the lengthy drive to its intersection with Mitton Rd where we turned right. Walking to the next left turn we branched along the drive towards Brook House Farm. It was probably at around this point that we realised that it was a long time since we had done the original reconnoitre of the route, so it wasn’t surprising that having made our way through gates to the left and across fields we eventually found that where we thought a path should be, there were now houses. Enquiries from would be locals brought no solutions, so never down hearted but having learn an important lesson in pre-planning, we decided to abort the remainder of our walk and make our way back to our original starting point.

Despite some minimal spots of rain, the weather had been kind to us and as promised we had seen some memorable views. Doubtless Rodney and I will research the missing link again at some time in the future but in the meantime, curse the builders who once again have proved that there is no sanctity when it comes to maintaining rights of way if you have houses to build.

Next walk

Sunday, 3rd July 2022

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Report and pictures by Raymond Lamb